Jasmila Zbanic Reveals Info About Her Upcoming Srebrenica Massacre Film

Jasmila Zbanic Reveals Info About Her Upcoming Srebrenica Massacre Film

Bosnian director Jasmila Zbanic has revealed what to expect from her upcoming drama about the Srebrenica massacre, a genocide that took place during the Bosnian War in that country’s eastern region about 75 miles outside of Sarajevo.

In July 1995, Serbian forces killed more than 8,000 Muslim Bosniaks. Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary-General of the United Nations, described the massacre as "the worst [crime] on European soil since the Second World War." Zbanic will have the film, titled "Srebrenica," packaged and ready to present to producers by the end of this year. 

The prominent female filmmaker is best known for her Golden Bear-winning "Grbavica," a 2006 drama focused on a single mother and her teenage daughter struggling in the aftermath of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, where Serbian troops systemically raped Bosniak women. 

Zbanic spoke about "Srebrenica" at the Sarajevo Film Festival, where her doc "One Day in Sarajevo" held its world premiere in competition. (The exploration of differing perspectives on the assassination of Franz Ferdinand won the festival’s Human Rights award.) 

“Because [the Srebrenica massacre] is a very heavy subject, I had to find a way of making it a human story and even people who have no connection with war or this kind of experience will still be able to connect emotionally with the human dimension of the story," said Zbanic. Screen Daily reports that "Srebrenica" will center "on the true story of UN interpreter Hasan Nuhanović, who was based at the town when it fell to the Bosnian Serb Army in July 1995. Nuhanović’s family was among more than 5,000 civilians who joined 25,000 refugees seeking shelter on a UN base in Potočari." 

“We are telling of a moment in history which could have been different for 8,000 dead people, if someone had been more brave and if decisions were made in a different way,” Zbanic noted. "Srebrenica" is Zbanic’s biggest budget to date — more than double of anything she’s previously done. The war film will include a large cast, guns and tanks, but at its center, she says that "Srebrenica" is "a very emotional story about Europe and my country." The director added, "When you start researching you see how many dimensions this act had."

[via ScreenDaily]

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One more film which fits in "Bosnian victim" stereotype neglecting any Muslim atrocities in the area which precede the massacre. Question for everyone watching the film: What would you do if you catch those who killed your family?


It’s true that ‘Men think that in times of war they can behave in any manner they want’. However, it’s also true that men can also manipulate the narrative to suit the agenda that best fits their own power struggles. I haven’t seen the film, but I can guess that a Bosnian filmmaker is unlikely to put the massacre in context or make any attempt to understand why the Serbs did what they did that day. For example, more than 2000 Serb civilians in the surrounding area had been killed by Bosnian militias, operating out of Srebrenica, in the preceding 18 months. Many of the executed men almost certainly were involved in those massacres. Neither is the film likely to penetrate the baffling inability of the UN forces in Srebrenica at the time to intervene in the events of that day. Why were they prevented from acting? Who were they taking their orders from? I’m also curious that this film is Zbanic’s ‘biggest budget to date’. What kind of funding would a Serbian filmmaker receive to make a Serbian version of those events? While I’m happy to see a female filmmaker receive accolades for her work, I can also see that the ‘Serb villain/Bosnian victim’ is the favoured narrative that justifies the West’s determined role in the break-up of Yugoslavia – the last functioning socialist society in Europe.

Eleanor Dahlstrom

Its about time this atrocity was brought into the light. What the Serbians did that day was horrific. Men think that in times of war they can behave in any manner they want. The poor women who were left behind this massacre. May god bless and take care of them.

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