24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

« Previous | 24 Frames Home | Next »

Angelina Jolie scales back filming plans in Bosnia

November 16, 2010 | 12:16 pm


Angelina Jolie's controversial Balkan war movie is set to start filming in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on Wednesday –- but the Hollywood star, who's directing, won't be behind the camera, her local partner says. And none of the main actors will be there either.

A storm of protest erupted last month after word began to circulate that the film would depict not only the rape of a Bosnian Muslim woman by a Serb but also a romance between the two. Women who were raped during the 1990s war protested to government officials, who briefly rescinded permission to film in the country, then reinstated it after a full script was submitted for review.

Jolie has been shooting much of the untitled movie in Hungary. Edin Sarkic, 47, production director, location manager and co-owner of Sarajevo-based production house Scout Film –- Jolie's Bosnian partner on the movie  –- said Tuesday that the filming in Sarajevo would be handled by a second-unit director. He said Jolie would come to Bosnia, perhaps even during the filming, but only briefly. He added that she also plans to meet with the rape victims at some point.

Sarkic said the original plan called for eight to 10 days of filming in Bosnia, but that has been cut to three or four. He said weather was one factor, but so were politics.

"This story, 'there is a paper [permit], there is no paper', is a non-starter in the West. Nobody from the West is going to work with you when one day you tell them you can film, and then the next day you tell them now you can't film," he said. "That is simply a no-go."

At least one rape victims group has said it would consider picketing the production, so minimizing Jolie's presence and keeping the main cast away from Sarajevo could prevent disruptions.

Sarkic said the production would use local extras, film shot in the narrow alleys of the Sarajevo old town, and panoramic footage for the movie. Vehicles and props that had been used at the set in Budapest have been shipped to Sarajevo for further filming, he added.

GK Films, the movie's U.S.-based production company, did not respond to a request for comment.

-- Zoran Cirjakovic and Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Angelina Jolie talks to actor Goran Jetvic during the filming of her Balkan war movie in Esztergom, north of Budapest, on Friday. Credit: Laszlo Balogh / Reuters 

Comments () | Archives (11)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Translation of Edin Sarkic: "Don't dare bother the Gods of Hollywood, least of all the Deity known as Angelina Jolie."

Support for Bosnian rape victims.

Re: Sophie

Translation of Edin Sarkic: "Some idiots threatened to shoot Jolie if she stepped foot in Sarajevo, but out of respect for the volatile country we instead blamed it on politics and the weather."

Support for artistic creativity and freedom of speech in all areas of the world.

There’s a lot of disinformation that needs to be set straight. I don’t know if the L.A. Times lets links be posted in comments section or how many links it allows per comment – I’ll try posting the relevant links in my future comments.

1. From the start, writer/director Angelina Jolie said the love story between the couple would begin BEFORE THE WAR, on the eve of the war – NOT DURING IT AND NOT BY RAPE. Recent reports say that that the Serbian soldier who fell in love with the Croatian woman before the war finds her during the war and tries to protect her.

2. A (not the only one) women’s survivor group objected strongly WITHOUT HAVING SEEN/READ THE SCRIPT NOR CONTACTING ANGELINA JOLIE TO FACT CHECK THE RUMOR that the movie was about a Croatian woman falling in love with her Serbian rapist – WHICH IT DEFINITELY WAS NOT.

3. An official Western media misidentified as the Culture Minister withdrew permission to film in Bosnia/Hercegovina, again WITHOUT BOTHERING TO FACT CHECK BY READING THE SCRIPT OR CONTACTING THE LOCAL PRODUCERS or director Angelina Jolie. Once he had read the script, permission to film was reinstated.

4. For the first time, a rift between different Croatian women’s groups representing survivors was revealed to the outside world – a difference over representation, taking political advantage of their position, and more.

5. Local and internal politics are involved, beyond just movie-making.

6. The local film-industry (actors & crew members) in the whole area – Serbs, Croats, Montenegrans, etc. – are happy to work at all, and film locations like Hungary are happy for the economic boost.

