Feb. 9-15, 2001
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U.Va. Law student to show award-winning Bosnia video
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U.Va. Law student to show award-winning Bosnia video

Peter Bill
A girl looks over the makeshift bridge in Mostar, Bosnia, where the 500-year-old bridge was destroyed during the war.

By Charlotte Crystal

Interests in justice and filmmaking led Cristian DeFrancia, a third-year U.Va. Law student to make "Mirror to History: Confronting War Crimes in Bosnia." The film was named Best Political Documentary by the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival last July.

DeFrancia will screen the 52-minute work Feb. 15 at 4:30 p.m. at the University Bookstore on the mezzanine level. The screening is free and open to the public. A discussion will follow. The event is sponsored by the Miller Center of Public Affairs, the Virginia Journal for International Law, the John Norton Moore Society and the International Relations Organization.

Cristian DeFrancia
Rebecca Arrington
Cristian DeFrancia, U.Va. law student and filmmaker

Two of DeFrancia's older siblings attended film school and work in related areas. Stimulated by their involvement in the field, he took film classes at night, while majoring in English at Reed College by day. After moving to Washington, D.C., in 1996 to work as a paralegal, DeFrancia volunteered to work on the American Bar Association's Task Force on War Crimes. There, he helped to draft rules and procedures for ad hoc tribunals that were investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda. Two years later he attended a diplomatic conference in Rome called to discuss the establishment of a Permanent International Criminal Court. As a freelance journalist for ComCast Cablevision, he was allowed to tape the meeting and decided to create a video report on humanitarian law.

At the U.Va. Law School, DeFrancia obtained a public service fellowship, along with the sponsorship of the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights and the American Bar Association. In the summer of 1999, he headed to The Hague, Netherlands, to videotape interviews at the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal while NATO bombed Kosovo. After the bombing stopped in June, he traveled with a friend to Bosnia to see the landscape and tape interviews with political officials and ordinary people who had witnessed atrocities during the war.

This videotape, which attempts to present fairly the three sides of the conflict -- Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian -- is the result.

Now in his final year of law school, DeFrancia is considering a career in media law.


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