Turkish director and Cannes Palme d’Or winner Nuri Bilge Ceylan on Friday received an outstanding contribution award at the opening of the Sarajevo film festival.
“This is great honour for me, really, and I accept it with my heart,” the director said after receiving the “Heart of Sarajevo” award.
Ceylan scooped the top prize at the Cannes film festival in 2014 for his epic drama “Winter Sleep”.
His latest feature, “The Wild Pear Tree”, was also selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
The Sarajevo film festival, now in its 24th year, will also celebrate Ceylan’s talent as a stills photographer with a exhibition of his work in the Bosnian capital.
The festival kicked off on Friday night with an open-air screening of “Cold War” by Oscar winner Pawel Pawlikowski, who took home the prize for best director at this year’s Cannes festival.
Pawlikowski also won the best foreign language movie Oscar for “Ida” in 2015.
More than 200 films from 56 countries will be shown during the eight-day festival which highlights work from southeastern Europe.
This year’s Sarajevo jury will be led by renowned Iranian director Asghar Farhadi.
Established as an “act of resistance” during the 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war in Bosnia, the Sarajevo film festival regularly attracts big names. Past guests include Robert De Niro, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Juliette Binoche, Jeremy Irons and John Cleese.
However, its main goal is to promote cinema from the region.
“We are happy that directors from southeast Europe choose the Sarajevo Festival for the premier screening of their movies, therefore opening the doors to other big festivals,” its director Miro Purivatra said ahead of the festival.