Široki Brijeg a town with a flavour for film and the Mediterranean
Široki Brijeg is a small town at the south of Bosnia and Hercegovina, near the Adriatic coast. It is situated about 20 kilometers west from Mostar and about 30 km north-west from Međugorje. It has got the Mediterranean climate – very hot summers and winters mainly snowless. The region is famous for juicy figs, sweet grapes and supreme tobacco. In the adjacent villages there are still plenty of donkeys to be seen, the domestic animal characteristic for the Mediterranean. In the hilly parts of region the autochthonous cheese is produced that is kept in animal skin bags. The region of Široki Brijeg is rich with bauxite ore.
Široki Brijeg with the surrounding settlements has got 30 thousand inhabitants, and the very town has got 10 thousand. It is a political center of West Herzegovina County. Almost 99% of the population is Croats, religion Catholic. Nowadays it is one of the most developed municipalities in BiH. The most developed branches are the meat industry, aluminum industry and market trade.
Within the last 20 years there was a strong advancement in sport activities in this little town. The sport stadium was built that meets the UEFA criteria for the international competitions. The local football club regularly qualifies for the competition in the fore rounds of the European Football League. There is also a beautiful basketball hall with the host basketball club Široki competes in the powerful regional NLB league. The basketball club Široki is the repeated champion of Bosnia and Hercegovina and the basketball club with the largest number of trophies in the country. This town is the residence of one out of the three Academies of Fine Arts in the country, together with the Franciscan Gallery with a very rich fund. The history of this town has got the recorded traces of life from the remote past. The stone remnants of Zvonigrad testify of the Illyric settlements, the remnants of Gradina testify of the Roman ones, and the fundaments of the basilica with the baptistery in the village of Mokro testify of the early Christians from the V century. It is supposed that the ancient town Mokriskik, mentioned in written form by the Byzantine emperor Constantine Porphirogenet in the X century, was located within the nowadays village of Mokro. In the more recent history we record an extraordinary event from the spring of 1991. There were the glimpses of the war to be seen in BiH at the time. A military formation of more than 100 tanks of the former Yugoslav army started from Mostar towards Croatia, where the war was already raging. They intended to cross the region of Široki Brijeg municipality. But the tanks were stopped at the border of the Široki Brijeg municipality by the barehanded population of Široki Brijeg and were kept there for three days!
The first film projection in Široki Brijeg took place on April 24th 1931 in the Gymnasium facility. The documentary film «Spas male Zorice» (The Salvation of little Zorica) was played. The film was issued by the Home of People's Health in Zagreb. The projection was followed by the lecture to the Gymnasium students. In 1948 the construction of Cultural Center was completed, and within this institution the cinema Napredak was opened. In 1963 the Cultural Center was handed over to the People's University, and Napredak cinema was renamed to Borak cinema. It had the capacity for 300 visitors, and it played between 100 and 110 films yearly.
In 1990 the cinema was closed due to the decrepit condition of the cinema hall, and after the reconstruction it was reopened in August of 1999 with the projection of «Ronin». Most of the MFF program takes place in this cinema.