A documentary by Zeljko Mirkovic, a professor at Eastern Mennonite University, will be screened Friday, March 10, at the Embassy of France in Washington D.C. The event, which begins at 7 p.m. and will include a talkback and wine tasting reception, is part of The D.C. Francophonie Cultural Festival.
“The Promise” is an award-winning documentary, filmed over four years, about French winemakers who move to Rogljevo, Serbia, to revive the ancient tradition of Serbian winemaking. In the area are more than 20 wine cellars, some of which have been in use for 2000 years. The French and Serbian embassies are co-hosting the event.
Admission to the screening is free, but pre-registration is required.
Since its release in August, the documentary has won the Best Cultural Documentary Award at Eugene (Oregon) International Film Festival, and the Best Documentary Award at the Mediterranean Film Festival (Winter Edition) in Italy. The film is also an official selection of the Queens (New York) World Film Festival and has earned Best Cinematography Documentary Feature at the Red Dirt Film Festival in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Mirkovic and producer Dusan Gajic made many trips to the village to film interactions between the villagers and the entrepreneurial couple. Each year was a challenge, both financially and in terms of whether the vineyards were productive, Mirkovic said. “They were thinking all of the time whether to continue or to give up. The story is really about their strength and motivation and hope that someone will recognize their efforts. Wine in this area is not just something you drink, but it’s very connected culturally. The whole circle of life, from birth to death, is connected with wine.”
The collaboration was eventually successful and the couple continues to make wine today, which is sold around the world.
Mirkovic’s films have won 45 international awards and been featured at more than 200 international film festivals and broadcasted over TV stations throughout Europe, USA and Asia.
Mirkovic has taught in the Visual and Communication Arts Department at EMU since fall 2016. He is completing his PhD dissertation at the University of Vienna, Austria, in the Media and Communication Department on the topic of media and war.
Mirkovic 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.
Click here for more information about The DC Francophonie Festival, which celebrates the diversity and richness of the French language and francophone communities around the world through a series of cultural events and outreach programs.