TAMU-CC Professor Wins Gold at Houston Film Festival

Published: May 09, 2016

TAMU-CC Professor Wins Gold at Houston Film Festival

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A docudrama examining human rights abuses during the Balkan War – written by a criminal justice professor and featuring theatre students in the re-enactments – was awarded a Gold Remi at the 49th Annual WorldFest International Film Festival last month in Houston.

Dr. Dorothy McClellan, Regents Professor of Criminal Justice, wrote the screenplay for “The Doctor's Prison Cell.” Her husband, Nikola Knez, President of iFilms LLC, was the director and producer.

Students re-enact key scenes from this real-life drama that focuses on a Bosnian physician during the three-month siege of the Croatian city of Vukovar in 1992.

“We extend heartiest congratulations to TAMU-CC students who worked with us;  our outstanding narrator is Mariah Claiborne, and our excellent actors, who endured hours of filming in the brig located in the bowels of the Lexington, are Hannah Evans, Schuyler Ballew, Rose Gutierrez, Frank Montero, Mariah Claiborne and Christopher Lee Herod.” 

 “The Doctor's Prison Cell” features Dr. Sadika Bilus, whose heroic efforts to care for more than 1,300 patients as she stood knee-deep in blood in the basement of the bombed-out facility.  When the city was overtaken by the Serbian military in 1992, she was captured, imprisoned, tortured, raped and subjected to mock execution. She survived to share her story in this film that is also included in the records of the International Criminal Court of Justice in the Hague and the National Archives of Croatia.

McClellan has strong ties to Croatia. As a Fulbright scholar for the U.S. Department of State, she spent two years in Croatia from 2002 to 2004, assisting with democratic nation building in a post-conflict society, and again in 2012, as Croatia had been at war from 1991 to 1996.

Her University courses focus on women and criminal justice, American prisons and prisoners and offender rehabilitation. Her course on crime and punishment in literature also focuses on international justice issues.

WorldFest-Houston is the third longest-running international film festival in North America, and the oldest independent film festival in the world. WorldFest has a long list of “discovered” film greats including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, Leslie Linka Glatter, Ang Lee, Robert Rodriguez and the Coen Brothers.  This year, there were more than 4,500 entries from 74 countries.