Portrait nazif mujić: bosnian bear seller

He won a Silver Bear for his role in "From the Life of a Scrap Metal Collector." His life didn’t get any better as a result.

A real disservice: the Berlinale award did not bring Nazif Mujić any luck Photo: ap

The biggest day in Nazif Mujić’s life was Feb. 16, 2013. In the film "From the Life of a Scrap Collector," the Rom from Bosnia had played himself – looking for a doctor who would be willing to treat Mujić’s wife Senada after a miscarriage, even though she had neither health insurance nor money to pay.

"When I heard that I had been chosen as the best actor in Europe, I almost had a stroke," the 1960-born actor recalls of the awarding of the Silver Bear for the best amateur actor at the Berlinale. "I thought: now our life will be better," Senada adds, "our children will go to school and we can finally afford an apartment."

But the prize brought problems for the family more than anything else. The neighbors in the poor settlement where the Mujićs live with their two daughters couldn’t believe that the famous actor had received a fee of only 1,300 euros. The other scrap collectors would not let him work with them. Therefore, in November 2013, the Mujićs went to Berlin again and applied for asylum. But poverty is not a reason for asylum. In April 2014, the family left voluntarily to avoid deportation. Back to Bosnian poverty.

Nazif Mujić

Every day I look at the silver figure, while my children have nothing to eat

This Tuesday, Mujić sold his Silver Bear. "I had to do this," he explained his move on the website Klix.ba, "every day I look at the silver figure while my children have nothing to eat." In January, the Berlinale award winner plans to travel to Germany again – and stay there with his family. "Here in Bosnia, everyone wants to have their picture taken with me and the bear – but no one wants to help us."

Nazif Mujić received 4,000 euros for the trophy he was so proud of. The director Emir Nemanja Kusturica, known for his Great Serbian attitude, had offered 5,000, but was too late. The new owner of the Silver Bear 2013 is poker player Senadin Ćosić. He has announced that he will donate the trophy to a Bosnian museum so that at least it – unlike the award winner – will remain in the country.

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