Bosnian scholar and filmmaker Lejla Panjeta visited campus this week as part of a new exchange program between UM-St. Louis and universities in Bosnia.
Panjeta and fellow Bosnian filmmaker Almir Sahinovic discussed one of their films and Panjeta spoke about filmmaking and the culture of Bosnia in a two-day event.
Panjeta, professor of theater and media studies at the University of Tuzla in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was set to speak on Tuesday and Thursday to a film class.
On Tuesday, the two Bosnian film producers were supposed to present a screening of their film “Skies Above The Landscape,” followed by discussion of the film.
On Thursday, Panjeta was supposed to talk about Bosnian cinema and culture.
However, their film “Skies Above The Landscape” was lost on its air trip from Bosnia and the icy weather that forced the campus to close meant the cancellation of the Thursday talk.
The filmmakers instead presented another film shot in Bosnia, “Shot Through the Heart,” an HBO production filmed in Sarajevo shortly after the war.
“Shot Through the Heart” used Bosnians as crew and Almir Sahinovic worked on set design, scouting for locations in the war-ravaged city and working as a talent scout. Panjeta, herself, is a survivor of the siege of Sarajevo.
The Tuesday film screening and discussion drew an enthusiastic audience.
“Quite a few students stayed ’till the end of the program and there was an incredible discussion that went on well past 6:30,” said Rita Csapo-Sweet, associate professor of media studies at UM-St. Louis.
Panjeta, in addition to being an award-winning filmmaker, has written articles and books on cinema, theater and media propaganda.
Panjeta is also the adviser for Culture and Education to Haris Silajdzic, a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency.
The presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a group of representatives from the various Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian groups. The position of chair rotates through the membership every eight months.
Panjeta’s and Sahinovic’s visit is the first event in a program that is part of an historic student and faculty exchange agreement signed last year by Chancellor Thomas George.
Cinema is to be a big part of the exchange program, according to Rita Csapo-Sweet, associate professor of media studies at UM-St. Louis.
The exchange program between UM-St. Louis and the Universities of Sarajevo and Tuzla was organized by Csapo-Sweet, in collaboration with the Center for International Studies.