Mirsad Purivatra has stepped down as Sarajevo Film Festival director after a 27-year run, and has been replaced by Jovan Marjanović, who was the festival’s co-director, and was previously in charge of its industry department.
Purivatra, the founder of the festival, will assume the role of president of the Obala Art Centar Association, the umbrella organization behind the festival.
“I am proud of everything we have accomplished over the last 27 years. We started from nothing, when our city was under siege, and today we are a globally renowned institution attended by filmmakers and film industry professionals from the region and the whole world,” Purivatra said.
“We have faced many challenges on this journey. Our recognizable strong teamwork has turned challenges into successful projects by always setting and attaining high standards. All along we have been dedicated to our mission to discover, support and promote local and regional film authors and industries. I am happy that the Sarajevo Film Festival has become the most significant platform for the development of the [Bosnia and Herzegovina] film industry and co-production in the region and thus a part of many success stories about [Bosnia and Herzegovina] film and regional film.”
Guests at the festival have included Angelina Jolie, Bono, Robert De Niro, Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón, Paweł Pawlikowski, Mike Leigh, Darren Aronofsky, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Gaspar Noé, John Cleese, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Huppert and Wim Wenders.
As president of Obala Art Centar, Purivatra will continue to work on the strategic development of the festival. About his plans for the future he said: “I will remain a part of the team that will take care of [the festival’s] healthy development and all strategic courses of action. I believe my decision to leave the director’s position will give me time to pursue some ideas that I have not had time for before. My passion and energy will remain invested in projects in the field of film and creative industries. One of them is the already established creative hub Ponta Lopud.”
Purivatra said of his successor: “I can freely say that Jovan Marjanović is a child of the festival. He joined us as a 19-year-old, after graduating from high school. He grew up with the Sarajevo Film Festival, demonstrated true talent for the creative industry, graduated from prestigious schools, developed an excellent network in the film industry and I believe he will be a great leader capable of leading the team and the festival in the right direction.”