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Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Hero's Welcome In Bosnia For Award-Winning Romany Actor

Published 18 February 2013

Nazif Mujic, a first-time actor, has returned home to a red-carpet reception in his Bosnian village after receiving the top prize for acting at the Berlinale film festival. Mujic and his wife, Senada Alimanovic, are Bosnian Roma who play themselves in the film "An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker." The film, made on a shoestring budget of $23,000 by director Danis Tanovic, dramatizes the couple's fight to get emergency treatment after Alimanovic's baby dies during her pregnancy. Photos by Maja Nikolic of RFE/RL's Balkan Service (15 PHOTOS)


Bosnian Romany actor Nazif Mujic returns home to the village of Svatovci with his prize from Berlin -- the Silver Bear.


Before he and his wife were asked to play themselves in the film, Mujic made a living by collecting scrap metal.


Neighbors rolled out the red carpet for the prize-winning actor.


Mujic told RFE/RL that the message of the film is that "ethnicity, religion, confession…is not important.  What's important is to be a human being. If you cut your finger, the blood will be the same, regardless of religion and faith."


Mujic greets his daughter.


Mujic with his wife and co-star in the low-budget movie, which featured no professional actors.


The couple were denied emergency treatment at a hospital because they could not afford the costs -- a situation that the film's director describes as "deeply disturbing and unfair."


Mujic with the community chairman of Svatovci


The village of Svatovci is inhabited by Bosnian Roma, who often suffer from poverty and discrimination.


Mujic, Alimanovic, and their daughter pose in front of their house.


In spite of his success in his film debut, Mujic says he will continue to collect scrap metal to make a living. "My message to government institutions is -- hire me!" he said.


The couple's daughter shows off the Silver Bear award.


"My whole family, my wife and children -- none of us have health insurance," Mujic said.


"My wife Senada and I will continue to fight," Mujic said.