The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival (BHFF) in New York City announced the winners of the Golden Apple Awards for the 15th edition of the festival, and presented the BHFF 2018 Jury Special Mention, as well as the BHFF 2018 Golden Apple Audience Award for Best Picture to MEN DON’T CRY by director Alen Drljević. In MEN DON’T CRY, twenty years after the conclusion of the Bosnian War, a group of Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian men meet to discuss their experiences and process the events that shaped their lives decades ago. MEN DON’T CRY embraces moral uncertainty and examines the effects of time on painful memories. It explores themes of ethnic conflict and the impact, both physical and emotional, that war leaves on its participants.
BHFF 2018 jury statement: “There is a part of social life around us that we have to make visible and which is difficult to make visible. The crisis of masculinity in postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina is a topic that has only begun to be addressed and discussed, especially concerning veterans’ trauma and its war implications. MEN DON’T CRY makes a giant step in this direction.”
THE FROG, directed by Elmir Jukić, produced by Ademir Kenović, and starring Emir Hadžihafizbegović, won the BHFF 2018 Golden Apple Jury Award for Best Feature. In THE FROG, Zeko, a barber and a war veteran, attempts to reassemble the pieces of his life by reaching out to his brother Braco, who has been grappling with addiction, and his friend Švabo, a cab driver who spent the war years in Germany and is struggling with his own demons.
BHFF 2018 Jury statement: “The energy this film exudes and enthralls us with is masterfully nuanced in the rhythm of its narration, as well as in the subtle unfolding of characters that capture the spectator and trasfigure her through their life drama. Watching THE FROG engages the audience in a way that has a redemptive effect and results in deep affective bonds with the story and its protagonists.”
Emir Hadžihafizbegović won the BHFF 2018 Jury Award for Best Acting Performance for his role as Zeko in Elmir Jukić’s THE FROG.
BHFF 2018 jury statement: “The unanimously reached decision by the jury on this award is certainly a telltale sign of the force of Emir Hadžihafizbegović’s acting talent and his mastery of the acting craft. Emir Hadžihafizbegović in the role of Zeko in the film THE FROG brings us a luminously moving, darkly troubling and truly loveable character who makes us empathize with his life-story, predicaments, and uncompromising, even if unsettling, humanity.”
Samira Kameli and Sajra Subašić’s TO BE FAR won the BHFF 2018 Golden Apple Jury Award for Best Documentary. In TO BE FAR, the filmmakers attempt to document a refugee center in Bosnia. Denied entry, they instead film the center from afar, reflecting upon the lives of its residents, the services provided to them, and the painful circumstances that brought them to this place.
BHFF 2018 Jury statement: “Through an intriguing and novel anti-documentary perspective, TO BE FAR leaves us thinking ethically and politically about the lines of exclusion and segregation of refugees. It also poses the question of the brutalization of the Bosnian and Herzegovinian society that, despite its recent history of war and mass exile, no longer identifies with the plight of those who lost everything.”
Aleksandra Odić’s GREAT WALL OF CHINA won the BHFF 2018 Golden Apple Jury Award for Best Short Film. In GREAT WALL OF CHINA, the legacy of the conflicts of the 1990s lurks in the background of a family gathering in the Bosnian countryside, as experienced by Maja, a young girl. Maja’s life is upended by the arrival of Aunt Lilija, an impassioned young woman with artistic ambitions.
BHFF 2018 Jury statement: “GREAT WALL OF CHINA makes a deep impression with its poetry of the everyday, and its lyrical images of the lives of women of different generations. The gazes between the main protagonists reveal their complex, untold feelings in a way that is truly remarkable in a cinematic language.”