Ministry of defence Republic of Serbia

Premiere of documentary and feature film “War stories from Košare”

The documentary and feature film “War Stories from Košare” (“Ratne priče sa Košara”) was premiered at the Houses of the Guards at Topčider tonight, marking the day when 20 years ago the Battle of Košare started. Minister of Defense, Aleksandar Vulin, Chief of the General Staff of the Serbian Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Milan Mojsilović, the state and military leadership, participants of the battle of Košare, members of the families of the soldiers who died in this battle and numerous guests attended the premiere.

This film was co-produced by the Ministry of Defense, Military Film Centre “Zastava Film” and Radio-Television of Serbia. The team of authors, along with the author Slađana Zarić, also includes producers Snežana Rodić Sinđelić and Lieutenant Colonel Goran Ikonić, journalist Vesna Ilić, directors of photography Žarko Pekez and Petar Vujanić, editor Bojan Perišić, organizer Danko Rapajić, composer Vladimir Tošić and sound designer Bojan Mangović.

After the screening, film author Slađana Zarić thanked everyone who participated in the realization of this important project, especially the members of the Special Brigade and the Third Army Brigade. Nevertheless, according to the author, the biggest gratitude goes to the members of the Armed Forces who participated in the battles at Košare in 1998 and 1999, since everything that was done is dedicated to them.

She also pointed out that tonight’s premiere has made her very emotional, especially in the atmosphere of the crowded hall of the Houses of the Guards where people who had lived through this story and motivated her to screen it were present.

- The main motive is those children, now grown up men of around 40 years of age, the courage, the dedication and the commitment to defend the homeland. That is what motivated me as one bright and glorious exemplar not only for the present time, but for future generations as well. After this film I do feel sad, but I also feel proud. The overall message of the film is gratitude. Twenty years ago we failed to say “thank you” and I think it is high time to start thanking them not for one day, not for a year, but for the decades to come to thank those people for what they did – Zarić said.

One of the producers of “War Stories from Košare” and Director of the Military Film Centre “Zastava Film”, Lieutenant Colonel Goran Ikonić highlighted not only the good cooperation with RTS, but also the complexity of the project that was filmed for almost a year.

- Much energy was invested to have this film created. I think that we managed to conjure up the atrocities and hell of Košare and the faithful battle over a piece of our territory – said Ikonić and announced a new joint project of “Zastava film” and RTS, a film “Ratne priče sa Paštrika” (“War Stories with Paštrik”), to be premiered in May this year.

Colonel Duško Šljivančanin, was commander of 53 Border Battalion in 1999. Although he himself was wounded in the Battle of Košare, having seen the film said that he was ashamed he had survived having seen the youth that perished at Košare and in Kosovo and Metohija.

Željko Miljković, a member of 53 Border Battalion, also concluded the film was truly realistic in depicting the situation in which the combatants at Košare found themselves, and commended all who played the battle scenes in the film.

Dragiša Ljubenović, a reserve Major of the former 63 Parachute Brigade, does not hide the satisfaction that following 20 years of silence, a film about Košare was finally made. He thanked the Ministry of Defense and RTS for the project that saved those who fought at Košare from oblivion.

The “War Stories from Košare” chronologically illustrates the Yugoslav-Albanian border in 1998 and 1999. The 9 April 1999 attack on the Košare border post is given through the testimonies of soldiers and officers who defended their homeland two decades ago and prevented the enemy from penetrating Kosovo and Metohija.

The Battle of Košare became a symbol for the defense of the state border. It lasted from 9 April to 14 June 1999, when the undefeated Yugoslav Army withdrew from the territory of Kosovo and Metohija following the Kumanovo Agreement. 108 members of the Yugoslav Army were killed in the Battle of Košare.

The film includes more than 70 accounts by members of numerous units who participated in the Battle, and the featured scenes are a reconstruction of the actual events based on their testimonies.

The presenter at this evening’s premiere and also narrator in the documentary and feature film “War Stories from Košare” was actor Nenad Jezdić.
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