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Danis Tanović
Danis Tanović.jpg
Tanović in August 2008
Born (1969-02-20) 20 February 1969 (age 54)
Nationality Bosnian
Citizenship Bosnian and Belgian
Alma mater University of Sarajevo; INSAS
Occupation Film director, screenwriter
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Maelys de Rudder
Children 5

Danis Tanović (born 20 February 1969) is a Bosnian film director and screenwriter. He is best known for having directed and written the script for the 2001 Bosnian movie No Man's Land which won him many awards, including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film among many others.

Tanović has also written and directed the award-winning Bosnian films An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker and Death in Sarajevo. He is regarded as one of the best Bosnian directors and screenwriters of all time, and also one of the best from Southeast Europe.

Tanović is the only person born in the territory of present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina to have won an Academy Award.

Life and career

Tanović was born in Zenica, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia on 20 February 1969. He was raised in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, where he also received his primary and secondary education. Tanović also attended the University of Sarajevo Music Conservatory, where he played the piano. As a young adult, he decided to study at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo. However, due to the Siege of Sarajevo and the Bosnian War, Tanović was forced to stop his studies in 1992. Immediately after war broke out, Tanović formed a film crew that followed the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina going on dangerous missions. The material that he and the film crew produced has since been used in numerous films and news reports about the Siege of Sarajevo and the Bosnian War.

In late 1994, Tanović left the film crew he had worked with for over two years. A year later, he decided to resume his studies, this time in Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In 1997, he completed his studies in Brussels, graduating at the top of his class. During his studies, Tanović made several documentary films.

Shortly after, he began his first movie project, entitled No Man's Land. He wrote and directed the movie, which was completed in 2001 and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival that same year. No Man's Land went on to win the Award for Best Screenplay (Prix du scénario) at Cannes, followed by numerous awards including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001, the European Film Academy Award for Best Screenplay, the César for the Best First Feature Film, the André Cavens Award for Best Film in 2001, and the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2002.

Tanović was a member of the jury at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.

His second feature project was L'Enfer, completed in 2005, from the screenplay by the late Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz. The film marked the second installment in the Polish duo's projected trilogy Heaven (filmed by Tom Tykwer in 2002), Hell and Purgatory. Inspired by Euripides' Medea, L'Enfer explores the lives of three sisters, "each locked in her own unhappiness, nursing a secret flower of misery, the seed for which was planted by their late father with a terrible incident in their girlhood" (from a review by Peter Bradshaw). The film received mixed reviews.

Tanović announced in March 2008 that he would be founding a political party with his friend, director Dino Mustafić, called Our Party, which would start contesting elections with the local elections in October 2008. He stated his motivations as wanting to bring political change to the country; his announcement was received positively.

His 2010 film Cirkus Columbia was selected as the Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, but it didn't make the final shortlist.

In June 2011, Tanović was bestowed with an "honoris causa" doctorate by the University of Sarajevo.

His 2013 film An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker premiered in competition at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival where it won two prizes: Silver Bear for Best Actor and the Jury Grand Prix.

His 2016 film "Death in Sarajevo" won the Jury Grand Prix at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. It has also won the FIPRESCI Award for the best film in competition. In March 2020, Tanović's film The Postcard Killings was released, based on the 2010 crime novel "The Postcard Killers". His latest film, Not So Friendly Neighborhood Affair, was released in August 2021.

Tanović holds joint Bosnian and Belgian citizenship and lives in Sarajevo with his wife Maelys de Rudder and five children. He lived in Paris until 2007.


Year Film Director Writer Composer Screenplay Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
1995 Miracle in Bosnia Yes No No No
1996 L'Aube Yes No No Yes
1999 Buđenje Yes Yes No No
2001 No Man's Land Yes Yes Yes No 93% 84%
2002 11'09"01 September 11 Yes Yes No No 78%
2005 Hell Yes No No No 67%
2009 Triage Yes No Yes No
2010 Cirkus Columbia Yes No No No 80% 57%
2011 Prtljag Yes No No No
2013 An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker Yes Yes No No 93%
2014 Tigers Yes Yes No Yes
2016 Death in Sarajevo Yes Yes No Yes 76%
2020 The Postcard Killings Yes No No No 25% 29%
2021 Not So Friendly Neighborhood Affair Yes Yes No No

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
2001 Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or No Man's Land Nominated
Best Screenplay Won
European Film Awards Best Screenwriter Won
Belgian Film Critics Association André Cavens Award Won
2002 Academy Award Best Foreign Language Film Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Foreign Language Film Won
César Awards Best Writing Nominated
European Film Academy Best Screenplay Won
2003 Cinema for Peace The Cinema for Peace Award for the Most Valuable Film of the Year Won
2013 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker Nominated
Jury Grand Prix Won
2016 Berlin International Film Festival Golden Bear Death in Sarajevo Nominated
Jury Grand Prix Won

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Danis Tanović para niños

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