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 »  Home  »  Human Rights  »  Freedom From Despair Screening at the European Parliament in Brussels
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 »  Home  »  Culture And Arts  »  Freedom From Despair Screening at the European Parliament in Brussels
Freedom From Despair Screening at the European Parliament in Brussels
By Brenda Brkusic | Published  10/9/2007 | Human Rights , Events , Culture And Arts | Unrated
Running Time 95 minutes

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Freedom from Despair portrays true stories of the Croatian people's struggle to overcome oppression from Communist Yugoslavia and the 1990's fight to save their war ravaged homeland.




Channel Manager for KOCE-TV's OC Channel, to Screen her Original Film at Fourth Annual

International Leaders Summit on Economic Growth: "The Future of Transatlantic Relations"


KOCE-TV Will Air this Award-Winning Documentary on Jan 24, 2008 at 9 p.m.


HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (October 2, 2007) - KOCE-TV announces that channel manager Brenda Brkusic will screen her award-winning documentary Freedom from Despair at the Fourth Annual International Summit on Economic Growth: "The Future of Transatlantic Relations" at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Freedom from Despair uncovers the long history of suppression and abuse of the Croatian people and their struggle for independence from Tito's Yugoslavia, using as its focus the dramatized true story of Kruno Brkusic, Brenda's father, who risked his life to escape the regime. The film is narrated by celebrated actors Michael York (Cabaret, Austin Powers), John Savage (The Deer Hunter, The Thin Red Line), and Beata Pozniak (JFK) and includes interviews with U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich. The screening will take place Thursday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. at the Renaissance Brussels Hotel. Rue du Parnasse 19 Brussels, 1050 Belgium

Freedom from Despair
has its public television debut on KOCE-TV Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008 at 9 p.m. with an encore presentation Sunday, Jan. 27 at 12:30 p.m.

"I am delighted to have the opportunity to present this story to the European Union thought leaders, policy makers and prime ministers from various countries," said Brkusic. "It is my hope that the screening in Brussels will spark a dialogue between international leaders and that all in attendance might look at the history of that region in a new light after seeing the film." 

Freedom from Despair uses first hand interviews, stock footage, news reels and narrative recreations shot in the US and Croatia to reveal atrocities committed and hidden by the communist government of Yugoslavia and its allies, piecing together a shocking world that lay silenced for the past 60 years. It follows the journey of Kruno Brkusic, repeatedly jailed by communists, who managed to escape the country on foot with a book of matches and a compass at 17 years old and later became a pro-Croatian activist in the United States. As the nation sits by and watches the carnage on television during the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, Kruno and thousands of Croatian-Americans demonstrate on Capitol Hill, pushing George H.W. Bush to recognize Croatia. Interviewees include an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, US Congressmen, a priest, a concentration camp survivor, authors on Croatian history, as well as Kruno, his childhood friends, and his family.


About Brenda Brkusic and "Freedom From Despair"

Brkusic joined KOCE-TV in 2006 as an associate producer on the Emmy Award-winning nightly news program Real Orange, and moved on to become a production manager, producer and channel manager spearheading KOCE-TV's new OC Channel.

Since graduating from Chapman University with a degree in Film and Television, she has toured the world showcasing her documentary Freedom from Despair. By creatively blending interviews, narrative recreations, and stock footage to illuminate the human experience, hidden political agendas, and global responsibilities, Brkusic has gained a reputation as an important new voice in the documentary field. Brkusic's hard work to promote human rights has also been recognized by U.S. Congress and honored on the Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her film has garnered a dozen awards including:

·         CINE Golden Eagle Award

·         CINE Special Jury Award

·         Nominee - International Documentary Association (IDA) David L. Wolper Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award

·         Best Documentary - New York International Independent Film and Video Festival

·         Remi Award, World Peace and Understanding - WorldFest Houston International Film Festival

·         Viewer's Voice Award - Cinequest Film Festival

For more information about the film, visit


About the International Leaders Summit and Adriatic Institute for Public Policy

The International Leaders Summit is co-hosted by the Adriatic Institute for Public Policy; Members of the European Parliament Roger Helmer, and Dr. Syed Kamall. Attendees will include business, media communications and political leaders from both sides of the Atlantic as well as prominent representatives from leading American and European independent think tanks. Sessions are scheduled to focus on economics, energy, justice, trade and security.

The Adriatic Institute for Public Policy (AI) is an independent free market think tank founded in 2004 in Rijeka, Croatia and dedicated to advancing economic freedom and advocating free market reforms in Croatia and southeast Europe. AI focuses on promoting innovative thinking, and advancing principled and pro-growth solutions that have been successfully implemented in Eastern Europe's post-communist countries. 


KOCE-TV is the sixth-most watched PBS station in America with an estimated 5.8 million viewers* monthly. KOCE's award-winning programming offers the fifth-largest county in the nation a long-standing community hub for local news, culture and features, and broadcasts the best available national PBS programs to the entire Southern California five-county region. Known for its outstanding dedication to education, KOCE Classroom serves more than a half million K-12 students. A national Roper poll recently ranked PBS as number one in public trust for the fourth consecutive year.** The winner of hundreds of awards including Emmys and Community Service Awards, KOCE continues to be a vital community resource and connector for Southern California. For more information, please visit

* Nielsen Station Index 2007

** Reported by the GfKRoper Public Affairs & Media poll (2007)

Music for Freedom from Despair by Nenad Bach

Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
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