Criminal Justice Professor Receives International Film Festival Award

Published: April 30, 2015

Criminal Justice Professor Receives International Film Festival Award

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Dr. Dorothy McClellan, Regents Professor of Criminal Justice at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, along with her husband, Croatian-American filmmaker Nikola Knez, have collaborated on a film that recently won a top prize at the 48th annual WorldFest International Film Festival.  The film festival was held April 10-18 in Houston, Texas.

The film, “Sunny's Story: Rape as an Instrument of Terror in the Balkan War” won a Platinum Remi Award in the category of documentaries under 60 minutes long.  The documentary highlights interviews with 16 war rape survivors whose testimony is now part of the Hague Tribunal's records and the National Archives of Croatia. The English voiceovers for the film were provided by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi theatre students.

"It is deeply fulfilling to have our film recognized,” said McClellan. “We're particularly pleased that we could involve students from the university in this project that challenges the worldwide practice of rape as an instrument of terror in warfare." 

McClellan has strong ties to Croatia. As a Fulbright scholar for the U.S. Department of State, she spent two years in Croatia (2002-2004), assisting with democratic nation building in a post-conflict society, as Croatia had been at war from 1991 to 1996.

“My responsibilities included teaching criminal justice at the University of Zagreb to a generation of students whose lives were personally affected by horrors of war,” she said.  “In Vukovar, a city that had been under siege and destroyed during the war, I interviewed soldiers and survivors of ethnic cleansing concentration camps.” McClellan’s research for two decades has focused on international justice issues.

McClellan returned to Croatia again in 2010, to organize an international conference for the Alliance of Universities for Democracy, and then again in the summer of 2012 as a Fulbright Specialist in the University of Zagreb’s Faculty of Criminology and Rehabilitation, where she taught about women and criminal justice, and carried out research.  She returned again in 2013 with Nikola Knez to conduct interviews with war rape survivors and to organize an international conference for the Alliance of Universities of Democracy in Sarajevo.  

WorldFest International Film Festival is the third longest-running international film festival in North America, and the oldest independent film festival in the world.  The couple’s film was selected from more than 4,300 entries.