"It’s not about us being too smart or know-it-all people. It is about us having the best intentions and that is why Al Jazeera Balkans is a successful project. We want to bring documentaries that tell stories from real lives – the truth that gives us knowledge and empathy. I am pleased to know that there are people who take interest in others and appreciate documentary films. Sometimes we cannot help, but we can, at least, hear their stories" – said Fočo.
Director of Al Jazeera Balkans Tarik Đođić also addressed the Cinema City audience. He noted that the AJB DOC Festival brings a new value to the TV house that he heads.
"This is a logical step forward in the efforts of Al Jazeera Balkans. I hope that we hereby open a new chapter and that this festival will become our beautiful tradition. I believe I can say that we are a regional leader in this field. I hope this will provide a positive contribution to the festival culture of this city. Please enjoy the documentary achievements that our hard-working team prepared for us” – said Đođić in his address.
Al Jazeera Balkans organized the AJB DOC Film Festival in cooperation with Al Jazeera Media Network and Al Jazeera Media Institute from Doha.
Ahmed Mahfouz Nouh, Director of Al Jazeera Media Network, also attended the Opening Ceremony of the AJB DOC Festival. He congratulated his colleagues for their efforts invested in the organization of the Festival.
"Al Jazeera is an industry dealing with the creation of documentary films and various arts; we are producing high quality journalists and distinctive journalism. Through documentary films, we go inside the human stories. This region is very important for the entire world. It holds secrets that we are yet to discover, which we are trying to do through documentaries” – said Nouh.
During the Festival, the audience will have the opportunity to see 23 documentaries of top-notch production, including six world premieres.
AJB DOC Festival competition selection will present 15 documentaries, while the out-of-competition selection will bring the best film titles from European festivals.
AJB DOC Festival will present three awards. An international jury of five members, namely Ingrid Falck, Karin Hayes, Montaser Marai, Robert Zuber and Zoran Galić will choose the best film of the competition selection and present the “AJB DOC Main Award”. All competition films will also compete for the “AJB Program Award”. All films screened at the Festival compete for the “Audience Award”.
In addition to film screenings, there will be trainings and workshops for young documentary authors from the region who are active in investigative journalism.
“The Lost Warrior” was the first documentary from the competition program screened at 8 p.m. following the Opening Ceremony of AJB DOC Festival. It was directed by Soren Steen Jespersen and Nasib Farah.
“The Lost Warrior” is a story about Mohammed, a repenter and former Al-Shabaab member, who was recruited by this terrorist organization while he was living in England. When he realized what Al-Shabaab was all about, he defected from it. Today, he lives in hiding in Mogadishu. The documentary shows his attempt of escape from Somalia and a desire to live in England with his wife and son before Al-Shabaab finds him.
The ticket sales for AJB DOC Festival are open every day between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. at the Multiplex Cinema City Box Office, which will host the entire program.
The cost of tickets for individual screenings is five (5) convertible marks (KM).