Sarajevo Film Festival’s Mirsad Purivatra and Jovan Marjanovic, and the European Commission’s Dag Asbjornsen preview this year’s Regional Forum.

Mirsad Purivatra and Jovan Marjanovic, Sarajevo Film Festival

We are delighted that our annual Regional Forum is hosting the European Commission’s European Film Forum this year. After successful Berlin and Cannes editions of the Forum and ahead of those planned for Venice and San Sebastian, we are certain the Sarajevo edition will add to the ongoing discussion and help paint a clearer picture of what the film industry in our region faces both on its own and as part of the wider European playing field.

The two panels brought by the European Film Forum focus on different areas, but have the same end goal of ensuring quality European content reaches audiences. The first panel looks into the opportunities for the theatrical exhibition sector in the region, while the second examines the challenges posed to public film funding systems by the digital marketplace. Regional Forum is also hosting an important conference entitled ‘Women in today’s European film industry: gender issues. Can we do better?’, organised in the framework of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s chairmanship of the Council of Europe, where a declaration on gender equality in film will be drafted.

In this publication we regularly bring you a variety of data aimed at assisting better-informed policy building. This is certainly the case this year, especially for the topics discussed in the framework of the European Film Forum. However, the availability of gender-related data is still insufficient across the region and sadly we were not able to present a meaningful statistical overview of the topic this time around.

Nevertheless, as we strive to keep serving as a relevant platform to discuss and advocate policies, we hope countries in the region will embrace the best practices.

Our gratitude goes to Lucia Recalde Langarica, Dag Asbjornsen and Matteo Zacchetti and others at Creative Europe MEDIA, and of course to all at Screen International for their support in preparing this year’s conference. Welcome to Sarajevo!

Dag Asbjornsen, European Commission

The European Commission is delighted to return to Sarajevo this year in the context of the European Film Forum. The Film Forum is a framework for dialogue with the European film industry and it takes many forms: working groups, meetings and panel discussions - like the one here at the Regional Forum of the festival.

The purpose of the Film Forum is to discuss how to make European films travel better across Europe, and hopefully to come up with ideas that can be turned into concrete actions. The bigger picture is the digital single market initiative of the commission, which has the same aim: to break down digital borders and strengthen the cultural diversity and competitiveness of the European digital economy.

Both of our panels are right at the heart of these discussions. The first will deal with the development of the cinema sector in the region. Without cinemas, there is no European film and no cultural diversity. A number of exciting initiatives have been taken in the region, both in the commercial and independent parts of the sector. So how can the EU make sure that cinemas in the region also screen European films?

The next panel will discuss co-production strategies. Territorial rights are a condition for co-productions, but the digital market is not limited by borders. Digital borders can be circumvented or made obsolete by piracy. It is better, then, to take advantage of the inherent borderlessness of the internet, and provide solutions that can make content available all over Europe? How does that play with the current frameworks for co-productions?

We thank Mirsad Purivatra, Jovan Marjanovic and the festival team for the opportunity to hold a Film Forum at the most important event in the region. The commission hopes for a lively debate and looks forward to your proposals and ideas. Welcome to the Forum!