“Scream For Me Sarajevo”, a documentary telling the story of a 1994 concert given by IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson during the siege, will receive its world premiere at the at 22nd edition of the Sarajevo Film Festival, which runs from August 12 until August 20 in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Over 200 films are being screened at the event, which was created as an “act of resistance” during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo.
“Scream For Me Sarajevo” was written by Jasenko Pasic, directed by Tarik Hodzic and produced by Prime Time Productions.
Said Pasic: “I got the idea for the film one night when I was reading the story of Chris Dale about the concert of Bruce Dickinson that was held in 1994 in Sarajevo. Then started the search for the people who were at the BKC that night and that story resulted in the film. Tatjana Bonny, Alex Elena, Tarik Hodzic and Adnan Cuhara are the people who created this film with me, which will show all the cruelty and the horror of the siege of Sarajevo, and that the people lived normally in those circumstances. ‘Scream For Me Sarajevo’ is a film about life.”
The first time Dickinson was in Sarajevo, the city was cut off from the world, its citizens brutally terrorized by shooting, bombing and starvation with electricity and water supply being nothing short of a luxury. Bruce and his then-solo band drove through the frontlines and ultimately played a show for the people trapped in the city. What this gig meant to the people and how it changed Bruce and his band is told in “Scream For Me Sarajevo”.
In a December 2015 interview with the Radio Sarajevo show “The Aebyss”, Bruce spoke about what security concerns he might have in an age of terrorism when it comes to deciding which countries to travel to in order to play for the people there. He said: “Personally, yeah, I’ll play no matter what. Your concern has to be, actually, for people who don’t have a choice in the matter. I mean, it was my choice [in 1994] — actually our choice, collectively, ’cause we all, collectively, said, ‘Yeah, we’re all crazy enough to try and do this thing and drive into Sarajevo in the middle of a war and see if we can do and do a gig. And [laughs] we’re not quite sure when we’re gonna come back.’ But those poor people that went for that [EAGLES OF DEATH METAL] concert at the Bataclan [in Paris, France] had no choice; they were completely, completely innocent in every possible way. And, of course, nobody knew that the place was gonna get targeted. So, unfortunately, there’s a judgment call that people have gotta make, and you have to make it on the best information available — as to whether or not you’re suddenly gonna get… If somebody says, ‘We’re gonna massacre everybody at a rock concert,’ you say, ‘Well, is it some lunatic, or is it genuinely credible that this might happen?'”
He continued: “You can’t take the responsibility for what might be some lunacy, massacring people, just because you wanna be kind of ‘macho man’ and stand up and say, ‘Ah, yeah, yeah, yeah, we did this and people threatened us, but we were like macho men.’ And that’s great until one day it turns out that somebody does go and do [something like that] and then you have lots and lots of dead women and children, and you go, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t have done the show, because there was a credible threat.’ So, unfortunately, you’ve gotta be grown up about it. But, at the same time, you still need to be able to offer people that hope and send that message out there. They can’t stop… Real life just carries on. I mean, when the Irish Republican Army, years and years ago… when I was a kid, things were getting blown up left, right and center in the U.K., and one lot was blowing things up and horrendous things happened, and nothing stopped — people just got on with it and carried on. You don’t stop. You don’t back down from living your life. And that was the message in Sarajevo — that in all the craziness, this little bastion of rock and roll and kind of normality happened, for five minutes, in the middle of it. You know, yeah, you know what? There is light at the end of the tunnel there. So all those kinds of things are acts of defiance, but not involving guns or bombs or bullets and things like that.”