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news 17 Aug 15

Sarajevo Festival-Goers Overflow at Holbrooke Film

The Sarajevo Film Festival is offering an additional screening of a film about the career of Dayton peace deal broker Richard Holbrooke, after too many people showed up on Sunday.

Elvira M. Jukic
BIRN
Sarajevo
Richard C. Holbrooke / Photo source: thediplomatfilm.com  

A cinema in Sarajevo was too small to hold all would-be viewers on Sunday of "The Diplomat", a documentary by the American director David Holbrooke about the life of his US diplomat father.

Holbrooke is seen as the mastermind behind the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords, which ended the four-year war in Bosnia.

David Holbrooke said before the screening that the film was about his family but also about diplomacy, and that he was glad there was such interest in it in Sarajevo.

The film features interviews with some of the most important figures in politics, diplomacy and journalism, such as the former Secretaries of State Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, the current occupant of the post, John Kerry, the former US President Bill Clinton, journalists Christiane Amanpour, Roger Cohen, Diane Sawyer and many others.

The film was shown within the special program of the Sarajevo Film Festival named “1995-2015 Dealing With the Past” and its central part was about Holbrooke's brokering of the peace agreement that took place in the Wright-Petterson base in Dayton, Ohio, in November 1995.

Richard Holbrooke was appointed by the US President as the main negotiator to bring the warring sides in Bosnia to the negotiating table.

A proverbially straight-talking interlocutor, he got them agree to end the war on November 21, after three weeks of talks, drawing maps and discussing the future political and territorial order of Bosnia.

Following his father's death in 2010, David Holbrooke decided to make a film about the legacy of the diplomat who had a fruitful five-decade-long career working in different parts of the world, from Vietnam, Germany, Bosnia and Kosovo to Afghanistan.

The film offered insight into US foreign policy and told a story about how diplomacy works in the world. The 110-minute documentary is dedicated “to the next generation of diplomats”.

Festival organizers sold too many tickets on Sunday, having issued a large number of invitations to diplomats and different international organizations. This is why the documentary will now have another screening in the coming days within the film festival.

Arman Fazlic, a student in International Relations and Diplomacy in Sarajevo, told BIRN the film shows that although diplomacy is a dirty word for some, it plays a significant role in peace-building, conflict prevention and economic affairs.

“The life story of Holbrooke showed that there is also the other side of the coin of being a top diplomat – in some cases it creates a gap between diplomats and their families,” he said. “Holbrooke showed that it is possible to manage these issues, and the movie is a proof of the specificity of this, sometimes controversial, profession.”

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