Jolie left reeling after Bosnia interrupts her directorial debut

It was beginning to look like film interrupted for Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie last night as she embarked on an emergency charm campaign to persuade the authorities in Bosnia to change their minds after they withdrew permission for her to shoot scenes for a war-time romance set in the Balkans.

The glitch has struck Ms Jolie in the middle of production on the new project, her first in the director's chair. It has no name yet, but the script follows a love affair between a Bosnian woman and a Serb at the onset of the 1991-95 Bosnian conflict and break-up of the former Yugoslavia.

Everything had been going well with her directorial debut, with shooting already under way in Budapest, Hungary. But suddenly, the outgoing culture and sports minister of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation, Gavrilo Grahovac, abruptly cancelled permission for the shooting planned for Bosnia.

Mr Grahovac cited incomplete paperwork, saying Ms Jolie's production company had failed to submit a screenplay for review by his office. However, the move coincided with protests from a women's war victims association claiming that the love interest is between a woman and a Serbian who rapes her.

"They no longer have the authorisation to shoot in Bosnia. 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," Mr Grahovac told Bosnian radio.

Making the complaint has been Bakira Hasecic, president of the Women Victims of War association, who said that "in the film, a victim is really falling in love with her torturer". There should be no shooting in Bosnia, she added, "because of the script which offends a female war victim and distorts the truth about what that woman has suffered in a detention camp".

For Ms Jolie, who earned an Oscar for her supporting role in the film Girl, Interrupted (1999), the hiccup may seem ironic. She is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, and was in Bosnia in August to help resolve population displacement issues lingering from the war. She has also made sure to employ local Bosnian actors and actresses for the film.

"Is this how we thank Angelina Jolie... for treating a Bosnian tragedy that has already been forgotten by the world... for hiring five or six Bosnian actors in her movie?" Emir Hadzihafizbegovic, the culture minister for Sarajevo canton and a well-known actor himself, told the daily Oslobodjenje newspaper yesterday.

The Jolie camp was meanwhile swinging into action to overcome the Bosnian objections. Ms Jolie wrote a letter that was read to the women's group by the local envoy of the UNHCR, Naveed Hussain. "Don't judge me before you see the film," Jolie said in the missive.

Indeed it is not clear that the group has actually seen a script and representatives for Ms Jolie in Bosnia said that the characterisation of the story being about a rapist is incorrect. "Of course I deny that. It is not in the script," said Edin Skakic of Sarajevo-based Scout Films, which has been in charge of pre-production for Ms Jolie in Bosnia.

The actual screenplay has now been handed to the minister. "I brought them the script and I am waiting for a positive response as soon as possible, I hope even today," Mr Skakic said.

Only confirmation that rape does not feature in any form in the narrative is likely to soothe Ms Hasecic, however. "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," she insisted. "We will not allow anyone to falsify our pain."

In 2001, the UN court convicted three former Bosnian Serb soldiers of war crimes and crimes against humanity after being found guilty of rape and forced prostitution. It was the first time that rape had qualified as a war crime.

Arts and Entertainment
Loading individual letters on to an original Heidelberg printing press
books
Arts and Entertainment
Shades of glory: Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend

Glastonbury Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend will perform with Paul Weller as their warm-up act

Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

    'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

    In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
    VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

    How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

    Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
    They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

    Typefaces still matter in the digital age

    A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
    Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

    'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

    New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
    The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

    Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

    Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

    Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

    Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
    Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

    Crisp sales are in decline

    As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
    Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

    Ronald McDonald the muse

    A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
    13 best picnic blankets

    13 best picnic blankets

    Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
    Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

    Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

    Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
    Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

    Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

    On the margins

    From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'