Sixth AJB DOC Film Festival Kicks Off Tonight: Top Notch Documentaries and Rich Accompanying Programe

The AJB DOC Film Festival kicks off tonight in Sarajevo, bringing to the cinemas carefully selected lineup of high-quality documentary films with a focus on human rights.

Sixth AJB DOC Film Festival Kicks Off Tonight: Top Notch Documentaries and Rich Accompanying Programe

The sixth edition of the Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary Film Festival (AJB DOC) will open tonight in Sarajevo with the screening of the film "The Mind Game" by Sajid Khan Nasiri, Eefje Blankevoort and Els Van Driel. The screening will take place at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC) Sarajevo at 19:30.

The film follows Sajid Khan Nasiri who was only 14 years old when he escaped from Afghanistan. After a two-year journey filled with dangers and difficulties, which he meticulously documented with his phone camera,  he arrived in Belgium and applied for asylum. He was confident that, upon reaching that country, he would be able to relax, attend school, and begin a new life. However, this marked the start of an entirely new struggle. This documentary provides an intimate exploration of the psychological pressures young refugees encounter.

The Mind Game - trailer

"Millions of people are in desperate flight from hopelessness and a reality that we can't even imagine. Therefore, it is crucial that, through stories like this, we comprehend the dimensions of injustice some people face and awaken compassion within ourselves," stated Edhem Fočo, director of the AJB DOC Film Festival.

Alongside with the opening ceremony in the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC), there will be an exhibition of black and white photographs by Đorđe Kostić, Al Jazeera's Digital Newsroom producer and correspondent from Belgrade. Admission to the exhibition, titled "Rights", will be free during the festival. The author dedicates the exhibition to Sarajevo, where he captured his first black and white photographs, and to Al Jazeera Balkans, which he considers "his second home".

In the subsequent days of the festival, the AJB DOC audience will have the opportunity to view additional 23 impeccably produced documentaries. What connects the works to be showcased across four selections (Competition, AJB Screening, Last Minute Cinema and Smart DOC, as well as two special screenings) are themes of human rights and freedoms, aligning with the central theme of this year's festival, “ Right(s”).

The films in the program of the Sixth AJB DOC will be screened at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC) and Cineplexx Sarajevo. Detailed information about the program is available on the festival's official website.

The decision on the best film in the AJB DOC Competition Selection will be made by an award-winning international jury consisting of directors: Vitalij Manski, Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, and Nermin Hamzagić, and well as producers Vanja Jambrović and Mohamed Elmongy.

All competing films also qualify for the Al Jazeera Balkans program jury award, known as the AJB Program Award. Additionally, all films showcased at the AJB DOC Film Festival are eligible for the Audience Award.

As part of the AJB DOC Film Festival, the second edition of Al Jazeera Documentary Industry Days @ AJB DOC will be held from September 9th to September 11th, with the aim of strengthening and supporting the expansion of global documentary film production.

This year, AJD Industry Days @AJB DOC are offering substantial co-production prizes worth US$70,000 along with the opportunity to win partner cash prizes totalling nearly US$20,000 and other valuable in-kind awards.

In collaboration with the Al Jazeera Media Institute and in partnership with Samsung and UNFPA, a three-day training session titled: "Production of Documentary Films with a Smartphone" will be held for young filmmakers from the region. The training will be led by Faris Bajrić.

Furthermore, in cooperation with the Cultural Center Oyoun from Berlin, a panel discussion titled: "The Role of Film and Art in Remembrance Culture: Rwandan, Uyghur and Bosnian Perspectives" will take place. The participants include: Suli Kurban, journalist and filmmaker, Esther Mujawayo, sociologist, activist and founder of the Rwandan Widows' Association and Nihad Kreševljaković, Head of the Memory Module (MESS) program.

This year's edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival, which takes place from September 8th to 12th, is held under the auspices of BH Telecom.