ACT Human Rights Film Festival: ‘The Other Side of Everything’ shows a different side of advocacy

Maddie Wright

Srbijanka Turajlic, the mother of Mila Turajlic, answers some questions after the showing of “The Other Side of Everything” at the ACT Human Rights Film Festival in the Lory Student Center Theatre on April 6 (Joshua Contreras | Collegian)

Activism takes the starring role in the award-winning documentary that started the ACT Human Rights Film Festival: “The Other Side of Everything.”

The story follows director Mila Turajilic’s mother, Srbijanka Turajilic’s, commitment to the social progression and activism she was a part of in Serbia. It shows the power of Srbijanka Turajilic in her ability to make an influence on other activists but also the heartbreak of watching her homeland become increasingly divided. “The Other Side of Everything” won Best Feature-Length Documentary Award at the International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam last year.


Between shots of Srbijanka Turajilic polishing silver, Mila Turajilic asks her questions about politics, her childhood, her apartment and much more that has influenced Srbijanka Turajilic to do all that she has done. She has been called a traitor by Serbian nationalists and has been subjected to state surveillance by government officials.

The title, “The Other Side of Everything,” comes, in part, from this door that has been locked and glued shut in Srbijanka Turajilic’s apartment for over 70 years that separates the family from their past.

The film looks at the responsibilities of activism in a civilized country in political trouble. It looks at these responsibilities from a generational standpoint. At one point in the film, Srbijanka Turajilic says, “I’m too old, I expect you to do it” when asked if she is going to change the country.

When it comes to student activism and shifting the focus to a new generation, both Mila and Srbijanka discussed this during the post-screening Q&A, with an emphasis on how students and young people are

Director of the film “The Other Side of Everything” Mila Turajlic, introduces the film and thanks everyone for coming to the event (Joshua Contreras | Collegian)

frequently the ones to stand up and do something for various reasons. The two women accredited to the younger generation having less to lose, being more hot-blooded and ultimately more willingness to act. But every human has the obligation to react when something is going incredibly wrong, according to the two women.

“When the revolution happened, I was still a student, and I was so disappointed,” Mila Turajilic said. “And I think that’s really true of my entire generation. I was so disappointed. You could spend a decade fighting for something, and then, I guess, what happens if you realize at one point that all the energy, and the convictions and the engagement that it takes to be a protestor has really nothing to do with what it takes to govern, and it’s a completely different set of skills, but it’s a completely different world view too one that I think has to be more pragmatic and much more willing to compromise than being a protester on the street.”

One idea discussed in the film is how traditionally we don’t think that things like this can happen in civilized countries, but it can. It looks at the politics and political theory.

“Politics is not following etiological changes whether we don’t know how to cope with this huge amount of data which is available to every citizen everywhere and who can easily be swayed to think one thing than to think something else,” Srbijanka Turajilic said. “We are facing a theoretical gap, and our lives can no longer be put into theory neither here nor in Europe.”

Collegian reporter Maddie Wright can be reached at or on Twitter @maddierwright.