Benicio del Toro at SFF

Movies, Parties and a Celebration of Life: This Is Why Travelers Are in Love with Sarajevo Film Festival

The Sarajevo Film Festival is an excellent reason to visit the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina in August. This article is just a 1 minute read, so if you're curious about the festival - read on.

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Elma Murić

2. October 2017

Although Sarajevo, capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, hosts several different annual festivals, its film festival is definitely biggest and most popular. 

Sarajevo Film Festival, held every summer, is the largest movie event in Southeastern Europe which attracts directors, producers, actors and other experts from the industry from all over the world, which is a quite big thing for a small country such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

It is important to add that it’s not all about movies! During this week long festival, Sarajevo is not only regional capital of the film, it’s a city of fun, partying and meeting new people.

Sarajevo Film Festival – born into siege

The story of the festival begins in 1995, in the last days of the siege of Sarajevo and word about a birth of the film festival in the war-torn city quickly became news around the world. 

In years to come, many famous people from the film industry supported the festival and visited Sarajevo. So far, Sarajevo Film Festival has been attended by world famous stars such as Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Kevin Spacey, Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig, Danny Glover, Steve Buscemi, Michael Fassbender, Jeremy Irons, Mickey Rourke, Michael Moore, Gérard Depardieu, Darren Aronofsky, Gillian Anderson, Benicio del Toro and other celebrities such as Bono Vox and Nick Cave.

Along with the people from film industry, the festival attracts thousands of movie enthusiasts and tourists looking for entertainment and a possible selfie with some of the movie stars! 

This year's edition of Sarajevo Film Festival is was held from 11th to 18th August, at 12 festival locations within 200 yards of each other to maintain, in the words of organizers, a spirit of 'human-sized' festival, designed for people in every way.

If you want to know more details about festival and the program, visit its official site.

Also, Sarajevo Film Festival YouTube channel can give you a good insight to the previous editions of the festivals. Here you can find festival’s highlights, interesting info about the movies and even interviews with its famous guests from all over the world. 

It’s not all about movies

The nightlife in Sarajevo during the festival is story for itself as many clubs and concert venues also have a special program with a bit of something for everyone's taste. You can enjoy live jazz sessions, rock & punk concerts, techno parties or traditional Bosnian sevdah music nights. 

Numerous cultural and art events such as exhibitions and performances also take place all around the city. 

The best thing is that many of these events are held in the open air so you can enjoy all the beauty of Bosnian summer nights while enjoying your cocktail or cold pint of beer. 

And don't worry you'll miss something as you will find posters and flyers for the events at every corner of the city! 

Before coming to Sarajevo, you can also check website Destination Sarajevo for the often updates about events during the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Practical info 

And as usual, not all is fun and games, so here we have some practical info for you:

  • If you decide to come to Sarajevo during the film festival, it's best to book your accommodation in advance. All the good rooms can be already taken, and you surely don't want to end up without one! Along with hotels and hostels, don't forget to check websites such as Airbnb. Many locals rent their flats where you can stay with a group of friends and save some money for all those parties and events around the city.
  • August in Sarajevo is usually very hot and dry so bring some (very) light clothes for the day and drink a lot of water. Traditional Bosnian food can also be heavy for the summer heat, so it's sometimes best to save it for the dinner. A sudden summer shower or a short storm could surprise you, but don't worry, these kinds of ‘problems’ can be resolved with buying an cheap umbrella from street sellers or with just having another pot of Bosnian coffee until the storm passes!
  • And the last but not the least, be aware of pickpockets in the public transport and crowded places, and take good care of your money and other valuable things such as mobile phones, cameras, tablets and laptops. In overall, Sarajevo is a safe place to stay, but there are some reports that show increase in these kind of incidents during the festival.

Anyhow, while the Sarajevo Film Festival is on, this city is a place to be, so if you plan to travel to Bosnia in the summer, work around these dates and you won't be sorry!

Cover photo: SFF official webpage