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Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award and Tribute to programme dedicated to Michel Franco

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to cinematic art as well as for his support of the Sarajevo Film Festival, the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award will be given to one of highest-profile independent filmmakers, author with impressive and recognizable artistic language. Franco will also be honoured with a retrospective of his works in the Festival’s Tribute to Programme.

The Mexican director, writer and producer Michel Franco will be awarded the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award at the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to cinematic art as well as for his support of the Sarajevo Film Festival, the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award will be given to one of highest-profile independent filmmakers, author with impressive and recognizable artistic language. Franco will also be honoured with a retrospective of his works in the Festival’s Tribute to Programme.

“Honoring Franco with this Award is even more special to me as it will be given to a friend, expressing also how much his support of the Sarajevo Film Festival throughout the years and our collaboration means to me and the Festival. We are delighted that the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival edition will highlight work of such exceptional filmmaker through the Festival’s Tribute to Programme”, said Festival Director Mirsad Purivatra.

Michel Franco was born in Mexico City in 1979 and has put Mexican cinema in the global spotlight. The films he has written, directed and produced include CHRONIC (Best Screenplay Award at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival), LAS HIJAS DE ABRIL / APRIL´S DAUGHTER (Jury Prize, in the Certain Regard section at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival), and DESPUÉS DE LUCÍA / AFTER LUCIA (Top Prize, in Certain Regard at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival). All of these films, including DANIEL & ANA (2009) and A LOS OJOS (2014), will be presented in the Sarajevo Film Festival’s Tribute to Programme.

Among the films he has produced are 600 MILLAS (directed by Gabriel Ripstein, winner of the Best First Feature Award at the 2015 Berlinale), and FROM AFAR (directed by Lorenzo Vigas, winner of the Golden Lion at the 2015 Venice Film Festival). Michel has currently one film in postproduction, NUEVO ORDEN, set in a dystopian Mexico City. This Franco film, for which all prestigious A Festivals have expressed interest, is one of the most anticipated this autumn.

Franco’s first visit to Sarajevo was in 2009, with his first feature DANIEL AND ANA, premiered in the Directors' Fortnight section of the Cannes Film Festival. At the 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival (2017), Franco was the President of the Jury of the Competition Programme - Feature Film. His film LAS HIJAS DE ABRIL (APRIL´S DAUGHTER), awarded with the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year, was screened as part of the Sarajevo Film Festival’s Open Air Programme.


FESTIVAL’S STATEMENT ON THE COVID-19 SITUATION

The 26th Sarajevo Film Festival will be held as planned – from 14 to 21 August – on-site as well as online, in accordance with the situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The safety and well-being of its guests and staff are of paramount importance to the Sarajevo Film Festival. 

The festival team and members of the Civil Protection HQ of Sarajevo Canton, in co-operation with the healthcare institutions of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, have been working to define epidemiological protocols for all festival locations and guests in attendance since late May. “We are fully aware of the responsibility we have as the organizer of such an event,” said Purivatra.
“Covid-19 has affected all aspects of life worldwide, and the Sarajevo Film Festival has thus been required to go through a transformation as well. That means smaller groups, fewer guests, no receptions ans parties as we know it, but as always, lots of high-quality films, great screenings and film talks. Our mission remains the same as it has been since the day our festival was founded in a besieged city – to celebrate life, humanity and the arts. Now, once again, we have an opportunity to use culture to fight adversity – by organizing a festival in line with the advice of health experts and behaving responsibly within well-defined guidelines, we can show how social cohesion can be built even when we need to maintain physical distance.”


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Previous Recipients of the Honorary Heart of Sarajevo Award include:
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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Previous honourees of the Sarajevo Film Festival’s Tribute to Programme include:
Pawel Pawlikowski (2019), Nuri Bilge Ceylan (2018), Joshua Oppenheimer, Oliver Stone (2017), Amat Escalante (2016), Brillante Mendoza, Atom Egoyan (2015), Michael Winterbottom (2014), Cristi Puiu (2013), Todd Solondz (2012), Lucrecia Martel (2011), Bruno Dumont (2010), Jia Zhang-ke (2009), Todd Haynes (2008), Tsai Ming-Liang, Ulrich Seidl (2007), Abel Ferrara,  Béla Tarr (2006), Alexander Payne (2005), Dušan Makavejev, Gaspar Noé (2004), Peter Mullan (2003), Stephen Frears (2002), Mike Leigh (2001), and Steve Buscemi (2000).

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