7. The fact that director Jolie committed to using local actors and crew said much about her respect for their talent and making the film as authentic as possible, and not just helicoptering in American actors & crew.

8. Angelina Jolie isn’t ignorant about the subject – besides studying & reading extensively on the subject as well as being briefed by UNHCR staff - she’s gone to this area on 3 separate UNHCR missions, including Kosovo, over several years. She’s visited refugee camps and talked with women refugees – who inspired her and gave her the idea for this movie. She most recently visited earlier this year and was credited by the camp with the U.S. coming through with a donation for housing.

I'm so happy Angelina won't be going to Bosnia. I was worried about what could happen to her there. These "rape victims" groups have decided that protesting this movie, about which they know nothing, is a great chance to get their names and their politics out there because anything with Angelina Jolie's name attached will get you noticed. It's too bad that many poor people will not have a chance to earn some money by working on this film. Mr. Sarkic sounds very angry and he should be. He knows that after this no western movie production will want to shoot in or anywhere near Bosnia and that's a real shame.

I agree this is about local politics and jockeying for power. This women's group head Bascic (or whatever her name is) does not speak for the vast majority of raped survivors, only her own best interests. The Serbs certainly don't want the truth about their brutality coming out anymore than it already has and the head of one of the largest media outlets there is good friends with Milosevics widow, and is someone Jolie decided not to partner with before the production began. But let's blame it on Jolie, because you know she "stole" Brad from good ole kind hearted Jen and gave him the family he always wanted.

This article is quite informative:

Rape survivors of Bosnian war split over who can tell story
By Katarina Subasic (AFP) – Oct 28, 2010


Yeah, it is shame that Angelina Jolie can't shoot the movie about "good" Serbs right there in Sarajevo where Serbs were killing Bosnians and Croatian for years .

It is not important that Mladic (Srebrenica-8 000 inoccent people killed - war criminal) is still living peacefully in Serbia, as many others like Hadzic.

It is not important that Serbs are not punished for 90% of the crimes they committed.

Apparently what is important and film-worthy is love in between Serbian soldier and Croatian women and him saving her.????? Or NOT at ALL!

That is NOT important and it is a shame that good money will be thrown for fake love story, while war criminals are still roaming that part of the world and NOBODY is paying any attention to that.

Where is the film about rape victims from that time?
Where is the film about there lives and love stories, TRUE love stories??

Angelina what are you thinking about?
You enraged raped women and you are not giving up on this failed and poorly chosen project?

Shame on you!!!!

Wow - A lot of ignorance about Bosnia on these pages. It may surprise people like "SunnyEU" to know that Serbs also live in Sarajevo and fought on both sides of this war and a lot of what people in the US and Europe read and saw on TV about the "Evil Serbs" was total BS. The truth is that all sides committed atrocities where they enjoyed a military advantage and the degree of suffering by innocent people was greater than most can even imagine. The only difference from a massacre don be the Serbs as opposed to those done by Croats or Jihadist Muslim Mercenaries (including those in Kosovo) was that the Croats and Muslims usually did not leave any surviving women and children to form support groups after the war. Similarly (though rapes did occur incidentally) investigations into to existence of so called "rape camps" came up empty and much of the testimony of actually shown to be outright fabrications, such as the testimony of Jadranka Cigelj who was actually in Germany for the duration of the war. But who cares once a lie serves its purpose?

What's most objectionable about Jolie's efforts is her cheap exploitation of human misery and willingness to re-open wounds of millions struggling against to live normal lives for her own vain glorification and profit.

@ Efin

You are downright crazy if you think Angelina is doing this for "her own vain glorification and profit".

A) She's not even in the movie, her face will not once be featured on screen nor any Hollywood actors. The reason she is doing this is to put the story out there and maybe try to shed some light on an area of the world/issue she cares about. And yes, maybe at the same time get her feet wet artistically as a director. Is that a crime?

B) Profit? Are you kidding me? This movie has a small budget- likely between $10-15 million. And chances are it will barely cover that in the theaters. Remember her last movie like this, A Mighty Heart? The headlines read "A Mighty Flop". Trust me the general public is not going to want to watch a movie like this. It's called a passion project, obviously it's an issue she cares about, and I doubt the movie studio is waiting with baited breath on huge box office returns.

