When the Sarajevo Film Festival kicked off in 1995, it defied. Founded during the siege of the city during the Bosnian War, the film festival has become a symbol of cinema’s strength and resilience even in the face of violence and war.
In 2002, when the festival launched the CineLink program, it was in a hopeful mood, hoping for a better future for the film industry in the former Yugoslavia and/or the entire Eastern region. Southern Europe.
What started out as a modest co-op marketplace to encourage production with and among filmmakers in the region, two decades later, has expanded to include a program of conferences, seminars, talks and classes. rich and diverse learning. The hub of the Sarajevo Film Festival’s industry program, CineLink now plays an essential role in locating new talent from the region, mentoring and supporting them in their creative development through the programs such as Sarajevo Talent, an arm of the Berlinale Talent program in Berlin, showcase their students and short films, and, through participating in the CineLink co-production market, link them with investors and potential co-producers to help launch their international careers.
“After filming their first films, they will be invited to CineLink Work-in Progress to present their films to top festival programmers from Sundance, Berlinale, Cannes, Venice and other festivals. other major films, while also looking for resellers,” said Maša Marković, a former CineLink director who had stepped up to run Sarajevo’s industry-wide program, replacing Jovan Marjanović after he was promoted to festival director. Sarajevo movie this year.
Sarajevo this year expanded its sphere of influence to include Ukraine, a response to Russia’s invasion of the country and a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their filmmakers. In order to provide Ukrainian colleagues with a safe environment to work in, the Sarajevo Film Festival, in collaboration with the Ukraine Institute, has launched a residency program for Ukrainian filmmakers to live and work in Sarajevo under the supervision of Ukrainian filmmakers. advisor of leading experts on Bosnian and international cinema.
“We decided to launch a residency program for two selected Ukrainian projects in cooperation with the Ukrainian institute: the TV series Cherry blossomdirected by Marysia Nikitiuk and produced by Igor Savychenko, in the development of the fiction project, and Ice shards, directed by Maria Stoianova and produced by Alina Gorlova, in the documentary project project post-production. Both projects will be presented to decision makers at CineLink”, explains Marković.
Over the past 20 years, CineLink has paved the way for many former female directors whose projects were developed through the program. Some notable success stories are award winning documentaries Honeyland by North Macedonian director Tamara Kotevska, which had its world premiere at Sundance and earned two Oscar nominations 2020 for Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature; 2018 Golden Bear Award Winner Touch Me Not by Romanian director Adina Pintilie and the award-winning TV series North Macedonian God exists, her name is Petrunya by Teona Strugar Mitevska with the latest movie The happiest man in the world selected for the competition program at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
For the 2022 Sarajevo Film Festival, CineLink has introduced the Female Vocal Award, a new $10,200 (€10,000) cash prize presented by the Slovenian Cinema Center. The new award aims to promote female vocalists from South-Eastern Europe and will be granted to a developing project participating in the CineLink Series or Drama Series. The best project will be selected by three jury members, with the main criterion being the quality of the script.
“When you look at the statistics, you see that the majority of the projects shown at CineLink are produced by women, about 65% to 70%, but when you look at the number of films directed by women, Acting or writing a script is different. story. It’s about 35%,” Marković explained why a new Female Vocal Award is needed in the region and continued, “we believe it will encourage female filmmakers”.
She adds: “The festival and CineLink have been supporting female filmmakers for a while. In 2014, the Eurimages convention on gender equality was established in Sarajevo as part of CineLink, and in 2020, the Eurimages Audientia Prize, awarded to female filmmakers, is launched in Sarajevo. Last year, we introduced a new gender equality award for female filmmakers for the first time in parts of the festival, including a $7,600 award (7,500 euros in cash.”
The organizers hope the award will help female filmmakers financially support the development of their debut projects.
“Usually, that’s the hardest step: getting the money needed to start a project. With this award, our aim is to launch and support the projects of female directors and writers,” noted Marković.