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Aug 15, 1:24 PM EDT

Sarajevo Film Festival kicks off

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Sarajevo Film Festival kicks off

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SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) -- The Sarajevo Film Festival, born amid the terrors of the Balkans wars, is marking its 20th anniversary with its longest lineup of movies.

Over nine days starting Friday, 250 movies from 60 countries will be screened at a festival expected to attract some 100,000 viewers.

The Sarajevo festival began in 1995. Its founders wanted to offer people braving mortar shells during the Bosnian war a sense of normalcy.

The event has since grown from a relatively small gathering in a basement to the largest festival in the Balkans.

Hungary's Bella Tarr chairs the jury that will choose the winner of the top prize - the Heart of Sarajevo Award - among nine competing movies.

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