Freedom from Despair
Wins Best Documentary
at the New York International Independent Film Festival
It was announced yesterday that Brenda Brkusic's feature film Freedom from Despair won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival where it played at the Village East Cinema on November 21, 2004 as a part of the festival. The festival screened and judged over 350 films during its ten day run, making the competition tough for Freedom from Despair which took home the highest documentary honor. A list of winners can be seen on the festival’s website at
Shawn Kittelsen, a staff member for the New York International Independent Film Festival wrote before the festival: “it's quite honestly one of my favorite selections for the festival year. As a former NYU film student I must say you have quite an impressive work here, in terms of both technique and content, something that you should rightfully be very proud of. This film is important in so many ways and I want to make sure it gets the reception that it deserves. On a personal note, I'm looking forward to meeting you and hopefully getting the chance to hear about your experiences shooting this and what you're up to next. Thanks for making such a great film to celebrate at this Festival.”
Krasnic, Dizdar, Brkusic, Bach
Brenda Brkusic was in attendance at the festival screening due to her arrival in New York for an earlier screening of the film at St. Rafael’s Croatian Catholic Church in Manhattan. The screening was a fundraiser to help Brenda with the film and was sponsored by the Croatian National Association, a non-profit organization that has set up a way for Brenda to receive tax-deductible donations for the film. Brenda would like to thank all the beautiful people in New York who volunteered to help organize the screening, especially event coordinator Nick Krasnic, the Priests and volunteers at St. Rafael’s Parish, Michael Kustra and all those who gave kind words of support and donations after the film.
Also in attendance at both screenings that day was the film’s music composer Nenad Bach who happened to be celebrating his birthday. Both Brenda Brkusic and Nenad Bach were interviewed after the New York International Independent Film Festival about the making and importance of Freedom from Despair for the New Zeland TV and local New York TV channel. The New York International Independent Film Festival marked the third Best Documentary award for the film since its release in May.
The next screening of Freedom from Despair is set for Sunday, December 12, 2004 at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Windsor, Ontario with an approximate start time at 3pm. For more information or to find out how to get involved, please visit www.freedomfromdespair.com . The Croatian National Association is currently working together with Brenda and volunteers from various cities to organize their 2005 screening line up.