After months of back and forth, the United Nations has told director Larysa Kondracki that her controversial film The Whistleblower will be given a special screening at UN headquarters on the week of Oct. 10. After the screening, a panel discussion will address the issue of sex trafficking in post-war Bosnia. It’s an embarrassing chapter for the UN, as the film depicts UN peacekeepers not only turning a blind eye to the trafficking of women forced into prostitution in post-war Bosnia, but actually assisting in the transport of sex slaves over the border and into unimaginable hellholes. This latest development comes as a surprise to Kondracki, who has lobbied for months to bring her cautionary tale to the UN. The film stars Rachel Weisz as Kathryn Bolkovac, an American police officer who takes a job as UN peacekeeper in Bosnia and not only was shocked to discover the sexual enslavement of young girls, but that UN peacekeepers and private contractors were major customers. Given diplomatic immunity by the State Department when they hired on, the men were never punished for their complicity in the criminal enterprise. Bolkovac, on the other hand, was excoriated and blackballed for exposing the scandal.
Samuel Goldwyn Films began slowly rolling out the film two weeks ago, and Kondracki initially got a frosty response from the UN. She figured out why when she was slipped an internal UN memo, which she shared with me and which indicated how conflicted senior advisers were over whether to embrace the film or run from it. “After the film premiered and there was quite a bit of press, that’s when I was given the memo by someone who works for the UN and we heard they were going the damage-control route,” Kondracki told me. “I wrote the Secretary General, sent him the DVD, and said they were making the wrong decision.” (more…)