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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Bosnia and Herzegovina

For Sama wins at AJB DOC

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- One of the biggest documentary hits of the year has triumphed at the second edition of the Sarajevo-based festival organised by Al Jazeera Balkans

For Sama wins at AJB DOC
l-r: Djani Hasečić, Sead Kreševljaković, Amy Rebeca Steen, Katrine W Kjær and Lejla Dedić on stage during the presentation of the AJB Programme Award to Girl in Return

The second edition of AJB DOC Film Festival (20-24 September), dedicated to TV documentaries, has wrapped up in Sarajevo, with Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts' For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
adding another award to its already chock-full trophy case.

The devastating, personal Aleppo documentary won the festival’s main prize in the competition, trouncing 11 other films adapted for TV broadcasting, the full list of which can be found here.

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The jury, comprising Bosnian producer Ademir Kenović, Belgian distributor Thierry Detaille, American producer Victoria Bruce, Bosnian-born, Prague-based producer Ivana Pauerová and Al Jazeera Documentary Channel's Adel Ksiksi, also gave out a Special Mention to Swedish filmmaker Caroline Troedsonn's Patriotic Highway. The picture follows Swedish judge Marie Tuma during the biggest corruption case within the EU-operated EULEX mission in Kosovo.

The programme jury of Al Jazeera Balkans, consisting of programmers Lejla Dedić, Sead Kreševljaković and Djani Hasečić, handed its award to Danish director Katrine W Kjær's Girl in Return, about an adopted Danish-Ethiopian teenage girl called Amy, who decides to reclaim her lost identity and fight against the adoption system.

Finally, the Audience Award went to the Spanish-Bosnian co-production The Long Shot by Oliver Valente and Álvaro González-Aller. The film tells the incredible story of the national basketball team of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which placed eighth at the European Championship in Germany in 1993, while the country was in the midst of war and Sarajevo was under siege.

In addition to screening 23 films across three sections, the second AJB DOC included an investigative journalism workshop led by Serbian-born Al Jazeera Balkans journalist Edo Čelebić and a three-day training session on “Storytelling Using Investigative Journalism” by Phil Rees, acting director of Investigative Journalism at Al Jazeera.

Here is the full list of award winners:

Best Film
For Sama [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts
film profile
]
- Waad Al-Kateab, Edward Watts (UK/USA)
Special Mention
Patriotic Highway - Caroline Troedsonn (Sweden)

AJB Programme Award
Girl in Return - Katrine W Kjær (Denmark)

Audience Award
The Long Shot - Oliver Valente, Álvaro González-Aller (Spain/Bosnia and Herzegovina)

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