April 12, 2015 oggitomic

Finding Family Documentary

In June 2012 I travelled to Sarajevo to start an upcoming documentary ”Finding Family” (working title) with fellow filmmaker and a good friend,  Chris Leslie who in 1997 set up and ran photography projects for kids in the local orphanage. The project ran for 4 years as he returned every summer for 3 or 4 months to replenish the project and run classes.  Capturing one orphan’s extraordinary journey as he heads back to Bosnia 20 years on from the snipers and shelling in search of answers from his long lost family.

Born with water on the brain, abandoned at birth and given just months to live, Serbian born, he did not get the best start in life. Twenty seven years on however against the odds and through the kindness of strangers, he is alive and well and living happily married in the UK. After a childhood plagued by near starvation, shelling and continuous suffering it seems like everything is finally falling into place until one day he receives a phone call. His long lost family have tracked him down.

It’s the moment every orphan waits their entire life for. There’s just one thing. He was born a Serb but brought up a Bosnian and it turns out the family he has waited his entire life to hear from are in fact his natural born enemies, Serbs – the same ‘Men in the Hills’ who shelled and sniped at him during the 1300 day siege that began 20 years ago. His uncle, four sisters and entire extended family are keen to reconcile and make up for lost time however his mother still won’t mention his name or even acknowledge his existence…