Official Selections Announced for Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival

Gearing up for next month’s festival, today the Bosnian-Herzogovinian film festival (BHFF) ( announced the films included as official selections for the 2008 program.

When it kicks off next month in New York City, the 2008 BHFF will include ten short, feature and documentary films that showcase work from the best in contemporary Bosnian-Herzegovinian cinema. In its fifth year, the BHFF has become one of the most important platforms for emerging cinema from the region, giving the largely unknown Bosnian-Herzegovinian cinema exposure to American audiences.

The BHFF will take place on May 9th and 10th at the Tribeca Cinemas, where the Tribeca Film Festival is located.

The films in the 2008 Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival:

Feature films

The Rhythm of Life” (Ritam života), directed by Enver PuÅ¡ka, will have its U.S. premiere at BHFF. After having been imprisoned in a concentration camp during the recent war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Salih, a restaurant owner and a family man, decides that his life will be dedicated to the joy of living. Every day, he is more and more in love with his wife Emma and more concerned about his daughter Maja. Maja is in love with Damir, a supplier of stolen automobiles and a man who constantly cheats on his wife. To see the trailer, which is only available in Bosnian and Herzegovinian language.

The Living and the Dead” (Živi i mrtvi), directed by Kristijan Milić, is a powerful drama about the cyclical nature of the war crimes committed in the Balkans. It follows two story lines, one happening in 1943 and another in 1993, both at the same place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This film is the winner of eight awards at Pula Film Festival (Croatia) and the Golden Camera 300 award at Brothers Manaki International Film Festival (Macedonia). It was also nominated for the Grand Prize at Cottbus Film Festival of Young East European Cinema (Germany), and screened at Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and International Film Festival – FEST (Serbia).

Bahrutin “Bato” ÄŒengić Retrospective Special: “Silent Gunpowder “(Gluvi Barut). This atypical Yugoslav partisan film is set in an isolated Serbian village in the Bosnian mountains at the beginning of World War II. The majority of Yugoslavia is already occupied, but resistance continues in this village where continuous clashes take place between Chetniks, local Nazi sympathizers and antifascist partisans. The film is the winner of Silver St. George for Best Actor and was nominated for the Golden St. George at the Moscow International Film Festival (Russia).

Documentary films

Enter the Dragon” (U zmajevom gnijezdu), directed by Ozren Milharcić. The world’s first Bruce Lee statue was unveiled in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina on November 26, 2005, one day before Hong Kong’s version of the statue. This is a story of believers in the transformative power of martial arts heroes who decide to pursue their dream and erect the statue despite multiple challenges. Can Bruce Lee give hope to an ethnically divided city? This film was screened at Bradford International Film Festival (United Kingdom), Nazareth International Film Festival (Israel), Tartu Film Festival (Estonia), Balkan Black Box Festival (Germany), and The Dialektus Festival (Hungary).

Esma”, directed by Alen Drljević, will have its U.S. premiere at BHFF. Inside the United Nations camp during the course of official negotiations in 1995, the Serbian army kidnaps the counter-negotiator, colonel Avdo Palić. Thus begins the search of his wife, Esma, for her missing husband. She is one of many who are still searching for their loved ones who disappeared during the recent war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This powerful film was screened at Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Trieste Film Festival (Italy), Göteborg International Film Festival (Sweden), Balkan Snapshots Film Festival (Germany) and International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (Ukraine).

PATRIA MIA”, “Nomad Direction”, directed by DuÅ¡ka Zagorac, will have its U.S. premiere at BHFF. After 15 years of exile in London, Zagorac returns to Bosnia to find a sizeable Chinese community settled in her homeland. Like a mirror image of Bosnia’s past populations, the new inhabitants are struggling to define their identity. Combining first person narrative and observational documentary style, this is an intimate portrait of people and the city suspended in time; between war and peace, socialism and capitalism, tradition and globalization. The film has screened at The European Independent Film Festival (France).

Not if You Can, But You Must” (Nije da se more već se mora), directed by MaÅ¡a Hilcisin DerviÅ¡ević, will have its U.S. premiere at BHFF. This film focuses on the life of people from the remote Bosnian village of Lukomir, with an emphasis on the position of women and the gender relations. The film was screened at numerous film festivals including PitchWise, Festival of Short Film and Interground (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Film Front and International Festival of Ethnological Film (Serbia), FemFest (Croatia), Through Women’s Eyes (Macedonia), Rdece zore festival (Slovenia), Festival ArtGenerator (Macedonia), Tartu Festival of Visual Culture (Estonia), EcoVision Festival (Italy), International Meeting and Video Program Humour Works (Slovakia), East Silver (Czech Republic) and Viscult 2007 (Finland).

Interrogation” (Informativni razgovori), directed by Namik Kabil. This film tries to open up the abysses of denials of the war, which are becoming dominant, yet silent dimensions of everyday life in post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina. This film won the Heart of Sarajevo for Best Documentary Film at Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Special Mention at ZagrebDox – International Documentary Film Festival (Croatia) and was also screened at International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Helsinki International Film Festival (Finland) and Diagonale (Austria).

A Burdensome Job” (Teretli pos’o), directed by Nedžad Begović. This is a story about two gravediggers, who despite their daily contact with death and strong empathy with those in mourning try to retain a positive outlook on life. This film has screened at the Sarajevo Film Festival (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Diagonale (Austria), the Go East Film Festival and the Balkan Snapshots Film Festival (Germany).

Short films

What Do I Know” (Å ta ja znam), directed by Å ejla Kamerić, will have its U.S. premiere at BHFF. In and around a house love stories intertwine. One love story leads to another. The ghosts of love are left behind to seek the answers to the same question: “What do I know about love?” The story was written as a memento to other people’s loves not witnessed by the author. The house in the story is real. All characters are played by children. This film has screened at the Balkan Snapshots Film Festival (Germany), Venice Film Festival (Italy), Zagreb Film Festival (Croatia) and Crossing Europe (Austria).


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Christopher P. Duffy

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