Sarajevo Film Festival will take place despite COVID-19 crisis

SFF director Mirsad Purivatra confirmed the festival will take place, as planned August 14-21.

In the times when there is a lot of unpredictability about the summer film festival season, with Cannes being prolonged once again, and Karlovy Vary and Locarno Film Festival still lingering in silence about their planned early July/ early August editions the most significant festival in South-East Europe, Sarajevo Film Festival has declared there is “no doubt” the event will take place, as planned August 14-21.


SFF festival director Mirsad Purivatra told Screen“We launched our festival during the Siege of Sarajevo in 1995 when there were bombings, snipers and no food, water or electricity. To host an online version of the festival would betray our mission even in the face of this invisible enemy. So there is no doubt the Sarajevo Film Festival will be able to answer the Covid-19 situation creatively.”


Purivatra stated that his team is working on how screenings will take place during the 26th edition, with an emphasis on “keeping our visitors and cinema lovers safe, while following the instructions of our epidemiologist”.


Jovan Marjanović, SFF head of industry, announced that he is expecting to see a large reduction in the 1,300 delegates that attended last year’s professional platform but that there is still a plan to run physical events parallel with an online element. 


While it is easier for our seasoned professionals not to travel during this crisis, I think younger professionals – who are less at risk of this virus – are eager to travel again and see each other,” said Marjanović adding: Their projects and needs will be the focus of our industry section this year along with our Talents programme, for which we have already received a record number of submissions."


Purivatra also said that “The festival may be smaller than usual but it will certainly be unique.”. With the current situation where more and more festivals are cancelling or switching to online solutions, we believe that the 26th edition of Sarajevo Film Festival will once again prove itself as a relevant event with more than enough content to engage and entertain its diverse audience, from a casual regional visitors, over cinephiles around Europe to relevant professionals in the film industry.

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