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"The Son" directed by Ines Tanović
“The Son” directed by Ines Tanović

The Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival (BHFF) in New York City announced the lineup of 13 films selected for its 17th edition, held virtually this year from Tuesday, October 27th through Sunday, November 1st.

The range of themes in this year’s festival is incredibly diverse and tackles a range of important social and cultural themes, including: the first LGBTQI Pride held in Sarajevo, the picturesque life of women in remote rural areas, intimate portrayals of family struggles, a young woman’s search for personal memories, a first ever Sci-Fi feature film, and a moving documentation of a man’s efforts to turn his life around after serving a prison term for assisting an alleged terrorist.

“As programmers of BHFF, in this year’s slate we are delighted to include exciting new and emerging voices, but also see the return of beloved filmmakers whose earlier work has won awards at previous iterations of the festival,” said BHFF programming co-directors Dijana Jelača and Amir Husak. “As always, BHFF is proud to showcase and support the work of a great number of women filmmakers.”

The seventeenth annual BHFF will consist of six narrative feature films, three narrative shorts, and four documentary films. All films selected to screen at the 17th annual BHFF are eligible to win the BHFF Jury Awards for Best Documentary Film, Best Short or Animated Narrative Film, Best Feature Narrative Film, Best Acting Performance, and the Jury Special Mention, as well as the BHFF Audience Award for Best Picture.

2020 Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival Films Lineup

The films screening at the seventeenth annual BHFF are:

FEATURE FILMS

The Son | Ines Tanović | 106 min
Arman, age 18, was adopted as a baby by a couple who were unable to have children of their own. However, not long after, his adoptive mother gave birth to a son. Arman battles the demons of his past while trying to protect his younger brother Dado, 14, from the challenges of life in present day Sarajevo, including drugs, weapons, and the siren call of wars in the Middle East.

Full Moon | Nermin Hamzagić | 79 min
Hamza is irreplaceable. The young policeman just about manages to deliver his heavily pregnant wife to the maternity ward before his night shift begins. At the station, the usual problems await; generally, his colleagues are willing to help overcome these in return for bribes. Hamza, however, resolves to escape the cycle of corruption.

My Grandpa Is An Alien | Marina Andree Škop, Dražen Žarković | 79 min
In a single moment, the entire life of a girl Una is turned upside down; her grandpa is abducted by aliens and her mother collapses and ends up in a hospital. Una and an alien robot have 24 hours to find her grandpa. The extraordinary adventure leads to friendship, the rational robotic logic is replaced by emotions and Una’s selfless love saves her partly alien family.

Take Me Somewhere Nice | Ena Sendijarević | 91 min
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Alma is on the verge of adulthood when she leaves her mother’s home to visit Bosnia, in search of the father she has never met. There, Alma will team up with her apathetic and “patriotic” cousin Emir and his charming best friend, Denis. As Alma attempts to adapt abruptly to a reality she’s not accustomed to, she embarks on an adventurous journey from Sarajevo to Mostar. During this road trip of self-exploration into the Bosnian heartlands, Alma will try to both understand and unearth her roots and her own identity.

Sympathy for the Devil | Guillaume de Fontenay | 100 min
It’s 1992 and war is raging in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Paul Marchand is covering the siege of Sarajevo. A flamboyant, loud, adrenaline junkie, Paul is the war correspondent archetype. Racing through Snipers Alley in his white Ford, the Frenchman relentlessly tells the apathetic Western world about the ongoing massacre. In an urban war zone where everything that moves is a target, Paul tries to live, love, and inform.

Stitches | Miroslav Terzić | 97 min
Based on true events, this film takes place in contemporary Belgrade, eighteen years after a young seamstress was coldly informed of her newborn’s sudden death. She still believes the infant was stolen from her. Dismissed by others as paranoid, but powered by motherly devotion she summons the strength for one last battle against the police, the hospital bureaucracy and even her own family to uncover the truth.

SHORT FILMS

Natural Selection | Aleta Rajič | 10 min
Woman-Doe is a living sculpture trapped in urban spaces of boredom, melancholia, and utopian museums where she works. Despairing and bored, she entertains herself by acting out the behavior of humans: cleaning, drinking coffee, smoking, and sleeping. Problems begin when features of a raging animal appear on her head, in the form of two horns. Her eyes meet with a loner Woman dancing in the rain. Will she use her growing animal powers and human eyes to meet, fight and dance her way out towards her true nature?

Variables | Sabina Vajrača | 24 min
15-year-old math whiz Nikola is offered an unexpected chance to escape war-torn Sarajevo when his math club receives an invitation to participate in the 1995 International Math Olympics in Canada. Nikola initially sees the invitation as a reward for his dedication to mathematics and his club in the midst of the siege of Sarajevo. It is also a chance to experience teenage life outside of a war zone. But escape comes with a price: Nikola must face the possibility of leaving, and perhaps never again seeing, his mother and younger sister.

Snorty | Alen Šimić | 14 min
Snorty is a man with a past. Hoping to begin a new life, he searches for his place in society. Unfortunately, trying to fit in and lead a conventional life is easier said than done, as Snorty finds out that the world, as he used to know it, has changed. Attempting to fit in, he says the wrong things and commits the wrong actions, and his place in society appears ever more elusive. Snorty comes to discover that, while society is ever-changing, one man’s change may not always be possible.

DOCUMENTARY FILMS

The Infidel | Nejra Latić Hulusić | 63 min
A young Bosnian, Dino, whose father moved his family from Bihać to a closed commune of the Islamic Wahhabi movement, is trying to rebuild his life after inadvertently giving a ride to a man who later perpetrated a terror attack on the American embassy in Sarajevo. After being accused of involvement in the attack and spending time in jail, Dino renounces his religion and returns to his hometown to start over. But, he struggles with rejection both from his community and his family, who now live in Syria.

Stack of Material| Sajra Subašić | 7 min
Seeking an answer to the question of whether home is a place or a feeling, the filmmaker goes on the search for her parents’ house in Bosanski Novi, a place she never lived. During her quest she collects a whole stack of material, creating a visual memento of a forgotten town–a place people left in the 90s due to war and which is still continuing to be abandoned out now, years after the war ended, due to economic and political negligence.

Don’t Cry for Me – Susan Sontag in Sarajevo | Nihad Kreševljaković | 72 min
The famous Susan Sontag’s arrival in Sarajevo in 1993 is set on the backdrop of a besieged city, where she first staged the play Waiting for Godo. In an extremely simple documentary form, focusing on interviews with thirteen participants and witnesses of the play, this film presents an especially emotional account of life in Sarajevo under siege, in which the burst of life was ignited by Susan Sontag.

Let There Be Colour | Ado Hasanović | 15 min
In September of 2019, Bosnia’s first ever LGBTQ pride march took place in Sarajevo. The event was considered a high-risk affair due to the threats by the conservative and religious right wing groups. This film captures this historic event and the atmosphere leading up to it.

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