Sarajevo Film Festival Documentary Competition

There is 416 km from Prizren and the Dokufest to Sarajevo, where the film festival is going on right now and until August 22. Not long. But there is quite a difference in the set-up of the documentary & short film festival in Kosovo and the red-carpet festival in Sarajevo that primarily has a focus on feature films. Nevertheless the festival has a strong selection for the documentary competition, 23 films including (they are a bit obsessed with premieres…) six world premieres, and international premieres, and regional premieres and Bosnia and Herzegovina premieres… honestly I don’t think the audience in Sarajevo cares about this categorization, that seems to be the rules of the games for big festivals: We want to be the first!

It can not be easy for the programmer Rada Sesic, who does an impressive work to promote documentaries within the big festival. If you click the cineuropa link below you get the list of the films. If you go for the festival link you get the descriptions of the 23 in competition.

That is what I did to know more about the new film of Jasmila banić, a one hour film called “One Day in Sarajevo” (photo), it goes like this:

”Causes and consequences of the assassination that happened in Sarajevo a hundred years ago still continue to reverberate in Europe. On June 28, 1914 Gavrilo Princip assassinated the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire Franz Ferdinand sparking World War I that marked the start of the 20th century. As Sarajevo commemorated the centennial of the assassination, different people had different interpretations of what happened in the city a century ago and different emotions about it. ONE DAY IN SARAJEVO tells about various perspectives of the anniversary in Sarajevo combining and contrasting footage filmed by citizens of Sarajevo (with small cameras and mobile phones) with scenes from feature films about the assassination by directors from Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina and the United Kingdom.”

Fascinating to see what comes from the hands of Jasmila banić, who way back, around 2000, came to the island of Bornholm in Denmark for the Balticum Film & TV Festival, where she showed us her shocking “Red Rubber Boots”. Later we also saw (in 2003) “Images from the Corner” before she entered the world of fiction with several award winning realistic feature films starting with “Grbavica”. She is for me the Bosnian director.

But this is just one film in competition – there is also Alexander Nanau’s “Toto and his Sisters”, Vladimir Tomic “Flotel Europa”, “Drifter” by Gábor Hörcher, Ilinca Calugareanu’s “Chuck Norris vs Communism” and a new title from Nenad Puhovski’s Factum in Zagreb, “Chasing a Dream” by Mladen Mitrović. And many more that by reading fascinates.


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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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