Finding Bosnia presents the intimate and personal journey of a Bosnian war refugee raised in the United States who seeks to reclaim her “Bosnian” culture and identity. Meet Ivana Horvat who fled Sarajevo with her mother in 1992 during the siege of the capital city because of the Bosnian conflict, leaving her father and his fate behind. Three years later, her father was reunited with his wife and daughter and the Horvat family began rebuilding their life together in Portland, Oregon. Growing up in America Ivana heard little mention of their family’s struggle for asylum.
Despite speaking her native language at home, Ivana feels distanced from her Bosnian heritage. She has made it her goal to make Bosnia “real” and to embrace her cultural background by not only returning to Bosnia, but also by meeting and interviewing other Bosnian refugees in Portland, Paris, and wherever else the journey takes her. Her mother and her father, Tanja and Nino Horvat, took turns capturing home videos of their new life together in Portland and twenty years later, their footage has become a lens with which Ivana can watch her transition from being a young Bosnian child to an American woman. Using this footage, the memories of her parents, and those of the members of the community who helped get them to Portland, Oregon as a bridge into her past, Ivana Horvat returns to Bosnia to discover her heritage and what “Bosnian” means. She shares this personal journey with her audience in hopes to encourage others who feel isolated from their native culture to reclaim their backgrounds and identities. It is very important to Ivana to create this film to raise awareness about Bosnia, a country that is rarely studied in school and depicted in the media to emphasize that there is more to Bosnia than the war.