SARAJEVO (Reuters) - A Bosnian minister canceled on Wednesday a permit for Hollywood star Angelina Jolie to shoot parts of her debut feature film in Bosnia, citing incomplete paperwork.
The Oscar-winning actress has begun shooting the film in Budapest and her production company said it was a love story between a Serbian man and a Bosnian woman who meet on the eve of the Bosnian war, which killed 100,000 people between 1992 and 1995.
The filming should conclude in November in Bosnia.
Jolie has said the film would not meddle in politics, but an association of female victims from the Bosnian war has already objected to what it says are details of the plot.
“In the film, a victim is really falling in love with her torturer,” Bakira Hasecic, president of the Women Victims of War association, was quoted as saying in Wednesday’s Oslobodjenje daily newspaper.
But Sarajevo-based producer Scout Film said the film’s narrative had nothing to do with the group’s accusation and said it was a love story. Jolie has offered to meet the women to reassure them about the movie’s content.
Hasecic urged authorities to ban the shooting of the film in Bosnia “because of the script which offends a female war victim and distorts the truth about what that woman has suffered in a detention camp,” according to the paper.
It was not immediately clear whether Hasecic had seen a copy of the script herself.
Gavrilo Grahovac, the outgoing culture and sports minister of Bosnia’s Muslim-Croat federation, canceled permission for the shooting.
“Since the request (for the shooting) is not in accordance with the law, it is incomplete and not accompanied by the necessary script, Minister Gavrilo Grahovac decided to annul the permit,” the ministry said in a statement.
The statement said Scout Film may reapply to provide necessary documentation to the ministry for the film which will be based on her own screenplay and will be acted solely by people from the region.
“We were informed today that we need to amend the documentation and I have just forwarded the script to the ministry,” said Edin Sarkic, the Scout Film executive producer and location manager, adding the ministry had never asked for a script but only for a synopsis.
“I hope the film will get the green light after the officials see the script,” Sarkic told Reuters by telephone.
“The film has nothing to do with the allegation made by this women’s association. As we said before, it is only a love story.”
Saying the movie was being filmed in Hungary, Jolie’s Los Angeles-based spokesman said it was “not true” that that there had been any protest about the movie.
When asked about Hasecic’s complaint, he said she “brought something up, and UNHCR have been on the phone with her.”
Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, sent a letter to the women’s group last week to reassure them about her film and proposed to meet them the next time she comes to Sarajevo.
“Don’t judge me before you see the film,” Jolie said in a letter read to the women by Naveed Hussain, the UNHCR representative in Bosnia, and published in Oslobodjenje.
Jolie arrived in Sarajevo in August for a surprise visit and met members of Bosnia’s inter-ethnic presidency to discuss ways to help thousands of returning war refugees.
The actress visited returnees in eastern Bosnia in April with her partner Brad Pitt and promised then to come back.
Additional reporting by Maja Zuvela, Bob Tourtellotte in Los Angeles; Editing by Adam Tanner and Peter Millership