A personal documentary revealing what it means to be "Bosnian" through the experience of a Bosnian-American in Portland and Sarajevo.
Finding Bosnia presents the intimate and personal journey of a Bosnian war refugee raised in the United States who seeks to reclaim her "Bosnian" culture and identity. Meet Ivana Horvat who fled Sarajevo with her mother in 1992 during the siege of the capital city because of the Bosnian conflict, leaving her father and his fate behind. Three years later, her father was reunited with his wife and daughter and the Horvat family began rebuilding their life together in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in America Ivana heard little mention of their family's struggle for asylum.
Despite speaking her native language at home, Ivana feels distanced from her Bosnian heritage. She has made it her goal to make Bosnia "real" and to embrace her cultural background by not only returning to Bosnia, but also by meeting and interviewing other Bosnian refugees in Portland, Paris, and wherever else the journey takes her. Her mother and her father, Tanja and Nino Horvat, took turns capturing home videos of their new life together in Portland and twenty years later, their footage has become a lens with which Ivana can watch her transition from being a young Bosnian child to an American woman. Using this footage, the memories of her parents, and those of the members of the community who helped get them to Portland, Oregon as a bridge into her past, Ivana Horvat returns to Bosnia to discover her heritage and what "Bosnian" means. She shares this personal journey with her audience in hopes to encourage others who feel isolated from their native culture to reclaim their backgrounds and identities. It is very important to Ivana to create this film to raise awareness about Bosnia, a country that is rarely studied in school and depicted in the media to emphasize that there is more to Bosnia than the war.
Although our goal is $4,000, this money will only cover airfare for Adrian and Ivana to fly to Sarajevo. The truth is we need more than this goal of $4,000 to cover other documentary expenses including, equipment and post-production. Anything helps and thank you in advance!
Finding Bosnia is so much more than just a birds-eye look into the lost and found life of Ivana Horvat. Rather it speaks to the "refugee" in all of us who have struggled between two cultures, two ideologies, two expressions or any type of duality in identity. It is a documentary film which will not only follow Ivana's story and journey, but it will tell the stories of the intercultural experiences of other refugees from Bosnia scattered throughout the world. It will explore issues of assimilating into new cultures, being brought up in between cultures, and it will “find Bosnia” outside of Bosnia through interviews with other refugees in France, Canada and the United States. We feel these are stories that need to be told because they will offer a rare and unique perspective using Ivana, someone who is neither a part of the Bosnian culture, nor is entirely separate from it, as a looking glass through which viewers will learn about the underrepresented people of this region. It will show what the essence of Bosnia and the Bosnian people is instead of focusing exclusively on its war like many other films do.
Producing a documentary is quite the undertaking! Besides travel expenses to get us to Bosnia, your money is directly going towards equipment and film festival
submissions when the film is finished. We need audio equipment to ensure that all of the powerful interviews we gather throughout Portland and Bosnia are recorded clearly. Audio is arguably the most important aspect of a documentary. In addition, we need lighting equipment for these interviews to be clearly captured. Our last "big" expense for this documentary will be post-production costs and fees for film festival submissions. Our goal is for our documentary to be screened at festivals around the country and world. For this we will submit "Finding Bosnia" to numerous film festivals, such as: the Northwest Film Festival, Portland's International Film Festival, Los Angeles Women's International Film Festival, Culture and Cultures International Film Festival etc.
Adrian has many roles in the making of Finding Bosnia. She is the co-writer, the co-producer, the co-director but is also Ivana's right hand “MAMA” and support. She is deeply involved in Ivana's personal journey and is excited to see Ivana grow and change throughout her time learning about Bosnia and her Bosnian family. She has been a monumental force in the conceptualization of the documentary because she uses her intercultural and interdisciplinary background from Pitzer College to steer the documentary in the right direction. Her adeptness in understanding different cultures and the way individuals are affected by culture is a true asset to the documentary, as is her empathy towards others. The journey Ivana is about to embark will be extremely difficult at times, what with Bosnia having a war torn past and with Ivana living with a family she hasn't seen in 11 years. Adrian’s presence during these times will be pivotal in moving the documentary along, because in many ways, Ivana's ups and downs coincide with the plot of the documentary. Adrian's expertise as a video maker, scholar and friend are and will continue to be paramount to the success of the documentary.
LLAMAMAMA Productions is Ivana Horvat (LLAMA) and Adrian Hopffgarten (MAMA). They are a 3-year-old video production company that has made promotional videos for Portland schools, businesses, non-profits, a commercial for Tim's Chips, and various art and music videos for local artists. They are both creative and talented videographers who have an intense passion for international storytelling. Together, they have spent a significant amount of time living abroad in Turkey, Nepal, Ecuador, Bosnia and Italy.