The Whistleblower

Saturday 28 January 4.00pm
City University London
Germany, Canada 2011
Directors: Larysa Kondracki
Producers: Christina Piovesan, Celine Ratray
Language: English

Based on a true story, Kathy Bolkovac (Academy Award-winner Rachel Weisz) is a Nebraskan police officer who takes a job working for the United Nations as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. Her expectations of helping to rebuild a devastated country are dashed when she unveils a different reality: corruption and cover-up amidst a world of UN contingents, private contractors, and diplomatic doubletalk.

Once in Bosina, Kathy quickly works her way up the ranks, working with local cops to bring about the first domestic violence conviction in Bosnia since the war. Kathy’s quick wit, and policing experience soon brings her a new position: As head of the UN’s Gender Office, which deals with investigations into sexual assault, domestic abuse and sex trafficking.

She soon realizes that peacekeepers, UN workers and international police are not only frequenting the brothels housing and abusing trafficking victims, but are complicit in the trade forging documents, aiding the illegal transport of women into Bosnia and tipping off bar owners about impending raids.

These abuses had gone unquestioned for years, aided by a UN policy granting diplomatic immunity for peacekeepers. This meant no employee or serviceman could be convicted of a crime, even if that crime were rape, torture, kidnapping or murder. Now, the veil lifted from her eyes, Kathy is determined to change this.

But when Kathy’s immediate superiors ignore her warnings, Kathy goes to Internal Affairs. All she receives in return are death threats and an increasing sense of alienation. Superiors try to turn the tables on Kathy, to insinuate she’s burnt out, that she’s lost perspective.

In October 2000 Kathy Bolkovac publicly blows the whistle on a massive UN and US State Department cover-up of mission-wide abuse of trafficked girls. Kathy is fired unceremoniously, ushered out of the Mission Headquarters. Now her only way out is to steal her own case files, and to record conversations with Mission heads, to get the vital material she will need to sue her bosses for wrongful dismissal and to reveal the truth to the world as a whistleblower. Almost two years later, she wins her case.

The Whistleblower follows in the tradition of the classic political thrillers of the 1970s – with nuanced characters, and sophisticated storytelling that is grounded in reality and unafraid to explore the darkness on the underside of mainstream reality. This story deals with a truth that most would find hard to believe: the scandal and cover-up of corruption and crimes against humanity by American contractors and the United Nations, organisations specifically mandated to protect those rights.


After the screening, Kathryn Bolkovac, who is played in the film by Rachel Weisz will answer questions about her experience.


The CIJ London Investigative Film Festival 2015 will be held at:

University of Westminster, 4-12 Little Titchfield Street, London W1W 7BY

Nearest tube: Oxford Circus and Googde Street.

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