IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson recently teamed up with filmmaker Sacha Gervasi ("Anvil: The Story Of Anvil!") to co-write a narrative screenplay about the legendary concert Dickinson played with his solo band during the wartime siege in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Dickinson and his band came to Sarajevo with the help of UN troops in 1994 and held a concert at the Bosnian Cultural Centre. At the time, the city was cut off from the world, its citizens brutally terrorized by shooting, bombing and starvation with electricity and water supply being nothing short of a luxury. Bruce and his then-solo band drove through the frontlines and ultimately played a show for the people trapped in the city. What this gig meant to the people and how it changed Bruce and his band is told in the 2016 documentary "Scream For Me Sarajevo".
In a new interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation Virtual Invasion", Bruce stated about his collaboration with Gervasi (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Sacha and I have kind of timelined the story of the trip into Sarajevo. I have to say it's not really a biopic about me. I'm the excuse for making the film about the overall environment. It's an incredible story. But the people who were involved on the periphery and essential to it in Sarajevo itself, their stories are, I think, more interesting. So, yeah, I'll be in it — not as me. I'll have to get somebody else to go and play me. I don't know who. [Laughs] We'll figure out somebody. But, yeah, it is a great story. And we've already got quite a way down to kind of mapping it out, but we haven't physically started page one of the script yet."
Bruce also talked about "Scream For Me Sarajevo", which features footage from the historic gig as well as interviews those that made it to the show and made the concert happen, determined to keep living their lives despite the atrocities going on around them.
"'Scream For Me Sarajevo' was the documentary that was made actually by people in Sarajevo themselves," Dickinson said. "There's a local filmmaker called Adnan [Cuhara]. The first thing I heard about it was when somebody came into my local pub with a laptop and showed me the raw footage of some of the interviews that they'd done with people 20 years after the event. Basically, it was people saying how much the event had changed their lives — changed their attitude, changed their lives, changed their opinion about humanity. It was heartwarming and amazing stuff to hear. So, they said, 'Would you like to be involved?' I said, 'Well, anything I can do to help. But it's not my documentary; it's your documentary.' Honestly, they did an incredible job. Unfortunately, it suffered from being… the timing of it. We were late for things like Sundance and all these festivals; it was too late to get in for a lot of those festivals, which was very unfortunate. Because now people have rediscovered it and gone, 'Wow, we never knew about this.' It's really sad. But it's out there. And if people wanna go watch it, it's well worth watching."
Two years ago, Bruce was declared an honorary citizen in Sarajevo. Dickinson accepted the award in person, saying that it was great that his visit 25 years earlier "still means this much to people to give me this symbolic award."
"While this is a great honor, I think that this award belongs equally to the people of Sarajevo who are still here," he said.
"Scream For Me Sarajevo" was released in 2018 on DVD, Blu-ray and digital via Eagle Vision. In addition, the music from the film was issued on CD/double LP via BMG.
Regarding the now-cult concert, Dickinson wrote in his autobiography "What Does This Button Do?": "We weren't protected, there was no plan and the bullets were real, but fuck it, we went anyway. The gig was immense, intense and probably the biggest show in the world at that moment for the audience and for us. That the world didn't really know didn't matter. It changed the way I viewed life, death and other human beings."