24th Sarajevo Film Festival gets underway

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – The 24th Sarajevo Film Festival kicked off Friday in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital with a traditional red carpet walk.

The opening ceremony of the festival, aimed at reviving arts and culture in Sarajevo in an effort to move on from Bosnia’s wartime legacy, was held at the National Theater.

During the red carpet walk, many actors, directors, producers, musicians and politicians posed for photos, including Turkey’s Cannes-winning director Nuri Bilge Ceylan and Oscar-winning Iranian film director and screenwriter Asghar Farhadi.

Opening the festival was Oscar-winning Polish director Pawel Pawlikowski's film ‘Cold War’.

Many Turkish directors, screenwriters and producers are taking part this year, including Nuri Bilge Ceylan, one of today’s most acclaimed filmmakers.

During the festival, Ceylan's ‘The Wild Pear Tree’, ‘Once Upon a Time in Anatolia’, ‘Winter Sleep’, ‘Clouds of May’, ‘Climates’ and ‘The Town’ will be screened for movie lovers.

His "Turkey Cinemascope" exhibition will also be showcased at the Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ceylan also received the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award, which is considered the festival's most prestigious award.

"I accept this prize with all my heart," he said, adding he has participated three times in the Sarajevo Film Festival and it is one of his favorite events.

Meanwhile, Turkish director Osman Nail Dogan’s ‘The Pigeon Thieves’ will make its world premiere and will compete with nine other entries in the Feature Film category, with Iranian director Asghar Farhadi serving as a jury member.

‘Release Me’, a co-production between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Turkey about the tragedy of Syrian orphans, will also be screened.

Turkish films will also be featured in the "Documentary" and "Short Film" categories.

In the Documentary category, they include the film ‘Araf’ directed by Didem Pekun and ‘Titanium’ in the Short Film category directed by Gökçe Erdem.

A total of 10 films from Turkey, Romania, Hungary, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia will compete in the festival’s main category.

The festival will be showing 266 films from 56 countries until Aug. 17, 52 of which will have their world premieres.

The Sarajevo Film Festival was launched in 1995 as an act of defiance towards the end of the 43-month siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces and is now one of the most important cultural events in Europe, attracting thousands of people every year.