A FASHION SHOW BACK TO NO FUTURE // 06. 1994.
BRANKO JERKOVIC // TV DIRECTOR
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

June 1994

Branko Jerkovic
TV director
A FASHION SHOW BACK TO NO FUTURE

‘The Surrealists comedy troupe held the “Back to No future” fashion show in front of the Bachelors’ Club. This was a problem first of all because it was the first thing to be organized out in the open that wasn’t under the auspices of UNPROFOR, as it was still called back then. Then we had to squeeze a permit out of the Security Service Center and so on, to make it possible for us to get some light, because it was held in the evening. That was the first thing we needed to get, and then we had to request electricity from the city management at the local level. First we got the electric company to send power to that section of town, and then we persuaded the local management to lay out a cable to bring power to the site. The show featured the designs of Azra Malohodzic. The models were from the group Front. It was great. It was a lot of fun for everybody there. It was open to all, even though a lot of invitations were sent out, anyone who wanted to could come and watch. And it was also very interesting. I’m glad that I remember it, since it was held in a, in between two walls, so that it looked like Stradun, the main street in the old part of Dubrovnik. The whole place was full of light. It’s true that we were afraid that they would start shooting at us from above, because the light was visible. But the whole thing passed without any problems. And later it made the news on SKY and CNN, it was covered everywhere. But that’s not why we did it. We did it to have a good time. That time it was total war and total chaos. And the whole fashion had to take place here because that place was relatively safe from the shellfire and everything else. Now the big problem was how to find electricity there. Because in case the power went out, then the question was whether the generator would be able to keep enough lights going? Haljevac was a very talented young man who had just enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts, in Sarajevo, and he made his models mainly out of old preserved linen. He was buying it everywhere. It is unbelievable how those models could still be used today. They are very fashionable. And I think it’s unbelievable how some of the jackets that he made at that time are very similar to some of the ones I saw only later on satellite channels, by Versace and Armani. He didn’t have the opportunity to see their work and copy it. Because at that time in Sarajevo there was no electricity, there was nothing, and under those conditions it was impossible for him to have seen something on CNN and then copy it.’

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TOPIC RELATED TEXT

JUNE 1994


• Kresimir Zubak becomes president of the Federation of BH. The session of the Constituent Assembly of BiH is completed.
• Amendment to the indictment against criminals in the city changes the charge from "opposition to authority" to "military rebellion". Military prosecutor Ismet Mehic says this is intended to calm tensions in the city.
• A fashion show, "Back to No Future," is held.


• The BiH delegation will not go to Geneva for peace negotiations because the Bosnian Serbs have not retreated 3 km from Gorazde.


• The Writers' Union of Russia gives the "Mihail Solohov" prize to Radovan Karadzic for his poetic works.
• Bob Dole, the Republican leader in the U.S., arrives in Sarajevo.


• Peace negotiations in Geneva: cease-fire signed.


• Sarajevans get water during the night, due to reduced power consumption.


• A BiH mountaineering expedition headed by Muhamed Gafic climbs Mont Blanc on June 8th, at 3pm.


• U.S. Congress opposition to Clinton: Congress urges the President to unilaterally lift the arms embargo on Bosnia.


• Larry Hollingworth, a British aid worker, is knighted. He has worked completely alone, without protection, walking in front of the first trucks in convoys with humanitarian aid.


• Inside the building of the burnt out National Library Mozart's "Requiem" is performed. Conducted by Zubin Mehta, Carreras sings to pay tribute to the fallen people of Sarajevo and those killed across the country.


• Sniper incidents occurr- a passenger is injured in a tram near the hotel "Holiday Inn". A UN APC, which is supposed to protect the tram, did not react retreated. A second UN APC arrives to shelter the tram.


• Sculptor Alma Suljevic builds "Centaurs" from the burnt out shells of trams.


• Haris Silajdzic is appointed President of the Federation BiH; his deputy is Jadranko Prlic, who represents Croats.
• Sarajevans attend foreign language courses. The "Interlingua" school operates throughout the siege.

• NATO is ready to send 50,000 troops to implement the agreement if an agreement is reached in Geneva.
• The Humanitarian Organization "Marie Stopes International" opens to counsel for "post-traumatic stress disorder." Based on their votes, most women choose aerobics as their treatment.


Cultural survival

The besieged city defends itself by culture and thus survives. Groups and individuals create whatever they used to create before the siege In impossible circumstances they produce films, write books, publish newspapers, produce radio programs, design postcards, stage exhibitions, performances, make blueprints for rebuilding the city, found new banks, organize fashion shows, shoot photographs, celebrate holidays, put on make up... Sarajevo is the city of the future and of the life in the post-cataclysm. In it on the ruins of the old civilization a new one is sprouting, an alternative one, composed of remains of urban elements Sarajevo lives a life of futuristic comics and science fiction movies.

Fashion Shows

The Sarajevo alternative fashion designers have organized several fashion shows in 1993. „Katarina in Bosnia“ is a collection of men's shirts decorated with the motifs from the Bogumil tombstones. Another collection included handmade ladies' purses for Sarajevo 92/93 season and contained all the wartime accessories needed by a lady should she get stuck somewhere during the shelling.
Other fashion accessories designed in Sarajevo were the ear-rings made of glass and the gloves knitted by a Sarajevo violinist from wool gathered throughout the whole neighbourhood, as a part of the „Survival“ project.
A fashion show of wartime uniforms was also a great success. When the war began each city district had its own army which, lacking real uniforms, devised its own „fashion details“ as its distinguishing trait.

Branko Jerkovic
He was born on February 5, 1996 in Sarajevo. When he was 17 he started directing for Sarajevo television. Even though he had the highest grades in the last five generations at the Academy of Performing Arts in Belgrade, he could not graduate. Because of the war. He had a motorcycle accident in 1991. He was clinically dead for seven minutes.

THE SIEGE
On July 4, 1992, he left Grbavica (the occupied part of Sarajevo) and became a refugee. In February 1993, he started working in the show “War Art” for Bosnian television, where he is today. During the war, he worked for the NBC and Eco Televisa Mexico. He worked on the movie “Mizaldo,” some fashion shows...

It there were life after life, in what shape would you return?
A dolphin.

How do you describe perfect happiness?
To do what I like to do.

What is you biggest loss?
The loss of my family and friends.

What is your biggest gain?
A new girlfriend.

When and where were you happiest?
I haven’t had such a feeling yet.

What are your lost illusions?
Brotherhood and unity.

Describe your day at work.
Thinking, making appointments, working.

Sarajevo?
Sarajevo is lost.

What words don’t you use anymore?
Friends, relatively.

In your opinion, is morale a virtue?
Yes.

Where would you like to live?
In a movie.

How have you survived?
Easily, by working.

What are you afraid of?
Of losing my identity.

Does the past exist for you?
Yes.

This is the end of a civilization. What will the next one be like?
Like Pale.

Can you give us a recipe for mental health?
Work as much as you can.

How would you like to die?
Quickly, so I don’t understand that I am dying.

Do you need hope to live?
Yes.

What did ’92 look like, and ’93, and ’94?
Unusual, weird and full of violence.

How would you call this period of your life?
An examination to test the limits of endurance.

Your message from the end of the world, from a country of last things?
I would like to have you here.

Do you like life, and what is life all about?
Yes. It is a foreplay to death.

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