True Stories Market Selection 2018

The 2018 edition of TRUE STORIES MARKET presents five cases selected from the archives of key organisations that work to document the Yugoslav Wars to film and TV professionals. The cases listed below will be presented at the True Stories Market session on Monday, 13 August at 17:30.

In order to facilitate their transition from market to screen, after the festival an open call invites filmmakers to apply to execute a project inspired by one of the stories highlighted by the market. The Heartefact Fund awards a €3,000 grant to support further research.


From September 2012 through September 2014, an inter-ethnic group of Bosnian Serb and Bosniak women, living in Kravica and Konjević Polje, worked intensively under the guidance of a psychotherapist with the NGO Vive Žene. The group members shared their wartime experiences and trauma, as well as the difficulties they face in their families and communities in the present. The women have developed mutual feelings of confidence and understanding, as well as a basis for joint activities in both communities. They have been persistent in showing that it is possible to deal with trauma.

Vive Žene was founded in March 1994 during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the aim of supporting women and children, the most vulnerable victims of armed conflict. From initial material support and crisis interventions, Vive Žene has developed into a professional Centre for Therapy and Rehabilitation, which is located in Tuzla and active throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. Vive Žene has been dealing with facing trauma, a process that started several years before the war and continues in the present.


In the summer of 1992 in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nermin Karagić was twice taken to be executed by shooting. He survived on both occasions, and again on a third, when he was separated from the convoy that was supposed to take him to exile. Karagić was a minor at the time. Traces of torture and beastly abuse can still be seen on his face. He also witnessed the murder of his father, as well as of over 100 other civilians, to which he testified in the Hague. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has selected his story as representative of the crimes that were committed in Prijedor. At this time, Karagić is back in his home town. He works hard to survive, still traumatised, but receiving no institutional support. His story remains unknown to the public of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Foundation for Building the Culture of Memory was founded in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, with the aim of reconciling the consequences of war through documenting human-rights violations and war crimes. The foundation also seeks to establish a centre for informing and documenting, as well as to create new commemorative processes and memorialisation practices.


There was shooting, people were dying, but we all accepted it is as normal. I didn't have a sense of war, because in our city, everybody continued to live their everyday lives. But then, trouble came to town. The phones stopped working and I didn't know what was going on. All of a sudden, the men were being taken away in the early morning hours – among them my father, who was taken away to a camp. The soldiers came into our shop, taking away our car, gold, and money. Feeling anxious and frightened, women started to organise gatherings with their children, hoping to feel better. We didn't know, and we couldn't ask, anything about my father. Soldiers were breaking into houses, taking whatever and whomever they wanted. I remember the night the soldiers broke into the house where we were hiding, and started taking women away. I was among those they took away and raped, although I had never had sexual intercourse before. I wasn't supposed to tell anybody; my assailant threatened me with a rifle. The rape was repeated several times throughout the night. I was raped by three soldiers. Other women were raped as well. My mother was there, which I later told my father, because I didn't have anything to hide. When I arrived at a safe place, everyone already knew. The next time I met my uncle, he took me in his arms and started crying. He knew, too. As did everybody else. I was the only one everybody knew about. After that, they never stopped pointing their fingers at me.

Medica Zenica is an expert non-governmental organisation that offers psycho-social and medical support to women and children who are victims of war and post-war violence, including victims of war rape and other forms of war torture. The organisation also treats victims of sexual violence in general, domestic violence survivors, and victims of human trafficking. Over the past 26 years, Medica Zenica has provided more than 450,000 beneficiaries with services throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, and has published more than 90 publications.


The Srebrenica Genocide, the largest mass crime committed after World War II, has shaped the destiny of a child who, at that time, had not yet been born. In July 1995, after the fall of an enclave protected by the UN, the Army of Republika Srpska killed approximately 8,000 men and boys. Ibrahim, the father of an unborn boy, was among those who fell victim to the massacre. His pregnant wife managed to reach the city of Tuzla. She gave birth in the hospital there, and ran away after three days, leaving her unnamed child behind. Growing up in an orphanage, the little boy's life was entangled in the research into mass shootings and finding the remains of those who were killed in the massacre.

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BIRN BiH) is a non-governmental media organization that specialises in monitoring and reporting on war-crime trials. Since it was formed in 2005, BIRN BiH has been analysing and informing the public about transitional justice issues and the work of war-crime chambers at state and local courts across Bosnia and Herzegovina. BIRN BiH supports the development of high-quality media, civil society, and the enforcement of human rights. In line with this purpose, BIRN BiH publishes a substantial body of high-quality reports, investigations into and analyses of crucial transitional justice, political, economic, and social issues. The organisation facilitates broad public debate on these topics through hosting cross-sector conferences.


Through exploring the dynamics that surround the building of a monument to children killed in war, this story shows how a new narrative and politics of memory have been created in the city of Prijedor. Local Bosniak politicians, including the municipality president, openly sabotaged this project, because the monument would include the names of every child killed in the conflict, regardless of their nationality. Local activists and parent organisations are striving to ensure that the children be remembered as innocent victims, and not as persons of a particular nationality. A film based on this story should be able to shift the conflict away from the imposed ethno-national lines towards one between disempowered citizens and corrupt politicians.

Youth Centre KVART is a locally founded activist organisation that has been actively working on dealing with the past in Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina, since 2013. Kvart's activities include dealing with human-rights and social-justice issues, as well as working with local youth, delivered through a cross-cutting approach.