DOCU CORNER REVIEW – SARAJEVO FILM FESTIVAL 2018


An Overal Review

In collaboration with YIHR, the 2018 Docu Corner was a successful platform for debates and
reflections on the documentaries screened during the Documentaries Competition Programme at
the Sarajevo Film Festival. Young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, and
Serbia, had the opportunity to watch documentaries based on stories that recall the past and its
Truths that were not yet completely acknowledged but also the wounds that are still open in the
region.
The program had for purpose to bring young people from all over the Western Balkans
together and show them that the “other” is not to be feared or hated; to know and accept the
difference making therefore reconciliation possible among the new generations in the region. Docu
Corner provided the participants as well as the Directors of the documentaries the opportunity to
relate their personal experience to the movies and stories screened during the debates.

Through this program, participants were able to deal with the past and their personal
experiences, seeing that reconciliation is crucial and that there is an urge to establish the Truth in
order to move forward together and build a stronger and more stable present and future for
themselves and eventually for the region. Reconciliation can be directed in many ways: literature,
arts and education. However what this program during SFF provided participants with were
Documentaries based in real life stories allowing those who watched them to feel closer to the
characters, stories, struggles and lives of those characters. Also, it allowed the participants of
different backgrounds that the other is not a threat to be hated or feared, but instead, in many
cases they are just like you.

One of the highlight moments of the program was the Discussion with Nebojsa Slijepcević
the Director of Srbenka, who took home this year’s Heart of Sarajevo. Slijepcević was successful
in elaborating a documentary that is both able to grab attention from people from and outside the
Western Balkans, but also to teach us a lesson: that before being Bosnian, Croat or Serb, we are
human-beings sharing the same feelings, emotions, fears and experiences in life. The participants
had the chance during Docu Corner to discuss their personal experiences and relate them to
Srbenka and to see that victims and perpetrators exist in any society include their own.

Personal Experience and Conclusion

Docu Corner is a great initiative in collaboration with YIHR BiH and other NGO’s that work
to contribute to a Reconciliation in the Western Balkans. Through documentaries it is possible to
raise awareness of all generations, especially the young one who will be responsible for the future
of the region and of their own countries. In fact, I first started understanding what was truly going
on in the Balkans during the Sarajevo-sur-Seine Film Festival 2016 in Paris. Documentaries are a
easy, attention-drawing and more realistic way to approach some issues because people can
relate to what they see and the story represented. Therefore if I, as a foreigner, was able to begin
to understand the challenges and the urge for reconciliation in the region throughout documentary
films, I believe that for the people who are from here the message behind every documentary they
relate to has an even greater impact. Moreover the opportunity we all have to meet the directors of
documentaries and discuss with them is very interesting in the extent that the participants see that
they are people like them, fighting for the same thing they want: an improvement of the region as a
whole.

It is important for the recurrent problems in the region to be addressed in order to increase
dialogue, promote peace and stabilisation but also confront people with the truth. It is common for
parties to deny their crimes and this is dangerous because not only it prevents their countries and
the region overall to evolve politically, economically and socially, but it also puts a strain in the EU
integration that Serbia and Bosnia, for example, so-dream for. Docu Corner is a very effective way
to address the current problems in the Western Balkans as it allows participants from Bosnia and
Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo to meet with each other and deal with the past
altogether.

Author: Vitoria Galli, student at University of Kent and Intern at YIHR BiH