- Dates: August 16 - August 24, 2013
- Website: www.sff.ba/
Sarajevo Film Festival
For a city that went through complete hell only a decade and a half ago, Sarajevo boasts a fantastic event, despite the aftermath of war, and a resource pool that is much smaller than many of its Western counterparts. For a first-time visitor, the city, the capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina, is surprisingly beautiful with its old town intact and surrounded by beautiful hills (which were the city's curse when the Serbian army used their vantages for sniper fire and bombings over nearly four years - the longest siege in modern history). While its citizenry tend to be conservative (a gay festival that opened there faced riots, forcing it to go underground), the festival still manages to show an impressive array of work from around the world and from emerging filmmakers, particularly in its Panorama section, which has been programmed for a number of years by American film journalist, Howard Feinstein. The festival is also blessed with some pretty nice venues, including screenings in historic buildings as well as fantastic outdoor settings. Even if a film lacks a big Hollywood star or is perhaps marginal in its outward appeal, local audiences seem to always pack the venues and rival Toronto in enthusiasm. The festival also seems to be catching on with prominent filmmakers and actors, with well-known names frequenting the August event. In recent years, the festival has added the Sarajevo Talent Campus, a program modeled after the Berlin International Film Festival's similar program, which provides access to world-class film professionals for its participating class of upcoming filmmakers from the Baltics.