The Hollywood film industry recently hosted a celebrity-packed high profile award ceremony to confer Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to noted actress and UN special envoy, Angeline Jolie. Jolie attended the event with long time partner Brad Pitt and Cambodia born son to share this emotional moment of recognition. In her acceptance speech, Jolie expressed her deep thoughts on how her perceptions about the safety of life changed after interacting with the survivors of rape, war, and famine. She also confessed that this had been an immensely personal journey as she can now realize the true implications of the teaching of her late mother who always told her to ‘live for others.’ She said that she has been so lucky in living a ‘sheltered’ life, and harbors a ‘determination’ to extend the same feelings of safety to the downtrodden.
Jolie has been a long-term ambassador of humanitarian causes, through her illustrious career and personal involvement in bringing the message of hope to the survivors. In her capacity as a United Nations High Commissioner for engaging in refugee issues, Jolie has been to more than forty field missions all over the world. Taking time out from her busy schedule, the actress visited the unfortunate landless in different parts of the world, including a recent trip to connect with refugees from war-ravaged Syria. Director George Lucas conferred the award to her in front of an applauding audience. Noted actors of the past receiving this award include the likes of Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor.
This award also comes in the wake of the recent directorial debut of the actress. Her (directed) film, ‘In the Land of Blood and Honey’ has a cast of Serbian and Bosnian actors and actresses. The representatives from these warring factions of the Balkans took to the stage to take the opportunity in progressing the message of peace and harmony further. The actors thanked the sensitive director in finally giving the chance to the war ravaged Balkans to express themselves to the world.
The implied feelings ran deep. There was a deep undercurrent of understanding that effective dialogue and expression can offer a chance to let go the bad blood and start life afresh from war. This 2011 film evolved around the plot where the protagonists are lovers, one of them being the captor and the other one a prisoner. Bosnian Serb soldier Danijel finally finds his childhood love Ajla, a Bosniak, in a prison camp. The story weaves around how the lovers won the test of war and ruthless resistance.
Domestic box office collection records from March 2012 show that by then the film accumulated a total sales figure of $308, 877. The film also won international acclaim. It received the Stanley Kramer Award at the 23rd PGA Awards, it was nominated in the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ category at the 69th Golden Globe Awards. The film won the prize for being the ‘Outstanding Foreign Motion Picture’ at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards and also received nomination for ‘Outstanding Directing in a Motion Picture’ at the same award function. The film also won the Honorable Mention at the Sarajevo Film Festival, indicating that it connected a deep chord of peace and humanity directly in the divided Balkans.