“Take Me Somewhere Nice,” Bosnian director Ena Sendijarević’s coming-of-age story about a teen raised in the Netherlands who returns to Bosnia to visit her ailing father, won the top prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival Thursday night, earning the Amsterdam-based helmer the coveted Heart of Sarajevo Award.
The jury heralded the “beautifully photographed, acted, scripted and directed movie,” praising its ability to capture the spirit of modern youth while feeling “timeless.” The Bosnian-born Sendijarević was visibly overwhelmed receiving the award in front of her home audience, dedicating it to a festival that celebrated its 25th edition this year.
In announcing the award winners, jury member and Rotterdam festival director Bero Beyer praised filmmakers that “reached out to our hearts as they were exploring modernity versus tradition, rootedness in history against individuality, and who with their films celebrated not so much the brotherhood of men, but rather the sisterhood of human beings.”
The award for best director went to Emin Alper for “A Tale of Three Sisters,” a story of three peasant sisters who uneasily reunite under their father’s roof in rural Turkey. Best actress was awarded to Irini Jambonas for her role in Bulgarian director Stephan Komandarev’s “Rounds.” The award for best actor went to Levan Gelbakhiani for his performance in “And Then We Danced,” by Georgian helmer Levan Akin.
Best documentary honors went to Hilal Baydarov, of Azerbaijan, for “When the Persimmons Grew.” Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Sajra Subašić was awarded the special jury prize for “Stack of Material.” The human rights award went to Hungary’s Réka Szabó, for “The Euphoria of Being.”
The award for best short film went to “The Last Image of Father,” by Serbian director Stefan Đorđević. Romania’s Adi Voicu received a special jury mention for “The Last Trip to the Seaside.” The prize for best student film went to “Sherbet,” by Serbia’s Nikola Stojanović.
Awards were also handed out Thursday night at the conclusion of CineLink, the Sarajevo festival’s industry program. The Eurimages Coproduction Development Award went to “The Happiest Man in the World, or Lessons in Love,” directed by Teona Strugar Mitevska, of North Macedonia, with a special mention going to “Forever Hold Your Peace,” by Montenegro’s Ivan Marinović.
The Film Center Montenegro Award went to Greek director Yorgos Zois’ “Third Kind.” The Artekino International Prize was awarded to “Mignon,” directed by Sofia Georgovassili of Greece. The Film Center Serbia CineLink Drama Award went to “Sabre,” a Serbian TV drama created by Goran Stanković and Vladimir Tagić. Hungarian producer Judit Salter was awarded with a scholarship from EAVE.
From CineLink’s Works-in-Progress section, the TRT Award was given to the documentary “Fish Eye,” directed by Iran’s Amin Behroozzadeh. The CineLink Iridium Award was given to Israeli director Idan Haguel’s fiction feature “Neve Shaanan.” And “Things Worth Weeping For,” from Hungarian director Cristina Groșan, won the Post Republic Award.