Belgrade One Year After[video]
Spring 2000. A year after NATO bombed Belgrade, Alexandre Trudeau and Booker Sim of JuJu Films travel to the Serbian capital to make a doc for CBC’s National Magazine, one of Canada’s premier current affairs shows. But there’s a story behind the story…
featuring MILA TURAILIC , STRAHINJA GLISIC , GORAN BREGOVIC , OLIVER NEKTAROVIC and OTPOR
camera LUKA SANADER, GORAN KOVACEVIC editor BOB SCHROEDER broadcasting producer GERALDINE CONNELLY written by BOOKER SIM
directed and produced by BOOKER SIM and ALEXANDRE TRUDEAU
Years earlier, high ranking members of Milosevic’s war machine somehow got hold of Trudeau and Sim’s documentary LIBERIA: THE SECRET WAR, and were so impressed, they offered them interviews with indicted war criminals Ratko Mladic, Radovan Karadzic and “Arkan,” leader of the Tiger paramilitary unit notorious in Bosnia.
After weeks of negotiating with shady Serb officials paranoid that CIA devices planted in JuJu cameras would guide cruise missiles straight to their beloved “war heroes,” the team was ready to give up. The doc would end up harassed into propaganda or might cost them their lives. So the project was shelved.
…until early 2000, when Arkan was gunned down in a Belgrade hotel, and Sim and Trudeau met Arkan’s official videographer, who was sitting on a goldmine of unseen Tiger footage. The cameraman also believed he could track down Mladic and Karadzic – who, until 9/11, were the most wanted men in the world.
It was this too-good-to-be-true story that persuaded CBC News to allow two young upstarts airtime on their prestigious show. And too-good-to-be-true it was, with the Tiger’s mother dying the day before they were due to depart, leaving Sim and Trudeau to fend for themselves in Belgrade.
Tired of trading brandy for false leads on Mladic and Karadzic from men with blood stained hands, Trudeau and Sim turned to a more uplifting story – about the growing youth driven anti-Milosevic movement that would topple the Milosevic government in the October 5th revolution months later.
Instead of yesterday’s villains, the Canadian duo found tomorrow’s political heroes, including young “Otpor” activists and opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica, conducting one of the first Western interviews with the man whose defeat of Milosevic in the fall elections triggered the October 5th revolution. So ahead of the curve was team JuJu that the CBC, unaware who Kostunica was, cut him out of the doc – only to scramble in vain for a similar interview months later.
And not only was the October 5th revolution one of the biggest news events of the decade, it saved the entire Serb population from being painted with the same brush as Milosevic, Mladic and Karadzic. For in the end it wasn’t NATO bombs that ousted Milosevic, but enlightened Serbs.
BELGRADE: ONE YEAR AFTER captures the spirit of a city at a crossroads, when democracy and peace seemed less likely than more Balkan bloodshed…but civil war was narrowly averted by the votes and non-violent resistance of a people believed to be inherently wicked.
BELGRADE: ONE YEAR AFTER premiered June 28th, 2000 at 10:30pm on CBC’s The National Magazine.
DVDBuy the film
NOT CURRENTLY FOR SALE
Includes: the original broadcast version of the documentary plus Alexandre Trudeau’s 1998-99 reports for CBC’s CULTURE SHOCK.
(U.S. and Canada only.)
17 minutes plus 50 minutes