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Honorary Heart of Sarajevo: Oliver Stone

Sarajevo Film Festival is honored to pay tribute to the preeminent filmmaker Oliver Stone, who will also receive Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award for his extraordinary contribution to the art of film at the 23rd edition of the Festival.

Academy Award winning Oliver Stone has written and directed over 20 full-length feature films, among them some of the most influential and iconic films of the last decades. Some have been at deep odds with conventional myth—films such as PLATOON (1986) the first of three Vietnam films; BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989); JFK (1991); NATURAL BORN KILLERS (1994); NIXON (1995); W. (2008), a satirical view of former U.S. President, George W. Bush; and SNOWDEN (2016), which follows American whistleblower Edward Snowden’s story.

Stone’s films have often reached wide, international audiences and have had significant cultural impact. These include SALVADOR (1985), deeply critical of the U.S. Government’s involvement in Central America; WALL STREET (1987), an exposé of America’s new capitalism; WORLD TRADE CENTER (2006), a true story of 2 (of only 20) 9/11 survivors; and THE DOORS (1991), a poetic look at the 1960s and Jim Morrison’s ecstatic music.

His other films include ANY GIVEN SUNDAY (1999), an unconventional view of the world of American sports; an epic historical drama ALEXANDER (2004), and ALEXANDER—THE ULTIMATE CUT (2014); and WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (2010) a realistic sequel about the 2008 financial crash and Gordon Gekko’s fate after prison. 

In a series of crime-related films, Stone has, in addition to NATURAL BORN KILLERS, made U TURN (1997) and SAVAGES (2012), both dark in tone and humor.

His written screenplays, though not directed, gave him an early taste of the difficulty of his ideas. An uproar greeted MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (1979) which only grew with SCARFACE (1983). He also wrote YEAR OF THE DRAGON (1985) and CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982). He has produced or co-produced a dozen films including THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT (1996), JOY LUCK CLUB (1993), and REVERSAL OF FORTUNE (1990).  

His documentaries include three on Fidel Castro (COMANDANTE (2003); LOOKING FOR FIDEL (2004); and CASTRO IN WINTER (2012); one on South America, SOUTH OF THE BORDER (2009), prominently featuring Hugo Chavez and six other Presidents in a continent undergoing huge social changes. He also made PERSONA NON GRATA (2003) on Israel-Palestine relations. 

His latest works include THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES (Showtime, 2012), a monumental 12-hour interrogation of the conventional, triumphalist narrative of U.S. History, and THE PUTIN INTERVIEWS (Showtime, 2017), a four-part conversation with the Russian President. 

Stone was born September 15, 1946 in New York City.  He wrote in 1965 “A Child Night’s Dream” about his youth, and it was published in 1997 by St. Martin’s Press. He served in the U.S. Army Infantry in Vietnam in 1967-68, and received the Bronze Star for Valor and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster. After returning from Vietnam, he completed his undergraduate studies at New York University Film School in 1971. He worked as a wiper in the Merchant Marine, and in New York as a taxi driver, advertising salesman, production assistant, and messenger.

 
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