WELCOME TO SARAJEVO
About The Production
Welcome to Sarajevo, 1992, only the 14th most dangerous place on earth (according to the U
Welcome to Sarajevo, 1992, only the 14th most dangerous place
on earth (according to the U.N. that is) and well on its way to
becoming number one. This sophisticated, multiethnic European
city once the sparkling host of the 1984 Winter Olympics
has now fallen under siege to the Bosnian Serbs who surround
the city and bombard the civilian population with mortar and sniper
At first, whether you are an ambitious, hardened war correspondent
or new to the game, it is the place to be, never mind the danger.
(More journalists were killed or injured in Bosnia than in any
other modern war.) But even the most veteran journalists
men and woman who have been in Vietnam, South Africa, Northern
Ireland, the Middle East find themselves reacting to Sarajevo
in unexpected ways. Here, in this city where the human capacity
for violence and for hope seem to be at their most extreme, journalists
are moved by the city's tenacious spirit to do whatever they can
to help the people survive.
Based on true stories from the siege, WELCOME TO SARAJEVO is a
high-adrenaline, powerful, yet ultimately inspirational introduction
to one of the most important events of our time. The film invites
audiences into the world of the jaded international press corps
as it discovers the city's complex heart. Shot in an unsentimental
style in the war torn city itself (the first Western film shot
amidst the continuing dangers of Sarajevo since the siege ended),
WELCOME TO SARAJEVO tells the story no one saw on the news
the up close story of how the news coming out of Sarajevo changed
the lives of the people on the inside.
Director Michael Winterbottom's attempt to capture the chaotic
essence of wartime Sarajevo has already been lauded by former
Sarajevan war correspondents for its uncanny realism. Richard
Holbrooke, US envoy to Bosnia, who helped forge the Dayton Peace
Accords and continues to be a major force in trying to prevent
a resumption of fighting, and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
are among the many politicians who have embraced Winterbottom's
unflinching look at the suffering and unsinkable spirit of the
people of Sarajevo.
The original inspiration for WELCOME TO SARAJEVO comes from the
true story of British journalist Michael Nicholson, who after
months of reporting on the Sarajevan siege smuggled a child out
of Bosnia and later adopted her. Loosely based on Nicholson's
book, "Natasha's Story," WELCOME TO SARAJEVO was sparked
by the idea that in Sarajevo even the toughestskinned reporter
could be moved to a personal and risky act of compassion. But
the film goes beyond the story of one journalist, weaving in many
other true stories, to pay tribute to the city that refused to
Says director Michael Winterbottom: "I want audiences to
feel what I felt when I first heard these stories, what I felt
whilst the war was happening, what I felt when I first went to
Sarajevo. How is it possible that we sat through this war, watching
it in our living rooms on TV, and then flicking over to the sitcom
on the other side and never really doing anything about it? How
is it possible that these stories happened to the people of a
European city today?"
Adds producer Graham Broadbent: "This is the first Western
flm made on the subject of Bosnia. At its core is an antiwar
statement about a terrible war that happened in front of our eyes
and was ignored for too long."
Channel Four Films and Miramax Films present a Dragon Pictures
Production, WELCOME TO SARAJEVO,<
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