Safe Place, the feature debut of Croatian writer-director-star Juraj Lerotić was the big winner at the 2022 Sarajevo Film Festival, winning the Heart of Sarajevo prize for best feature film as well as best acting honors for Lerotić.
A critical favorite of the 28th Sarajevo festival, Safe Place is a devastating, and autobiographical, family drama featuring Lerotić as a man trying to save his younger, depressed brother from committing suicide.
“It’s hard to do a movie about the loss of a person close to you, but I processed it as much as possible before the shooting,” Lerotić told The Hollywood Reporter. “As an author, it fascinates me in some way that the horror that happened to me and my family is even possible. Until that event, I did not know that things could get out of control so quickly, so radically…I wrote it out of a reflex. The same reflex I would write out of if something beautiful happened to me.”
Safe Place premiered at the 75th Locarno Film Festival, where it won three awards, including the best emerging director, the best actor honor for Goran Marković, who plays the younger brother, and the best first feature award.
Best directing honors at the 2022 Sarajevo festival went to Ukrainian filmmaker Maryina Er Gorbach for her brutal war drama Klondike. The Ukrainian-Turkish co-production tells the story of a Ukrainian family living in the Donbass region on the Russian-Ukraine border during the start of the war. Er Gorbach won best director for Klondike in the World Cinema Dramatic section in Sundance earlier this year.
Vicky Krieps won Sarajevo’s best actress prize for her performance as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in Corsage, the same role that won the Luxembourg star best actress honors in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section this year.
The 28th Sarajevo Film Festival, the region’s leading film festival and one of the top film events in South-East Europe, wrapped Friday night.
Full list of winners of the 28th Sarajevo Film Festival
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST FEATURE FILM
Safe Place (Croatia), Dir: Juraj Lerotić
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DIRECTOR
Klondike (Ukraine, Türkiye), Dir: Maryina Er Gorbach
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST ACTRESS
Vicky Krieps for Corsage (Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, France)
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST ACTOR
Juraj Lerotić, Safe Place (Croatia)
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM
Museum of the Revolution (Serbia, Croatia, Czech Republic) Dir: Srđan Keča #HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY FILM
We…Composition (Kosovo, Germany), Dir: Visar Jusufi
HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD
Bigger than Trauma (Croatia), Dir: Vedrana Pribačić
SPECIAL JURY AWARD
Fragile Memory (Ukraine, Slovakia), Dir: Igor Ivanko
SPECIAL JURY MENTION (for short documentary film)
Babajanja (Croatia), Dir: Ante Zlatko Stolica
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST SHORT FILM
Amok (Hungary, Romania), Dir: Balázs Turai
SPECIAL JURY MENTION
5 PM Seaside (Austria, Greece), Dir: Valentin Stejskal
HEART OF SARAJEVO FOR BEST STUDENT FILM
It’s Not Cold For Mosquitoes (Croatia), Dir: Josip Lukić, Klara Šovagović
SPECIAL AWARD FOR PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY
Aftersun (United Kingdom, United States), Dir: Charlotte Wells