When We Were Them

  • Danis Tanović, Damir Šagolj
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • 2021
  • 15 min
  • International Premiere
  • Frontlight

“In the middle of Bosnia’s nowhere, far from where they want to be, thousands of migrants suffer,” says the voiceover. Drone footage shows a camp in a forest surrounded by high fences, reminiscent of a prison. This is precisely how the refugees experience it, so many of them escape from this “sub-zero hell of a mountain camp.” They seek shelter in abandoned, derelict buildings in the cities. Without running water or electricity, they try to survive in the cold. Some choose not to wait, but attempt to flee to Western Europe. 

When We Were Them is an indictment of European refugee policy, but directed specifically at the people of Bosnia. How can it be that people who in the recent past were themselves subjected to deadly hatred should now treat refugees as criminals? “Do we remember when we were them?”


  • 15 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Bosnian, English, French
  • Subtitles in: English
Danis Tanović, Damir Šagolj
WARM Foundation
Danis Tanović, Damir Šagolj
Redzinald Simek
Mirza Tahirovic

IDFA history

International Premiere

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IDFA history

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