New York City, May 2014 - "Finding Family" a documentary film by Chris Leslie and Oggi Tomić; "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker," a feature film directed by Danis Tanović; and "Mum," a short fiction film directed by Ado Hasanović, won Golden Apple awards at the eleventh annual Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival, held May 1-3 at Tribeca Cinemas in New York City.
All winning films were announced at the festival's Closing Party on Saturday, May 3rd, held in The Varick Room at Tribeca Cinemas. "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker" won the BHFF 2014 Jury Award for the Best Feature Film. "Mum" won the BHFF 2014 award for Best Short Film, and "Finding Family" won the BHFF 2014 Jury Award for the Best Documentary Film.
These outstanding films were selected by the official BHFF 2014 Jury, an expert panel comprising of L.A.-based author, filmmaker and photographer Harun Mehmedinović; internationally-acclaimed artist Nebojša Šerić-Shoba; and Brooklyn-based filmmaker and multimedia artist Amir Husak. Husak was present at the Closing Party to announce the Golden Apple award winners in each category.
When asked to comment on this year's film selection, Mehmedinović praised Danis Tanović's latest feature film: "I think this is Danis' best film and is a pretty good example of the type of film which I'd like to see other directors try. In other words, they should find people who are interesting, but are not actors. Forget about writing the script, and let it be improvised and be spontaneous."
Ado Hasanović, whose film "Mum" won the Jury Award for Best Short Film, expressed his gratitude: "I want to thank the Jury for this award, presented at such an important festival of Bosnian-Herzegovinian film in New York City. I share this award with all those who have worked on, participated in and supported my film 'Mum.' I expecially want to thank all those who believed in my effort and work!"
In addition to the Jury Award for the Best Documentary Film, "Finding Family" also won the BHFF 2014 Audience Award for Best Picture. The film's director, Chris Leslie, accepted both Golden Apples at the Closing Party. Leslie said he is "absolutely delighted to win the awards," and added that "just having the film screen at BHFF in New York City is a great accolade in itself."
Oggi Tomić, whose life story is the subject of the documentary, was thrilled with the big win: "Wow – what can I say, to have its New York City premiere and be up in competition with great filmmakers and films is an honor in itself, but to win not just one, but two awards is beyond my expectations and I am extremely ecstatic with the result.''
This year's BHFF screened a total of 16 feature, short, and documentary films, compiled from a total of 33 submissions from 10 countries including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, the Netherlands, Finland, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, the United States, and Canada.
The 2014 program included the world premieres of "May 31st," "Bosnia in Our Hearts," and "Shunt;" the U.S. premiere of "Tales from a Forgotten City;" and the New York City premiere of "Finding Family."Other films that screened at the eleventh annual BHFF included "Circles," "A Stranger," "With Mom," "Beško," "Vita Mulier," "A Wound That Is Hidden," "Just to take a look," "Trnopolje, A Forgotten Summer," and "We Survived."
Among the guests at the eleventh annual Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival were H.E. Ambassador Jadranka Negodić and Minister Counselor Adnan Hadrović from the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Embassy in Washington, D.C.; Sixten Björkstrand, director of "Bosnia in Our Hearts"; and Refik Hodžić and Eldar Sarajlić, who led an expert panel discussion after the screening of Block 2 films on the first day of the festival.
The festival is completely run by all volunteers and organized by two non-for-profit organizations, the Voice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Inc. and the Academy of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Inc.