Sarajevo Festival Explores the Consequences of War
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The fifth annual WARM Festival opened in the Bosnian capital on Wednesday, presenting images and films about conflicts around the world, as well as about the tragic consequences of the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia.
Issues like refugees, ethnic divisions and discrimination against minorities are also being examined at the festival, which is run by a foundation called WARM (War, Art, Reporting, Memories) that was set up by a group of journalists and artists, many of whom visited Sarajevo during the 1990s siege of the city.
“It is all reflected through the themes being dealt with, like refugees, such as the exhibition of photographs of the Rohingya, which is about the exodus of more than a million refugees in Bangladesh,” the president of the WARM Foundation, Remy Ourdan, said at the festival opening in Sarajevo.
“This year in particular, just like in previous years, the Syrian war is being dealt with through four movies about the tragic consequences of the war that is still going on,” he added.
Some 350 works by around 200 image-makers from the Balkans and the rest of the world will be exhibited at the city’s Historical Museum and Sarajevo Storage, which is part of the National Gallery.
The Bosnian manager of the WARM Foundation, Velma Saric, said the issue of the denial of wartime crimes and genocide will be highlighted by the screening of a short film called ‘Why are You Not Here?’ by Aida Sehovic, the creator of a travelling memorial composed of empty coffee cups.
Saric said that in collaboration with the WARM Festival’s new partner, the OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina, a one-day seminar will be held on the educational segregation of pupils in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where schoolchildren from different ethnic groups are sometimes taught separately in the same building, a practice known as ‘two schools under one roof’.
“Then we shall also have a panel discussion on endangered human rights of minority populations, in this case the Roma people,” Saric added.
Adnan Pavlovic, director of the festival’s film programme, said all the movies which will be screened this year were produced in 2017 and represent “the freshest display of the documentary scene dealing with post-conflict issues”.
Pavlovic cited Matthew Millan’s film ‘Stronger than Bullets’, about the role of music during the 2011 Libyan revolution, as well as Srdjan Sarenac’s film about Bosnian educational segregation, ‘Two Schools under One Roof’.