“Days of Sarajevo” Festival, May 19 – 23, 2010.
From the 19th to the 23rd of May last year the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) and the Agency for Cooperation with NGOs and European Harmonization of the City of Belgrade have been co-organizing the fourth “Days of Sarajevo” festival in Belgrade.
Several hundred artists, city officials, media representatives… visited the capital of Serbia on the occasion. The Festival has also been an important meeting spot for youth from Sarajevo and Belgrade, many of whom met their peers from the neighbouring country for the very first time.
The “Days of Sarajevo” festival is being held every May in reminder of the beginning of the four-year-long siege of Sarajevo. Since 2007 the Festival has been establishing new and renewing old ties between Belgraders and Sarajevans. Art is still the one to find the easiest way across borders, and as of last year the Festival enjoys official support of the cities.
The “Days of Sarajevo” festival creates room for examining mutual past, facilitates debate on changing the present circumstances and relations, with a view to building a better future of the region.
Last year, the third “Days of Sarajevo” were visited by some 5,000 people. More than 250 artists and politicians came from Sarajevo on the occasion. Over 20 media outlets from B&H, two media outlets from Western Europe and 20 media outlets from Serbia reported on the event.
Last year “Days of Sarajevo” presented:
Plays: Belgrade audience will learn of the moments of Sarajevan reality that inspire their directors and actors. Theatre repertoire is probably the best reflection of social circumstances and cultural trends in a city. This time Belgrade will host the Sarajevo National Theatre, Chamber Theatre 55 and Sarajevo War Theatre, who will be visiting with plays “Kaligula” (Caligula), “Bolest porodice M” (The Malady of Family M) and “Ovo je Jonesku, budalo” (This Is Ionesco, You Fool).
The sound of Sarajevo: Music as a universal language connects people, while vocabulary of the Sarajevan scene is rich and famous – from centuries-long sevdah tradition, through electronic music to rock bands’ urban spirit. This time experienced rock bands Sikter and Skroz, the master of contemporary sevdah Damir Imamović and electric guitar duo Basheskia & Edward EQ will present their new releases in Belgrade. Sevdah singer Amira Medunjanin and internationally renowned jazz pianist Bojan Zulfikarpašić will give their first joint performance in Belgrade. Alongside numerous DJs, a special surprise of the Festival will be the first Sarajevan boy band, Dvadesetorica, comprised of, in the words of its members, ‘twenty young men of questionable talent’.
Film screenings: This segment of the program will be comprised of documentary and feature, short and full-length, as well as animated films… Among them are also films awarded at regional and international festivals and graduation projects, nominees and winners of the best European short film award…
Sarajevo through the lens: Places, people, moments… The spirit of the city as seen through the eye and lens of renowned and young photographers will be presented at the exhibition “ObjektivNo1”, by the BiH Art Gallery.
Panel debates: Probably the most important aspect of the “Days of Sarajevo” festival are meetings and direct dialogue between Belgraders and Sarajevans. As has been the case thus far, several public panel debates on topics of mutual importance will be organized in scope of the Festival, featuring artists, journalists, politicians, city officials… Topics of this year’s panel debates will be ‘Relations in the Region, Fifteen Years after the Dayton Peace Accords’, ‘Violence at Sporting Events’ and ‘How to Not Have Our Past Repeated’, a debate on mechanisms for establishing the truth about the recent wartime past on the territory of the former SFRY.
“What makes such events particularly meaningful is precisely that casual networking among young people, among those who are not renewing any contacts but are only just establishing them, those who do not carry any baggage and mortgages from the past, those who are entering new experiences – as Lawrence Ferlinghetti would say – with open eyes and open heart, those who hopefully will not allow to be a part of the world in which they should be closer to someone with whom they nominally share a potential religious background, rather than to someone whom they share a language, history and life with, whom they actually share (almost) everything with”, wrote writer Muharem Bazdulj in the daily “Oslobođenje” apropos the Festival a day after it had ended in 2009.
“I am exalted that the “Days of Sarajevo” event has its effect in Belgrade. That is a nice present to this city and a way for the youth of today, who know nothing about Yugoslavia, to see that their peers from Sarajevo are just like them, that they have two arms, legs, one head, that they are able to see, talk, and that, quite shockingly, they speak the same language. I often contemplate on how I would perceive this world if I were 16-17. What I would be thinking had actually happened in the former SFRY? Why do people who speak the same language, have similar cultures, histories and fates, feel such boundless hatred for one another? That is the question children should be answered properly. And children are not being told about it, but are rather being in a way suggested that their heroes should be Ratko Mladić, Branimir Glavaš and the other heroes… Which is why “Days of Sarajevo” in Belgrade are great, for they are dispelling that dominant stereotype and dominant silence that exists”, said writer and journalist Miljenko Jergović at Belgrade promotion of his book Srda pjeva u sumrak na duhove, held on May 15, 2009.
“…We have conservative politics adopted even by those who are in power today, those who have succeeded politicians of the nineties and who today are flirting with the national in quite a wrong way. …We are neighbours now, divided, who the world seeks to bring together through modern universalism – art can do a lot toward that integration. “Days of Sarajevo” in Belgrade, or what Dino Mustafić is doing through plays co-produced by the Chamber Theatre and Atelje 212, are more effective than what political elites on both sides are doing”, said for the “Dani” (Days) magazine Jovan Ćirilov, theatrologist, writer and art director of BITEF Festival, on June 12, 2009.