The Sixth AJB DOC Film Festival Concludes with the Award Ceremony
The Sixth International Documentary Film Festival of Al Jazeera Balkans (AJB DOC) concluded with a grand award ceremony and the screening of Viktor Portel’s film 'The Investigator'at the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC) in Sarajevo.
The sixth edition of the Al Jazeera Balkans International Documentary Film Festival (AJB DOC) was characterized by packed cinema halls and sold-out screenings, often necessitating additional tickets. In addition to the consistently increasing audience interest year after year, the organizers’ expectations were exceeded, with significant media attention and positive impressions from film professionals and foreign guests who came to AJB DOC from all over the world.
course of the five festival days, 24 documentary films were showcased in four
festival selections: Competition Program, AJB Screening, Last Minute Cinema,
and Smart Doc, alongside two special screenings. This lineup included six world
premieres, one international premiere, 12 regional premieres, and five premiers
from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
all the selected and screened films are winners because they left a strong
impression and elicited reactions from the audience that embraced the festival.
This is evident in the packed cinema halls at all screenings and the BKC, which
reached full capacity three times this year, setting a new attendance record compared
to all previous festival editions,"
said Edhem Fočo, the director of the AJB DOC Film Festival.
and the audience will remain our primary focus because we do all of this for
them. We are thrilled by the fact that, as a festival, we have positioned
ourselves as an essential organization in the realm of documentary film, both among
our dedicated the audience and within the filmmaking community. I extend my
gratitude to everyone who has supported us over the years, and I hope they will
continue to do so in the seventh and all future editions we organize,"
the Best Films
The award for
the Best Film of the Sixth AJB DOC Film Festival was decided by the
distinguished international jury consisting of directors Vitalij Manski,
Bernadett Tuza-Ritter, and Nermin Hamzagić, along with producers Vanja
Jambrović and Mohamed Elmongy.
The award for
the best film, known as the AJB DOC Main Award, was presented to the film “When
Spring Came to Bucha” by the author duo Mile Tešajev and Marcus Lenz.
"We are awarding
the main prize to a film that, in a very emotional, realistic, delicate, and
subtle way, portrays a true human tragedy that we witness in the news every
day. The director approached the topic with dignity and deep respect. In every
scene of the film, thex managed to strike a balance between revealing the immense number of war victims and
testifying that, despite everything, life must go on," the jury explained
to the main award, the jury also bestowed a Special Recognition Award to the
film “'Pure Unknown” directed by Valentina Cicogna and Mattia Colombo. The film
tells the story of Cristina Cattaneo, a forensic expert who tirelessly works on
identifying “bodies without identity" that arrive at the autopsy room
under her supervision.
extraordinary documentary delves into a profound human story. The authors of
this film, through a powerful cinematic approach, depict the heroic struggle of
one individual against the entire system," the jury noted.
The film that
received the second Special Recognition Award was “Flotation”, directed by
Alesandra Tatić and Eluned Zoe Aiano. The film tells the story of life in
Majdanpek, a town in eastern Serbia, whose identity is divided between industry
presenting this Special Recognition Award to a multi-layered and poetic
portrait of a society trapped in socio-economic transition, haunted by demons
and torn between two realities: the harsh present and an uncertain future. The
authors have successfully emotionally engaged us by contrasting the inner world
of the characters with their harsh environment," emphasized the jury.
Jazeera Balkans Program Jury Award, deliberated by Lejla Dedić, Sead
Kreševljaković, and Đani Hasečić, was presented to Nick Read and Ayse Toprak
for their film “My Name is Happy”. The film tells the incredible story of Mutlu
Kayi (Mutlu means “happy” in Turkish), a rising Turkish pop star who narrowly
exceptionally important documentary film sheds light on the pressing issue of
femicide and underscores the significance of fighting violence against women.
At the same time, the film evokes empathy and compassion, strengthens
resilience, and nurtures hope," explained the jury.
Award will be announced in a few days, once the votes for all the films
screened at this year's AJB DOC have been counted.
awards ceremony, Tarik Đođić, the director of Al Jazeera Balkans, addressed the
Mahfouz, the director of Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, had the honour of
opening the Festival, and it is my pleasure to close it," said Đođić.
gratitude to the audience for dedicating their time to watch the documentary
films screened at the AJB DOC Film Festival.
years now, the second weekend of September has been reserved for our Festival,
and I hope we will continue with this organization until our tenth anniversary,
when I will be able to confidently say to reserve this date for AJB DOC. We are
in the sixth year, so I cannot say that definitely yet, but I am hopeful that are on the right path," Đođić said.
like to express my gratitude once again to the authors, guests, the audience,
employees, and collaborators who worked on the organization, volunteers, and
all our partners, and I invite you to enjoy one more film and to vote at the
end," he concluded.
that, a screening of Viktor Portel’s film “The Investigator” took place, which
follows the work of Vladimir Dzura, the only Czech investigator who worked for
the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. With Dzura,
Portel takes the audience on a metaphorical but also highly realistic journey
through the locations of his investigations in the former Yugoslavia, where
they encounter witnesses of ethnically motivated crimes.
five festival days, the audience of the 6th AJB DOC had the opportunity to enjoy
a carefully curated selection of high-quality documentary films. United by this
year's theme “Right(S)”, these films addressed human right issues in a specific
and timely manner.
to film screenings, in collaboration with the Al Jazeera Media Institute in
Doha, and in partnership with UNFPA and Samsung, a training session for young
filmmakers on "Smartphone Documentary Film Production" was conducted.
Furthermore, in collaboration with the Oyoun Cultural Center from Berlin, a
panel discussion titled "The Role of Film and Art in Remembrance Culture:
The Rwandan, Uighur, and Bosnian Perspectives" took place.
an exhibition of black-and-white photographs with the symbolic title 'Rights,'
by Đorđe Kostić, Al Jazeera's producer of the Digital Newsroom and
correspondent from Belgrade, was set up at the Bosnian Cultural Center.
Also, as a part
of AJB DOC, from September 9th to 11th, the second edition of "Al Jazeera
Documentary Industry Days @ AJB DOC" was held, with an aim of strengthening
and supporting the expansion of documentary film production worldwide.
significant co-production awards in the amount of $70,000 were presented, along
with partner monetary awards totalling nearly $20,000, as well as other
valuable in-kind awards.
The Sixth AJB DOC Film Festival was held under the sponsorship of BH Telecom.