Director of the Sarajevo Film Festival Mirsad Purivatra confirmed to Screen Daily that the event will take place in August despite the coronavirus pandemic.

We launched our festival during the siege of Sarajevo in 1995 when there were bombings, sniper fire and no food, water or electricity. To host an online version of the festival would betray our mission even in the face of this invisible enemy”, said Purivatra.

He underlined that there was “no doubt” the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival would be able “to answer the COVID-19 situation creatively”.

Purivatra said his team was working on how screenings would take place during this year’s festival, which would place an emphasis on “keeping our visitors and cinema lovers safe, while following the instructions of our epidemiologist”.

He added that the festival’s competition line-up was “something we will keep a top priority because Sarajevo offers a fantastic platform for films that have not yet been released”.

Everyone in the city is seeing the festival as a turning point and new beginning for Sarajevo. The festival may be smaller than usual, but it will certainly be unique”, Purivatra concluded.

The 26th Sarajevo Film Festival is scheduled to take place on August 14-21. Renowned French filmmaker Michel Hazanavicius, an Academy Award winner for his acclaimed film ‘The Artist’, has been announced as the chairman of the Jury of the 26th SFF.

Festival in Jerusalem has already been cancelled, while the fate of this year’s festivals in Locarno and Karlovy Vary, as well as the Cannes Film Festival, are still uncertain.