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In March 2022, Fiona returned from Goražde, the only eastern enclave to survive the Bosnian war, where civilians defended their town for three and a half years.  This journey marked the beginning of the making of Unconquered: Goražde – City of Heroes, a feature documentary, telling this story for the first time. 

It was a landmark journey for Fiona as she first heard about the town and battle to save it when she went to film her sister, Vanessa, in Sarajevo in July 1992. Vanessa was a doctor in the British Army and the day they met, 31st July, she had only recently returned from an abortive attempt to bring a convoy of food and medicines to the besieged town. The international humanitarians were devastated that they had not been able to reach the town and had been pinned down, under fire, in a ditch for 24 hours until they were rescued. 

Vanessa (left) and Fiona at Sarajevo airport, July 1992.

Despite working throughout the region during and after the war, Fiona had never been to Goražde until now. Yet the story of the towns peoples fight to survive and the impact it had on the international peacekeepers and humanitarians who risked their lives is very personal to Fiona. Her sister Vanessa, died tragically in 2005, taking her own life. The film is, in part, a way for Fiona to finish the journey that Vanessa was never able to complete. 

Fiona went to meet some of Goražde’s inspirational citizens whose lives were dramatically altered by the war. Samira, a hairdresser, describes becoming a UN interpreter after teaching herself English while sheltering in a basement from the shelling, mortars and snipers; Pelham, a chef and restaurateur recalls how he turned into a commander leading the townspeople in the defence of their homes; Ferid, the professional soldier, forced to leave the army he loved to fight his former friends and colleagues; and Pasha, a nurse who confides about living at the hospital for two years because it was too dangerous to go home. Fiona is determined to share these inspirational stories of ordinary civilians who made extraordinary efforts to protect their town.

UNCONQUERED: Goražde - City of Heroes is an inspirational story of resistance, courage and hope against the odds. It’s also an extraordinary microcosm of what is happening today - failure of the international community to stand up to aggression, and allowing crimes to be perpetuated against civilians. The voices from this city of heroes are powerful testimony to resilience and survival.

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