Authentic and Moving Stories in the Focus of the Fifth AJB DOC Film Festival

The fifth edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival will be held from September 9 to September 13 in Sarajevo.

Authentic and Moving Stories in the Focus of the Fifth AJB DOC Film Festival

While armed conflicts are raging in dozens of places around the world, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has attracted the most public attention, awakening fears of a global conflict for many. Aware of the fact that peace as the highest ideal is eluding mankind again, we found inspiration and faith in a better tomorrow in authentic and touching human stories that return the focus to the ordinary man, providing us with an insight into his fear, hope, regret and - cry for peace.

It is exactly peace and faith in a better tomorrow that connect all participants of documentary films that will be shown at the Fifth AJB DOC Film Festival, which brought about the theme of this year's edition - the white dove, a universal symbol of peace, whose takeoff and upward movement presented in the form of an artwork is placed so that it symbolically forms number five with its body and movement.

"Aware that design and a documentary film festival cannot change or fix the world we live in, we can still try to send a message of peace and wish peace far all", said the organizers of the AJB DOC Film Festival.

The fifth edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival will be held from September 9 to September 13 in Sarajevo.

"AJB DOC is already becoming a tradition in these September days", says the director of Al Jazeera Balkans, Tarik Đođić, and adds: "In the five days of the fifth edition of the festival, we will show more than 20 documentary films and stay true to what we tried from the beginning, and that is to put film and authors first."

From almost 300 submitted films, the AJB DOC selectors, Lejla Dedić, Đani Hasečić and Sead Kreševljaković, selected 25 films that will be shown in four program selections - Competition Program, AJB Screening, Last Minute Cinema and SMART Doc, along with two special screenings. The entire program can be found on the AJB DOC website.

The novelty of this year's edition of AJB DOC is the Industry Days platform, created in cooperation with the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel, which is aimed at supporting the development of documentary film production around the world, including international and regional co-productions.

"Directors and producers from the region, Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus and the MENA region will have an opportunity to present their documentary projects and get financing, distributors, film festivals and broadcasters, as well as to get contacts with other film festivals and film foundations that will be attending the festival", selector Lejla Dedić says.

"This year, we have selected 27 projects that will hold presentations in three different pitching categories and present their projects in different stages of production. We are very proud of the new platform, and we hope it will be successful", Dedić added.

The director of the AJB DOC Film Festival, Edhem Fočo, notes that the Industry Days@AJB DOC platform represents a significant step forward in the development of the festival, but also points out that the focus will remain on films and authors.

"We are glad that our film screenings have always been well attended, because the authors recognize that. Most of the authors whose films are shown are actually present at our festival, and the interesting Q&A (conversation between the audience and the authors) often lasts longer than the film itself. I think that this year we have a great selection and I hope that the audience will again recognize that", said Fočo.

Along with screenings of AJB DOC films, a masterclass by Galeb Nikačević, journalist and creator of the popular Agelast podcast, will be held under the auspices of the Info Center of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, a three-day training session "Production of Documentary Films with a Smartphone" will be held in cooperation with the Al Jazeera Media Institute and Samsung.

"We invited twenty participants from the entire region covered by Al Jazeera Balkans to teach them how to produce and make documentaries with a smartphone, as well as how to find the right stories", says producer Nejra Kozarić.

The decision on the best film of the AJB DOC Competition Programme will be made by an award-winning international jury consisting of film director Aida Begić, director and producer Dana Budisavljević, documentary filmmaker and producer Fatma Riahi, British documentary filmmaker Phil Grabsky and documentary filmmaker Ensar Altay.

All films in the Competition Programme shall also be competing for the AJB Program Award of the Al Jazeera Balkans program jury. Furthermore, all films shown at the AJB DOC Film Festival enter the competition for the Audience Award.

This year's edition of the AJB DOC Film Festival will be held under the auspices of BH Telecom.