A Festival That Brings Zagreb and Sarajevo Closer Together

Sarajevo is coming to Zagreb tonight, September 7th, as the seventh edition of JaBih festival (play on words, bih means would but also stands for Bosna i Hecegovina) brings the latest culture created in and about Sarajevo, be it films, books, exhibitions, plays, gastronomy and music.

Zagreb and Sarajevo are officially twin towns (or sister cities), but their ties run deeper than that. They share geographical, cultural and historic heritages that intertwine with each other but at the same time have such distinct identities that they sometimes feel worlds apart. However, unlike other twin towns Zagreb has, the kinship of the two cities is almost tangible among people, even if official daily policies of respected countries might not seem that way at times. That’s where JaBih festival shines. Sarajevo’s cultural scene is always present in Zagreb in one way or the other, even thought its impact can dissolve among all the other cultural content Zagreb offers, and JaBih gives a five day focus on that scene, a reminder of the connections and common grounds the two cities stand on, as the have for a long time.

Starting on September 7th and ending on September 11th, the festival will present Sarajevo’s culture on seven locations around Zagreb.

The festival will start with an urban picnic at Valvet gallery from 7pm that will also be the official opening of the festival. The picnic will be a non formal food tasting of Sarajevo specialties followed by discussions about cultural connections between the two cities. The evening will finish with a concert by renowned musicians from Bosnia and Croatia, Vedrana Šimić (soprano) and Darijan Ivezić (piano) accompanied by a dance act from Nadža Pušilo, a ballerina from Belle Art Sarajevo troupe.

The second day will see a presentation of Sarajevo Film Academy with a selection of some of the best student films that came out of that school this year. Sarajevo Film Academy will have a cooperation with Zagreb Film Festival this year, details of which will be disclosed at the event. The goal is to strengthen the ties between young filmmakers and professionals from both countries and explore the possibilities of developing a socially relevant modern filmography in the region. Films will be shown in Metropolis cinema at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU), starting form 7pm.
On the other side of town, in Pivana pub, Ilica street 222, at the same time, Sarajevo writer Boris Lalić will be present his books, after which Magacina Kabare Sarajevo troupe will perform their Forbidden tales – Little Red Riding Hood cabaret show.

Focus of the third day are documentaries about Sarajevo at Tuškanac cinema. Films Occupation by Remy Qourdan and Patric Chavuler and Searching for a Dream by Mladen Mitrović will be shown from 7pm and 9pm, respectively. Lovers of funk (with a touch of Sarajevo mentality) can enjoy the concert by Billy Andol at Pivana pub from 10pm.

Fourth day of the festival will have free film workshops for kids at Spajalica NGO’s premises (Medulićeva 34/2) hosted by well know Bosnia and Herzegovina actors and directors. A series of exhibitions from Sarajevo artists will open that day at Kranjčar gallery, Kaptol street 26, and will includ works from Bojan and Dalida Hadžihalilović, Design TRIO and parts of Enjoy Sara-Jevo and Postcards from Sarajevo 1993 exhibitions. Starting from 9pm, Tuškanac cinema will screen films from Sarajevo based production company Spiritus Movens.

Final night of JaBih is dedicated to Sarajevo Film Festival and will screen the festival’s hidden premiere from this year at 7pm, followed by Death in Sarajevo by Denis Tanović starting at 9pm.