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Motorcycle Club of Veterans Helps Struggling Herd of Wild Horses, and Themselves

PTSD may have met its match: what can be learned from war vets in Bosnia Herzegovina.


Douglas, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 09/03/2014 --The increasing numbers of US soldiers returning from service might have something valuable to learn from some veterans abroad. Though it’s been 20 years since the end of the brutal civil war in Bosnia Herzegovina, poverty, rampant PTSD, and other personal struggles continue to challenge recovery. One motorcycle club from a small mountain village, though, has found the strength to change their own lives by fighting for those around them—including a herd of wild horses they first encountered on the front line.

Bosnia’s humanitarian biker club
Founded in 2000, the MC Vukovi (“The Wolves”) has redefined the model for what a motorcycle club can be. Led by Branko Lijavich, who was a young paramilitary leader during the war, the Wolves have avoided the stereotypical pitfalls of this type of club. Instead, they have a self-defined humanitarian mission, using their numbers and organized structure to support the community in whatever way they can. Protecting the herd of wild horses threatened by human intervention in the mountains around their town is just one of many selfless acts. Over the years, as their successes have grown, they’ve found that they are healing themselves as much as they are helping others. By accepting Muslim recruits to their primarily Catholic Croat club, they also send a strong message to the their community and country to move past the nationalism that has cost them so dearly.

New documentary to tell the Wolves’ story
The work of the Wolves is set to be featured in an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Shawn Convey. The aptly titled WILD will “not be the typical and bleak postwar documentary people usually expect,” says Convey. “These guys have already been coping with the horrific effects of PTSD, government corruption, and worse for 20 years… what they’ve managed to do healing themselves through brotherhood and sheer determination is pretty incredible,” says Convey.

He says his film will concentrate more on their victories and the more universal theme of how people can make a difference even when they are offered little hope and little to work with. “It’s a universal story, a character study. I just want to share with people what I saw in these guys. They’re pretty special.”

Crowdfunding campaign launched for “crucial” rough cut
Though Convey’s film has garnered positive interest from producers, broadcasters, and other industry representatives in the US and abroad, he’s counting on a newly launched IndieGoGo campaign to help finish the “crucial” rough cut this Autumn. Though there will be more fundraising needed for postproduction, Convey is keeping this campaign modest by most production standards. “If we can just raise enough to help our editor finish the first cut, the rest should fall into place,” he says. If the campaign succeeds, the film will be in a strong position to raise the remaining funds and be ready for film festivals in 2015.

About Convey Films
Shawn Convey started Convey Films in 2010 while living in Mostar, Herzegovina. Besides WILD, his company has a second film with a similar mission in post-production. DMT (working title), is a lyrical document of the work of dance movement therapy practitioners to heal those recovering from trauma and human trafficking in Kolkata, India. Convey can be contacted directly with inquiries and interviews about the film or crowdfunding campaign.

About The Horses
In the 1960s and 70s, it became more economical for farmers to adopt tractors and automated farm equipment, and the horses they released into the wild were forced to fend for themselves. Instinctually regrouping as a herd, they soon flourished. However the high mountain plains around Livno that they adopted as their home became one of the battlegrounds in the war and less than half the herd survived. Today, harsh winters, sadists, poachers, and urbanization continue to threaten their way of life. One of the first humanitarian efforts of the bikers, and a subject of Convey’s film, is how the Wolves’ have helped ensure the continued survival and flourishing of one of Eastern Europe’s only wild herds.

IndieGoGo Campaign:

Press Contact:
Shawn Convey
Chicago, IL