LOOKING FOR HORSES | Stefan Pavlović | The Netherlands, Bosnia & Herzegovina, France | 2021 | 88′

Synopsis (short):
A film about a friendship between the filmmaker and a fisherman. One lost his mother-tongue because of a stutter, the other lost his hearing during the Bosnian civil war. They look for ways to communicate, while the camera mediates their growing bond.
Synopsis (long):
‘Looking for Horses’ is a film about a friendship between the filmmaker and a fisherman, who lost his hearing during the Bosnian civil war and retreated to a lake to live in solitude. The filmmaker, son of Bosnian parents, struggles to communicate as he lost his mother tongue due to a stutter. Despite their speech and hearing limitations, a bond develops between the young man and the veteran, as he shares his world of the lake: full of large catfish, wild horses, wide silences, and dangerous thunderstorms. For the fisherman, the lake stands for a withdrawal from a fractured country, a land of war; for the filmmaker it precisely means the return to that broken place, the land of his parents. They look for ways to communicate, while the camera mediates their growing bond. Through its formal choices, this poetic documentary explores the connection between language, friendship.

Title: Looking for Horses
Location: Bosnia & Herzegovina
Production countries: The Netherlands / Bosnia&Herzegovina / France
Production year: 2021
Direction, image, sound: Stefan Pavlović
Editing: Sabine Groenewegen & Stefan Pavlović
Sound Design: Ranko Pauković
Composer: Karsten Fundal
Producer: Kostana Banović
Production company: artTrace Foundation
Co-production: KAMEN artist residency, Momento! Films
Sales contact: Lightdox


Stefan Pavlović, 1989.

Graduating with honors, Stefan received his BA in film directing at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. In 2017 he was selected to participate in the documentary film residency Aristoteles Workshop in Romania. Mentored by Dutch filmmaker John Appel, he made his third short film ‘When the dragon came.’ The film had its premiere at the Netherlands Film Festival in 2018, followed by its international premiere at the Krakow Film Festival. It would go on to win the Best Film Award at the Szczecin International Film Festival.

Stefan received his MA at the Netherlands Film Academy in Artistic Research in and through Cinema. His research, From filming intimacy to filming intimately, was nominated for the AHK Best Work Price and the Young Art Fund Amsterdam.

Stefan is currently based in Amsterdam and Looking for Horses is his first feature-length film.


Koštana Banović (b. 1960, Sarajevo) is a multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker based in Utrecht, the Netherlands. She works with various media including drawing, performance, (video-)installation, and film. Her cinematic practise addresses the interaction between experimental and cinéma vérité documentary styles, and includes a reflexivity belonging to the category of essay-film. Her films have been numerously awarded and screened at film festivals internationally, such as the IFFR in Rotterdam and Ji.hlava IDFF in Jihlava. She has exhibited across multiple international exhibition platforms, cultural-exchange residencies, and performed long-lasting artistic research in especially Bahia, Brazil and the countries of Former Yugoslavia. Her work is collected by for instance the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. She has also actively engaged in several art-educational and pedagogical contexts, was long-time teacher at the University of Arts in Utrecht (HKU) in the Fine Arts department, and guest teacher at various (post-)graduate institutes such as the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem and the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. Currently, she is the director of Eastern Neighbour Film Festival, in The Hague, and the artistic director of KAMEN artist residency in Bosnia & Herzegovina.


World Premiere: Visions du Réel – April 2021

2021 FID Marseille (French Premiere)
2021 Sarajevo Film Festival (Regional Premiere)
2021 Festival International du Film de Nancy
2021 Beldocs (Serbian Premiere)
2021 Corsica.Doc
2021 DOK Leipzig (German Premiere)
2021 Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival (Czech Premiere)
2021 MIDBO International Documentary Film Festival Bogotá (Colombian Premiere)
2021 Cork Film Festival (Irish Premiere)
2021 RIDM (Canadian Premiere)

2021 Cambridge FF (UK Premiere)
2021 Kasseler Dokfest
2021 IDFA (Dutch Premiere)
2021 Porto/Post/Doc (Portuguese Premiere)
2021 This Human World (Austrian Premiere)
2021 Human Rights FF Zagreb (Croatian Premiere)
2021 Guangzhou Documentary Film Festival, the Golden Kapok
2022 Trieste Film Festival
2022 DocPoint Film Festival
2022 Santa Barbara IFF (US Premiere)
2022 Ismailia IFF (Egypt Premiere)
2022 Ann Arbor Film Festival
2022 American Documentary and Animation Film Festival – AmDocs
2022 Dokumentarfilmwoche Hamburg
2022 South East European Film Festival Los Angeles – SEEfest
2022 Taiwan International Documentary Festival
2022 Ethnocineca
2022 One World Romania
2022 Underhill Fest
2022 Faito Doc Festival
2022 Lessinia FF
2022 Asincronie Festival di Cinema Documentario e Fotografia
2022 Baltic Sea Forum for Documentaries
2022 Netherlands Film Festival, Utrecht
2022 Aegean Docs
2022 Ethnofest Athens
2022 Aux Écrans du Réel

And more: Maysles Documentary Center, UnionDocs (Special Preview)


  • Burning Lights competition, Best Feature Award, Visions du Réel 2021
  • Special Jury Award, Competition Programme – Documentary Film, Sarajevo Film Festival 2021
  • Special Jury Mention, Festival international du film de Nancy 2021
  • Grand Prix at Corsica.Doc 2021
  • Grand Prix at International Feature Length Competition at RIDM 2021
  • Golden Key Feature Film Award at Kasseler Dokfest 2021
  • BALCANI CAUCASOTRANSEUROPA Award for Best Documentary in Competition at Trieste Film Festival 2022
  • Special Jury Award at Ismailia International Film Festival 2022
  • Best Documentary Film at Ann Arbor Film Festival 2022
  • Best International Feature at AmDocs 2022
  • Audience Award at SEEfest Los Angeles 2022
  • Feature Film Special Mention at Faito Doc Festival 2022
  • Special Mention in the Feature section by the Youth Jury at Faito Doc Festival 2022
  • Cimbricum Veronense Curatorium Award in memory of Piero Piazzola and Mario Pigozz for the best film by a young filmmaker at Lessinia FF 2022
  • Best Foreign Film Award at Aegean Docs 2022

Stefan Pavlović