You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

The Sarajevo Film Festival Responds to Howard Feinstein’s Celebrity Criticisms

The Sarajevo Film Festival Responds to Howard Feinstein's Celebrity Criticisms

When we published Howard Feinstein’s first-person account of why he resigned as a Sarajevo Film Festival programmer, we invited a festival representative to respond with their point of view.

Today, we received a response from creative director Izeta Gradevic, who claims that the festival chose not to renew his appointment. Her statement regarding the Sarajevo Film Festival follows:

Having celebrity guests as part of the festival does elevate public and press interest and attention, though it does not overshadow any other festival activity. As it was indicated that their visit goes beyond a routine protocol attendance, it feels relevant to emphasize the one of the most important objectives of their presence is their contribution to the Festival’s educational component, namely the Sarajevo Talent Campus, a well-established platform to exchange knowledge, experiences and views with young and perspective film professionals from the region.

The Sarajevo Film Festival remains faithful to its objective to promote worldwide auteur cinema, with a specialized focus on South-Eastern Europe. Auteur cinema creates the core and the heart of our programming, which is highly appreciated by festival audience and film professionals. With its aim to further enhance regional film industry, the Festival continues developing its key platforms: Main Competition Program, CineLink Coproduction Market, Regional Forum, Minimarket, and the Sarajevo Talent Campus.

The Festival team is already working intensively on the 2012 Festival edition planning and programming outline. The first press release with new Festival dates and program focuses will be published in approximately one month. In light of that, we will be happy to answer all inquires and questions concerning the programming and organization of the Sarajevo Film Festival.

This Article is related to: News and tagged



Shame to hear about all this and hopefully SFF will continue to grow at the rate it has grown since its first year. Perhaps, Mr. Feinstein, you can still contribute to SFF in some ways. Your letter on why you left SFF reads very sincere and maybe you can come back next year as a spectator at least. I was also surprised with Jolie award, but hey, the celebrity rules these days, and she did give a job and international exposure to number of Bosnians actors in her movie – still, an honorary award? Maybe its too much, but others will disagree surely.
Elvis – get a life!
Abdullah – where are you even from, and who is “we”?

Abdullah Abu Mussa

Go home mr Feinstein, we don’t need you anymore.

Howard Feinstein

You are piggybacking off the article I wrote and Izeta’s response; both are important and address significant priorities that affect many people. These have NOTHING to do with your personal issues, and your inability to control yourself. Now that I remember trying to work with you, I remember you have no sense of propriety. You must get professional help; it’s clear to anyone who reads these rants, and no one cares in a public forum. You can get my email address from the office and address me directly, if you have the cojones to do so.

Elvis Dolić

Here on a link below are Recommendations for Elvis Dolić from General manager of 7th SFF!

Howard ;) who gets these kind of recommendations from General manager of the Festival and is listed in catalog as program assistant for moving chairs ;))) remember we were only few back at the time…that was when Tanović won award in Canes and academy award came only next year…in that time we were only 20 as coordinators…

…you have been making a lot of problems to everybody and especially to your assistant Vladimir…he was so fed up with you and he had to lie to you in order to keep his job…bulling a lot of people probably make it hard for you to remember one of them…but i remember very well…

..if you read carefully recommendations you will understand that i was employed as PROJECT COORDINATOR but you were trying to treat me as your assistant and that is what i refused…to do you small favors in order to make you happy…that is why you were so angry with me….

…i am not the only one that was treated like this from you…is name Guillermo Garcia Vejar ring any bell…or you can not remember…


You were blackmailing them with your importance and credibility in industry!

Miro was kind enough on the end to say Paula and me on the meeting that in case you continue insisting on my TERMINATION SFF should employ assistant for me in order that you and me do not get in any direct contact…i felt so sorry than for the SFF management because they were bullied by you…

shame, shame on you…..

But u are right that there are more important issues to discuss here:

1. i love most of movies you selected to be shown, but these movies are work of other people and not your work…you are missing the point dear How, so do not hide behind other people credits and do not take other people credits for your self!


3. Angelina Joly and B.P. did more for this country with just one visit to Bosnia that you could ever do…in your life time!

Anything more to discuss?

all the best


Howard Feinstein

Elvis: To be frank, I had to rack my brain to remember you. This was about 7 years ago, from what you wrote. I notice you posted the same comment on my original article. Then I remembered, you were one of many young people they assigned to help me and my programs during the festival. I was only there two weeks each year, so I did little of the hiring. Some worked out beautifully: I have had a few main assistants, and almost all were with me for several years. You were assigned to do fairly simple things, like having the chairs arranged for the critics seminar I created and ran for several years, to train young future film critics. This was something I volunteered, in the morning before the films I programmed, which ran non-stop with Q & A’s, until midnight. You did not do your job. I remember a day when nothing had been organized, no chairs, nothing, and you didn’t even show up. That was it. WHY would I keep you on? When someone didn’t do their job, and I had so much going on during the festival, I would not tolerate it. And you were nasty about it when I said something to you. It’s that simple. I am sure I didn’t “order” Miro to fire you, that was not the nature of our interaction, so I don’t think I “used” Miro’s totalitarianism. Maybe you worked well with some others, but a no-show is a no-show, and I always worried first and foremost about the filmmaker guests, projection quality, keeping my head clear for interviews and Q & As. I”m sorry, during the festival I never had patience for slackers. I also can’t believe that you have held on to this grudge all these years. To say that I would “find something against them?” I didn’t need to, Elvis, your incompetence was palpable. There are more important issues there to discuss, to be frank. Please, get a life.

Elvis dolić

Howard Feinstein is a hypocrite! He was using Miro’s totalitarism all these years when he needed or just wanted to for fun and to demonstrate his force and now he is pretending to be the one fighting against it! Howard never cared about people working hard in the case those people did not kiss his behind he would find something against them and literally order Miro to fire them! I have had this personal experience on 7th SFF when he shouted in front of everybody in meeting point garden that he will order Miro to fire me, but Miro first asked Paula Gordon (at that time general manager of SFF who employed me on the festival) who am i and what did i do for SFF workshops and when he realized that my results were excellent he did not fire me although Howard/Coward insisted. Later on Howard came to apologize to me but without witness and i told him to apologize in front of everybody as he accused me in front of everybody…but he did not! Shame on you Howard! Shame on you! Sarajevo and Miro and Izeta gave you a lot of good and this is not the way to pay back for their kindness…i left SFF because i did n
ot want to work in same environment with hypocrite like you are! You know there are witnesses of all this story, and you know it is true…in that time you did not care if all my carrier is at stake, if i have family to feed…you just wanted me fired…shame on you…you are miserable!


Jolie – Pit visitation seams to be the last drop which overfilled the cup for Mr. Feinsten, as working in that part of the world and getting people to travel there in the middle of the summer is not exactly easy. However, it also ties in with overwhelming impression that this power celebrity couple is going to make Bosnia into a whole new planet in the solar system. They are treated better than a president, or royalty, or saints…
In the meantime, the management is forgoing of the people and quality programing which made the festival attractive enough for such celebrities to attend in the first place. This kind of an attitude is very short-sighted and will impact the future of something that could have been great. It shows lack of respect for film as an art form, as well as for tributes film festivals exist to provide and show real people who made this art form so interesting and appealing since its inception.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *