: Narrative Feature
GENRE: Drama
STATUS: Pre-Production


In the early 1990’s, three women — a refugee, a video jockey, and the daughter of a famous communist patriarch — form an unlikely friendship and alliance.


In the early 1990’s, three women — a Bosnian refugee, a French video jockey, and the daughter of a famous Romanian patriarch — are brought together by chance and form an unlikely friendship and professional alliance that is challenged by the world around them.


There has been a dearth of movies about Europe in the early 90’s made for contemporary audiences, but there are many parallels that can be found between our current socio-political climate and the changes Europe faced in the early 90’s. The Bosnian War, specifically, has been subject to a staggeringly limited number of media renderings, but its impacts are still reverberating in the world today — such as in Putin’s ongoing invasion and attempted annexation of Ukraine. I moved to Sarajevo in 2014 to go to film school when I was 19 and fell in love with the region and the kindness and warmth of the people, yet the stories of its recent past burrowed deep inside of me and have haunted me ever since, especially as history continues to repeat itself.

The ‘90s also saw an ushering in of news-as-entertainment, where 24 hour cable provided an opportunity for sensationalism and open biases in news to flourish and become an industry unto themselves. All of these disparate ideas planted the seeds for Transmission — but for such an ambitious, wide-ranging project, it was important to make sure the film would be anchored by a few characters who we would get to know intimately and would serve as personable entry points into the film’s universe. The film’s high-energy, kinetic style, using flourishes like era-specific needle drops, surreal vignettes, and lively camera movements rooted in subjectivity, will encourage audiences of diverse cultural backgrounds and interests to enter the minds and experiences of our characters.

Transmission sounds ambitious, and that’s because it is — taking place in the early 90’s, it’s a period piece set during several major historical events, and there are multiple narrative threads running at any moment. As lofty as the script feels, we know how to shoot it in a crafty way that limits locations and uses few extras while still retaining that sense of epicness and scope that the film needs. We’re also planning on using documentary elements such as archival footage and interviews with people who were present during the historical events in the film to build a sense of immersion for the viewer as well as pick up narrative slack within the film — we’ll never actually see a gun fired on-screen in the movie, yet the audiences will feel as if they’ve visited a war zone once they’ve left the theater.

I often come back to Robert Bresson’s famous quote “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen.” Transmission isn't a strictly autobiographical story to any of us making the film, but we are all giving unique pieces of ourselves to the process, both culturally and creatively; weaving a tapestry that touches on globalization, media, gender roles, and many other pressing topics that extend so far beyond any of us individually — and yet it is still a deeply personal story to both myself and my collaborators who have joined in this process. I see it as my job to simultaneously steer the ship, listen to my collaborators and facilitate necessary conversations, and embrace my blind spots so I can let others in — and isn’t that what makes art valuable? 

I can say with confidence that, without us, this film would not be made visible — and we are so, so excited to bring this story to life, and we hope that you are excited to join us.


Jimmy Bontatibus - Writer/Director/Editor

Originally from Seattle, Jimmy Bontatibus made numerous short films in his hometown before attending Béla Tarr’s film.factory program in Sarajevo, where he made his first feature, The Life of Flowers, which was shot in 12 days for roughly $15,000 and subsequently premiered at the 2016 Sarajevo Film Festival. His second feature, A Muse, is a multilingual epic that was shot between Germany and Romania in 18 days — narrated by the artist Yves Klein in 1961, the film was met with acclaim after being released online due to COVID-19; receiving a rave from critic Matt Zoller Seitz in and called “very, very moving…made with true integrity and sensitivity” by award-winning filmmaker Ira Sachs. His third feature film, All I’ve Been Wanting, was an ongoing project made during COVID-19 and is currently in the later stages of post-production; focusing on a variety of musicians based in the New York area with the film’s score performed live-on camera.

