By Mark Saldana
Rating: 4 (Out of 4 Stars)
During the late 1990s while covering the Kosovo War, acclaimed photojournalist Alexandra Boulat took a powerful and emotional photo of Albanian refugee Sadik Kadrijaj. The now deceased photographer probably realized how incredible the image was, but neither she nor Sadik probably ever thought that the photo would inspire one American gentleman to seek out its source and subject. In 2007 while visiting Dubrovnik, American businessman Jeff Bowden visits a photo exhibit in a gallery featuring some of Boulat’s work. When he comes across Sadik’s photo, the man is heartbroken, yet intrigued. This would begin an amazing journey of the heart for Jeff, as he becomes to determined to find out what happened to Sadik after all of these years.
Directed by Brandon Dickerson, this beautiful and incredible documentary really won my heart and was my favorite film of this year’s Austin Film Festival. It is a truly remarkable journey which wonderfully illustrates the power of art–particularly the impact of Alexandra Boulat’s photography. It also serves as testimony to the importance of filmmaking, as the documentary itself tells a moving and important story that breaks the boundaries of human relationships and foreign relations. Jeff Bowden’s experiences along his journey are educational not only to himself, but to anyone who views this film. There is much to be learned from Jeff’s experience, and Dickerson’s film perfectly captures the layers revealed from a simple, but remarkable photograph.
Dickerson and his crew have superbly crafted this film to tell a story that should win the hearts of all audiences on a global level. In just 74 minutes, A Single Frame efficiently covers all of the necessary elements of this story and never drags in its pacing. Kudos must be given to Sandra Adair (Boyhood) and Mary Kuckro (I Shot Andy Warhol) for their expertise and skills in editing this film. The stories behind Jeff Bowden’s journey, Alexandra Boulat’s photography, and Sadik Kadrijaj’s life are all compelling and amazing on their own. Dickerson and his crew have done outstanding work to bring these elements all together for one excellent documentary film.