Nation-building doc plays locally and on Bosnian national TV

Elizabeth Coffman and Ted Hardin’s documentary “One More Mile” plays May 28 at Northwestern University.

Ted Hardin and Elizabeth Coffman were documenting national elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina when the imbroglio erupted over the 2000 U.S. presidential elections.

“We had to endure jokes from Bosnians who wanted to come over to Florida and help supervise the vote count,” Hardin said.

Hardin and Coffman traveled to Bosnia-Herzegovina four times over two years to shoot film and DV interviews for their 80-minute documentary “One More Mile: A Dialogue on Nation Building.”

The filmmakers interviewed international officials as well as Bosnians from all walks of life and all across the country. They weave together the interviews into an impressionistic portrait of a country under reconstruction after a devastating war and the ambivalent involvement of the international community.

“What began as a film that examines relationships of international agencies and local Bosnians grew into a project that explores national-building ? the ultimate test of a relationship,” said Hardin, a Columbia College film professor whose work has shown on German and Canadian national television.

Coffman, who teaches at the University of Tampa, documented the wedding of her sister, an international aid worker living in Sarajevo, to a Bosnian war veteran in her video “Wedding in Croatia.”

“One More Mile” played on Bosnian national television May 15, through a partnership in which Bosnian TV supplied the filmmakers with stock footage in exchange for two broadcasts of the doc. The film plays at Northwestern University at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 28.

Five years after the war in Bosnia, nation building has been thrust back into the headlines in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

“We hear new things every day about who has business contracts to do reconstruction in Iraq,” Hardin said. “That kind of commerce tied closely with our government needs to be examined ? and perhaps voted on. Our goal is to inform and humanize some of the activities that reconstruction of a war-torn country is all about.”

Production of “One More Mile” was supported with $25,000 in grants from Columbia College, University of Tampa, and the Hillsborough Arts Council. Both schools provided equipment, and help with the on-line edit came from Joe Winston and others at Superior Street and Flux Group.

Completed in November of last year, “One More Mile” has screened in the markets of the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam and Hot Docs in Toronto, and at the Tampa International Film Festival. The filmmakers are working on deals with public broadcasters in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. They’re also considering a 54-minute cut to fit more easily into TV time slots.

Next up for Hardin and Coffman is a Ralph Nader documentary, working title “The Spoiler (aka Citizen Nader).” They plan to start principal photography at the end of the summer.Learn more at ? by Ed M. Koziarski,