Levan Lomjaria - Producer

Levan Lomjaria is a Georgian producer and filmmaker currently based in Brooklyn, New York. After studying at the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgian State University in Tbilisi, Levan completed his Master of Arts degree under the mentorship of renowned Hungarian film director Béla Tarr at the film.factory programme in Sarajevo, where he and Jimmy Bontatibus met. From 2015 to 2023, he worked as the Head of International Film Export at the Georgian National Film Center, overseeing the development (including Dea Kulumbegashvili's 2020 Cannes selection Beginning). international promotion and sales of the latest Georgian film titles while organizing National Pavilions at Cannes, Berlin, Annecy and Toronto. Levan is the Executive Producer of the 2024 Georgian-Croatian-French feature film Antique by Rusudan Glurdjidze, as well as the Line Producer of the upcoming feature film The Moon is a Father of Mine by George Ovashvili, a co-production of six countries. His first feature as a director, No Place Like Home, is currently in the early stages of development.

Cyrus Duff - Cinematographer

Cyrus Duff is a New York-based cinematographer and director. Originally a flutist, Cyrus studied under filmmaker Michael Roemer (Nothing But a Man) at Yale and transitioned to filmmaking, directing his first feature Plain Fiction in 2018, which starred Sydney Lemmon, Juliana Canfield, Lauren E. Banks, and Sky Lakota-Lynch. Cyrus has since worked as a cinematographer on numerous feature and short films, as well as short-form work that has been featured in Dazed, Vogue, The New Yorker, and Paper. His second feature as director, The Philosophy of Dress, will be shot in the early spring of 2024. Transmission marks his second collaboration with Jimmy Bontatibus.

Caroline Ho - Composer

Caroline Ho is a film composer, pianist, and cellist based in Los Angeles, CA. As a native of LA, she grew up studying classical piano and cello, competing internationally in high school, and studying with professors from the top U.S. conservatories. Her first composition for string orchestra premiered internationally at the Incontri in Terra di Siena Festival in Siena, Italy, at the age of 13. Since then, she has expanded her musical palette as a film composer by becoming skilled at improvisation, production, sound design, and orchestration, intertwining her rich experience as a classical performer with scoring by experimenting with live acoustic & electric cello/strings, and piano on many of her film scores. 

After graduating from Yale with honors, Caroline received mentorship from multi Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami and has since worked with composers such as Stephanie Economou, Ryan Lott, Alex Heffes, and more. Her recent scoring projects include two world premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival and an upcoming Netflix feature directed by Mark Waters.

Mersiha Husagic - Actor

Mersiha Husagic is a Bosnian-German actor and director, currently based in Paris. Mersiha was born in Bijeljina, Bosnia & Herzegovina, which her family fled as refugees from the war in 1992 before settling in Hamburg, Germany, where Mersiha started building her acting career in her teenage years. Transmission will mark the third collaboration between Mersiha and Jimmy Bontatibus, as she starred in leading roles in his first two films, The Life of Flowers and A Muse—though German audiences may recognize her from her 42-episode run on SOKO München. Recently, Mersiha premiered her debut film as a director, Cherry Juice, at the Sarajevo Film Festival.

Miriam Rizea - Actor

Miriam Rizea is a Romanian actress based in Bucharest. Transmission will also mark Miriam’s third collaboration with Jimmy Bontatibus, having appeared in A Muse and All I’ve Been Wanting. Other roles include Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann, John Boorman’s Queen & Country, as well as multiple appearances on stage at Bucharest’s National Theatre. When she is not performing, Miriam works as an acting teacher in Bucharest.

Nate Lessler - Archival Producer

Nate Lessler is a filmmaker, editor, and motion graphics designer based in Seattle, WA. For the past seven years he’s served as Lead Editor at an Emmy Award winning creative video agency that produces commercials, corporate videos, and documentaries; editing videos for companies such as Microsoft and Dell and often serving as a writer on corporate videos and advertisements. Nate has directed and edited documentaries that have played at film festivals across the US, many of which relied on archival footage from a wide variety of sources. He has an extensive background in researching, editing, and digitally retouching archival materials. Currently he is directing a documentary about anxiety, earthquakes, and humans' relationship to land, which will utilize archival film scans from municipal archives. Nate has a BA in Film and Media Studies from Whitman College.


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