Director Zeljko Mirkovic (left), with producer and author Dusan Gajic, speaks at a March screening of "The Promise," hosted by the Embassy of France as part of The D.C. Francophonie Cultural Festival. Mirkovic is a professor at Eastern Mennonite University in the Visual and Communication Arts Department. (Photo by Steven David Johnson)

Mirkovic documentary reaps accolades, premieres in Europe

Zeljko Mirkovic’s The Promise” continues to reap awards, as it premieres in Belgrade and France this summer. This time, the accolade was an Award of Excellence from IndieFest in California.

The documentary, produced and written by Dusan Gajic, follows a French family of winemakers who moved to a remote village of Rogljevo in Serbia, an area once known worldwide for its wine. “The Promise is a stunningly filmed documentary…,” British critic Marcus Agar writes in a review published on his Wild Rooster website. “[Mirkovic] skilfully counterpoints pastoral images of verdant fields, mist-glistening mornings and amber-hued dusks with the stress and frustration that Cyrille and Estelle must endure as outsiders with big ideas.”

Mirkovic has taught in the Visual and Communication Arts Department at Eastern Mennonite University since fall 2016.

Prior awards for “The Promise” include:

  • “Best Cultural Documentary” at the Eugene (Ore.) Film Festival;
  • Best Documentary Award at the Mediterranean Film Festival (Winter Edition) in Italy;
  • an official selection of the Queens (New York) World Film Festival;
  • an official selection of the Hoboken International Film Festival;
  • an official selection of the #TrentonFilmFestival;
  • an official selection of the Belgrade Film Festival;
  • Best Cinematography Documentary Feature at the Red Dirt Film Festival in Stillwater, Oklahoma;
  • Exceptional Merit, Depth of Field International Film Festival, Delaware;
  • Best Script at Oenovideo Film Festival, France;
  • Best Documentary Award at European Cinematography Awards.
A still from the film.

A screening in March, hosted by the Embassy of France in Washington D.C., was part of The D.C. Francophonie Cultural Festival.

There have been Oscar murmurings for the film. In an article posted on RivieraBuzz titled “Oscar candidate Zeljko Mirkovic and his promise to the world,” author Natja Igney profiles Mirkovic’s life and work.

The Oscar candidacy she refers to in the title alludes not only to this present film but also to “The Second Meeting,” about the friendship of an America F-117A pilot and the missile officer who shot him down in 1999. [Read a New York Times review and watch the trailer.]

Mirkovic has earned close to 50 international recognitions for his films, which have been featured at more than 200 international film festivals and broadcasted over TV stations throughout Europe, USA and Asia.

Among other projects, Mirkovic plans to collaborate with Professor Jerry Holsopple on a film that explores the meaning of the words salam, Shalom, and Peace, and their interpretation in the languages of the three monotheistic religions. They are currently seeking funding, with plans to travel to film in Israel, Palestine, Italy, Saudi-Arabia, Iran, Russia, Egypt and the United States.

Mirkovic is completing his PhD dissertation at the University of Vienna, Austria, in the Media and Communication Department on the topic of media and war. He earned an undergraduate degree in television directing at the Academy of Art in Belgrade in 1999, and an MA at ETMA (European Television Management Academy), Strasbourg, France, and Bournemouth University, UK. 

This article has been updated 6/20/2017.

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