Rachel Weisz plays Kathy Bolkovac the Nebraskan officer who exposes the truth. The cast is made up of other heavy weight actors such as Monica Bellucci, Vanessa Redgrave, and David Strathairn.
tV: This was a very powerful film to watch. What drew you to this story?
Larysa Kondracki: I thought it was an amazing political thriller. Here's this one woman in the centre of this huge David and Goliath story unravelling an incredible cover-up. I couldn't believe it wasn't already a movie.
tV: How did you approach doing the research for the story?
LK: We spent two years talking to everyone we could from high level UN and EU officials to underground sources. There were a lot of scripts around at that time about trafficking but I think it was the revision that we did that made it the story that you often don't ever read about.
The biggest challenge was focusing it down into a two hour thriller. It was very difficult. There were a lot of different stories we wanted to tell and we barely scratched the surface.
The truth of the matter is that this is really a toned down version of events: the idea that these girls were relegated into the mountains is absolutely untrue. They were everywhere: upstairs from coffee shops, in all the bars.
It was happening in the city and was really quite wide open but people found that unbelievable so we had to create a sense of discovery. We did the opposite of the Hollywood effect: instead of blowing something out of proportion and sensationalizing, we had to tone it down.
That was the balance. How do you make a film about this that would get people into the theatre and not repulse them. It's amazing how effective the film is on people but then you want to look at them an go, oh dear, you don't even know the whole story.
tV: There are some great performances. It must have been a very intense experience for some of the actors. Can you talk about that a bit.
LK: Yah, I think so. Certainly there are things that I would do again but the one thing that I'm absolutely 100 percent sure of is that our cast is brilliant. The actors weren't searching for the lime-light, they were searching to enjoy their craft and for actors these are great roles. Sure they're difficult but this is pushing your craft to its limits. It's about creating a safe environment and safety for the actors playing the young girls and they were controlling the scenes.
tV: What is the situation like in the Ukraine today?
LK: Kathy Bolkovac arrived in Bosnia in 1999 and retired in 2001, but her story didn't end there. It's still happening but it's shifted because the places we're focusing on now are Afghanistan, Iraq, definitely Africa, Cote d'Azur so you're getting a lot more girls out of Africa, the middle east and also out of Asia.
We're getting reports of private contractors buying boys in Afghanistan right now. So Liberia, Congo...
It's also happening, by the way, in Canada and America: young girls coming in from South America.
The Ukraine has now done a great job in educating young girls. There was a great effort on behalf of the Ukraine government and the Russian government to get the message out.
The Whistleblower is a must see: great filmmaking coupled with a compelling story.
Coming to theatres August 12, 2011. Check your local listings for times.