Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Film Screening & Discussion. The Graduates
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Registration required. Please note that all attendees must follow Columbia’s COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines. Columbia University is committed to protecting the health and safety of its community.  To that end, all visiting alumni and guests must meet the University requirement of full vaccination status in order to attend in-person events.  Vaccination cards may be checked upon entry to all venues.  


Please join the Njegoš Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture and the East Central European Center at the Harriman Institute for the US premiere of Dušan Gajić’s documentary The Graduates (2022) and a discussion with the director. Moderated by Aleksandar Bošković, Lecturer in Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.


The war in Ukraine revealed a deep crisis of Serbia’s identity: although a candidate for EU membership, Serbia is unable to see things as the rest of the continent. The documentary was filmed before the war, but it sheds light on the roots of this ambivalent attitude. Serbian high school graduates get together, 30 years later, in their former Belgrade classroom. They finished school in 1989. It was the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and their horizons seemed wide open towards Europe and the world. But instead, the Yugoslav wars broke out. What’s left today of the broken dreams of this generation? Their country, Serbia, is part of the so-called “Western Balkans,” a grey spot on the map of Europe. Not only have the Western Balkans not yet become part of the European Union, but today we are talking about a possible return to the conflicts and wars seen during the 1990s. What went wrong? The spotlight of the story is on Serbia, the author’s home country. Through conversations with former classmates and questions from his daughter growing up in Brussels, the author tries an introspection of what has happened in the past 30 years. Today, in 2022, the Serbian society is still entangled in some of the issues that already plagued it back in 1989: Kosovo, relations with its neighbors, the EU perspective, the state of democracy. Has the author’s generation missed the historic opportunity to anchor Serbia in the European fold?

The Graduates has so far been selected for the Stockholm Film and TV Festival (finalist in the documentary category), Lake Travis Film Festival (Austin, USA), Beyond Border International Film Festival, Docs Without Borders Festival (USA), Florence Film Awards, Brno Film Festival (Slovakia), Brussels Capital Film Festival, and Andromeda Film Festival (Turkey). The author of the film is Serbian journalist and longtime Brussels correspondent Dušan Gajić. The film was shot in Belgrade, Brussels, The Hague and Vienna, produced with the support of the European Fund for the Balkans, the Open Society Foundation, the Serbian Ministry of Culture, and Radio Television of Serbia.

Dušan Gajić is a journalist, documentary author, and founder of the production company SEETV. He has produced and directed many documentary films on subjects such as post-conflict relations, reconciliation, and societal challenges. Gajić is also a European correspondent for Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), and co-founder of the production network MREZA in Belgrade. Documentary films by Dušan Gajić include the award-winning documentaries The Promise (2016, this film received nine awards at international film festivals, supported by the Serbian Film Center in 2014 and MEDIA Creative Europe) The Long Road Through Balkan History (2010), Kosovo Diary (2008), Greetings from Kosovo (2006, this film received a Silver Award for political documentary at WMF, Hamburg) and Attention: Culture! (2007), on the role of culture in reshaping the image of cities in Eastern and Western Europe. Since 2004, as a Brussels correspondent, Dušan Gajić has been closely following and reporting on all major issues related to Serbia-EU relations. (In 2004-2005 for RTV B92 and from 2006 for RTS). From 1997 to 2002, as co-founder of the MREZA production, Dušan Gajić was involved in editing and producing the TV Mreza magazine on political, social and economic issues in Serbia. In 1997 Gajić worked at TV Studio B as editor of news, reportage and live studio debates. He graduated Yugoslav and World Literature from Belgrade University in 1998.



Trailer: The Graduates (2022)