Magazine article Variety

Regional Talent Fuels Powerful New Pics

Magazine article Variety

Regional Talent Fuels Powerful New Pics

Article excerpt

The Sarajevo Film Festival has become the top creative and industry catalyst for filmmakers and producers in the Balkans, Southeast Europe, and beyond, 22 years after its launch during the Bosnian civil war, as the city was under under siege. The winner of this year's foreign-language Oscar, Hungarian Holocaust drama "Son of Saul," was spawned by Sarajevo's CineLink co-production market. During its upcoming edition, HBO will launch a call for projects to commission the first international TV series to come out of the Balkans. As a regional platform, it's come a long way.


Documentaries are a key component of the selection since "the region has so many untold stories, so many secrets," says fest founder and director Mirsad Purivatra. "Scream for Me Sarajevo," a doc by Tarik Hodzic about a concert held by Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson and his solo band in 1994, with the city still under siege, will open the documentary competition.

The eight-title feature film competition is dedicated to the cream of the cinematic crop from the region's roughly 20 countries. The selection includes world premieres such as Montenegrin firsttimer Ivan Marinovic's "The Black Pin," about a small seaside parish priest who clashes with his flock when he opposes a big property sale, and such regional bows as "Album," the debut of Turkey's Mehmet Can Mertoglu about a couple in Antalya who fake a pregnancy to cover up an adoption.

"The accent is on first works, new visual language, good storytelling from young generations," says Purivatra. Presiding over the jury is Palestinian auteur Elia Suleiman.

The CineLink co-production market will introduce roughly 15 handpicked regional film projects to some 70 select international industry pros, including reps from Germany's Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg film funding organization. Purivatra is also launching an initiative called Dealing With the Past, which he hopes will become an open source for stories that can help heal wounds of past conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.

"We believe that in order to deal with many unresolved issues left by the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, the impact of which is still widely felt today, we need sincere, clear-eyed discussion around a painful past," says Purivatra. The project is set up in collaboration with several NGOs to collect those stories and offer them to directors, producers, and TV commissioning editors. …

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