Law Student To Present Award-Winning Documentary On Bosnian War
2, 2001 -- An
interest in justice combined with an interest in filmmaking has
led a University of Virginia law student to make an award-winning
documentary about Bosnian war crimes.
film, "Mirror to History: Confronting War Crimes in Bosnia,"
by third-year law student Cristian DeFrancia, was named Best Political
Documentary by the New York International Independent Film and Video
Festival last July.
will be a screening of the 52-minute film on Thursday, Feb. 15,
at 4:30 p.m. at the University of Virginia Bookstore on the Mezzanine
Level. The screening is free and open to the public. A discussion,
"Restoring the Moral Fabric in the Former Yugoslavia: The Role
of War Crimes Prosecutions," will follow.
interest in film runs in the family. Two of his older siblings attended
film school. His brother, Tomas DeFrancia, 31, now works as a producer
at International Media Group in West Palm Beach, Fla., and his sister,
Carath DeFrancia, 33, works as an account executive at Moving Images
Post-Production in New York. His brother helped with production
of the video.
of Great Falls, Va., majored in English at Reed College as an undergraduate,
but, stimulated by his siblings interest in the field, took
film classes at night. In 1996, he moved to the East Coast to work
as a paralegal in Washington, D.C.
he volunteered to work on the American Bar Associations Task
Force on War Crimes, helping to draft rules and procedures for ad
hoc tribunals that were investigating war crimes in the former Yugoslavia
and in Rwanda. In 1998, he attended a diplomatic conference in Rome
called to discuss the establishment of a Permanent International
Criminal Court that would handle war crimes on a permanent basis,
rather than depending on ad hoc tribunals. His attendance as a freelance
journalist for ComCast Cablevision allowed him to tape the meeting
and fueled his interest in creating a video report on humanitarian
his first year in law school, DeFrancia obtained a public service
fellowship from the U.Va. School of Law, along with the sponsorship
of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights and the American
Bar Association. 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.
videotape, which attempts to present fairly the three sides of the
conflict Serbian, Bosnian and Croatian -- is the result.
in his final year of law school, DeFrancia is considering a career
in media law. He has continued his work on the Bosnian conflict,
serving as assistant director for the production of "Justice
at Work," an educational documentary on the International Criminal
Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
Charlotte Crystal, (804) 924-6858