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.

Michèle Maheux,
Toronto International Film Festival

Juanita Wilson will attend the screening