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‘Scary Mother’ Wins at Sarajevo Film Festival; Bosnia-Herzegovina Selects Oscar Entry

The 23rd Sarajevo Film Festival has wrapped with the announcement of Ana Urushadze’s “Scary Mother” as winner of the fest’s top prize, while host country Bosnia-Herzegovina has picked its entry in the race for the foreign-language Academy Award.

Scary Mother” won the Heart of Sarajevo on Wednesday night, the festival’s prize for best feature film which includes a €16,000 ($18,800) award. The Georgian-language movie, which is a co-production between Georgia and Estonia, was written and directed by Urushadze (pictured center).

The drama stars Nata Murvanidze (pictured, far right) as a 50-year-old housewife struggling to choose between her family life and a passion for writing which she has suppressed for years. Deciding to following her passion, she plunges into writing, sacrificing herself mentally and physically. The film, produced by Lasha Khalvashi (holding the Heart of Sarajevo) and Tinatin Kajrislvili (far left), also won the Cineuropa Nagrada partner’s award from the Association of Filmmakers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mexican director Michel Franco headed the festival jury, which also included Bosnian actor Goran Bogdan (“Fargo”); Turkish actress Melisa Soezen; Mark Adams, artistic director of the Edinburgh Film Festival; and Fatma Al Remaihi, CEO of the Doha Film Institute.

Romania’s “Meda or the Not So Bright Side of Things” took the prize for best director, for Emanuel Parvu, and for best actor, for Serban Pavlu. Ornela Kapetani won best actress for Albanian film “Daybreak.”

The festival’s audience award went to Swiss film “The Frog,” with Oliver Stone’s “The Putin Interviews” receiving the audience award for documentary. Stone was at the festival to receive an honorary Heart of Sarajevo for lifetime achievement. “Monty Python” legend John Cleese also received the honorary award.

The young audience award went to Alen Drljevic’s “Men Don’t Cry,” which won the special jury prize at the Karlovy Vary Intl. Film Festival last month. The movie has now been announced as Bosnia-Herzegovina’s official candidate for the foreign-language Oscar. The ensemble film, which is released domestically in September, tells the story of a diverse group of veterans of the Balkan wars who gather at a remote mountain hotel to undergo therapy.

Bosnia previously won the best foreign-language film Academy Award for Danis Tanovic’s 2001 film “No Man’s Land.” The film secured Bosnia’s only nomination in the category to date from 16 previous submissions.

The nominations for the 2017 Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 23, 2018. The ceremony takes place March 4, 2018.

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