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Update: Sarajevo 09-May-2004

Greetings from Sarajevo

We are here completing the last of the filming for our documentary on landmines, entitled Disarm. I am doing the production, Brian the camerawork, and we have been working with a local sound engineer named Emir Fetahagic. We spent the past week mainly filming the annual researchers meeting of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and making contacts for filming in Bosnia over the course of the next week.

Following Jody & the Ambassador

After the opening plenary, we followed Jody Williams, the ICBL ambassador and 1997 Nobel Peace Laureate, and Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch, President of the treaty's Review Conference this December where our film will be initially released. They visited a demining site run by Norwegian People's Aid, our host in Sarajevo and one of the biggest mine clearance groups in the world. We filmed Jody and Petritsch as they donned helmets and protective gear to enter the minefield site. At the site, we talked with a rather cute woman mine detection dog handler (women deminers are still a rarity) and her huge German shepherd. The dog has been sponsored for the past couple of years through an ICBL funding effort led by Jody, a big dog fan. The next day we filmed Jody as she visiting the dog training center to play with the puppies.

The Grandmother Deminer

We also accompanied Jody and Petritsch as they visited a housing area on a hillside overlooking the city that had recently been cleared of mines. They chatted with an old woman who had returned after the fighting only to find mines all around her house. To our amazement, she talked about how she had cut some of the mines tripwires herself, before the deminers arrived on the scene. In Iraq, they called this kind of civilian mine clearance "cowboy" demining, but this grandmother didnít look anything like a cowboy.

Footage from Campaigners

We spent the rest of the conference talking with the participants about the film, especially asking them to help us in our search for stock footage, My colleague from Thailand gave us two tapes shot clandestinely on the Burma border. One tape shows an array of mines made and used by the Karen rebels and Burmese government. The other contained a sickeningly real piece of "jungle" surgery on a young rebel who had stood on a mine. The surgeons were part of a mobile medical team that provides emergency medical assistance to injured people living along the border who cannot seek medical attention within Burma. Another colleague from the Philippines brought us a tape shot by a Philippino TV crew in Afghanistan showing an incident in which an ambulance carrying two injured deminers reversed back over an antivehicle mine which subsequently exploded killed everyone inside the vehicle. During our filming in Afghanistan, several deminers that were working on the site that day described this catastrophe to us. It was very interesting to see the footage...

Check out:

ICBL in Bosnia