White Balloon

White Balloon. It is a 30-minute documentary narrated, directed, and produced by actor and photographer, Nihad Ademi.
The film follows Ademi as he returns to Bosnia, 23 years after being released from the worst concentration camp since the World War II in the former Yugoslavia.
But, the film is inevitably about “hope and letting go,” says the film-maker.
“White Balloon is both a haunting personal odyssey and a heartfelt documentary of hope and inspiration.”
Ademi was a citizen of Prijedor in Bosnia and Herzegovina when he was rounded up during the war in the former Yugoslavia. The film recalls his harrowing experiences in the Omarska death camp.
At Omarska, Ademi confronts the traumatic events of his past and, along with hundreds of former inmates, he releases a white balloon commemorating the thousands of people still missing since the Bosnian War.

  • Nihad Ademi
    Director
  • Nihad Ademi
    Writer
  • Nihad Ademi
    Producer
  • Manitoba Film And Music
    Producer
  • Nihad Ademi, Ervin Blažević, Hanna Ademi, Bademai
    Key Cast
    Night Mayor - Guy Maddin
  • Alek Rzeszowski; Briane Lewin; John Gurdabeke
    Editors
  • Norman Dugas
    Sound
  • Winnipeg Symphany Orchestra; Matthew Patton; Sarah Dugas; Dejan Rafajlovic Trio; Kong Kie; Ken Tyler
    Music
  • Frank Albo
    Script Supervisor
    Professor of History & Architecture; Historian; Author - The Hermetic Code
  • Guy Maddin
    Film Advisor
    My Winnipeg - featuring Isabella Rossellini
  • Alexander Mickelthewate
    Music Supervisor
    Conductor/ Director Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    June 1, 2016
  • Country of Origin:
    Canada
  • Country of Filming:
    Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada
  • Language:
    English
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Sarajevo Film Festival
    Sarajevo
    Bosnia and Herzegovina
    August 2017
Director Biography - Nihad Ademi

Nihad Ademi is a documentary film maker; a photographer/ photographic magazine publisher of G-love Magazine; and an actor known for his participation in Night Mayor (2009), Glorious (2008) and Keyhole (2011)

"Nihad is a photographer, filmmaker, and survivor of Omarska, one of the worst concentration camps operated during the Bosnian War.
This past summer, Nihad shared his story in his powerful documentary “White Balloon.” The film tells the story of Nihad’s return to the former Yugoslavia for the first time in twenty years. Nihad visited the former concentration camp, where he was held for over 200 days. While he was imprisoned there, he witnessed unspeakable atrocities on a daily basis. On his return, Nihad and the other concentration camp survivors each released a white balloon with a tag in it that had the name of someone who didn’t survive the war.
Nihad’s story brought together many individuals from Winnipeg’s arts communities, including filmmaker Guy Maddin, WSO conductor Alexander Mickelthwate, and Frank Albo, who all had a hand in producing this documentary.
For Nihad, his photography and filmmaking is a way for him to heal. Though it was difficult and painful, Nihad felt it was his responsibility to speak out against the horrors he witnessed, and to give a voice to the people—including his friends and family—who lost their lives during the Bosnian War. It was also a way to keep their memory alive. Nihad’s story is a reminder to all of us that the first step towards reconciliation is confronting the truth, a truly timely message in our own country. The real power of his documentary is that he broadens these life lessons out to all of us, even if we’ve never experienced something as horrific as a concentration camp." -Wab Kinew, Author, Musician, & MLA for Fort Rouge, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Director Statement

"The hardest part for me is to actually go right back on the site of that camp. I walked the rooms. That I found the hardest part....
"I lost a lot of friends in the war. Like neighbours, close friends, guys from school. And now, even last year, they found the biggest mass grave in my town. Over 400 bodies. So now I feel all these people, they lost their life. Their voice. And I'm here to give voice to them."
"My crew, the guys who are helping, they know my story very well. So that's why they are helping me. So I can help those that can't."