Release year: 2009
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Mitko Panov was born in the former Yugoslavia, but in 1981, not long after he was released from his compulsory military service, he emigrated to the United States, where he lost touch with many of his old friends, learning through news reports of the collapse of Communism and the rise of ethnic- and religious-based civil war that changed the shape of his homeland forever.
In the mid-'90s, Panov decided he wanted to find out what became of a number of his old Army buddies, and the documentary Comrades follows him as he travels to the nations that once composed Yugoslavia, searching for his old friends and learning of the often cruel fates that have befallen his fellow soldiers, many of whom fondly recall the days when their nation was still unified, when they knew greater peace, and when ethnic cleansing was unknown, despite the lack of personal freedoms under Communism.
Comrades was screened in competition at the 2001 Cinequest San Jose Film Festival.