THE CHETNIK BABIES
This documentary is a remarkable account of Muslin and Croat women who bore children out of Serbian rape camps, but continue to love them and fight for the right to live normal lives.
Rape has become a political weapon of torture and terrorism by men against women in many war zones throughout the world.
Mass-rapes under orders on the Serbian-occupied territories of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia where part of a Serbian policy of genocide against non-Serbs. This meant that non-Serbian women - most prominently Muslims and Croats - were not only tortured by rape, but were raped as a part of a Serbian policy of "ethnic cleansing" on the basis of both their sex and ethnicity. Many of these rapes ended in murder.
The other dimension of this specifically genocidal rape, which appears historically unique, was the forcible impregnation of non-Serbian women. The purpose was to produce what Serbs regarded as "chetnik" babies to populate the "Greater Serbian" state. These two types of genocidal rape occurred as public spectacles in the occupied territories aimed at inducing massive emigration and fleeing. They were also systematically organised into over 20 Serb-run rape/death camps and randomly in 100 concentration camps. Serbian soldiers were commanded by their superiors to commit these genocidal rapes.
The documentary begins by inter-cutting the modern day Sarajevo with archive footage from the war. This will be from the point of view of the women, as they recount the Yugoslav war and show what life was like living in what was then one of the most dangerous cities on earth. These women will explain their experiences from living in a peaceful country to one savaged by war and intolerance. We will learn and understand first hand how they coped and survived under such extreme conditions.
The film will then explore their present day lives to find out how these women are coping and what their relationship is like with their children who were born out of their horrific ordeals at the rape camps. How do they interact in their communities, with their partners and families and do they carry a stigma in society?
These women will then undertake a remarkable and courageous journey. With their children and husbands they will travel across the country to the camps to explain to their families the ordeal they underwent at the hands of their captures. We will learn and understand what happened to them, how they coped and survived each day under such extreme conditions and how they eventually managed to escape. This section of the film will once again inter-cut the modern country with archive footage to show how the country has changed over the past 20 years.
The women will then continue their journey by returning to their original community from which they were abducted and returned to after they escaped. Here they will question their community to understand why they were not helped, but ostracised on their return. Once again modern footage will be inter-cut with archive footage to show what happened during the war in these communities. Why would a community turn its back on its most vulnerable? Are they ready to accept them back and if so would these women want to return?
The women will then travel to a prison to confront convicted Serbian soldiers to try and understand how they were capable of performing such extreme forms of ethnic cleansing. How can they live knowing what they did and do they feel any kind of remorse or guilt for their actions?
As the women travel home will they now become the voice of a silent generation of woman or will they still feel that they have a stigma that they are unable to shed.
By these mothers finally confronting and speaking about their past, will they finally be able to move their lives forward, not in the shadows but in the open, by the victim confronting the perpetrator will they now gain some kind of redemption.
Why this film?
This is a story that is not that familiar in the history of the Yugoslav war; it is a film that we feel would be informative, disturbing, but also inspirational and moving for an audience. The film would not dwell on the negative but show these women as inspirational and strong individuals.
The film will have a unique visual style it will be graded black and white and the footage manipulated so that it matches the archive footage. Every shot will be from the women’s P.O.V’s so the modern footage and archive footage will dissolve, cut and inter-cut seamlessly interweaving the past and the present to show how the country has changed and what these women endured.