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The Independent Critic

Directed by
Jesse Rowe
Written by
Jesse Rowe, Jordan Barrett
Michael Dylan, Siobhan Daly, Hannes Flaschberger, Robert Vernon
Running Time

12 Mins.


 "Ash Wednesday" Review 
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On April 4, 1992, Bosnia declared its independence. The United Nations quickly accepts Bosnia as a new nation, and the nation erupts into celebration. A mere two days later, two United Nations Peacekeepers, Marie (Siobhan Daly) and David (Michael Dylan), are traveling across the nation as part of their peacekeeping mission when they encounter a Serbian checkpoint. Led by Commander Ratko (Hannes Flaschberger) and the impulsive General Zoran (Robert Vernon), the Serbian rebels aren't exactly in agreement with Bosnian independence and are determined to disrupt the fledgling nation's peaceful independence.

A modestly budgeted indie short co-written by Jesse Rowe and Jordan Barrett and directed by Rowe, Ash Wednesday is an ambitious and intelligent short film capturing the very beginning of the Bosnian genocide that cost the lives of over 100,000 Bosnians and over 100 UN Peacekeepers who tried to help.

Ash Wednesday, shot in England but featuring a cast that actually speaks Serbian throughout the film, has so far played in five film festivals throughout the world, thus far, including two in the United States, the Secret City Film Festival and the Twin Rivers Media Festival in 2009. While the film is hindered by its modest budget, Ash Wednesday works because the filmmaker sticks to the task of telling an important story in clear and concise terms.

Among the cast, Hannes Flaschberger is the stand-out as Commander Ratko, a level-headed leader who feels as capable of a brutal massacre as he is an act of unexpected mercy. Adam Morris adds an original score that gives Ash Wednesday an added sense of urgency.