Celebrated In: Bosnia And Herzegovina
The Sarajevo Film Festival is the premier and largest film festival in the Balkans and is one of the largest in Europe. It was founded in Sarajevo in 1995 during the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian Independence War, and brings international and local celebrities to Sarajevo every year. It is held in August and showcases an extensive variety of feature and short films from around the world. The current director of the festival is Mirsad Purivatra, former CEO of the Bosnian branch of McCann Erickson
The first Sarajevo Film Festival was held from 25 October to 5 November 1995. At that time, the siege of Sarajevo was still going on, and attendance projections were very low. However, a surprising 15,000 people came to see the films, of which there were 37 from 15 different countries. The festival grew at a remarkable pace now being the most prominent film festival in South-East Europe, attracting tens of thousands of people a year, as well as foreign celebrities such as U2's Bono, Willem Dafoe, and Angelina Jolie.
The Sarajevo Film Festival has been hosted at the National Theater, with screenings at the Open-air theater Metalac and the Bosnian Cultural Center, all located in downtown Sarajevo and has been attended by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Jeremy Irons, Bono Vox (Bono holds dual Bosnian and Irish citizenship and is an honorary citizen of Sarajevo), Nick Cave, Coolio, Stephen Frears, Michael Moore, Gérard Depardieu, Darren Aronofsky, Sophie Okonedo, Gillian Anderson, Kevin Spacey, Eric Cantona, Victoria Abril, James Floyd and many others.
By 2001, the European Film Association made the Sarajevo Film Festival one of the eleven festivals that could nominate a film for the award of "Europe's Best Short Film". In 2002, the Festival's choice of local Ahmed Imamovic's 10 Minuta went on to win it all. The 2001 winner of the Sarajevo Film Festival, Danis Tanović's No Man's Land, went on to win an Oscar in the United States. In 2004, the Best Movie Award was named "The Heart of Sarajevo".
Beginning with the 13th Sarajevo Film Festival in 2007 and in cooperation with the Berlin International Film Festival and Berlinale Talent Campus, the Sarajevo Talent Campus has been added to the festival. The Sarajevo Talent Campus is an educational and creative platform for up and coming young film professionals, and has eventually come to be revered as the most prestigious film training event in the region