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    • New Talents Open Call
      Eastern Neighbours Film Festival (ENFF) began in The Netherlands in 2008 with the idea to offer Dutch and international audiences a unique glimpse into the cinema of their neighbors from Eastern and Southern Europe. This annual event presents the most recent, exciting, and thought‐provoking films, from countries with small, but often powerful film industries, that… Read more: New Talents Open Call
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      Join us for the Film Marathon, a new concept in which we merge two components, Short Films, Big Stories, and New Talents Competition into a whole-day screening of short films!

By the Cannes award winning director Aida Begic, the new film provides a tender insight into a woman’s struggle to find her own identity. The opening film of the Sarajevo Film Festival and Bosnian and Herzegovinian candidate for the Oscars.


Meri is a 30-year-old unambitious housewife and mother of an 8-year-old girl Mila. Her life takes a dramatic twist when her older husband Hasan throws her out of their home in a rage of jealousy.  Her return to her parental home, without her daughter whom Hasan decided to keep, triggers even more heartbreak for Meri as she realises she is trapped in a wicked circle of provincial law and rules and regulations as well as her family’s needs and ambitions. In an attempt to find herself, Meri embarks to make an audacious change – she auditions for a film that will be shot in the neighbourhood. Great performances by Jasna Zalica and Marija Pikic.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, France | 2022 | 120 min

DIRECTOR: Aida Begic

PRODUCTION: Adis Djapo, Aida Begic, Erol Zubcevic – Film House; Les Films de l’Apres Midi

CAST: Marija Pikic, Jasna Zalica, Slaven Vidak, Lana Stanisic



EDITING: Redzinald Simek

SCREENING: Saturday 26 November /19:30h & Sunday 27 November /18:15h / Zaal 5

The screening will be followed by Q&A with actress Jasna Zalica. Dutch Premiere.

Director’s statement

A BALLAD was inspired by the poetic form of traditional Bosnian folk ballads which are not as much  a purely literary genre as they are meant to sing or recite to a live audience. Hasanaginica is the best known among them. The victimised woman whose story the ballad tells has been embraced by many as the model of female perfection in the sense that the perfect woman is expected to surrender to her tragic destiny and die. I use her as a benchmark in my exploration of commonly held ideas on what constitutes female love, freedom and identity. A BALLAD unfolds in the space between different worlds and genres and explores the relationships between them. By exploring the relationship between art and reality, I am exploring the line that separates them, but also the ways in which they intertwine and the impact that they have as such.

Director’s bio

Aida Begic was born in Sarajevo. Her graduation film PRVO SMRTNO ISKUSTVO/FISRT DEATH EXPERIENCE was presented at The Cinéfondation Official Selection of the Cannes FF. Her debut feature SNIJEG/SNOW was premiered at Cannes 2008, Semaine de la Critique where it won the Grand Prix. SNOW was nominated for a European Academy Film Award, Discovery Section. In 2009 she founded an independent production company Film House. Her 2nd feature film DJECA/CHILDREN OF SARAJEVO premiered in Un Certain Regard, Official Selection of the Cannes FF 2012 where it won Special Distinction of the Jury. She wrote and directed the short film ALBUM, part of omnibus Bridges of Sarajevo that had its world premiere as Official Selection of the Cannes FF in the Special Screening section. Aida Begic is professor at The Academy of Performing Arts Sarajevo and she is member of AMPAS (American Motion Picture and Science Academy), EFA (European Film Academy), SACD (French Association for Cinema Authors) and UFRBiH (Bosnian Film Society). Her 3rd feature film BIRAKMA BENI/NEVER LEAVE ME, about Syrian orphans, is screened and awarded at many festivals around the world. Her latest film A BALLAD (2022) was selected at Sarajevo IFF.

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