At the closing ceremony of the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary, the Serbian film Strahinja Banović won the main prize of the Festival. The Grand Prix of the Festival, “Crystal Globe”, was presented to the director Stefan Arsenijević by the famous Ethan Hawke.
Ibrahim Koma is a celebrated French actor who moved to Belgrade for the role of Strahinja a few months before the start of filming in order to learn the language and absorb Serbian culture. Jelena Stanković received a Special Award for Director of Photography.
In addition to these two awards, Strahinja Banović also won the Award of the Ecumenical Jury and the jury of the network of European viewers “Europa Cinemas Label”, as previously announced.
The film Strahinja Banović (international title As Far As I Can Walk) by Stefan Arsenijević competed in the Main Program of the Festival. This is the first time in 20 years that Serbian film has been included in the main competition program of this prestigious festival, and the first time in 55 years that it has won one of the main awards.
At the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Vladimir Pogačić has so far been awarded for best director by local authors in 1957, and Aleksandar Petrović won the First Grand Prize of the Three Film Festival in 1966.
For the first time, at the Karlovy Vary Festival, Serbian film won the award for best actor.
The film is an adaptation of the famous folk epic song Banović Strahinja, placed in the contemporary context of the refugee crisis. The main character is a young migrant from Africa (Ibrahim Koma) who, wanting to fit in better with the new environment, took the Serbian name Strahinja. With his wife Ababuo (Nancy Mensah-Offei), he lives in a refugee camp in Krnjača, until a new wave of refugees from Syria, including the charismatic Ali (Maxim Khalil), brings unrest into their lives.
Arsenijević gained fame with the short film (A) torsion, for which he won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival, the European Film Academy Award and was then nominated for an Oscar. Strahinja Banović is his second feature film, after the realization of Love and Other Crimes, which premiered at the Berlinale.
The film Strahinja Banović, written by Stefan Arsenijević, Bojan Vuletić and Nikola Dikre (Nicolas Ducray), was produced by Miroslav Mogorović in front of the house “Art & Popcorn”, in collaboration with the film “Cinnamon”. The co-producers are “Surprise Alley” (France), “Les Films Fauves” (Luxembourg), “Artbox Production House” (Lithuania) and “Chouchkov brothers” (Bulgaria).
The film was supported by the Film Center of Serbia, the Council of Europe Fund – Euroimage, the Luxembourg Film Fund, the French National Film Center, the Bulgarian National Film Center, the Lithuanian Film Center, Creative Europe – MEDIA and the Government of the Republic of Serbia.