Azerbaijani filmmaker wins Heart of Sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Sarajevo Film Festival has awarded August 21 its Heart of Sarajevo award to Azerbaijani filmmaker Rufat Hasanov for “The Island Within,” the story of a chess grandmaster who flees to a remote island in the face of a world championship showdown.

The 26th Sarajevo Film Festival took place online due to a sudden rise in coronavirus cases in the Bosnian capital and featured 187 films from 56 countries, including a psychological drama written and directed by Rufat Hasanov. Hasanov has also co-directed “Chameleon,” a feature film featured at the 2013 Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland.

“The Island Within” tells the story of Seymour Tahirbekov, an international chess grandmaster from Azerbaijan, who earns the right to challenge the defending world champion. With a few weeks left until the championship, Seymour’s psychological and emotional state deteriorates after being pressured by his father and coach. Seymour runs away to a remote island. On the island, inhabited mostly by feral horses and cows, he encounters its only human resident – an old man.

Hasanov, 33, was born and raised in the capital Baku of Azerbaijan. In 2009, he graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, US before working for Vice Media in New York. The Azerbaijani filmmaker has also worked in Russia for seven years until 2017 when he returned to Azerbaijan calling it a good time “to help make things right here in the film industry.”

The jury of the 26th Sarajevo Film Festival was presided by Academy Award-winning director Michel Hazanavicius and had as its members Carlo Chatrian, artistic director of the Berlin International Film Festival, Andrea Stavenhagen, head of industry and training projects at the Morelia Film Festival of Mexico, Serbian director Srdan Golubović, and Croatian actress Jadranka Đokić. 

The closing ceremony took place at the Raiffeisen Open Air Cinema in compliance with all epidemiological measures.

(c) Caspian News


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