This legendary film festival began during the seige and served as a part of the spiritual resistance put up by the brave people of the town of some 400,000 people. This 18th edition opened with Angelina Jolie presenting her Bosnian war film In the Land of Blood and Honey.
Branko Lustig, two-time Academy Award Winner for Best Picture spoke about the early origins of Schindler's List. After asking whether he should speak in Croatian or Bosnian, he settled on English stating, "I am not Angelina Jolie. I am not George Clooney. You have an old Jew in front of you." This Croatian Jewish survlivor of Auschwitz made a cameo appearance as the Maitre D of an exclusive SS nightclub in the film. Leopold Federberg, the owner of a leather goods shop near the Beverly Wilshire Hotel told the first story of Schindler which MGM originally optioned and developed long before Universal acquired it for Steven Spielberg. He appeared in the film as "Poldi". The reason the child was in red, the only colored element in the black and white film, was as a symbol of all the children who were murdered in the Shoah. Lustig bore witness to the murder and hoped this film would be instrumental in eliminating such wars. However, he was proven wrong as he witnessed the second genocide in his lifetime, that of the Bosnian Muslims by the Serbians, an equally horrendous event.
Today in Sarajevo all programs centered around the genocide.
Six years ago the festival added a Talent Campus, the only other one in Europe (there are also Talent Campuses (Campi?) in Tokyo, Guadalajrara and Buenos Aires). I am honored to have been invited here to discuss selected shorts with their producers and directors as a part of the strategic planning for future screenings and future careers for the flmmakers.
We are also seeing films such as Los Salvajes from Argentina, I, Anna starring Charlotte Rampling and Gabriel Byrne and many films from the area of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Croatia, and other Balkan nations. Sarajevo, btw, was also the site of the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand by a terrorist which set off World War I and was home to Sephardic Jews driven from Spain during the Inquisition. It is home to Muslims, Jews, Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics.
This trip marks the last of the summer for us which began in Cannes. We've gone from Cannes to Nice, Clug (Transylvania Film Festival), Berlin (Jewish Film Festifal), Paris (Champs Elysees Film Festival), Moscow and St. Petersburg (DOORS), Paris again and now Sarajevo.
What stands out most from all these trips is the vibrancy and optimism of the new generation of the Eastern European film community. The wealthy West Europe fears cutbacks in media funds and looks down from its peak while this fresh generation of Eastern European nations seem to understand the need to work together developing their talents and aiming upward as a whole. Though exhausted by two months of travel, I feel elated to know that such a fresh new crop of talent is now planting its roots in the fertile soil of the world of cinema.
RT @MuSiCh4Film: Am part of a guided tour of the #Cannes2013 festival with #SydneyLevine of @indiewire's @sydneysbuzz. http://t.co/UcYCD0pNBgPosted 3 days ago
Am part of a guided tour of the #Cannes2013 festival with #SydneyLevine of @indiewire's @sydneysbuzz. http://t.co/UcYCD0pNBgPosted 4 days ago
Sydney@sydneysbuzz says... http://t.co/JinVkrsGpKPosted 5 days ago