By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) – Film fans will flock to the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina on Friday for one of the country's most important cultural events, the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Set to host 53 films in four categories this year, the festival was initiated 25 years ago to make the city a destination of culture and art once again and help heal the memories of the bloody Bosnian War.

The film festival is slated for Aug. 16-23, with 14 short and nine feature films as well as 16 documentaries and 14 student films. They will all compete for the special "Heart of Sarajevo" award.

The contesting films will be from a variety of countries from the Balkans and Central Europe to Caucasia.

Also, the historic National Theater in Sarajevo will screen the world premiers of 23 films during the festival, according to the organizing committee.

The Heart of Sarajevo Honor Award will be presented to Oscar-winning Mexican director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu as well as Polish filmmaker Pawel Pawlikowski.

This year's festival will be inaugurated by Bosnian director Ines Tanovic's movie, The Son also to make its world debut.

– Four Turkish films to compete

This year, four Turkish films in four categories will compete for the Heart of Sarajevo award.

"Sisters" in the feature film category, "Black Sun" in the short film category, "Queen Lear" in the documentary film category, and "Earth, on Hold" in the student film category will be shown in the competition.

In addition to the award-winning feature films, "Heidi", "Open Door", "Rounds", "The Son", "Mo", "And Then We Danced", "Cat In The Wall" and "Take Me Somewhere Nice" will compete.

In the short film category, "12 K. Marx Street", "Natural Selection", "Postcards From The End Of The World", "Symbiosis", "The Pit", "Mr. Mare", "One Of Many", "Salt , Pepper To Taste Duz "," The Distance Between Us And The Sky "," The Last Image Of Father "," The Last Trip To The Seaside "," The Van" and "Tina" will participate in the competition.

The documentary film category will include the films: "A Small Documentary About 3 Letters", "Daughter Of Camorra", "How Far The Stars", "If Only Dreams Came True", "Stack Of Material", "The Golden Girl", "The Soviet Garden", "Yet Another Departure", "Palace For The People", "Then Comes The Evenings", "The Euphoria Of Being", "When The Persimmons Grew", "When Tomatoes Met Wagner", "Honeyland" and "In Between".

Meanwhile, in the student films category, "Elephant's Graveyard", "Sad Girl Weekend", "Sherbet", "The Shift", "God The Mother", "Life Between The Exit Signs", "As Up To Now", "Broken Things", "Day Release", "Favorites", "How To Fly A Kite?", "Night Session" and "Sigh" will compete.

The Sarajevo Film Festival was launched in 1995, as an act of defiance towards the end of the 43-month siege of Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serb forces and is now one of the most important cultural events in Europe, attracting thousands each year.

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