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'An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker' to Open Sarajevo Film Fest

an episode in the life of an iron picker Still - H 2013
A poor Roma family play themselves in the microbudget drama.

The Danis Tanovic-directed drama won two Silver Bears in Berlin in February.

MOSCOW -- An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, a true-life drama from Bosnian director Danis Tanovic, will open the 19th Sarajevo International Film Festival, the Balkans' largest regional film fest.

Tanovic, best known internationally for his Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning debut No Man's Land (2001), earned critical kudos for Iron Picker, which won both the grand jury prize and the Silver Bear for best actor Nazif Mujic at its world premiere in Berlin in February.

The film is a re-creation of real events. Mujic plays himself, a poor Roma scrap metal collector who is thrust into an existential crisis when his wife miscarries and needs urgent, and costly, medical treatment. Shot on a microbudget reported to be less than $50,000, Iron Picker will open the Sarajevo fest Aug. 16, screening simultaneously at Sarajevo’s National Theater and at the Open Air Cinema in the city's center. Tanovic is expected to attend.

"Again this year, to our great joy, we are able to continue our tradition of opening the festival with a film from Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Sarajevo festival director Mirsad Purivatra.

Since its founding in 1995, while the city was still under siege in the Balkan civil war, the Sarajevo IFF has established itself as a leading regional industry event. CineLink, the co-production platform that runs alongside the festival, has become a key draw for producers from the wider region. The festival also is part of new regional distribution platform Operation Kino, in partnership with fests in Sofia, Cluj and Istanbul.

The 19th Sarajevo IFF runs Aug. 16-24, 2013.