Press Release

Partnership between Sarajevo Film Festival and the United Nations displays the power of movies to speak out and enable dialogue on critical issues of today

19 August 2022

Sarajevo officially became a UNESCO City of Film in 2019, joining the global Creative Cities Network and committing to have film and creativity as key drivers of cultural, economic, and social development of the city. This year's Sarajevo Film Festival displayed once again the power it holds in embodying the creative spirit of Sarajevo and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the determination to speak out on critical issues of today through cinematography and art.

Caption: Sinisa Sesum, Head of UNESCO Antenna Office in BiH, Ingrid Macdonald, the UN Resident Coordinator in BiH, Benjamina Karic, the Mayor of Sarajevo, and Jovan Marjanovic, the Sarajevo Film Festival Director

More than just a Film Festival, SFF's engagements with BiH and regional civic activism networks, as well as human rights actors and institutions, keeps growing and empowering participants – many of whom are young people. The festivals session with youth focused on combating hate speech, which was organized together with KULT Institute, and the CineLink talk on contemporary cinema portrayals of those forced to flee, organized in cooperation with UNHCR, contributed to strengthening the understanding of today’s world and the importance of storytelling to fight stereotypes and discrimination.

From its beginnings, the Sarajevo Film Festival has stood for resilience, the celebration of diversity and the importance of storytelling in the face of adversity. It is wonderful to see the festival’s prominence and impact growing every year. The sessions with young people focused on combating hate speech have never been more relevant, as were the human rights stories shown in this years’ movies selection. I am honoured that the United Nations contributed to this year’s Heart of Sarajevo for the Best Director, and we are committed to strengthening our partnership with the festival into the future,” said dr Ingrid Macdonald, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in BiH.

The Festival’s Director, Jovan Marjanović highlighted that they are “proud that Sarajevo Film Festival continues to be a driving force with its different activities, including Sarajevo City of Film, and that we have expanded our cooperation with the United Nations is Bosnia and Herzegovina this year. The creative development of the Festival and the sustainable development of the city are interlinked, and always will be. Sarajevo Film Festival shares the values and mission of the United Nations, and we are looking forward to building upon our joint activities.”

For almost three decades now, Sarajevo and SFF are celebrating excellence in cinematography and stepping it up at the global scale. This joint venture of hard work and creativity was recognized by the UNESCO, and we are honoured to have Sarajevo join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network - City of Film, opening up new avenues for international partnerships. Being the partner of the City and Festival since its first day, UNESCO will continue supporting City’s creativity-led urban development and promotion of cultural diversity through rich film tradition and cultural heritage of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” concluded Siniša Šešum, Head of UNESCO Antenna Office in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Tonight's awards ceremony at the National Theatre will officially close the 28th Sarajevo Film Festival.

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Resident Coordinator Office
United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative