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01 Aug 2011

A tearful Angelina Jolie has been honoured at the Sarajevo Film Festival for her acting and "active engagement in the complexities of the real world".

Jolie, whose directorial debut is set in Bosnia's 1992 to 1995 war, received a standing ovation as she picked up the honorary Heart of Sarajevo award.

"I told Brad in the car I was afraid I was going to cry," she said.

She presented the festival's best actor award to Thomas Schubert who starred in Atman, also named best film.

Romanian leading lady Ada Condeescu won best actress for her role in Loverboy.
Act of resistance

Jolie, 36, who was at the 17th Sarajevo Film Festival with boyfriend Brad Pitt, visited Bosnia several times last year as a goodwill ambassador for the UN's refugee agency.

She said she was "so honoured to be here".

"There is no greater example of the strengths of the artists and the festival that began during the war and grew stronger every year," she added.

The festival began as an act of resistance in 1995 with residents braving mortar shells to gather in a basement to watch Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.

Some scenes from Jolie's film In the Land of Blood and Honey - due for release in December - were shot in Bosnia while others were shot in Hungary.

The film, which stars Zana Marjanovic and Rade Serbedzija, tells the story of a love affair between a Bosnian Muslim woman and a Serb, on opposite sides of the conflict.

The licence to film in Sarajevo was at one point revoked following local rumours that the film featured a rape victim who falls in love with her assailant.

The licence was given back when producers proved the rumour was not true.

At the time, Jolie asked people to "hold judgement until they have seen the film".

"There are many twists in the plot that address the sensitive nature of the relationship between the main characters and that will be revealed once the film is released," she said.

On her visits to Bosnia for the UN last year, Jolie drew attention to the thousands of people who have been unable to return to their homes despite the war ending 16 years ago.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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