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A Voice from Siroki Brijeg

Ana Kraljević

Ana Kraljević attended FILM FORWARD screenings and discussions in Široki Brijeg and shares her thoughts on the experience.


Most of you reading do not even know where Široki Brijeg is. It is a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina centered next to the historical city of Mostar. In Široki, we have many cultural events, even our own festival of documentary film—the Mediterranean Film Festival—going on for fifteen years, but on September 24, our town and its people were given the chance to be able to watch two films from FILM FORWARD 2013, a program of Sundance Institute and United States federal cultural agencies.

The turnout was respectable, mostly highschoolers and young people seeking for new experiences. The first projection Bones Brigade: An Autobiography had a positive impact on both young and older generations. We were introduced to skateboarding as a sport, opposed to it just being a hobby seen in movies and video games. Our experience was enhanced after the dialogues with Stacy Peralta.

On the other hand, the second movie had a slightly different effect on the audience, in Valley of Saints a young individual struggles with the question of religion, culture, family and love for his country. Many of the viewers could relate the thematics to our country and with this understand the wide possibilities of being introduced to new cultures.

The Q&A after the movie was very interesting and interactive. Musa Syeed was very open to all our questions, and the audience was very pleased with his comic and sympathetic approach. “As if he were from the Balkans,” they said.

I speak for all of Široki Brijeg that we were very glad to be a part of the FILM FORWARD program and had the chance to see for ourselves that the knowledge of cultural diversity is in fact the indicator of cultural resemblance, or in other words, how we are so different yet so alike. We hope that this is not the last time we meet.

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A man in a beige shirt and with medium-length dark hair kneels in the dirt and looks over his right shoulder at the camera

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