Hungarian director Bela Tarr and Eurimages head Roberto Olla are to receive the honorary Heart of Sarajevo award at the 19th edition of the festival (Aug 16-24).

The award honours “an individual for exceptional contribution to the affirmation and development of South East European film industry”.

Announcing the honours, the Sarajevo Film Festival called Tarr “one of the most significant directors of our time”.

The director, who has now retired from film-making, founded the film.factory at the Sarajevo School for Science and Technology (SSST) this year.  He announced his retirement from directing last year and now lives in Sarajevo.

Tarr made his directorial debut aged 22 with Family Nest (1977). Focussing on social issues with a documentary style he followed up with The Outsider (1981) and The Prefab People (1982).

His TV adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1982), which he filmed in just two shots, marked a new phase in his creative work. Damnation (1988) saw the beginning of a visual style for which he has become known: a black-and-white photographic approach, and long, slow shots, which culminated in the seven-and-a-half hour long adaptation of Krasznahoraki’s novel, Satan’s Tango (1994).

The film brought him international recognition, and was followed by Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) and The Man From London (2007) is based on the novel by Georges Simenon.

The film The Turin Horse (2011), which he announced several years ago as the last film he will make, was presented at the Berlin Film Festival, and was awarded the Grand Jury Prize - the Silver Bear, as well as the FIPRESCI Prize.

Roberto Olla

Olla has been director of Eurimages - the Council of Europe support fund for European cinema – since 2008. The festival said: “In his five years at the helm of Eurimages, he has placed great emphasis on the full integration of Southeast European countries into the European audio-visual space.”

During his tenure, four awards have been established for the development of co-productions, one of which is presented at the CineLink co-production market of the Sarajevo Film Festival.

The 19th Sarajevo Film Festival runs from August 16-24 and opens with An Episode in the Life of an Iron-Picker, directed by Bosnia’s Danis Tanovic who will also chair the feature film jury at the festival.