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Radmila Djurica

Radmila Djurica is your guide to the festival scenes: Sarajevo, Cannes and many more

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Sarajevo Film Festival - Belfast's Best Son

Ever since 1980s Belfast-born writer and director George Terry has been writing and producing plays at NYC's Irish Arts Center. His combination of theatrical and journalistic experience, gave him the chance to co-script "In the Name of the Father" (1993) directed by Jim Sheridan. George first collaborated with Sheridan on his 1985 play "The Tunnel", based on his experiences as a prisoner in British jails in Northern Ireland. "In the Name of the Father" won an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay for the thorough research, passionate political themes, witty dialogue, and strong characterization in screenplay.

Reuniting with Sheridan, George made his feature directorial debut with the similarly-themed "Some Mother's Son" (1996), and with Sheridan again, and then they have collaborated again in "The Boxer" (1997), with Daniel Day-Lewis, this time as a former IRA activist released from prison after and drawn back into old conflicts. Then wrote "A Bright Shining Lie" (1998), an adaptation of the Neil Sheehan book about John Paul Vann (Bill Paxton), who was forced out of the military because of his free opinions about the war. In 21st century George did crime drama "The District" (2000-2004), and then contributed to the screenplay about military drama "Hart's War" (2002), with Bruce Willis and Colin Farrell. Next big-screen project co-written with Keir Pearson, "Hotel Rwanda" (2004), is most significant project to date. The movie told the true-life tale of Rwanda hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina (Don Cheadle), who used his skills and resources to protect over 1,000 Tutsis fleeing genocide in 1994.


By now Terry won Audience Award Best Feature Film, Humanitarian Prize Feature Film, People's Choice Award  forHotel Rwanda”. For “Some Mother’s Son” he won Audience Award Feature Film and European Film Award Best Young Film.

He was nominated with Oscar Best Writing, ALFS Award British Director of the Year, Discover Screenwriting Award, BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay – Original for “Hotel Rwanda”. For “In the Name of the Father” he was nominated with

BAFTA Film Award Best Screenplay, Best Non-American Film, Golden Satellite Award Best Screenplay, WGA Award (Screen) Best Original Screenplay and  WGA Award (Screen) Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published


For his outstanding contribution on Sarajevo Film Festival he was the special guest and lecturer for students involved.



Your films are leaving strong impression on people: someone likes your work, someone don’t. Would you change anything if possible?

“Sometimes I get surprised about the strong impact and emotions that my films leaving on people. For instance, Hotel “Rwanda” kicked off as a small film. Afterwards the way of looking at Rwanda and Africa problem in USA helped Rwanda and put it on world map in a way of other people’s perception.”   


How does it feel, other filmmakers are happy to get good reviews, when lots of people come to see the film and you made difference for entire states?

“I think that film as media has the importance that shouldn’t be underestimated. Film is the way for education of people all over the world. Many people understood holocaust in Spielberg’s “Shindler’s List”, genocide in Cambodia in “Fields of Death” and genocide in “Hotel Rwanda”. But I wouldn’t want this fashion to become a kind of excuse, so someone can tell how he was strike by the film. And then I have to ask him what they are going to do about it. Film only can not get us to catharsis, because it is the tool for starting the action.”


Journalist in “Hotel Rwanda “ say that he wouldn’t want people to see story about Rwanda and then to comment how terrible that is and go back to their dinner?

“It is hard to stop that, but I think that emotions started with “Hotel Rwanda” after going out of the theatre. Film helped many people to participate in a way with helping Rwanda. Young people joined “Amnesty International" and many independent organizations turned toward Rwanda problem. Now we are trying to do the same for Darfur more then Don who helped the same action by casting George Clooney. He wrote the book about it, and that is his personal crusade. Now I am trying really hard to tell, through story about Sergio Vieira de Mel that United Nations is not failed organization from New York 42nd street. There are thousands of people who dedicate their life to saving refugees and that there is a spirit of UN lost in a last ten years. UN idea to develop human kind and bring peace to the world is still alive, and yet there are catastrophes in Sarajevo and especially in Srebrenica such as those in Rwanda. I want to make film that will point out on UN as positive organization. This is a big task worth getting up in the morning.”


Isn’t frustrating when you realize that history repeat itself on a most absurd way?

“It is, of course, but that is not the reason to drop the guard. I always focus on individuals, people with their own strength, no matter how small, are changing matters: by protecting their families, the group of refugees…”


 How do you see yourself?

“I am only a storyteller. I am trying to learn from my own experience in Africa and with people from United Nations. Film is eventual entertainment; people are looking for escape there. This is why I am looking for an active story with message that will entertain and move them about. And that is far too difficult because it is more expensive, since everything depends from the box office.”


What kind of scripts are you looking for?

“I most of the time write my own scripts, and I am looking for stories and inspiring individual. When I’ve read Sergio’s biography I thought that was the kind of story people should hear in order to see UN differently. When you are screenwriter and director of some project, basically that is 3 years of your life. I am not the kind of person that can work on 16 projects at the same time. This is why I need to carefully choose my stories.”














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