Situated at the cultural crossroads between the East and the West, Sarajevo is a multi-ethnic city with about 280,000 inhabitants. The city has a rich heritage of cinematography and is a heartland of art house cinema, boasting a number of award-winning films and filmmakers and a population of film devotees. As the capital city, Sarajevo is a cultural centre with major creative enterprises that cover 90% of national film and TV production. Today, the TV sector alone employs around 2,500 people, and provides a financial contribution of about 0.4 % to the city's GDP.
In addition to its flourishing local film market, Sarajevo is the proud host of several international film festivals. Launched in 1995, the Sarajevo Film Festival is the leading international film festival focusing on the Southeast European region. Each year, the Festival screens around 250 films and attracts over 100,000 admissions. In conjunction with this, the festival’s CineLink Industry Days are a regional platform and co-production marketplace, which significantly boost the development of the film industry notably regional co-productions, by attracting over 1,000 film professionals and providing key opportunities for film collaboration.
In 2018, the Sarajevo Film Festival signed the 5050x2020 Charter that promotes gender parity and inclusion in the film industry. The charter pledges an equal share of women in front of and behind the camera, especially in leadership positions at festivals, and aspires to achieve full gender equality by 2020. Meanwhile, the city is also looking to create a level playing field in the world of film production. As a result, in 2015, the Law on Self-employed Creators was adopted to regulate the status of self-employed creators, their rights and obligations, and other measures to stimulate cultural and creative work in Sarajevo.
As a Creative City of Film, Sarajevo envisages:
- supporting development of the city’s film festivals, cinemas and film museums to improve access to high-quality and diverse film content all year round;
- collaborating with UNESCO Creative Cities of Film and other creative cities to share best practices, create joint programmes and foster exchanges of professionals and students through film-related projects;
- generating new employment and skills development opportunities for professionals and youth in the film sector by expanding film and TV production; and
- rejuvenating urban public spaces to enhance participation in film culture for all citizens, through cross-cutting projects that connect film with music, design, literature and gastronomy.