BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Next year the Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival (AJB DOC) will take further steps to open to the world from the Balkans region, according to a top festival organizer.
In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Ahmed Mahfouz, managing director of the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel Manager, hailed the festival’s success in surviving into its fourth year despite all the difficulties such as the worldwide pandemic.
The 4th Al Jazeera Balkans Documentary Film Festival in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, kicked off last Friday and concludes on Tuesday.
The five-day festival, with Anadolu Agency as its global communications partner, boasted a world-class slate of documentaries from around the globe.
"We’re planning to expand the festival next year," said Mahfouz. “We will open up to the whole world from the Balkans. AJB DOC has become an indispensable festival in the region.”
Mahfouz said that every kind of art is affected by the economy, society, and political situation that it springs from.
“There have been great developments around the world recently. There are wars. There is a pandemic,” he explained.
“The measures brought by the novel coronavirus epidemic also affected both our social life and the economy. These developments are closely related to every field of art, such as writing novels, drawing pictures, and making films."
Mahfouz said developments in the world should be followed by art.
"Al Jazeera Documentary Channel believes that culture has deep roots, but politics is quite volatile. We should be aware of the change in politics but focus more on deep roots," said Mahfouz.
Eleven documentary films competed in the festival.
The festival featured a total of 23 documentaries, including the world premieres of six, regional premieres of eight, and special screenings of three.
This year the festival took place both online (www.ajbdoc.ba) and in movie theaters.
- 3 awards to be given
Three awards will be presented at Tuesday’s closing ceremony.
A five-member international jury will choose the best film from the competition program and present the AJB DOC Main Award. All films in the competition program also compete for the AJB Program Award, awarded by the Al Jazeera Balkans Program Department Jury. All films screened at the festival will also compete for the Audience Award.
The festival aims to encourage writers and documentaries dealing with social phenomena by focusing on universal human values, including documentary films adapted for airing on television.