Excuse her for being an artist and inconveniencing people who think they have a monopoly on being a victim. Yes it may bring back old wounds for some, but guess what, if you don't want to re-experience the pain, DON'T WATCH IT. That's the difference between Eastern Europe, Middle East etc. and the Western World right there- they don't like something they think it should be banned. If those countries ever want to really integrate with the West then they have some serious prioritizing to do- banning a film over a tabloid rumor, taking permits away and giving them back at a moment's notice- ridiculous, reactionary, and stupid. Not to mention the death threats Jolie has likely received over this, hence her not coming to Bosnia to film.

And @SunnyEU, the same applies to you and your ridiculous rant. Serbs and Bosniaks are both acting delusional about this film. Never, ever would you see these types of reactions in America, UK, Sweden, Germany, etc. (Did Quentin Tarantino get his filming license revoked in Germany? Nope!) Grow up.

Jay,The filming permit application had no screenplay attached, as required by law.Angelina purposely didn’t submit a script so she could create a fake scandal.I'm disappointed in both Angelina Jolie and in Bosnia; in Angelina Jolie for being so trite, and in Bosnia for reversing their decision to let her film there. Unless the film looks at the psychological aspects of rape and love, then for the hundreds of women who are still dealing with these issues in the former Yugoslavia, this is going to sting.
Angelina would be well to leave these issues with Grbavica; an amazing film which really examines the impact of the war on women and children in Bosnia. The war and its impacts are still very current, in all of the former Yugoslavia and the people who are still suffering do not need this kind of disruption in their healing.
For those who have "learnt" so much about Bosnia through media over the past years, should know that Bosnia actually IS a civilised nation. And someone who claims themselves so much fame and reputation: a celebrity and an UNHCR representative, I would expect more "Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness". We too in blue-collar working population must undergo this training, I think "our celebrity stars" should also!
As for her producer's comment "It's a big thing for Bosnia that such a mega-mega-star is coming to Sarajevo". I think it speaks for itself of the man's intellectual and intelligence level. Thank you for insulting the "Bosnians" that you evidently look down on as the "lower kind". Wake up: "Bosnian’s" are humans and civilised ones too. Maybe if you attended the Winter Olympics that Sarajevo hosted in 1984 where they welcomed the world along with our "mega-mega stars" + even more famous people other than our "celebrity" people under Tito's leadership, you would think before speaking such a comment better.
Angelina has gone too far this time. She has no credibility in this issue of conflict or the issue of rape or the issue of love actually. She can't possibly write about the conditions in Bosnia during that period and to try just tells me she is an egoist, a dangerous imposter. What the heck is she trying to say with such a project? What's her education? What's her credits as a writer? We know too well about her morals. I'm confused as to what she is trying to do here????There are plenty of rape victims herein the United States. Why must she always be filming out of the country. In fact everything she does for the benefit of other countries. Never hers. She is one strange woman. Always has been & always will be. Her father always worries about her as well he should.


You just showed what a fool you are. They deliberately left the script unattached so they could CREATE this controversy? Angelina has no credibility on any issue according to you- from the war, to rape, to love. Why? Ah, her "lack of morals". Clearly your opinion is coming from a good place.

And again with the "disruption of their healing"- again, sorry for inconveniencing all of you that Angelina Jolie dare make a movie about something that might offend you. I hate to sound like a broken record, but if you don't like the content don't watch it.

All of this just reeks of some kind of sexist superiority thing- who does this woman think she is? Just go sit in the corner, look pretty, and be a movie star. Don't stick your nose in big, important man issues. Right? Give me a break.

And for the record her producer who made that comment about how it's a big thing that a superstar is coming to Sarajevo was her Bosnian producer for the Bosnian shoot. Not some bigwig Hollywood guy. And he was rightly commenting on the fact that the Bosnian government really screwed up in how they acted so unprofessionally regarding this.


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...




Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: