Two local filmmakers were awarded two major prizes this weekend at WorldFest Houston International Film Festival, the third-longest running International Film Festival in North America and oldest independent film festival in the world.
Nikola Knez, President of iFilms LLC and Dr. Dorothy McClellan of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, received two Special Jury Remi Awards for their documentary "Tito’s License for Genocide." The couple received the Special Jury Award for film production and for historical documentary screenplay.
"Tito’s License for Genocide" examines violations of the Geneva Convention that led to the deaths of asylum seekers after World War II at the hands of the former president of Yugoslavia, Josip Broz Tito, and his followers, called ‘Tito’s Partisans.’
After World War II, hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers who sought asylum in Austria were forced back to their native Yugoslavia. The asylum seekers were deceived by the British into believing they would be given safe haven by Americans in Italy, but instead were loaded onto trains and sent to the place they were fleeing. Many asylum seekers then died during death marches and mass executions.
The film examines newly released evidence of mass graves and historical documents pertaining to the crime, and includes interviews with survivors as well as confessed perpetrators.
The film was selected from among more than 4,500 entries from 74 countries. Knez directed the film and McClellan wrote the screenplay while serving as a criminal justice consultant.
Approximately 10 films received the Special Jury Remi Award which requires a score of 96-100 from international juries that review entries.
This is Knez’s 42 major film award since founding iFilms LLC, a full-service production company in Corpus Christi, in 2007.