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Sarajevo Film Festival Calls Off Screenings and Events after Triple Murders

Date: 2023-08-22

Sarajevo Film Festival Calls Off Screenings and Events after Triple Murders

Following the three murders committed in the northeastern Bosnian town of Gradačac on Friday, most of the events at Sarajevo Film Festival have been cancelled in observation of mourning. By: Theng Min Yee

After the Bosnia and Herzegovina government declared a “Day of Mourning” for the three murder victims, the Sarajevo Film Festival cancelled all screenings and all but one of its events.

In a gruesome fashion, the perpetrator Nermin Sulejmanovic allegedly livestreamed the murder of his first victim, which was his former wife Nizama Hećimović, on Instagram. He continued his crimes by slaying another man and his son, and further injuring three people, before committing suicide. Reports say that some 12,000 people watched the slaying live, and the video received 126 likes.

Though the festival had previously announced that it would only call off social events but continue with screenings, workshops, lectures, and presentations on Wednesday, it has now shut down its activities almost fully.

The sole public event scheduled for Wednesday is a panel titled “Femicide in Film, Television and New Media,” which will delve into discussions surrounding artistic and media representations of violence against women.

Croatian director Vanja Juranić dedicated the festival screening of her film Only When I Laugh to victims in Gradačac. “This film is a universal story about a woman trapped in a patriarchal environment. Despite being a victim, she is active and tries to change the situation, as happened in reality in Gradačac, and that’s why we want to dedicate this screening to the victims of this great tragedy,” Juranić said at the screening.

In a statement, the festival said: “We will observe the Day of Mourning with dignity, sending a message of ‘Solidarity with all victims of violence against women.'”

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