Oscar-winning director Farhadi opens Sarajevo Film Festival

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Tehran, Aug 12, IRNA - Iranian filmmaker and screenwriter Asghar Farhadi, twice an Academy Award winner, opened the 24th Sarajevo Film Festival.

He also heads the panel of international jury at the event, reported the Tehran-based English-language newspaper, Iran Daily on Sunday.

Farhadi was not the only Oscar winner in attendance. Also present was Paweł Pawlikowski who won best director at the Cannes Film Festival for the love story 'Cold War'.

Farhadi's most recent film, 'Everybody Knows', will also be screened at the festival in the Open Air program.

The 24th edition of the festival began with an opening ceremony that saw Nuri Bilge Ceylan receive an honorary Heart of Sarajevo award.

'Cold War' opened the festival which is the largest film competition and industry platform in a region stretching from Vienna to Istanbul.

Launched in 1995 as an act of defiance towards the end of the 43-month siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, the festival has become a beacon of the Bosnian capital's cultural survival, drawing thousands each year.

The SFF's focus on the promotion of authors mainly from eastern and southeastern Europe has boosted cooperation between the Balkan countries that fought with each other during the wars in the 1990s, creating a platform for reconciliation through art.

This year, a record 266 films from 56 countries will be shown, of which 52 will have their world premieres, SFF Director Mirsad Purivatra said.

The annual festival attracts thousands of visitors each year and has a significant impact on the local economy.

An independent study by British consultancy Olsberg SPI said that SFF generated $30.8 million for the Sarajevo economy last year.

The 24th Sarajevo Film Festival runs until August 17, Iran Daily wrote.

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