The founder and director of the Tuzla Film Festival is Boris Balta, an actor of the National Theater in Tuzla. He is also the founder and director of the NGO Magic Factory dedicated to connecting people in that which they have in common, regardless of their gender, religion, race or nation, Magic Factory is the main organizer of the film festival in Tuzla.
Boris Balta came up with the idea of creating an international film festival in 2010. However, due to lack of experience as well as financial and human resources, the inaugural festival took place in 2012. The event was held at the Bosnian Cultural Center in Tuzla. Among the guests, there were well-known film directors, film producers, actors, entrepreneurs and other industry representatives from the former Yugoslavia. An international film competition was introduced at the third festival.
The program of the Tuzla Film Festival is divided into four main categories: feature films, documentaries, short films, and animated films. The best film in each category is awarded by the festival’s main award called Vila TFF. Only films made by South Slavic filmmakers can participate in the competition. Previous laureates of Vila TFF for the best feature film include Miroslav Momčilović (Serbia), Bobo Jelčić (Croatia), Dragan Bjelogrlić (Serbia), Ines Tanović (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
The organizers pay a lot of attention to encouraging and supporting young filmmakers. There are two special categories that aim to encourage the participation of up-and-coming filmmakers, “Future Generation Short Films” and “Shoot with Anything”. The festival’s program also may feature special screenings. For example, the program of the 2014 TFF included a section dedicated to Italian cinema.
The main aims of the Tuzla Film Festival are to facilitate the development of the local film industry and to promote South Slavic cinematography. It seeks to bring the art of cinema to a wide audience, unlike film festivals in Sarajevo, Belgrad and Zagreb which are considered more elitist.