Harrowing and tragic, As If I Am Not There tells the story of young, female, Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulic’s real-life experiences overseeing the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Juanita Wilson’s debut feature chronicles a moment in history that must never be forgotten.
The film opens on Samira, a vibrant young woman, playing with her younger sister in her family home as her loving parents look on. Samira is a teacher and she’s decided to travel to a remote village to teach local children whose teacher has disappeared.
She’s only been in town for one day when a group of Serbian soldiers round up all of the villagers at gunpoint and crowd them into the local hall. Samira tries to explain that there’s been a mistake; she’s from Sarajevo. But her cries fall on deaf ears. The soldiers take all the men outside and shoot them before rounding up the women and shipping them by bus to a hangar in the middle of nowhere. Confused and frightened, none of the captives know what to do.
Disturbing, powerful and ultimately redemptive, As If I Am Not There is an amazing story and an important testament to the survivors of the atrocities in the former Yugoslavia.
Toronto International Film Festival
Juanita Wilson will attend the screening