BOSNIA:UKRAINE Reporting from the Future

Danis Tanović


Danis Tanović was born in the central Bosnian city of Zenica. He was raised in Sarajevo where he also received his primary and secondary education, and attended the University of Sarajevo Music Conservatory, where he played the piano. As a young adult, Tanović decided to study at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo. However, due to the siege of Sarajevo, he was forced to stop his studies in 1992. Tanović joined a film crew that followed the Army of Bosnia and Herzegovina, going on dangerous missions. The material that Tanović and the film crew produced has since been used in numerous films and news reports about the Siege of Sarajevo and the Bosnian war. In late 1994, Tanović left the film crew he had worked with for over two years. A year later, he decided to resume his studies in filmmaking, this time in Brussels, Belgium. He made several critically acclaimed documentary films, and completed his studies in 1997. Shortly after, Tanović began his first movie project, entitled No Man’s Land. He wrote and directed the movie, which was completed in 2001 and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that same year. No Man’s Land went on to win the Award for Best Screenplay (Prix du scénario) at Cannes. In total, No Man’s Land won 42 awards, including the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, the European Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay, the César for the Best First Feature film, the André Cavens Award for Best Film in 2001, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002. Upon international theatrical release, the film was embraced by critics and those who went to see it, for its darkly humorous and gripping tale on the absurdity of war. It is probably the most awarded first feature film in a history of filmmaking. Tanović’s second feature project was L’Enfer (Hell), completed in 2005, from the screenplay by the late Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz. The film marked the second installment in the Polish duo’s projected trilogy ‘Heaven, Hell and Purgatory’. His 2010 film Cirkus Columbia was selected as the Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards. In 2011, he was bestowed with an “honoris causa” doctorate by the University of Sarajevo. His 2013 film An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker premiered in competition at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival where it won two prices: Best Actor and the Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear). Tanović holds joint Bosnian and Belgian citizenship and, after living in Brussels and Paris, lives in Sarajevo with his wife and five children. He currently works as a professor of film directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo.

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