Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Angelina Jolie handed Bosnia award

Angelina Jolie arrives for the final night of the 17th Sarajevo film festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia (AP)
Angelina Jolie arrives for the final night of the 17th Sarajevo film festival in Sarajevo, Bosnia (AP)

Angelina Jolie was presented with a special award when she attended the closing ceremony of the eight-day Sarajevo Film Festival in Bosnia's capital

Organisers presented the Lara Croft star with The Heart of Sarajevo award for bringing attention to refugees from the country's 1992-95 war.

Festival director Miro Purivatra said it was given to the Changeling actress not only for her great impact in the movie industry, but also "for persisting in her active engagement in the complexities in the real world we live in".

Jolie visited Bosnia several times last year as UNHCR ambassador and drew attention to the plight of 117,000 people who have not able to return to their homes even though the Bosnia war ended 16 years ago.

Accompanied by Brad Pitt, she visited several refugee camps. The visit resulted in a US government donation that provided housing for the last 15 people living in one of the rundown facilities.

"I told Brad in the car I was afraid I was going to cry," the Mr and Mrs Smith star said with tears in her eyes as the audience gave her a standing ovation at the Sarajevo National Theatre.

Angelina said she experienced the "warmth and hospitality" of the city during her visits and was honoured to receive the award - a silver heart she took out of the box and pressed against her chest.

"There is no greater example of the strength of artists than a festival that began during the war and grows stronger every year. I find it remarkable," she said.

Jolie and Pitt later watched a film about refugees by Oscar-winning Bosnian director Danis Tanovic.

The Sarajevo Film Festival started in 1994 in the besieged city as its founders tried to offer citizens some sense of normal life. Residents braved mortar shells raining on the city to gather in a city centre cellar and watch Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, sometimes unsure whether the sounds of shooting came from the soundtrack or battles outside.

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