Film New Europe STEP IN Locarno: Country Report Bosnia - Herzegovina

Written by Pavlina Jeleva

With Bosnia and Herzegovina entering the MEDIA Programme, expanding its access to film funding and now looking at a promising line-up of new films in the coming year, the country is poised to become a more prominent presence on the international film scene.


The most important event for the film industry in Bosnia and Herzegovina was the news that the country will become a full member of the MEDIA programme by the end of 2012.

While the membership procedures are being finalized, film professionals will be invited to submit projects to the programme. The news was enthusiastically welcomed by the majority of the film professionals in the country. Being a member of Eurimages and the European Audiovisual Observatory, Bosnia and Herzegovina's MEDIA programme membership will complete its full integration into the film support mechanisms of Europe.

Also on 1 January 2012 Bosnia and Herzegovina took over the presidency of the European Audiovisual Observatory for one year.

Established in 2002 the Sarajevo Film Fund (www.bhfilm.ba) is the main body responsible for public subsidies. The annual budget of the fund is around EUR 1 million, but in 2011 and 2012 the amount fell by nearly 30%. The fund's three-member board is headed by Amer Kapetanovic.


Bosnia and Herzegovina rarely produces feature films without international coproduction partners.

The national film section of the 17th Sarajevo Film Festival (www.sff.ba) was at a record high, presenting 63films (including shorts) from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011, of which 23 were documentaries. Aiming to launch her film "In the Land of Blood and Honey" Hollywood star Angelina Jolie paid a personal visit to the festival, drawing international attention to the event.

Film production overall is expected to rise in 2012, with 12 films scheduled for completion. New Film by Jasmila Žbanić is the titleof theforthcomingwork by the director, who won the 2006 Berlinale Golden Bear for her touching Grbavica. Now she is focused on thestory of an Australian tourist, whose lifewill betotally transformed after a visit to a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The film is produced by Bosnian Deblokada (www.deblokada.ba) production company.

Other upcoming national productions are The Scab,directed by Srđan Vuletić and produced by Refresh Sarajevo (www.refresh.ba), and The Key, directed by Timur Makarevic and produced by SCCA / Pro.ba (www.pro.ba).


The most important coproduction in 2011 with Bosnia and Herzegovina involved as a minority participant was Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Once Upon A Time In Anatolia with  Zeynep Özbatur (Turkey) and Mirsad Purivatra (Bosnia and Herzegovina) as producers. The success of the film at the 64th Cannes film festival and the special focus on the director in Sarajevo last year served as an important promotional tool for the launching of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a credible coproduction partner.

Another top coproduction in 2011 was 1395 Day Without Red by director Šejla Kamerić recalling difficult moments from the long siege of Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995. The film was produced by Britain's Artange and Bosnia's SCCA / Pro.ba.

By the end of March 2012 only one feature film was completed. Children of Sarajevo by director Aida Begić, a coproduction between Bosnia and Herzegovina(Film House, www.filmhouse.ba), Turkey (Kaplan Film, www.kaplanfilm.com), France (Les Films de l'Après-Midi) and Germany (Rohfilm). The film was the only Balkan film selected for Cannes Un Certain Regard section, winning a Special Mention from the jury. The international sales agent of this emotional story about two orphans of the Bosnian war is Pyramide International (www.pyramidefilms.com).

Danis Tanović, whose No Man's Land was awarded with an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 2002, is working on his 75' HD film An Episode in Life of an Iron Picker.The socially engaged story about a poor gypsy family is a Bosnian French coproduction, produced by Amra Bakšić Čamo and Čedomir Kolar.

The country often coproduces with the neighbouring countries of the former Yugoslavia, including Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia.


Cinema attendance is still underdeveloped in the country. Admissions in 2011 were 494,772, and the box office totaled 1,230,128 EUR. There are 40 screens. The average ticket price was 2.8 EUR. Four cinemas with 12 screens are members of the Europa Cinema Network (www.europa-cinemas.org).


The broadcasters that occasionally contribute to film production with financial, in-kind and promotional services are BHRT (www.bhrt.ba/lat) and RTRS (www.rtrs.tv).

Report courtesy of Film New Europe (www.filmneweurope.com) Reporting by Pavlina Jeleva

For more information about BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA http://www.filmneweurope.com/bosnia-herzegovina