Sarajevo home for Tarr filmmaking school

MOSCOW — Hungarian arthouse director Bela Tarr is opening a PhD-level filmmaking academy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Film Factory, housed in Sarajevo U’s School of Science and Technology, will bring together some of the world’s top directors to teach a full-time, three-year program, culminating in students making full-length features.

Tarr, (“Werckmeister Harmonies,” “The Turin Horse”) announced earlier this year that he was withdrawing from filmmaking.

The director, who is head of the Hungarian Filmmakers Assn., has been involved in a bitter dispute with Andy Vajna, the Budapest-born “Rambo” producer, over major reforms to Hungary’s public film funding system.

Vajna, appointed government film commissioner two years ago, is in charge of restructuring a discredited funding system. Tarr accuses him of destroying a system that for two decades loyally supported arthouse films.

Tarr will head the Film Factory as its dean, teaching master-classes along with visiting faculty that, for the first two semesters include Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, Jean-Michel Frodon, Jonathan Romney, Thierry Garrel, Ulrich Gregor, Tilda Swinton, Gus Van Sant, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Manuel Grosso, Carlos Reygadas, Aki Kaurismaki, Andras Renyi, Fred Kelemen, Kirill Razlogov, Jytte Jensen, Jim Jarmusch, Atom Egoyan and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

The 16 students for the three-year program — which will cost $19,000 a year — will be drawn from an open call for applications Oct. 1-Oct. 21.

Applicants are expected to be established filmmakers and Tarr said the quality of films they submit, at least three each, would be the critical factor in their success.

“While there are more and more images everywhere around us, paradoxically, we perceive the increasing devaluation of this beautiful language every day,” Tarr said.

“It is in this context that we are seeking to demonstrate, emphatically and convincingly, the importance of visual culture and the dignity of the image to the coming generation of filmmakers.

“Our aspiration is to educate mature filmmakers who think responsibly, with the spirit of humanism, artists who have an individual outlook, an individual form of expression and who use their creative powers in the defence of the dignity of man.”

Tarr said that Sarajevo offered, “the right home for this program” as a multicultural city that was “young and vibrant.”

The Film Factory first semester will start mid-February.

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