This Thursday, May 3, 2012, marks the kick-off of the 9th Annual Bosnian-Herzegovinian FIlm Festival (BHFF) held at Tribeca Cinemas. This three day festival will premier films that showcase the diversity of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian experience and culture.
Spokesperson for BHFF, Amra Turalic, states, “It’s been 20 years since the aggression in Bosnia and Herzegovina disrupted so many innocent lives. More than 100,000 children, women, men and older people died and more than 2 million people were forced to leave their homes. Two decades later, the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival in New York continues to tell the story of Bosnia and Herzegovina and celebrate the achievements of its emerging and award-winning filmmakers. It is a rich and powerful body of work and we are extremely honored to showcase it.”
I had the opportunity to see one of the films being shown, Angelina Jolie’s directorial debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey”. It tells the story of Ajla, a Bosnian Muslim woman, and Danijel, a Serbian police officer, who meet in Sarajevo, Bosnia, just before the siege starts. Through these characters, the story examines the bigger picture, looking at the conflict that was responsible for killing over 100,000 innocent people.
It was without a doubt the hardest film I’d ever sat through in my life, yet I couldn’t take my eyes off the emotionally wrenching drama that was playing on the screen. The film portrayed a graphic and shocking exposure of the ethnic cleansing, leaving the audience to marvel that these horrible things only happened two decades ago. Heartbreaking as it is, I think it’s important for people to see…it’s a piece of our history that isn’t talked about enough.
In an interview with ABC News, Jolie talked about her inspiration for writing and directing the film, saying, “I’d traveled for years and I’d seen so many people post-conflict and I wanted to understand what happened to them and how human beings are just pushed to their limits and how they’re changed and effected by war. And then I started to look in into this particular conflict because I’d been there and I visited and I was just so taken by it. The truth is, (the film is) a love story that would have been. It shows the love between mother and child, between man and woman, between brothers, fathers and sons, and it’s what war does to those relationships.”
“In the Land of Blood and Honey” will be showing alongside many other fabulous Bosnian-Herzegovinian films at the festival. Three prestigious awards will be given to the most outstanding films screened, which will be selected by the BHFF 2012 Jury. There will also be a filmmaker Q&A after select screenings to provide viewers with more context.
For a schedule of films to be shown and to purchase tickets, please visit the BHFF’s website.WHAT: Bosnian-Herzogivinain Film Festival WHERE: Tribeca Cinemas 54 Varick Street New York, New York 10013 212.941.2001 WHEN: May 3-5, 2012
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen