Returning bigger and better than ever, after two previous years of operating under COVID-19 emergency measures, Sarajevo Film Festival this year celebrated its 28th edition. With its unparalleled importance to cultural, economic and societal development in BiH, as well as its tremendous value to film professionals in BiH, the region and beyond, SFF not only places Sarajevo prominently on Europe’s cultural map but also benefits the entire region as the leading film festival in the Western Balkans.
Once more a recipient of Creative Europe sub-programme MEDIA support, the European Union’s largest programme for support to creative industries, almost a decade after first receiving such support, Sarajevo Film Festival is the very embodiment of the need for Creative Europe support. It has enabled the festival to grow and develop, enhanced its international recognition, generated millions of euros worth of direct and indirect income for the local economy and created significant levels of employment opportunities.
Building upon successful previous cooperation of the EU Office in BiH and Sarajevo Film Festival, several activities were organised to showcase these strong connections and highlight the importance of the EU’s support for cultural development. Ambassador Johann Sattler, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to BiH and EU’s Special Representative in BiH took part in a panel discussion dedicated to exploring the importance of peacebuilding and reconciliation through art in film, as part of the festival’s “Dealing with the Past” programme, gathering youth, including Young European Ambassadors, journalists, academia and stakeholders from the entire region.
A special feature of this year’s festival was an EU-supported residency for Ukrainian film professionals that enabled them to take part in the festival activities but also to continue development of their creative projects in a safe and secure environment whilst exploring and understanding the post-war development of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Creativity, talent, solidarity and unity were celebrated in the best possible manner with the grand festival finale, comprising a performance by the internationally renowned, BiH native DJ Solomun, who gathered tens of thousands of people in Sarajevo’s city centre to once again send out powerful messages from a city brimming with potential and proudly celebrating its culture and heritage.
The Creative Europe programme 2021-2027 has a budget of € 2.44 billion, compared to €1.47 billion of the previous programme (2014-2020). Creative Europe invests in actions that reinforce cultural diversity and respond to the needs and challenges of the cultural and creative sectors.