Sarajevo Film Festival 2024

GoEast connects Western Balkans to Germany in first 2024 festival announcement

The goEast Festival of Central and Eastern European Film announces its 2024 program with a special emphasis on the film cultures of Kosovo and Albania, alongside contributions from the broader Western Balkan region. The initiative aims to connect with both German audiences and migrants from Western Balkan countries living in Germany, a group that, as of the 2012 micro-census, numbers approximately 1.58 million people.

The festival highlights the interlinked histories of Albania and Kosovo, noting the international success of Kosovar cinema despite challenges related to funding and international recognition. For example, Blerta Basholli’s Hive (2021) received an Oscar nomination and was well-received in Germany, though Kosovar directors often face visa issues due to the country’s disputed sovereignty. The selection of films aims to represent the cultural identity and history of the region, from its time under Yugoslavian rule and the Hoxha dictatorship through to the Kosovo War and the present day.

The 2024 lineup includes a mix of historical and contemporary films from both countries, with a focus on works addressing social issues, including women’s rights, sexuality, and LGBTQ themes. Notably, a significant portion of the feature films produced in Kosovo over the last decade have been directed by women. The program will feature films like Dear Enemy (2004), Era dhe Lisi (1979), and The Guardian (2010), among others from recent years.

The festival will also see the return of the Yugoretten network, focusing on female artists from the ex-Yugoslavia region. The network aims to discuss themes such as women and queer culture, migration, and the Kosovo context within former Yugoslavia. This includes a panel discussion on sexualised violence as a war crime and the representation of queerness in post-Yugoslav cinema.

The East-West Talent Lab is designed for emerging film professionals from Central and Eastern Europe, offering opportunities to develop documentary projects with a focus on human rights. The program includes public pitching sessions, a masterclass, and discussions on political documentary filmmaking, featuring the documentary Million Moments about the Czech pro-democracy movement.

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