The Ultimate Survival Guide: Mechanism of Terror versus Mechanism of Survival

Year of Production
Location of Production
Belgrade, Serbia
Original format
Video Documentary (DVD)
Original Language
English and Bosnian
The Siege of Sarajevo 1992-1996: Mechanism of Terror versus Mechanism of Survival.
Research period
Documentary is organised around 51 thematic categories, each communicating a specific level of survival within the besieged city: water, food, children, airport, snipers, heating, electricity, schools, parties, holidays, faith, culture ... DVD provides a comprehensive insight into notion of 'being besieged' and hints on how to defy mechanism of terror with mechanism of survival. It was launched as a new educational model – tackling the topic of survival and contextualising it in a new framework.
The project was supported by Youth Initiative for Human Rights / Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava in Belgrade (Serbia).
FLASH (Semsudin Cengic)


Suada Kapic
Nemanja Babic
Jelena Sanader
Sound Design
Danijel Milosevic
Special thanks to
Andrej Nosov, Radovan Kupres, Aleksandra Milovanovic
© FAMA International


Because of their influence, those who watch, observe, analyse and explain meaning to the masses are considered a kind of elite; however if this elite use faulty methodology or have impure intentions, it can lead to disastrous consequences. We, the founders of FAMA, the first independent multi-media company in the former Yugoslavia, were fully aware of the sensitivity of the area in which we chose to invest. From the very beginning of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, we knew that documentation, of all types and forms, would play a vital role in the fate of current and future generations. In keeping with our own personal principles, our methods rely on fact, oral history and recorded documentation (documented documents). It is through our unique insight and gift of foresight that we have been able to develop a step by step methodology that 'makes the obvious visible'.

Gaining insight. This involves watching events attentively with an open mind as an observer rather than a participant, in order to note significant elements of the observed phenomenon; then putting these elements together to identify early signs of any emerging dominant trends that might launch a new process of cause and effect.

Continuing research through oral history. Those who participated in an observed event talk about their own experience of it, without commenting on other participants. These elements are recorded in photo/video format.

Structuring the research. Putting first hand facts and documented documents of a particular event, period or phenomenon into a structure that transfers this knowledge in a form acceptable to an audience, devoid of any indicators that would point to a conclusion. Readers, viewers, students, researchers draw their own conclusions on the basis of the given format.

Converting the structure. This phase involves producing a format suitable for mass production (maps, albums, films, encyclopedias).

Creating a study pack. We have created an educational pack consisting of different sections that can be used for different levels of education, as our unique contribution to the interpretation of the period 1991-1999.

The Ultimate Survival Guide: Mechanism of Terror versus Mechanism of Survival

Trying to find the most adequate format for each part of the project, we set mechanism of survival VS mechanism of terror. We studied the daily life of citizens of Sarajevo through all the usual categories of life in any city of the world. The difference was that Sarajevo lived under abnormal circumstances for four years, as if they were normal, and established elements of an entirely new civilization, based on basic survival. It was thus concluded that recycling is the law of survival. Nowadays, this is the mantra of many, but at the time Sarajevo survived thanks to recycling. Studying practices of everyday life, through reconstruction of abnormal everyday life, this particular Guide formulated two different mechanisms: a mechanism of survival and the mechanism of terror. We can now say that citizens of Sarajevo emerged as winners from the hitherto unknown reality four years long.