Serbian director Miroslav Terzić’s ŠAVOVI (STITCHES) has won this year’s Europa Cinemas Label prize as Best European film in the Panorama section at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival.

“Stitches” is based on the true and scandalous story of newborn babies being stolen from Serbian hospitals 20 years ago to be illegally sold for adoption.

The film, which had its world premiere in Berlin’s Panorama sidebar, features an engrossing performance by Snežana Bogdanović as Ana, one of the most celebrated actresses of former Yugoslavia. The film is inspired by a real-life scandal that came to light in Serbia a few years ago. In thousands of cases over decades, Serbian hospitals and a network of doctors, undertakers and government employees systematically stole newborn children and sold them into adoption, telling the parents that their child had died. Featuring an expressive performance from the female lead and a moving screenplay, Miroslav Terzić’s film carefully unfolds a story of loss and hope.

The jury issued the following statement: “This film is a fine example of the power of the art of film. Great direction, cinematography, script, editing and superior performances. The film is based on true events and it shows that there is a lot of injustice in the world, but by believing in yourself and trusting your emotions you can break down walls. The story is heart-breaking. Once you have seen this film it does not let you go. What would you do if this happened to you? The courage of the mother of this film is truly extraordinary. Many congratulations to the director Miroslav Terzić.”

STITCHES is directed by Miroslav Terzić, with the screenplay by Elma Tataragic. The cast includes Snezana Bogdanovic (Ana), Marko Bacovic (Jovan), Jovana Stojiljkovic (Ivana), Vesna Trivalic (Marija), Dragana Varagic (Doctor) and Pavle Cemerikic (Marko).

The Producers are Uliks Fehmiu, Milena Trobozic Garfield, with Executive Producer Ljiljana Djuricko, and Co-producers Darko Vinkl, Alan Vitezic, Zdenka Gold, Amra Baksic Camo, Adis Djapo. The film is produced by Uliks Fehmiu and Milena Trobozić Garfield for West End Productions, and co-produced by Nora Production Group (Slovenia), Spiritus Movens (Croatia) and SCCA/Pro.Ba (Bosnia and Herzegovina). Dubai-based Cercamon is handling world sales.

Miroslav Terzić is born in Belgrade in former Yugoslavia in 1969, Miroslav Terzić studied international law at the city’s university before taking a postgraduate degree in its Faculty of Dramatic Arts. His debut feature film, REDEMPTION STREET, premiered at the Sarajevo Film Festival and went on to screen at the São Paulo International Film Festival. He also works as a director for major marketing agencies.

STITCHES will now benefit from promotional support from Europa Cinemas and better exhibition thanks to a financial incentive for Network cinemas to include it in their programme schedule.

The Label Jury consisted of Juha Elomäki – Arthouse Cinema Niagara, Tampere, Finland; Daniela Zuklic – Thalia Programm Kino, Potsdam, Germany and Marlena Gabryszewska – Kino Elektronik, Warsaw, Poland.