The Waiting Room
Film poster
Directed byIgor Drljaca
Produced byMunire Armstrong
Jordan Barker
Borga Dorter
Igor Drljaca
Albert Shin
Written byIgor Drljaca
CinematographyRoland Echavarria
Edited byAjla Odobasic
Timelapse Pictures
Distributed byA71 Entertainment
Release date
  • August 7, 2015 (2015-08-07) (Locarno)
Running time
92 minutes

The Waiting Room is a Canadian drama film written and directed by Igor Drljaca. Loosely based on the real life of Jasmin Geljo, the film stars Geljo as an actor once popular and famous in his native country of Yugoslavia, who has struggled to find success since immigrating to Canada.

The film had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland,[1] and its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.[2] It was picked up by A71 Entertainment and had a limited theatrical release in Canada on June 3, 2016.[3]


Jasmin, once a successful actor in former Yugoslavia, now lives in Toronto with his second wife and young son. While juggling a construction job and a busy audition schedule, he dreams of re-launching an old televised stage show that made him famous in his homeland. When he is cast in a role that triggers recollections of the civil war, he is forced to reconcile his current reality with memories of his past success.



The film combines fiction with biographical elements inspired by Jasmin Geljo's life in Toronto. Geljo was a successful actor in pre-war Sarajevo, and was part of a wildly popular televised stage show Audicija (The Audition). Igor Drljaca notes that he was drawn to the idea of exploring the intersection between reality and fiction within the film, which is a study of an immigrant performer, rather than a film about immigration.[4]


Critical reception

The Globe and Mail's Barry Hertz praised the film, writing "It's heavy material, but handled with enough sincerity and dexterity by Drljaca – and anchored by Geljo's tremendous lead performance – that its weight is more poignantly impactful than fatally crushing."[5] NOW Magazine's Norman Wilner was less enthused, writing "There’s a stark beauty to Roland Echavarria’s imagery, and Geljo clearly knows his frustrated, melancholy character inside out, but a few ill-advised choices let the air out of The Waiting Room in its final movement."[6]


The film received two Canadian Screen Award nominations at the 4th Canadian Screen Awards in 2016. Jasmin Geljo was nominated for Best Actor and Cynthia Ashperger for Best Supporting Actress.[7]


  1. ^ Leonsis, Elle (July 15, 2015). "Locarno Film Festival Announces Lineup for Its 68th Year, Awards Edward Norton on Opening Night". IndieWire. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  2. ^ Page, Aubrey (September 10, 2015). "Exclusive:Never-Before-Seen Poster for TIFF Stunner 'The Waiting Room'". IndieWire. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  3. ^ Mullen, Pat (May 31, 2016). "Exclusive:Not a Sad Clown Story: Igor Drljača Talks 'The Waiting Room'". Cinemablographer. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  4. ^ "The Waiting Room". Timelapse Pictures. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  5. ^ Hertz, Barry (June 3, 2016). "The Waiting Room is nuanced and layered while dealing with heavy material". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  6. ^ Wilner, Norman (June 1, 2016). "The Waiting Room is a beautiful bummer". NOW Magazine. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  7. ^ Ahsan, Sadaf (January 20, 2016). "Room, Schitt's Creek lead 2016 Canadian Screen Award nominations". National Post. Retrieved August 28, 2019.