Friday, October 13, 2006

Samir Mehanovic, Director

Visiting speaker: Samir Mehanovic

Friday 13 Oct, 2-4pm

Main Lecture Theatre,
Edinburgh College of Art,
United Kingdom

Ex Master of Design (Mdes) student who won a BAFTA award 2005 for Best New Director with his film “The Way We Played”

Excerpt from The Sunday Times - Scotland, 27 November 2005

Left to right: Darius, Samir Mehanovic, Suzanne Shaw

Samir Mehanovic escaped Bosnia to find sanctuary in Scotland. He has now won a Bafta for a short film in which he revisits a painful history.

Samir Mehanovic was saved by art. Not in the poetic sense, but practically and arbitrarily: one spring evening in 1995 the young Bosnian director left Tuzla’s central square for a theatre rehearsal only minutes before a bomb fell there, killing many of his friends.

Ten years later, his eyes fill with tears at the memory of 72 young cafe-goers slaughtered by a Serbian shell in one of the defining moments of the Balkan war.

Arriving at the Edinburgh Fringe a few months later, the boom of the one o’clock castle gun caused Mehanovic to throw himself to the pavement in terror. Unable to face going home, he claimed asylum and used the dramatic arts to explore his motherland’s rupture from afar.

The Way We Played, a 13-minute short that won him the prize for best first-time director, is both self-exploration and great cinema. Filmed entirely on location in Bosnia, it tells the story of two young boys, a Muslim and a Serb, playing together on the eve of a war that will make their friendship impossible.

‘It’s been a long journey,’ says the 36-year-old graduate of Edinburgh College of Art, proudly displaying his statuette on the table in Edinburgh’s Elephant House cafe. ‘This means very much to me psychologically. It feels like a long drink of water after a marathon.’

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