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Bosnian Army Veteran Fedja Stukan Flexes His Acting, Producing Muscles

Fedja Stukan
Courtesy of Fedja Stukan

Bosnian thesp Fedja Stukan has two films unspooling at the Sarajevo Film Festival (which runs through Aug. 22) — Fernando Leon de Aranoa’s “A Perfect Day” and Cristobal Krusen’s “Sabina K,” which Stukan also produced; he hosted the fest’s opening ceremonies, as well. The 41-year-old Bosnian army special forces veteran boasts a string of military roles among his credits, including Angelina Jolie’s “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” “A Perfect Day,” which IFC will distribute Stateside, was the first film in which he portrayed a  normal guy. “Usually I play marginalized people, terrorists, rapists,” he says. “It’s my face I guess.”

COMPLEX CAPTAIN: In Juanita Wilson’s 2010 drama “As if I Am Not There,” Stukan made an impression as an officer who exhibits a degree of humanity in the midst of the horrific Balkan war. “The captain was a much older man, but I rewrote it for Fedja,” Wilson says. “I wanted the part to be complex, contradictory and real, and he brought all those elements to the role.”

BRANCHING OUT: In 2010, Stukan founded production company Relative Pictures with directors Refik Hodzic, Cazim Dervisevic and Amra Mehic.

CRAZY GOOD: Stukan studied at the Sarajevo Academy of Performing Arts after the war, but his trajectory to get there was most unusual. After almost two years of shooting at people, he started playing insane to avoid army duties. “I guess I played the role well, since I got locked up in a mental hospital,” he says. “It would probably be true to say that acting saved my life.”

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