SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Angelina Jolie said Wednesday working as a director has rekindled her love for the film industry, even if it was something of a personal artistic rebellion.
Jolie told The Associated Press in Sarajevo that she was starting to feel "disheartened" and uninspired by her acting roles.
She knew she wanted to use film as a medium to deal with weighty matters, such as human rights abuses.
"We must remember to use this medium in a responsible way when we can," she said.
Jolie had several roles in action movies, like the one in Mr. and Mrs. Smith but with her new film, she felt she was making a difference.
Her directing debut "In the Land of Blood and Honey" is about the horrors of the war in Bosnia. The film, which has already been released in the U.S., follows what happens when the man becomes an army officer and the woman is held in a military prison camp where rape occurs.
Jolie said she hopes it will inspire viewers worldwide to "speak up" and push for intervention in places such as Syria, where a government crackdown has killed thousands in the past year.
This is why it makes her happy when people watch the film, get "frustrated with the lack of intervention and they immediately say 'Syria.'"
That's exactly what Jolie wanted.
"I wanted people across the world to watch this movie and say ...'that is a family like mine, that is a mother like me. So when they see a headline that says a bomb went off in Aleppo they think of the characters in this film and they think they are related to them and they maybe feel that much more invested," she said.
What was not done during Bosnia's war, could be done now, Jolie believes. Her movie should raise awareness and make everybody who sees it "speak up" and "push ... to aid these civilians, they are in such a horrible situation," she added.
"This film has taught me to love film again because I see what film can do and I see and I am re-inspired because I was not feeling very inspired as an actress. I was feeling very disheartened," she said.
Asked whether it was her artistic rebellion against the perceived ignorance of the world toward crimes against humanity, Jolie said: "Yes! I suppose it is."
"I came to this film not because I wanted to be a director, I came to this film because the more I researched, the more I learned, the more angry I got," Jolie said a day after she premiered her film in Sarajevo.
But it wasn't easy.
Jolie said she was very nervous about showing Bosnians a movie about themselves and reminding them about the worst part of their history and have them listen to explosions again.
"Maybe they do not want to see me after this," she thought. "Maybe they are not pleased, maybe they are unhappy," she said.
During the screening, "Brad and I sat together last night and he held my hand and I just took a deep breath and cried," she said.
But when 5,000 people gave her a standing ovation afterward, a tearful Jolie told them it "meant the world" to her.
"I do not know if there has been a night in my life that has been so deeply moving," she said.
However, not everybody in Bosnia was happy with her film.
Even before it was released, it angered many Serbs who claim it's demonizing them and it's not balanced. At a news conference prior to the screening in Sarajevo, Jolie said "the war was not balanced," referring to evidence showing that most of the atrocities were committed by the Serbs.
The distributor in the Serb part of Bosnia, Republika Srpska, said he won't show it there because it portrays Serbs as the villains and they wouldn't put up with that.
But Jolie believes the Serb people will find other ways to see it and not just listen to what they are being told about it by the headlines of their media outlets.
"I know that the people from Republika Srpska and from Belgrade are very intelligent people ... that they will decide, that they will research for themselves and learn their own truth," she said.
Jolie said she will allow people to organize private screenings at homes if they want to so they can form their own opinion.
"I do think that they want to do this, so I have faith in the people of these countries," she said.
The film will be shown in Serbia at the end of the month, but Jolie won't attend the screening because right now, she does not feel welcome there, she said.
Still, her wish is to go to Belgrade some day and visit her actors at home, let her kids play with theirs and just listen to the Serbs talk about their feelings.
"We will know when it's time. Hopefully I will feel it. I will know when I am welcome," she said.
Now after Bosnia, Jolie said she was already writing something about Afghanistan but can't yet reveal what. She has not even told Brad what it is.
She has been visiting Afghanistan and Pakistan for over a decade "so I started to write kind of, because I was thinking in 2014 there is going to be a big change and we have to be making sure that we understand what happened."
She is still not sure if she will do anything with what she wrote, although "I think I am compelled to."
But fans needn't fear. Jolie has no plans to totally abandon Hollywood's usual entertainment fare.
"I see the value of entertainment," she said. "I have been a part of it and I continue to be a part of it. my next project is a Disney movie, you know, but I think we cannot just have that."