Milosevic on Trial
Photos and Video
Former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was the first incumbent head of state in history to be indicted by an international court. His trial before the Hague Tribunal began in 2001 and lasted four years, rehashing the most disturbing aspects of the crimes perpetrated during the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia, where three million people were displaced, 125,000 were killed, and the European community faced the reality of mass graves and ethnic cleansing for the first time since World War II. Director Michael Christoffersen documented the entire serpentine path of the trial. His exclusive access not only to the courtroom but the key attorneys resulted in more than 2,000 hours of courtroom footage and 250 hours of interviews. In Milosevic On Trial, he distills it masterfully into an unflinching look at the savagery of war and the trail of misery left in its wake. The proceedings are both weighty and dramatic. Milosevic is confident and staunch in his refusal of a court-appointed attorney on the grounds that the trial is illegal. A key witness for the prosecution changes testimony mid-trial. Heartbreaking video footage surfaces. Christoffersen handles all of the material adeptly,cutting from the courtroom to evidence-gathering in the field and back. Gregory Nice, the British attorney and lead prosecutor racing against time to make his case, and Dragoslav Ognjanovic, Milosevic's lawyer and friend who worries over the failing health of the man he calls a hero, face off in compelling ongoing interviews. With Milosevic on Trial, Christoffersen presents a spellbinding glimpse into the mechanics of the burgeoning international court system, born from the Nazi-prosecuting Nuremberg trials.
Director's Statement Collapse
In 2001, when we finally got exclusive access to the trial against former president Slobodan Milosevic, neither I nor anyone else had imagined that we would film for more than four years and would have to manage more than 2,000 hours of courtroom video. It was also time-consuming to overcome suspicions from busy and cautious UN employees. The prosecutor and Milosevic´s defense lawyers were firmly against fly-on-the-wall filming. The UN is an inert and enormous machine.
Our model for the film was American courtroom drama, where the courtroom is the visible arena in which the battles take place and the planning and reactions happen in the dark corridors behind the court. But I felt the film should also be true to the factual development of the trial: It should be a historic document of the longest and biggest trial in modern history, a trial that never reached a conclusion. This version of the film is 70 minutes and it is self-evident that a distillation this massive makes the film an interpretation. But hopefully it also will be a statement that passes on historical development for further discussion after the film.
Film Information Collapse
[MILOS] | 2007 | 70 | Documentary Feature
Directed by: Michael Christoffersen
Foreign Title: (Slobodan Milosevic - Praesident under anklage)
Language: English, Serbian, Albanian
Premiere: North American
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Slobodan Milosevic, Geoffrey Nice, Dragoslav Ogjnanovic, Judge Robinson May, Steven Kay, Gillian Higgins
Directors of Photography Maarten Kramer, Will Jacob, Peter Mariouw Smith
Producer Mette Heide
Editors Henrik Flelscher, Niels Ostenfeid, Scott Stevenson
Post Sound Morten Wile
Composer Simon Ravn
Still Photography Thomas Marott, Aleksandar Andijc
Connect to this film Collapse
About the Director(s)Collapse
Michael Christoffersen (b. 1954) has worked as a producer and director for more than 20 years. He is co-managing director of Team Productions, a Danish production company specializing in international productions like Sean McAllister's 2005 Sundance award winner Liberace of Baghdad. In 2001, he was granted exclusive access to film the trial of Slobodan Milosevic, which he did for four years, accumulating more than 2,000 hours of video.