HBO has brought in a new programming executive to bolster its original programming drive in Europe. Ana Balentovic has joined the HBO Europe team and will work up projects from Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro.

In the new development role at HBO she will work with local talent to get original productions off the ground. She has extensive regional TV experience having produced primetime dramas for RTL in Croatia, and headed development at CEE-focused production group ContentLab & Factory.

Antony Root, executive VP, original programming and production, HBO Europe said:  “Ana’s appointment reflects our continued commitment to discovering new and original voices, and our wider ambition to expand the breadth and range of programming across our Central European territories.”

Balentovic will report to HBO Europe programming VPs Johnathan Young and Steve Matthews.

She joins ahead of the Sarajevo Film Festival, and will be at the event for HBO. Matthews will lead a writing workshop at the Festival, and give a prize for the best drama project out of a program organized by the Prague-based script writing school Midpoint.

“Central Europe is rich in storytelling and talent, and having embedded ourselves in the local industries over the past few years we’re looking forward to the next phase of production in the region,” Root said.

Also at Sarajevo, Hanka Kastelicova, HBO Europe’s VP and executive producer, documentaries, will mentor emerging filmmakers in the festival’s Docu Rough Cut Boutique, with an HBO Adria award for the most promising work-in-progress.

HBO is ramping up its slate of originals out of Europe. It has produced locally in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, and is prepping originals out of its Nordic and Spanish bases.