The 25th Sarajevo Film Festival kicked off Friday in Bosnia-Herzegovina's capital with a traditional red carpet walk. The opening ceremony of the festival, aimed at reviving arts and culture in Sarajevo to move on from Bosnia's wartime legacy, was held at the National Theater. This year's festival was inaugurated by Bosnian director Ines Tanovic's movie "The Son," which also made its world debut.
Set to host 53 films in four categories this year, the festival was initiated 25 years ago to make the city a destination of culture and art once again and help heal the memories of the bloody Bosnian War.
The film festival is scheduled to run from Aug. 16 to Aug. 23 with 14 short and nine feature films as well as 16 documentaries and 14 student films. They will all compete for the coveted Heart of Sarajevo award.
The contesting films will be from a variety of countries from the Balkans and Central Europe to the Caucasus.
Also, the historic National Theater in Sarajevo will screen the world premieres of 23 films during the festival, according to the organizing committee. The Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award will be presented to Oscar-winning Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu as well as Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski.
"Sarajevo carries a bold and powerful heart full of difficulties. This festival is a beat of that heart," Pawlikowski said in a speech, expressing his satisfaction at being in Sarajevo.
"I've always wanted to come here. This dream came true today. This city is full of courage and love," said Inarritu.
This year, four Turkish films in four categories will compete for the Heart of Sarajevo award. "Sisters" in the feature film category, "Black Sun" in the short film category, "Queen Lear" in the documentary film category and "Earth, on Hold" in the student film category will be shown at the competition.
In addition to the award-winning feature films, "Heidi," "Open Door," "Rounds," "The Son," "Mo," "And Then We Danced," "Cat in the Wall" and "Take Me Somewhere Nice" will compete.
In the short film category, "12 K. Marx Street," "Natural Selection," "Postcards From The End Of The World," "Symbiosis," "The Pit," "Mr. Mare," "One Of Many," "Salt, Pepper To Taste/Duz ," "The Distance Between Us And The Sky," "The Last Image Of Father," "The Last Trip To The Seaside," "The Van" and "Tina" will participate in the competition.
The documentary film category will include the films "A Small Documentary About 3 Letters," "Daughter Of Camorra," "How Far The Stars," "If Only Dreams Came True," "Stack of Material," "The Golden Girl," "The Soviet Garden," "Yet Another Departure," "Palace for the People," "Then Comes the Evenings," "The Euphoria of Being," "When the Persimmons Grew," "When Tomatoes Met Wagner," "Honeyland" and "In Between."
Meanwhile, in the student film category, "Elephant's Graveyard," "Sad Girl Weekend," "Sherbet," "The Shift," "God the Mother," "Life Between the Exit Signs," "As Up To Now," "Broken Things," "Day Release," "Favorites," "How to Fly a Kite?," "Night Session" and "Sigh" will compete.