Sarajevo’s 13th film fest

SARAJEVO (AP) – A film festival first held against a backdrop of a real-life bullets and shelling welcomed around 100,000 people and 176 movies from 30 countries as of yesterday evening. The 13th Sarajevo Film Festival, born in the chaos of the 1992-95 Bosnian war, will include the latest Anthony Minghella movie «Breaking and Entering,» starring French actress Juliette Binoche, in which she plays a Bosnian woman. US actor Steve Buscemi will be the festival’s special guest, while his British colleague Jeremy Irons will preside over the jury for the feature film competition. Bosnia’s Danis Tanovic, who won an Oscar in 2002 for his «No Man’s Land,» will participate, as well as last year’s Berlin Golden Bear winner Jasmila Zbanic. Organizers expect controversial US director, Oscar and Cannes winner Michael Moore to officially close the festival with his latest film «Sicko.» Moore has not yet confirmed his presence due to his busy schedule. The festival started as an act of defiance during the 1992-95 war with the idea of offering some semblance of normal life to the citizens of besieged Sarajevo and to remind the world that the city’s population was hungry for culture as well as for food. The first festival screening was Quentin Tarantino’s «Pulp Fiction» in a basement in 1994 when the audience wondered whether the sound of bullets came from the screen or from the streets outside. Nine screening locations have now replaced the sandbag-protected basement. Movies will be shown in 13 categories, including competition programs for feature film, short film and regional documentaries.