Towards the conclusion of the four-year siege of Sarajevo in 1995, Obala Art Centar took the initiative to establish the Sarajevo Film Festival, with the goal of aiding the reconstruction of civil society and preserving the city’s cosmopolitan spirit. Today, after nearly three decades, the Sarajevo Film Festival has emerged as the preeminent film festival in the region, earning recognition from both film industry professionals and a diverse audience. Every August, the festival convenes representatives from the film industry, filmmakers, media professionals, and a large audience of film enthusiasts from Bosnia and Herzegovina and beyond. Renowned for its exceptional programming, robust industry segment, and a platform for young filmmakers to learn and network, the festival has become a prominent event in the film calendar.
Moreover, the festival plays a vital role in fostering personal and professional growth for young individuals through opportunities for volunteer involvement, employment prospects, and dedicated programs such as Talents Sarajevo. These initiatives offer avenues for young people to develop their skills and advance their careers in the film industry.
Tarik Bico, a 25-year-old recent graduate from the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been actively involved with the festival for several years. His journey began during his first year of studies when he joined the festival, eventually working as a programme coordinator assistant for three years in the documentary competition programme. Since last year, Tarik has taken on the role of producer, creator, and director, collaborating with his colleagues to produce various festival content.
For Tarik, the Sarajevo Film Festival holds immense value as a platform to connect with professionals from around the globe. It provides an invaluable opportunity to engage with them, ask questions, and even share a coffee while learning from their experiences. “I believe that the Sarajevo Film Festival is, above all, a place where you can meet professionals from all around the world. You have the opportunity to approach them, ask them questions, and often, you have the chance to have a coffee with them and learn from them,” expresses Tarik.
While the festival is undoubtedly a place for fun and encounters with accomplished filmmakers, Tarik emphasizes the challenging nature of the work involved. He sees the festival as a unique environment for testing and developing skills, as it places individuals in situations where they must adapt and utilize their full potential. Tarik recognizes the festival as an ideal setting for personal and professional growth.
Two years ago, Tarik completed his graduation film, which had its premiere at the Sarajevo Film Festival. This serves as yet another testament to how the festival serves as a vital platform for young filmmakers to showcase their work. Currently, Tarik is immersed in his first feature-length film project, aiming to finalize it within the next three years. While diligently working on his film, he eagerly anticipates the upcoming edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival. “I’m filled with anticipation for the festival’s commencement. It involves a lot of work, but each year brings new joy,” says Tarik.
Over the past decades, the Sarajevo Film Festival has received significant support from the European Union, primarily through the Creative Europe programme. This backing has played a crucial role in the festival’s growth and success.
About the programme
Creative Europe is the EU programme supporting the cultural and creative sectors. The new Creative Europe 2021-2027, with a budget of €2.44 billion, will invest in actions that reinforce cultural diversity and respond to the needs and challenges of the cultural and creative sectors. Its novelties will contribute to the recovery of these sectors, reinforcing their efforts to become more digital, greener, more resilient and more inclusive.
Photo credits: Tarik Bico
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