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Film permit denied

October 15, 2010

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie has upset Bosnian war victims with her debut film directing project. Her crew has initially been denied a film permit in Bosnia, but is confident the misunderstanding will soon be resolved.

Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie is currently directing her first filmImage: AP

Actress and director Angelina Jolie told critics of her new film, set on the eve of the 1992 Bosnian War, that they were likely to approve of it once they'd seen it.

"There are many twists in the plot that address the sensitive nature of the relationship between the main characters and that will be revealed once the film is released," she said Thursday in a statement. "My hope is that people will hold judgment until they have seen the film."

Bosnian war victims railed the film when it was reported in local press that the story focused on the love relationship between a young Muslim rape victim and her Serb rapist.

"Among thousands of testimonies by women raped during the war, there is not a single one that tells of a love story between a victim and her rapist," said Bakira Hasecic, head of the Women Victims of War association in Sarajevo, who urged officials to ban the film's production.

Jolie responded in her statement, conceding that "any dramatic interpretation will always fail those who have had a real experience."

A Bosnian woman who was displaced from her home during the 1992-1995 war in the country talks to UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Angelina Jolie, during the actress' visit to a center for displaced in the eastern Bosnian town of Gorazde in April 2010
Jolie traveled to Bosnia earlier this year to speak with people, like this woman, who had been displaced from their homes during the 1992-1995 warImage: UNHCR/Aziz

Jolie reapplying for filming permit

It was made public on Wednesday that Jolie's film crew had been denied permission to shoot in Bosnia. They are currently filming in Budapest and intended to continue work in Bosnia in November.

"They no longer have the authorization to shoot in Bosnia," Gavrilo Grahovac, culture minister of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina - one of two political entities that make up post-war Bosnia - told Bosnian radio on Wednesday. "They will have it if they send us the script with a story which will be different from what we have been told by people who read it."

Edit Sarkic, an executive producer with the film's Sarajevo-based producer Scout Film, told Reuters news agency that a final script had been submitted to the proper authorities in Bosnia, and the production company would reapply for the filming permit.

The Bosnian War, from 1992-1995, claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people. Rape was practiced systematically, with Bosniak women making up the majority of the victims.

Author: Kate Bowen (AFP/Reuters)

Editor: Martin Kuebler