Ena Sendijarević's "Take Me Somewhere Nice"
Ena Sendijarević’s “Take Me Somewhere Nice”

Women filmmakers swept the Golden Apple Awards for the 17th annual event Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival (BHFF) in New York City with Ena Sendijarević’s “Take Me Somewhere Nice” capturing the BHFF 2020 Jury Award for Best Feature Film.

“Take Me Somewhere Nice” is a courageous, original, humorous and contemporary film whose images and scenes will be remembered for a long time. Ena Sendijarević, with her debut feature length film, has shown that she faces a long and interesting future as a filmmaker. – BHFF 2020 Official Jury.

In this coming of age story, which is director Ena Sendijarević’s feature narrative debut, the Netherlands-based, adolescent Alma embarks on a road trip of self-exploration into the Bosnian heartlands, during which she will try to both unearth and understand the roots of her own identity.

Also a winner of Sarajevo Film Festival’s “Heart of Sarajevo”, and shortlisted as one of the films in contention as the Dutch entry for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards, “Take me Somewhere Nice” is an amusing and poignant film that, with a series of little ellipses and jumps, finally takes us to an unexpected world of fear and grief – and then back again, to the stylized unseriousness of youth.

Nejra Latić Hulisić’s “The Infidel” won the BHFF 2020 Jury Award for Best Documentary Film and the BHFF 2020 Audience Award for the Best Picture

“The Infidel” is a very intimate portrait of a young man, Dino, and his extraordinary life story in contemporary Bosnian society. Directed in a unique and enlightening way, shot with a handheld camera which is sensitive and reaches the protagonist’s core, the film also addresses the current discourse that affects the younger Bosnian generations. Dino’s story poses universal questions about the individual freedom of choice and social acceptance of the other, to which the filmmakers and the main character courageously devote themselves. – BHFF 2020 Official Jury.

A young Bosnian man, Dino, whose father moved his family from Bihać to a closed commune of the Islamic Wahhabi movement, is trying to rebuild his life after renouncing radicalism and returning to his hometown to start over. But, he still struggles with the rejection both from his surrounding community and from his family, who now live in Syria.

Sabina Vajrača’s “The Variables” got BHFF 2020 Jury Award for the Best Short Narrative Film.

“Variables” is dedicated to the former children of the war who, now adults, scattered throughout the world as a result of flight and expulsion, had to show extraordinary emotional maturity and determination at a very early age. By using the documentary archive images of the Bosnian war, within the fictionally told story, the film manages to deepen in a stylistically coherent and comprehensive way closeness to the protagonist and his fate. This short film captures todayhow those painful emotions were suppressed through rational calculations in favor of “the best option for all” decision.” – BHFF 2020 Official Jury.

15-year-old maths 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.

Alban Ukaj was awarded the BHFF 2020 Jury Award for Best Acting Performance for his role as Hamza in Nermin Hamzagić’s “Full Moon”.

Alban Ukaj, the lead actor in “Full Moon”, performs with depth and self-confidence in his depiction of a police officer whose problems are also the problems of contemporary Bosnian society. Alban Ukaj carries the entire film on his strong acting backbone. -BHFF 2020 Official Jury.

In Nermin Hamzagić’s feature debut “Full Moon”, the story set over the course of a single night follows the police inspector Hamza, who faces many personal and professional problems. Through his many interactions with fellow police officers, petty criminals and ordinary citizens, Hamza encounters the microcosm of Bosnia’s everyday life.

Guillaume de Fontenay’s “Sympathy for the Devil” received the BHFF 2020 Jury Special Mention.

Without a doubt, this film is one of the most significant ones about the war in Sarajevo. It captivates with an unusual and hectic energy, just as Paul did with his personal character and his mission he had for Sarajevo. The film depicts the horrors of the city siege, but also the unusual circumstances that connected civilians and foreign reporters. The rhythm of madness and emotions permeates throughout the film, and in that frantic relationship we follow the love story between Paul and the Sarajevan girl Boba, who draws him into the life and the fight of the civilians for survival. This is not a romanticized biography of Paul Marchand, but almost a punkish film about love and death, good and evil, about the role of the media and the truth, and ultimately about the person who Sarajevans accepted as “one of us”. – BHFF 2020 Official Jury.

“Sympathy for the Devil” is based on a true story of journalist Paul Marchand’s experience in Sarajevo under siege. Racing through the infamous “Sniper Alley” in his white Ford, the Frenchman relentlessly insists on informing the apathetic western world about the ongoing mass atrocity that the city is facing.

Festival Director Damir Pozderac and Programmers Dijana Jelača and Amir Husak announced: “We are particularly proud of the success of this year’s festival because it was held virtually for the first time, due to the ongoing pandemic. On behalf of the entire BHFF team, congratulations to the winners and thank you to our guests, jury, donors, and audience members, who all came together to make the 17th annual BHFF a spectacular achievement.”

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