film still
Freedom from Despair is a feature length documentary that explores the untold history of Communist Yugoslavia through first hand interviews, stock footage, news reels and narrative recreations shot in the US and Croatia. The film portrays the incredible journey of Kruno Brkusic, who as a young man risked his life to flee from a regime that punished independent thought and suppressed Croatian culture through state-sanctioned terror, imprisonment and exile. In 1957 after escaping on foot to Italy, Kruno is given a chance to live in the USA and his dream of witnessing the free world is realized. 
film still
As Kruno’s homeland becomes scarred by war during the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, he becomes a voice in the American media, fighting to disseminate untrue propaganda and challenging the journalistic community to take a stand on human rights in that part of the world. As the nation sits by and watches the carnage on television, Kruno and thousands of Croatian-Americans demonstrate on Capitol Hill in a desperate attempt to convince George Bush Senior to recognize Croatia. The film examines the role certain administrations had in allowing the massacre of over 250,000 people to occur in the Balkans. It is a shocking look at that which was never revealed in the American mainstream media including the American government’s attempt keep Yugoslavia together by supporting two of the world’s bloodiest dictators, Josip Broz Tito and Slobodan Milosevic.
film still
Interviewees include an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, US Congressmen, a priest, a concentration camp survivor, authors on Croatian history, Kruno, his childhood friends, and his family. In exploring the atrocities committed and hidden by the Communist government of Yugoslavia and its allies, the filmmaker pieces together a shocking world that lay silenced within a generation of survivors for the past 60 years. Slowly, as these people are heard, the healing of a nation begins. Courage, faith, and an overwhelming desire to fight for freedom in the face of despair; these are the themes included in this film, making it a saga but also a celebration of culture, democracy, and the abiding strength in the human spirit.

Running Time—95 minutes
Format—Digital Video. Available for screening on DV CAM, DIGIBETA, DVD, VHS.
Language—English and Croatian with English subtitles and English voice overs.

All contents on this site © 2004. All rights reserved. No unauthorized use allowed. Site design by Matt Frantz