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Sarajevo Film Festival announces a winner of the True Stories Market call

Vesi Vuković won the award endowed with prize money amounting to 10,000 euros for the story “The Hero from Arena”

As part of the special edition of the “Dealing with the Past” programme held in Sarajevo and online at Ondemand.kinomeetingpoint.ba, the Sarajevo Film Festival's “True Stories Market” award was presented in Sarajevo. The winner of the “True Stories Market” award for 2023 is film theorist VesiVuković from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who received the award for the story “The Hero from Arena”.

The award endowed with prize money in the amount of 10,000 euros is awarded by Sarajevo Film Festival, Obala Art Centar and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Dialogue Southeast Europe.

The award is presented for the development of a story into a film - the story was presented at the 28th Sarajevo Film Festival, at the “True Stories Market” as part of the “Dealing the Past” programme, by Jovana Blanuša on behalf of the Next Game organization from Belgrade. Sarajevo Film Festival's “True Stories Market” is a unique event that connects filmmakers with organizations that research and document events in the former Yugoslavia from recent wars. “True Stories Market” provides non-governmental organizations with a unique opportunity to present stories and materials (personal testimonies) they have collected, preserved and made available to the entire public. At last year's 28th Sarajevo Film Festival, the seventh edition of the “True Story Market” programme took place, where, among other things, the award-winning story “The Hero from Arena” was presented. 

“The Hero from Arena” is a story about those whose loved ones were killed or disappeared during the Second World War in Yugoslavia and whose war wounds did not end in 1945. In that less visible war after the war, in the struggle to find the missing and reunite families, Marino Zurli, a discreet hero of great deeds, also participated. This Croatian writer and journalist of “Arena” has been publishing stories and photos about the missing for ten years, reuniting separated families, finding lost people and restoring joy to the hearts of those who believed that their loved ones would never appear again. In his lifetime, Marino Zurli managed to reunite 150 families. “The Hero from Arena” is a story about him.

About this year's “True Stories Market” award winner: 

Vesi Vuković obtained her Ph.D. in the field of film studies and visual culture. She defended her doctoral thesis at the University of Antwerp in Belgium. She is a member of ViDi (Visual and Digital Cultures Research Center), as well as A* (Antwerp Gender and Sexuality Studies Network), University of Antwerp. She received her master’s degree from Kyoto University of the Art and Design in Japan. Her scientific works have been published in international academic journals, such as Studies in Eastern European Cinema, Apparatus: Film, Media and Digital Cultures of Central and Eastern Europe, Images: The International Journal of European Film, Performing Arts and Audiovisual Communication, as well as in the book Balkan Cinema and the Great Wars: Our Story, for which she received a special mention in 2021 at the competition for the award for the best academic article of the American Society for Cinema and Media Studies Central/East/South European Cinemas (SCMS). Her artistic portfolio consists of short films directed and written by her. In 2011, she participated in the Berlinale talent campus (Berlinale Talents) at the Berlin festival and the Sarajevo Talents programme of the Sarajevo Film Festival, with the film Shikaku, made in Japan. In 2010, the film was awarded the Special Award for the balanced use of European and Japanese sensibility in building the image of love at the Dukafest International Student Film Festival, held in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In the same year, Shikaku was shown at the “Spurt” exhibition, at the Aube Gallery in Kyoto, Japan, as well as at the “Gion Festival Projection”, also in Kyoto. In addition, Vuković had the “Ki-sho-ten-ketsu” photo exhibition as part of the “Sonzaikan” exhibition, held in 2009 at Artzone, in Kyoto, Japan.

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