Danis Tanović, born 20 February 1969, is a Bosnian film director, producer and screenwriter. Tanović was raised in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia and Herzogovina), where he also completed his primary and secondary education. Tanović went on to study piano at the Sarajevo Music Academy.
As a young adult, Tanović decided to study at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo. However, in 1992 the siege of the city forced him to stop studying, and he worked instead with a film crew until 1994. A year later, Tanović decided to resume his studies, this time at the Institut Supérieur des Arts in the Belgian capital Brussels. He completed his degree in 1997, graduating at the top of his class.
During his studies, he made several well received documentary films. He 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. He is widely considered one of the best contemporary Bosnian filmmakers of his generation and has garnered critical acclaim for many of his movies. Furthermore, he was honoured to be a member of the jury at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2008, Tanović established Naša Stranka, a grassroots political party based in Sarajevo. He also continued his work as a filmmaker and made a number of recent films, including Triage (2009), starring Colin Farrell, Paz Vega and Christopher Lee and Cirkus Columbia (2010), starring Miki Manojlović and Mira Furlan.
One of his last films, An Episode in the Life on an Iron Picker made in 2013, won the Jury Grand Prix at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. The film follows the life of a Romani family, exploring their struggle with hopelessness, rejection and conflict.
The film’s protagonist is forced to become an iron picker in order to help his pregnant wife while facing a prejudicial system that is actually supposed to support people. The movie is directed from a unique angle, not only with regards to the terrifying story, which is not all that far removed from reality, but also because the participating actors are not professional – they are recreating an episode of their own lives in the film.
2013 An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker, won Jury Grand Prix at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival
2008 Herzausreisser, 85 mins, documentary film, screenplay and direction
2005 Unter den Brettern hellgrünes Gras (The Green Green Grass Beneath), 52 mins, documentary film, screenplay and direction,
won 2006 TV Award of Adult Education
2003 Allegro Moderato, 1 min., part of Bilder, die das Herz schneller schlagen lassen (Manfred Neuwirth)
1991/1995/2003 O! Fortuna! – work in progress, 5.05 min, drama documentary, screenplay and direction
2000 Ceija Stojka – Porträt einer Romani, 87 mins, documentary film, screenplay and direction
1991 Das Wunder von Hoheneich – Eine Wiederbegegnung, 24 mins, documentary film, screenplay and direction
1990 Porträts mit ZeitzeugInnen, So richtig vogelfrei, Rosa Winter, 20 mins; Rückkehr unerwünscht, Fritz Kleinmann, 35 mins; Kein Ort für Slowenen, Marija Olip, 30 mins
1985 Küchengespräche mit Rebellinnen, 80 min, documentary film, screenplay and direction, made with E. Holzinger, L. Podgornik, L. N. Trallori
1984 Tränen statt Gewehre, black and white, 30 mins, documentary film, screenplay and direction, made with E. Holzinger, L. Podgornik, L. N. Trallori
2009 Documentary prize at the International Filmfest Würzburg
2005 Recognised by the State of Lower Austria for special
achievements in the field of media art (documentary film)
1993 Käthe Leichter Prize for Research on the History of Women in the Labour Movement
1991 Promotional prize from the Theodor Körner Fund for the Promotion of Science and Art
1989 Promotional prize from the City of Vienna for Humanities and Social Welfare