Network of Festivals in the Adriatic Region

    Sarajevo Film Festival (SFF), a leading film festival in Southeast Europe, launched a network of festivals operating on the territory of common language of the former Yugoslavia in 2020 (supported by CE MEDIA programme). Alongside SFF, the network initially gathered prominent festivals from Croatia (Zagreb Film Festival – ZFF), Montenegro (Montenegro / Herceg Novi Film Festival – MFF) and Serbia (Auteur Film Festival – AFF). The Network’s strategic plan foresaw geographical extension to other territories of Former Yugoslavia, thus starting from 2022 a fifth partner from Slovenia has been introduced (Ljubljana International Film Festival – Liffe). Though these five festivals vary in size and programming, they share a mission to promote and circulate European audio-visual content and talent. 

    The governing principles that have emerged during last two years: a high level of solidarity towards filmmakers; the launching of collaboration activities among festivals that enable circulation of content and promotion of the European talent; the stimulation of financial exploitation for given titles to secure fair monetisation; to secure more job opportunities for the professionals involved in the festival sector and to bring more sustainable practice in our daily operations. 

    Not only in our region, but also across Europe, smaller-scale film festivals have become the leading alternative method of financial exploitation for many European films. Operating in such an environment requires festivals to step in and take the role of independent distributors and only way to achieve economy of scale is to collaborate and establish partnerships across the region.  

    This project represents a strategic partnership that aims to stimulate the circulation and promotion of independent European films and talents in a common language region that is marked by limited access to high-quality film content. This partnership seeks to encourage audience retention, to cultivate new audiences and to enhance the overall organisational and operational capacities of its partners by introducing the latest technological advances. 

    Several joint projects to be carried out by the Network in 2022 include a selection of four European films from low-production-capacity countries (Portugal, Georgia, Romania, the Netherlands); these films will screen at all five festivals, where local cinema-goers will vote for the Audience Award. The winning film will be announced at the end of the year, after the festival circuit has completed and the votes from all festivals have been counted, receiving financial support for the distribution of the film in the region.