The sixth edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival officially opened

The Sixth Al Jazeera Balkans International Documentary Film Festival (AJB DOC) was opened with a solemn ceremony, a photo exhibition and a film screening at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC).

The sixth edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival officially opened

The sixth edition of the international documentary film festival AJB DOC, which will last until September 12th, was officially opened at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC) in Sarajevo.

Following the promotional video presenting this year’s AJB DOC program, a destination promotional video produced by the “Courtyard by Marriott” hotel premiered as a gift to the city of Sarajevo. Afterward, the festival director Edhem Fočo addressed the audience.

“AJB DOC is a festival for ordinary people, without glamour.”, stressed Fočo, adding: “I am grateful to everyone who supports us, primarily the audience, but also the authors, sponsors, and all colleagues - dedicated professionals who have organized this festival.” 

The official opening of the Festival followed, and the honour of doing so was given to Ahmed Mahfouz, the director of Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, who congratulated the organizers on the successful organization of the sixth edition of AJB DOC and the second edition of the AJB Industry Days @ AJB DOC program. 

"The collaboration between Al Jazeera Documentary Channel and the Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary Film Festival resulted in the creation of the AJD Industry Days platform, which aims to provide additional space to documentary filmmakers around the world. We have selected 22 projects that can receive significant monetary awards or co-production support," said Mahfouz.


This was followed by a screening of the film "The Mind Game" by Eefje Blankevoort, Els van Driel, and Sajid Khan Nasiri, which was shown as part of the Competition Program. After the film screening, a discussion with the audience took place.

"We often read stories about large groups of people and ultimately, in our polarized society, this can create a negative image. That is why it is crucial to provide a new narrative, to present people with a story they can identify with. This is one of the reasons for our close collaboration with Sajid", said Els van Driel, among other things.

Alongside with the official opening ceremony of the Festival, the exhibition of black and white photographs “Rights” by Đorđe Kostić, Al Jazeera's Digital Newsroom producer and correspondent from Belgrade was opened, with free admission. During the festival the exhibition takes place at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC). 

The audience of AJB DOC Film Festival that lasts from 8th until 12th September will have the opportunity to view 24 impeccably produced documentaries, focusing on human rights. The entire program as well as detailed information about the films are 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 11th, aiming to strengthen and support the expansion of documentary film production in the world.

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 as well as 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 is held under the auspices of BH Telecom.