13 Impressive Regional Films in the Balkan Competition at the 25th SIFF

13 Impressive Regional Films in the Balkan Competition at the 25th SIFF

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The international jury at the Balkan Competition at the 25th Sofia Film Fest includes three directors: renowned director and producer Doron Eran (Israel), the experienced documentary maker John-Paul Davidson (the UK) and Lili Horvat who made her debut at the same competition.  

Quo Vadis, Aida by the Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic is a brutal story of the 90’s Europe at the end of the Bosnian war. 8 000 men and young boys were murdered in the Srebrenica massacre in July 1995. It happens before the eyes of the international community and the UN. The film is part of the main competition in Venice and got into the shortlist for International Oscar category nominees. Jasmila Zbanic was invited to be part of the main jury at the upcoming film festival in Berlin that consists of directors who won the Golden Bear award. 

Andromeda Galaxy got the award at San Sebastian as well as a nomination for the Heart of Sarajevo. It is the feature debut by More Raca and tells the story of a 52-year-old unemployed mechanic who hires a trailer to live in. His teenage daughter was sent to a foster home after the death of her mother. The question is whether the two of them can draw closer to one another. 

The latest film by director Dalibor Matanic, The Dawn, tells a story about a transformation of traditional communities and neighborly feuds. It is situated in a dystopian future where village life is no longer safe. The Croatian director touches on sensitive subjects of communities separated by ideological and religious views and creates a captivating drama that is charged with a lot of tensions. It is the second film of a trilogy, the first one being The High Sun that got an award at Cannes 2015. 

Oasis is a film by Serbian director Ivan Ikic that was part of the Venice festival last year. The co-production between Serbia, Slovenia, Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina and France combines three separate love stories about people living at a godforsaken place — a facility for children with mental problems who were abandoned by their parents. 

Only Human is a drama about six different stories about the strive for survival, preservation of love and reaching redemption. It is a co-production between North Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Kosovo and Slovenia and stars a member of the jury at the SIFF Natasa Petrovic as well as Joana Bukovska-Davidova. 

Sanremo by Slovenian director Miroslav Mandic is a touching love story in which fragmented memories come to life in the form of a song. The main character Bruno escapes a facility for elderly people despite troubles with his memory. Another resident Dusha makes him realize he can still have feelings even though he would forget them the next day.

Tailor is the debut film by Sonia Liza Kenterman that focuses on the consequences of the economic crisis in Greece. The film tells the story of Nikos — a master tailor who does not fit in the world that surrounds him. When his father’s business faces bankruptcy he creates a remarkable tailor shop on wheels that runs across the streets of Athens in search of customers. 

Here are the 13 films in the Balkan Competition in 2021.

Andromeda Galaxy —  Kosovo-Spain-Italy-Northern Macedonia, directed by More Raca

Uppercase Print —  Romania, directed by Radu Jude

The Living Man —  Serbia-Germany-Bulgaria, directed by Oleg Novkovic

The Dawn —  Croatia-Italy, directed by Dalibor Matanic

Focus, Grandma —  Bosnia and Herzegovina-Turkey, directed by Pjer Zalica

Oasis —  Serbia-Netherlands-Slovenia-Bosnia and Herzegovina-France, directed by Ivan Ikic

Ghosts —  France-Turkey-Qatar, directed by Azra Deniz Okyay;

Only Human —  Northern Macedonia-Serbia-Bulgaria-Kosovo-Slovenia, directed by Igor Ivanov

Sanremo —  Slovenia-Italy, directed by Miroslav Mandic

February —  Bulgaria-France, directed by Kamen Kalev;

Tailor —  Greece-Germany-Belgium, directed by Sonia Liza Kenterman

Apples —  Greece-Poland-Slovenia, directed by Christos Nikou

Quo Vadis, Aida? – Bosnia and Herzegovina-Austria-Romania-Netherlands-Germany-Poland-France-Norway-Turkey, directed by Jasmila Zbanic.


Outside the competition, will be shown

Pari —  Greece-France-Netherlands-Bulgaria, directed by Siamak Etemadi.

Tehran-born director Siamak Etemadi studiedcinema in Britain and Greece. He lives and works in Athens and it is there that he made his debut film Pari, a co-production between Greece, France, the Netherlands, Bulgaria (“Chuchkov Brothers”) and Switzerland, which premiered at the Berlinale 2020. The film will be shown outside the Balkan competition, and the story follows an Iranian mother who searches for her missing son in Athens and is forced to explore the darkest corners of the city and her essence.

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