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Indybay Feature

Human Rights Watch Film Festival 2006

Sunday, February 26, 2006
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Type:
Anuj Vaidya
Location Details:
Pacific Film Archive
2575 Bancroft Way
UC Berkeley

Videoletters, Program 2
Katarina Rejger, Eric van den Broek (Netherlands/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Slovenia/Macedonia/Croatia/Serbia and Montenegro, 2004–5)

Introduced by Eric Stover

Eric Stover is director of the Human Rights Center and adjunct professor of public health at UC Berkeley.

A project designed to reconcile citizens of the former Yugoslavia metamorphosed into an inspiring cinematic feat in this powerful collection of video “letters” to and from former friends, neighbors, and lovers. Dutch filmmakers Katarina Rejger and Eric van den Broek created the project, and in most cases acted as initiators, recorders, and even mail carriers, finding and bringing into contact those whom the war had driven apart. Traveling across five separate republics, the two urged people of different nationalities to send one another a video letter of questions and answers, comments and expressions of sadness. A Bosnian woman appeals to a former soldier to help find the bodies of her children; a Croat tries to find an old friend, only to discover the friend is dead; and a Muslim seeks his childhood best friend, but hears rumors that he is a war criminal. Most, however, have only one question: “How are you?” Across the Balkans, there are now over sixty places where individuals can record their own letters; Bosnian radio stations now announce when a letter has arrived from Serbia, and vice versa. In a further testament to the power of this remarkable series (and to the commitment of the filmmakers), every public television station in the former Yugoslavia agreed to broadcast the episodes.

Winner, Nestor Almendros Prize 2005.
An additional program of Videoletters screens on Friday, February 24.

—Jason Sanders

• Photographed by various participants. (Total running time: 75 mins, In Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Serbian, and Slovenian with English subtitles, Color, Beta SP)
Added to the calendar on Tue, Jan 31, 2006 3:36PM
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