| 43 Inthe‘IndependentStateofCroatia’, racial lawsare in force. In the autumn of 1941, AustrianDiana Budisavljević learnsthatmothersandchildrenofChristian Orthodox origin are being taken to concentration camps near Zagreb. The number and label of an undesirableSerb is alsogiven toher husband, renownedZagrebdoctorJulijaBudisavljević. Inanatmosphereof fear and menace, Diana and several friends launch a risky campaignfromherapartment that results inmorethan 10,000 children being saved from certain death. Upon the end of the war, her Austrian and urban origins are deemedundesirablefor theCommunists, the lesof the children she led to safetywith the intention of one day reconnectingthemwiththeirparentsaresnatched, and silence instead of praise for the greatest rescue operation inWorldWar II remains to the present day. TheDiaryofDianaBudisavljevićistheabsolutewinner of this year’s Pula FilmFestival. Awarded the Grand GoldenArena for Best Picture, goldenarena awards for bestdirection, editingandmusic, italsowonawardsaudience and critics awards… Firstcameexcruciatingsilence,thenstandingovations that seemed as though they’d never stop, then awards... Could you ever have anticipated that your debut feature lmwould cause such a stir?WereyousurprisedbytheresponsesofpeoOd aplauza su se tresli zidovi Pulske arene, slivale se suze zahvalnosti i ganuća, a Hrvatska se ujedinila i poklonila jednoj veličanstvenoj ženi, Diani Budisavljević, koja je spasla 10.000 dece i pala u zaborav. Sve dok je jedna hrabra Dana, sa kojom deli prezime, nije otkrila i predstavila svetu kako bi konačno dobila sve zasluge koje joj pripadaju The walls of the Pula Arena shook with applause, tears of gratitude and passion owed, and Croatia united and bowed to a magni cent woman, Diana Budisavljević, who saved 10,000 children before being lost to oblivion. That was until one brave Dana with whom she shares a surname discovered her and presented her to the world, for her to nally receive all the credit that she deserves – Radi se o najvećoj civilnoj akciji spasavanja dece u Drugom svetskom ratu. Zamislite kad pročitate nešto tako, nešto toliko ogromno, i shvatite da istorijski gotovo uopšte nije obrađeno. Koja je to odgovornost, koliki je to zadatak. Prve tri godine smo samo istraživali. Razgovarali smo s više od 100 ljudi, pretražili 25 arhiva u Hrvatskoj, Srbiji, Austriji, tražili sve što smo mogli o Diani i njenim saradnicima, tražili smo preživele i tražili smo dokumente i arhivski materijal kako bismo bili sigurni u našu priču. Sve što je u ovom filmu, sve je proverljivo. Iako je to priča iz Dianine perspektive, temelji se na njenom dnevniku, velika je pažnja posvećena tome da je sve što stavljamo u film verodostojno. Ne možete veru u ljude vraćati lažima, Diana je dugo čekala i zaslužila je da verodostojno ispričamo njenu priču. Da li je, osimzahvalnosti i divljenjakoje svi dugujemo ljudiple inCroatia? There isn’t adirector in theworldwhocouldanticipatethat.Thereisnoformulaforsuccess inthearts. Youhavetoworka lot, andthenthestarsalsohaveto align; it must be your moment. At the Pula FilmFestival, where the Diary of Diana Budisavljević had its worldpremiere in front of 5,000 spectators, that recognitionof the lmanditsaudienceoccurred.Theapplause lasted for eightminutes, andwhenwitnesses appeared on stage, the entire Arena got to its feet. Do you expect the lm to evoke even stronger emotions in Serbia – not only the kind that everyone on the planet would feel when confronted by such a story of su ering and indescribable courage, but also a feeling of eternal gratitude? I’mveryexcitedaheadof thepremiereof the lm at the FreeZone Festival inBelgradeon11th November. I don’twant toassumeanything; Iwill submitDiana to them in the same way that I submitted it to the Croatian audience. I workedon the lmwithmy crew for 10 years; we gave the best that we could in that lm, now it’s the turnof the audience. I just dare to hope that this lmwill arouse strength and positive emotions in them, because that is Diana’s message–not fascismor the su eringof children inwar. It seems tome that you said that this lm is a sensationbecausesomeonedecidedtotouch on thatwhich is otherwisenot touched.What is it that isn’t touched in the Balkans and will it perhaps be touched on more often following your lm? WorldWar II is almost a taboo topic in Croatia, as if only politicians dare speak about it, andonly for electionpurposes.Everyonewill tellyouthattheycan nolongerbear tohearabout theUstashaandthePartisans, aboutWorldWar II, butwhenyou look at it realistically, we haven’t made a lm about that for 30 years. Novels and plays on the subject are also rare. That’s why Diana’s story waited 70 years, because it didn’t serve anyone’s interest. On the one hand, this storymeansacknowledgingthattheNDH[Independent State of Croatia] was founded on racist laws and that there were systemic crimes against Serbs, Jews and Roma in it, while on the other hand one needs to face the fact that the Partisans and the Communist Party, which takes the credit for defeating the Ustasha and the fascists, silenced Diana and her initiative to save children from that war. Živko Zelenbrz, Nada Vlaisavljević and MiloradJandrićaretodayadultswhowererescued byDiana. Howdid they feel watching the lm inPula?Howdid they react? That was in nitely touching.We all held hands, squeezed. They saw the lm for the rst time then, withtears runningdownallofour faces. Inourminds was alsoZorka Janjanin, who sadlypassedawayprior to the premiere. I lmed the documentary part back in 2015, because I was afraid that it might be too late by the time I raised the money for the feature part. Although Živko, Nada, Milorad and Zorka are all well over 80 years old, we always referred to themas“the children”. YouaddedtoDiana’sdiary,whichyouacciden-