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Bosnia Mayor Demands Resignations for Festival Promoting Film ‘Glorifying Chetniks’

The Mayor of Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo, Benjamina Karic, is demanding the resignation of the people responsible for promoting the Serbian film The Heroes of Halyard during the 29th Sarajevo Film Festival, or the city administration will stop supporting the film event. 

The Heroes of Halyard (“Heroji Halijarda”), a film by Rados Bajic, is about a major operation to rescue Allied forces behind enemy lines during World War II which was done with help of Chetnik forces led by Dragoljub Draza Mihailovic, who was later convicted for war crimes.

“In front of the city of Sarajevo, I am seeking specific accountability. If there is a desire to continue collaboration with this city administration, concrete accountability entails the resignation of the individual responsible for this aspect of the program and film selection within this program,” Karic wrote on her official Twitter account. 

“The city supports the festival as a significant cultural event, but such incidents inflict immeasurable damage upon the festival and the city of Sarajevo,” she added. 

Mihailovic was the first leader of a popular uprising against the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, but became convinced that Communism posed a greater long-term threat and started to fight Tito’s Partisans.

Mihailovic’s Chetniks were accused of committing war crimes against Bosnian Muslims and Croats as well as against Communists. After Nazi Germany was defeated and Tito and the Communists came to power in Yugoslavia, Mihailovic was tried and executed in 1946 for high treason and Nazi collaboration. He was rehabilitated by the Belgrade High Court in 2015.

The film promotion was part of the Cinelink Drama Showcase of Telecom of Serbia. According to media reports, Bajic showcased content which was not agreed on with the organisers. 

“We are surprised. That programming slot was intended for showcasing upcoming films and series from this company,” a spokesperson from the Sarajevo Film Festival, Andrijana Copf said, Klix.ba reported. 

“We will handle everything further about this case with this company, as content that was not agreed upon was shown,” Copf added. 

The Heroes of Halyard is a production of Contrast Studios, a Serbian film company, with backing from the Film Centre of Serbia and the provincial government of Serbia’s Vojvodina province, in partnership with the Serbian Ministry of Defence and the Serbian Army. The film is set to premiere in the autumn of 2023.

Source : Balkan Insight