Georgia's 'In Bloom' Takes Three Hearts of Sarajevo

Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria the young stars of "In Bloom".

Feature debut by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross continues run of festival awards kudos, including for best film and a joint award for its young actresses.

SARAJEVO -- Georgian feature debut In Bloom by Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross won best film and best actress for both its young stars at the closing Saturday of the 19th Sarajevo Film Festival.

The festival award -- a hand-crafted iconic "Heart of Sarajevo" symbol and cash award of $21,000 (E 16000) for best film -- marked more acclaim for a film that has already picked up a raft of prizes since its premiere February in Berlinale's Forum.

Lika Babluani and Mariam Bokeria jointly were awarded best actress, a repeat of the same recognition they received just a month ago at the Odessa International Film Festival in Ukraine.

The coming of age story of two teenage girls in Georgia as the country collapses into civil war in 1992 had particular emotional resonance in Sarajevo, a city that endured more than 1400 days of siege by Serbian forces at the same time.

In other prizes main competition prizes a special jury prize worth $13,000 (E 10,000) went to director Bobo Jelcic for Croatian, Bosnian co-production A Stranger. The film also picked up best actor for Bogdan Diklic.

Best short film when to Romanian director Radu Jude for Shadow of a Cloud, with a special jury mention for Pride a Bulgarian/German co-production directed by Pavel Vesnakov.

Best documentary was Sickfuckpeople by Austrian director Juri Rechinsky, a challenging portrayal of homeless children living on the streets of Odessa. There was a special jury prize for Konstantinos Georgousis' undercover expose of the Greek neo-Nazi movement, The Cleaners.

The annual Human Rights award went to Croatian director Arsen Oremovic's Married to the Swiss Franc, a documentary about people left in debt after being granted Swiss Franc-denominated loans that spiralled in cost as their local currency lost value.