Film Screening of “The Second Meeting”
On Monday, October 15, The German Marshall Fund and the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia co-hosted the DC premiere of The Second Meeting, a Serbian film about the reconciliation between American pilot Dale Zelko and Serbian missile officer Zoltan Dani. Dale Zelko and Zoltan Dani first encountered one another when Dani shot down Zelko’s F117A stealth aircraft in March 1999, during the Balkan conflict. Twelve years later, they reunited as friends. The Second Meeting traces the emotional journey of two people culturally, socially, and geographically apart, brought together by a random act of war. It’s a poignant story of how the bonds of friendship can be forged on the battlefield, even amongst adversaries. Directed by Zeljko Mirkovic, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and producer, the movie premiered in Belgrade on September 21, 2012.
Prior to the screening, His Excellency Vladimir Petrovic, Ambassador of the Republic of Serbia and Ivan Vejvoda, Vice President of Programs at the German Marshall Fund provided welcoming remarks. Ambassador Phillip Reeker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, commented on the film’s importance, discussing how the story of reconciliation between the two men was symbolic of their nations, and how relations between the two countries have only been improving since this dark period of shared history. Lastly, the film’s director gave a brief introduction to the film before the screening started.
A question and answer session with the director followed the screening and covered various aspects of the film making process, the director’s inspiration, initial impressions of the film, and further plans for dissemination.
Optimistic Film produced The Second Meeting with funding support from the Serbian Ministry of Culture, the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, the Balkan Trust for Democracy, the Province of Vojvodina- Serbia, and the City of Nis- Serbia.