Last night, Vienna hosted the Austrian premiere of the documentary film Jeni – a Little Light from the West, directed by Slobodan Simojlović.
Numerous prominent representatives of the Serbian community in Vienna attended the screening of the film dedicated to the Dutchwoman Jeni Ligtenberg, who was on a humanitarian mission in Pale during the last war in BiH.
The film is based on the book Pale War Diary 1993-1995 written by Jeni Ligtenberg, and edited by academician Mirko Šošić.
As a valuable and impartial testament of the war in BiH from the point of view of a Dutch pharmacist, the book served as inspiration for the documentary testifying to the humanity and great courage of Jeni Ligtenberg, who had come from Amsterdam in 1993 as a humanitarian to volunteer at the former Koran Military Hospital in Pale, where she had remained until 1995, selflessly offering help to all those needing it.
The screening in Vienna was organized by the Republic of Srpska Representative Office in Austria, the Republic of Srpska Cinematheque, the Istočno Sarajevo Main Library, and Serbian Cultural and Educational Society Prosvjeta Austria.
On the eve of the premiere, the Istočno Sarajevo Main Library and Serbian Cultural and Educational Society Prosvjeta Austria signed a cooperation agreement in the premises of the Representation.
In the Albert Hall ambience, the film and the book were presented by the film’s producers – the director of the Republic of Srpska Cinematheque, Snježan Lalović, and director of the Istočno Sarajevo Main Library, Nataša Kulašinac, and the book’s editor, academician Mirko Šošić.
The producers pointed out that the film originated from the desire of Republic of Srpska institutions to repay Jeni Ligtenberg for everything she had done for the Serbian people in the last war in BiH.
– This is a heartfelt story whose message is universally human and humane. Jeni Ligtenberg spent three war years selflessly helping the wounded, patients and the medical service, mostly living at the Koran Hospital in Pale. When she returned to the Netherlands, she continued to oppose the untruths spread by some Western media. She tried to change, to correct the image of the Serbian people than dominant in the West – said Lalović.
The screening of the film was attended, among others, by Bishop Andrej of Austria-Switzerland who addressed the guests, BiH Ambassador to the OSCE, Siniša Bencun, Anja Blum on behalf of the International Cooperation Department of the Austrian Red Cross, president of the Association of Serbian Clubs in Vienna, Luka Marković, president of the Serbian Folklore Association of Austria, Aleksandar Stanković, president of Austrian Prosvjeta, Marko Sarić, and other prominent representatives of the Serbian community in Austria.
The director of the Istočno Sarajevo Main Library pointed out that the film had been well received both in the Republic of Srpska and abroad, and added that cultural institutions in the Republic of Srpska would continue to nurture a culture of remembrance to preserve the testimonies and truths about the events of 30 years ago for the generations to come.
At the Vienna premiere, it was jointly stated that the screening of this film was important for preserving the memory of the friends of the Serbian people, and that the message of the film was universal and in its essence anti-war.
– It was a great pleasure to organize the screening of this film in Vienna. We need to show to today’s generations and our compatriots in Austria everything that Jeni Ligtenberg had done. Friends in need must not be forgotten, and the great humanity and commitment to the truth demonstrated by Jeni Ligtenberg is a message that transcends all borders and divisions – said Mladen Filipović, head of the Republic of Srpska’s Austrian Representation.
The film Jeni – a Little Light from the West recently received a Special Jury Award in the international selection at the March Festival, the oldest documentary film festival in Serbia, and the producers announced screenings in other European countries.
Source and photo: RTRS