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BU Master's graduate brings together former US air pilot and Serbian man who shot down his plane

19 December 2012

Poster for The Second Meeting Zeljko Mirkovic's documentary The Second Meeting tells the story of the two men meeting again and forging a friendship

A documentary by a recent Master's graduate at BU brought together a former US air pilot and the Serbian man who shot down his plane during NATO air strikes in the country.

Zeljko Mirkovic arranged for former US Air Force pilot Dale Zelko and Zoltan Dani, who led the military unit which shot down Dale's stealth plane in 1999, to meet again last year.

The pair have since struck up an unlikely friendship and Zeljko has filmed it for his critically-acclaimed documentary The Second Meeting.

Zeljko, 40, who is from Serbia, completed a Master's degree at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice (CEMP) at Bournemouth University this year, and did his diploma project reflecting on the documentary and his role of director and producer.

He said: "As a director/producer I got a perspective of TV and media management in new digital media environment.

"I am very interested to continue my PhD studies and do research connected with documentary film in the new media environment and explore more the idea of creating an interactive documentary on digital platforms."

He added that he thought the documentary is relevant around the world, because it sends the message of "hope and peace - which could be accepted universally."

Creating the documentary took years of work, as the two men send correspondence to each other - sharing their thoughts, ideas and emotions, before a face to face meeting.

The documentary, which was created by Zeljko's production company Optimistic Film, had Serbian premieres in four main cities in September.

It has since received global media attention - including articles by the BBC, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and French newspaper Le Figaro about the unique story and friendship.

Zeljko, who has been working in the film industry for the past ten years and has won several awards, said that he is now working on two new documentaries and on the distribution of The Second Meeting, with plans to submit it for the 2014 Oscars.

Ashley Woodfall, of CEMP, said: "In unearthing the real truth behind The Second Meeting, Zeljko engages us all in a story about family, not war.

"While studying for his master's degree here at Bournemouth University's Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Zeljko his developed a keen criticality, not just about his own work, but on the industrial landscape that surrounds his on-going practice."

You can watch the trailer for The Second Meeting here.

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