Programme of the Sixth AJB DOC Film Festival Announced

Sixth AJB DOC brings 24 documentary films promoting human rights.

Programme of the Sixth AJB DOC Film Festival Announced

Sixth edition of Al Jazeera Balkans International Documentary Film Festival (AJB DOC), which will be held from 8th to 12th September in Sarajevo, brings 24 documentary films promoting human rights. The programme is available at the Festival’s official web page,, and will also be displayed at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC), Cineplexx Sarajevo and Chamber Theater 55.

From nearly 300 submitted films, programmers chose 24 from 19 countries that will be screened in four programme selections, Competition Programme, AJB Screening, Last Minute Cinema and SmartDoc. There will be two special screenings, six world premieres, one international, 12 regional and five Bosnian and Herzegovinian.

Frequent violations and deprivation of fundamental freedoms and rights of individuals and groups all over the world, that should be guaranteed to every human being but are not, made the theme of the sixth AJB DOC Film Festival – RIGHT(S) unavoidable. For this reason, all the screened films will share this guiding theme.

Edhem Fočo, AJB DOC Film Festival director, pointed that AJB DOC has already become an important documentary film festival in Europe:

“We found our time-frame and niche in the world of documentary films, and that is documentary films intended for television broadcast. We have excellent cooperation with regional and European festivals with much longer tradition, but with the help of Al Jazeera Media Institute we managed to become an important player in this industry, building our position securely. When it comes to this year's programme, we have inspiring films coming from every corner of the world and powerful stories that will not leave our viewers indifferent. Perhaps the audiences will find films with the themes from our region the most interesting. Nevertheless, I hope the cinema seats will be filled not only for those, but also for other screenings because it is really hard to say which film is better.”

When talking about the festival programme, Lejla Dedić pointed out: “When selecting films, we were guided by Al Jazeera standards, focusing on the quality of production, strength of the themes and filmmaker's unique approach to storytelling that the viewers could connect to. We as programmers, as well as the Festival, find the filmmakers and the audience the most important.”

The decision on the best film in the AJB DOC Competition Programme will be reached by the award-winning jury: director Vitaliy Manskiy, director Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, producer Vanja Jambrović, director Nermin Hamzagić and producer Mohamed Elmongy.

All films from the Competition Programme also compete for the “AJB Program Award”, awarded by the Al Jazeera Balkans Programme Department Jury. Additionally, all films screened at the AJB DOC festival will also compete for the “Audience Award”. 

Moreover, in cooperation with Al Jazeera Media Institute and in partnership with Samsung and UNFPA, a three-day training “Smartphone Documentary Film Production” will be held, intended for young authors from the region, and led by Faris Bajrović.

As one of the very important parts of the Festival and in cooperation with Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, AJD Industry days @AJB DOC will be held for the second year. This platform, intended for professionals from the documentary industry, enables networking of filmmakers and decision makers in the Balkans but also globally, facilitates funding and production of documentary films from South-East Europe, South Caucasus, Middle East and North Africa, and provides help in broadcasting, distribution and sales to media companies and broadcasters all over the world.

In addition to documentary films screenings, sixth AJB DOC offers rich additional programme, photo exhibition and panel discussion.

The Festival’s opening ceremony at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC) will also include exhibition of black and white photographs titled “Rights” inspired by the theme of the Festival and created by Đorđe Kostić, Al Jazeera's digital newsroom producer and Belgrade correspondent. The entrance is free of charge and open for the duration of the Festival. The author dedicated it to Sarajevo, where his first black and white photographs were made, and Al Jazeera Balkans, “his second home”. 

A panel “Role of film and art in remembrance culture: Rwandan, Uyghur and Bosnian perspectives” will also be held in cooperation with the cultural center Oyoun from Berlin. Participating panellists are: Suli Kurban, journalist and filmmaker, Esther Mujawayo, sociologist, activist and founder of the Association of Widows of the Rwandan Genocide and Nihad Kreševljaković, director of the Memory Module (MESS) programme.

This year's AJB DOC Film Festival edition is sponsored by BH Telecom.