Charlie Kaufman to receive Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award

The recipient of the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo at the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the art of film, is the American screenwriter, director, and producer, Oscar® winner Charlie Kaufman.

In the context of his award, Sarajevo Film Festival will be holding an Open Air screening of the Oscar®-winning film ADAPTATION., which was written by Kaufman and directed by Spike Jonze. The cast includes Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton and Jay Tavare.

„We are thrilled that, after 15 years, we are welcoming back to the Sarajevo Film Festival one of the most significant, world-renowned screenwriters & directors, and honor him for his work and dedication to the art of filmmaking. Charlie Kaufman is an extraordinary filmmaker whose films, though filled with biting humor, compel us to contemplate existential depths of the human experience," said Jovan Marjanović, the Director of the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Kaufman had previously been a guest of the 14th Edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival in 2008, during which he presented his directorial debut, SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK to Sarajevo's enthusiastic festival audience.

Kaufman’s writing career began on the early ‘90s cult classic sitcom GET A LIFE, and he spent much the ‘90s working in comedy and sketch television before transitioning into film. He was nominated for a Writers Guild Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award for his 1999 groundbreaking screenplay BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, for which Kaufman won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. 

Kaufman’s 2001 screenplay, HUMAN NATURE, marked his first pairing with surrealist director Michel Gondry. 

In 2002 Kaufman wrote two high-profile adaptations: CONFESSIONS OF A DANGEROUS MIND, based on Chuck Barris’ questionable unauthorized autobiography of the same name, and the meta comedy ADAPTATION., about Kaufman’s own struggles adapting Susan Orlean’s acclaimed novel “The Orchid Thief”. ADAPTATION. earned him his second Writers Guild Award and second Academy Award. 

His second collaboration with Michel Gondry, 2004’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND won Kaufman both a Writers Guild Award and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. In 2008, Kaufman won a second Independent Spirit Award, this time for directing his post-modern psychological drama SYNECDOCHE, NEW YORK. He would also receive recognition for directing the stop-motion adult animated film ANOMALISA, which was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Annie Awards. His most recent feature is 2020’s surrealist thriller I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS based on the novel by Iain Reid. 2020 also saw Kaufman publish his first novel “Antkind”.

A true visionary, Kaufman’s legacy is undeniable with BEING JOHN MALKOVICH listed 74th on the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays of All Time, and ADAPTATION. and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND both appearing on the WGA’s 101 Greatest Screenplays of the 21st Century (*so far) list.

The 29th Sarajevo Film Festival will take place from 11th to 18th of August 2023.

Previous Recipients of the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award include:

Jesse Eisenberg (2022), Ruben Östlund (2022), Sergei Loznitsa (2022), Paul Joseph Schrader (2022), Wim Wenders (2021), Michel Franco (2020), Mads Mikkelsen (2020), Tim Roth (2019), Isabelle Huppert (2019), Alejandro González Iñárritu (2019), Paweł Pawlikowski (2019), Nijaz Hastor (2018), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2018), Oliver Stone (2017), John Cleese (2017), Wolfgang Amadeus Brülhart (2016), Stephen Frears (2016), Robert De Niro (Lifetime Achievement Award, 2016), Benicio Del Toro (2015), Atom Egoyan (2015), Agnès B. (2015), Danis Tanović (2014), Gael García Bernal (2014), Béla Tarr (2013), Roberto Olla (2013), Branko Lustig (2012), Emil Tedeschi (2011), Jafar Panahi (2011), Angelina Jolie (2011), Dieter Kosslick (2010), Manfred Schmidt (2009), Cat Villiers (2008), Steve Buscemi (2007), Mike Leigh (2006), Gavrilo Grahovac (2006), Marco Müller (2005).

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