For the 23rd time the Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF) has gathered the biggest names of the art and now it is arguably the biggest film event in the region. SFF begun on Friday, August 11, and will close its gates on August 18. In that period, movie lovers will watch more than 200 movies from the whole world.
According to tradition, SFF awards film industry prominent directors and actors for their exceptional contribution to entertainment industry. Until now, the award “Heart of Sarajevo” was granted to a number of actors, including Robert de Niro and Morgan Freeman. This year the award was granted to distinguished American director, three-times Oscar winner, Oliver Stone. The second award, Honorary Heart of Sarajevo, will be awarded to John Cleese.
Stone arrived in Sarajevo to collect his award and will hold the lecture to film faculty students on Tuesday in Sarajevo. As he said at the ceremony, the “Heart of Sarajevo” means a lot to him.
“It is a great honor for me to receive the award, because I know that Sarajevo has a heart, “said Stone in his speech after receiving the award for an outstanding contribution to film art.
He recalled that he was in Sarajevo after the war and that he heard many stories about what was happening. Now, 17 years later, he came back and noticed that Sarajevo has changed and how much it has progressed.
He believes that it is important to talk about war legacy, especially in the situation in which his country USA, is now.
“Our president (Donald Trump) talks about war as if it is a game. But even before him, the United States were simply “caught up with the steroids of war”. We have such a past, Stone concluded.
Director of the Sarajevo Film Festival, Mirsad Purivatra, said that Stone was one of the greatest film authors and talked about his rewarded films.
“What can we give to him, but our heart”, Purivatra pointed out.
The crowd welcomed Stone with thunderous applause, and after the ceremony, they had the opportunity to watch the screening of the movie “Real Time” within the Open Air program of the 23rd SFF.
As much as SFF is trying to bring film artists from various countries and various nationalities in one place, at the same time the announcement about beginning of work on another film sparks a new dispute in the political scene. The movie will be recorded by Turkish crew and it will be about the life of the first president of Republic of BiH, Alija Izetbegovic. As much as his son, Bakir Izetbegovic, and the rest of family are trying to change scenario because it “must be more realistic”, over the entity border, in Republic of Srpska, many are unsatisfied with the intention of creating a movie about this man. For many Serbs, Alija Izetbegovic is the personification of a warlord who allowed mujahideens to come in BiH and didn’t punish a large number of their brutal war crimes against Serbs. RS President, Milorad Dodik, stated that Alija Izetbegovic policy was “the policy of death for many Serbs and a policy of Muslim nationalism and expansionism in these parts. He added that the making of a film about his life is just a way “to forge his biography”.
Dodik pointed out that the highlight of the situation was the fact that Bakir Izetbegovic, on Sunday, took part in the work of a crew shooting the film about his father and that he showed up at village of Tarcin near Sarajevo, where during the war Serbs were incarcerated, tortured and died, and where his father had used to come to check whether the torture was “bad enough to satisfy his vanity”.
Dodik recalled that Alija Izetbegovic had written the Islamic Declaration and had been a well-known and recognised member of the SS “Handschar Division” in World War Two.
“Having in mind all this and also the fact that Alija Izetbegovic, as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia reported on the day of his death, was prevented only by his own death from ending up in the Tribunal and answering for his crimes, we see this as the way to forge his biography”, Dodik pointed out./IBNA