Danis Tanović

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

Danis Tanović
Tanović in August 2008
Born (1969-02-20) 20 February 1969
ResidenceSarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
CitizenshipBosnian and Belgian
Alma materUniversity of Sarajevo; INSAS
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter
Years active1994–present
Spouse(s)Maelys de Rudder Tanović[1]

Life and career

Tanović was born in Zenica on 20 February 1969. He was raised in 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, Tanović was forced to stop his studies in 1992.

Immediately after war broke out, Tanović formed a film crew that followed the Army 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 Kieslowski 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).[2] The film received mixed reviews.[2][3][4][5]

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.[6][7]

His 2010 film Cirkus Columbia was selected as the Bosnian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards,[8] but it didn't make the final shortlist.[9]

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[10] where it won two prizes: Silver Bear for Best Actor and the Jury Grand Prix.[11]

His latest 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.

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

Currently, he works as a professor of film directing at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo.


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%[12] 84%[13]
2002 11'09"01 September 11 Yes Yes No No 78%[14]
2005 L'Enfer Yes No No No 67%[15]
2009 Triage Yes No Yes No
2010 Cirkus Columbia Yes No No No 80%[16] 57%[17]
2011 Prtljag Yes No No No
2013 An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker Yes Yes No No 93%[18]
2014 Tigers Yes Yes No Yes TBC TBC
2016 Death in Sarajevo Yes


  1. "Pogledajte najljepše kreacije sa crvenog tepiha 24. Sarajevo Film Festivala" (in Bosnian). Klix.ba. 16 August 2018. Retrieved 16 August 2018.
  2. Bradshaw, Peter (21 April 2006). "Hell (L'Enfer)". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  3. "'Pakao': Filmska ponuda koju Danis Tanović nije mogao odbiti". jutarnji.hr. 30 November 2006. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  4. Dawson, Tom (12 April 2006). "Hell (L'Enfer) (2006)". BBC. Archived from the original on 16 June 2009. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  5. Holden, Stephen (10 March 2006). "A Dose of French Film, Civil and Sane". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  6. Oscar-winning director to establish new political party in BiH (SETimes.com)
  7. http://soc.kuleuven.be/iieb/docs/2009/26780_Touquet.pdf%5B%5D
  8. "Bosnia selects Cirkus Columbia; Bulgaria submits Eastern Plays for Oscars". Screendaily. Retrieved 29 September 2010.
  9. "9 Foreign Language Films Continue to Oscar Race". oscars.org. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
  10. "Berlinale Competition 2013: Another Nine Films Confirmed". berlinale. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  11. "Prizes of the International Jury". berlinale. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  12. "No Mans Land". rottentomatoes.com. 2001. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  13. "No Mans Land". metacritic.com. 2001. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  14. "11'09\"01 September 11". rottentomatoes.com. 2002. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  15. "L'Enfer". rottentomatoes.com. 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  16. "Circus Columbia". rottentomatoes.com. 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  17. "Circus Columbia". metacritic.com. 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
  18. "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker". rottentomatoes.com. 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2015.
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