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Radmila Djurica

Radmila Djurica is your guide to the festival scenes: Sarajevo, Cannes and many more

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Sarajevo Film Festival 2008

Friday edition of Sarajevo Film Festival Coffee program as a regular event of Festival Centre was host by British director Sharon Maguire and producer Andy Peterson. Their joint project the film “Incendiary” was presented to viewers of the 14th Sarajevo Film Festival.

 Talking about her beginnings as a film director Sharon Maquire emphasized her earlier career as TV journalist that helped her understands the great power of film. Then she decided to try on do an art film herself.  I think we all remember “Bridget Jones's Diary” and that was Sharon Maguire's first feature film. Between 1991 and 1993, Maguire worked as producer/director for the BBC's The Late Show. She then made several acclaimed documentaries which include The Godfather, In At Number Ten, PicassoRumer Godden: An Indian Affair, H G Wells: Parts 1 & 2 for BBC Bookmark, which was nominated for a Royal TV Society Award; and "Dame Henrietta's Dream . . . A Year In The Life Of Hampstead Garden Suburb" for BBC Omnibus… Other projects in development for Maguire to direct include “Mail” , “The Vicious Circle” and “Mother's Boy”. After “Bridget Jones's Diary” she had wanted to do something completely different. The topic that book deals with immediately captivated her attention. Her film “Incendiary” is about a woman whose life is shattered by suicide bombers in London and gave her opportunity to present a powerful and dramatic story of survival and woman strength with which we can overcome everyday problems and tragedies. In this film she sends universal message of hope. That’s why she thought it was particularly important to present film in Sarajevo. Maquire and producer Peterson admitted that they were nervously expecting how the audience would react and accept the film. Maguire’s script was written by Chris Cleave's book. “Chris’s book was sent to me in manuscript form, because I asked my agents if they had anything which was the opposite of romantic comedy.  Not because I have anything against them. This was just because the romantic comedies I was being sent at the time weren’t floating my boat. So they sent me the manuscript of Incendiary.” And basically it’s a thriller-romance-survivor kind of film and of course we can not avoid mentioning here a terrific performance of Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor.  Also let’s not forget an excellent production and Sarajevo Film Festival guest Andy Peterson who did his job wonderfully here. The stadium bombing scene itself is very real, stumbling entrance into football arena from which shocked people are moving the other way as well. Then Michelle’s "Have you seen a little boy?" plead sounds more painful than true, and then it does gets fairly unconvincing in some other dialogues.  But all this gets to be covered by wonderful production of this film. Still, this is the film directed by woman who does get identified by her characters.  My own son was nine months old when I read the manuscript of the novel. I think you always gain an extra layer of sensitivity to the cruelties of the world when you’re a new mother and the world post 9/11 seemed insane. And it’s still insane. Across the divides, over 100,000 mothers have lost their children since 9/11.  The unofficial figure is 6 times that. And for what???? We’re all killing each other and it isn’t solving the problem.”

Best known by “Bridget Jones's Diary” we do understand what kind of emotions this female director can arouse and in order to depict a little of herself.
”When I directed BJD, I tried to encourage the actors to look for the emotional truth of the situation – even when the comedy was broad, like ‘falling out of taxis” or ‘pulling on big panties” or the awkward moments of dating and having sex with your boss. I think it’s best to try to look for the plausibility of a situation. Life is both comic and tragic, often at the same time. And I’ve been lucky enough to have actors who can straddle both with ease.”

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