Channel Manager for KOCE-TV’s OC Channel, to Screen her Original Film at Fourth Annual
International Leaders Summit on Economic Growth: “The Future of Transatlantic Relations”

KOCE-TV Will Air this Award-Winning Documentary on Jan. 24, 2008 at 9 p.m.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIF. (October 2, 2007) – KOCE-TV announces that channel manager Brenda Brkusic will screen her award-winning documentary Freedom from Despair at the Fourth Annual International Summit on Economic Growth: “The Future of Transatlantic Relations” at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. Freedom from Despair uncovers the long history of suppression and abuse of the Croatian people and their struggle for independence from Tito’s Yugoslavia, using as its focus the dramatized true story of Kruno Brkusic, Brenda’s father, who risked his life to escape the regime. The film is narrated by celebrated actors Michael York (Cabaret, Austin Powers), John Savage (The Deer Hunter, The Thin Red Line), and Beata Pozniak (JFK) and includes interviews with U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich. The screening will take place Thursday, Oct. 11 at 9 p.m. at the Renaissance Brussels Hotel.

“Freedom from Despair has its public television debut on KOCE-TV Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008 at 9 p.m. with an encore presentation Sunday, Jan. 27 at 12:30 p.m.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to present this story to European Union thought leaders, policy makers and prime ministers from various countries,” said Brkusic. ”It is my hope that the screening in Brussels will spark a dialogue between international leaders and that all in attendance might look at the history of that region in a new light after seeing the film.” 

"Freedom from Despair uses first-hand interviews, stock footage, news reels and narrative recreations shot in the U.S. and Croatia to reveal the atrocities committed and hidden by the communist government of Yugoslavia and its allies —piecing together a shocking truth that lay silenced for 60 years. The film follows the journey of Kruno Brkusic, repeatedly jailed by communists, who managed to escape the country on foot with nothing more than a book of matches and a compass at age 17, later becoming a pro-Croatian activist in the United States. We watch as Kruno and thousands of Croatian-Americans demonstrate on Capitol Hill during the dissolution of Yugoslavia in 1991, pushing George H.W. Bush to recognize Croatia while the nation watched the carnage on television. Film interviewees include an Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience, US Congressmen, a priest, a concentration camp survivor, authors on Croatian history, as well as Kruno, his childhood friends, and his family.

About Brenda Brkusic and “Freedom From Despair”
Brkusic joined KOCE-TV in 2006 as an associate producer on the Emmy Award-winning nightly news program Real Orange, and moved on to become a production manager, producer and channel manager spearheading KOCE-TV's new OC Channel.
Since graduating from Chapman University with a degree in Film and Television, she has toured the world showcasing her documentary Freedom from Despair. By creatively blending interviews, narrative recreations, and stock footage to illuminate the human experience, hidden political agendas, and global responsibilities, Brkusic has gained a reputation as an important new voice in the documentary field. Brkusic’s hard work to promote human rights has also been recognized by U.S. Congress and honored on the Congressional Record of the U.S. House of Representatives. Her film has garnered a dozen awards including:
CINE Golden Eagle Award
CINE Special Jury Award
Nominee — International Documentary Association (IDA) David L. Wolper Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award
Best Documentary — New York International Independent Film and Video Festival
Remi Award, World Peace and Understanding — WorldFest Houston International Film Festival
Viewer's Voice Award — Cinequest Film Festival

For more information about the film, visit

About the International Leaders Summit and Adriatic Institute for Public Policy
The International Leaders Summit is co-hosted by the Adriatic Institute for Public Policy; Members of the European Parliament Roger Helmer, and Dr. Syed Kamall. Attendees will include business, media communications and political leaders from both sides of the Atlantic as well as prominent representatives from leading American and European independent think tanks. Sessions are scheduled to focus on economics, energy, justice, trade and security.

The Adriatic Institute for Public Policy (AI) is an independent free market think tank founded in 2004 in Rijeka, Croatia and dedicated to advancing economic freedom and advocating free market reforms in Croatia and southeast Europe. AI focuses on promoting innovative thinking, and advancing principled and pro-growth solutions that have been successfully implemented in Eastern Europe's post-communist countries. 

KOCE-TV, located in Huntington Beach, produces Orange County’s only nightly news show, Real Orange – now celebrating its 10th year – as well as Inside OC, the only news and analysis show about Orange County business and politics. KOCE-TV has been lauded for its outstanding service to the community and is the recipient of 25 Emmy Awards and 26 Golden Mike Awards. The station’s staff of producers, writers, directors and reporters thoroughly understands the people, places and issues that define Orange County.

KOCE-TV is the sixth-most watched PBS station in America with an estimated 5.8 million viewers* monthly. KOCE’s award-winning programming offers the fifth-largest county in the nation a long-standing community hub for local news, culture and features, and broadcasts the best available national PBS programs to the entire Southern California five-county region. Known for its outstanding dedication to education, KOCE Classroom serves more than a half million K-12 students. A national Roper poll recently ranked PBS as number one in public trust for the fourth consecutive year.** The winner of hundreds of awards including Emmys and Community Service Awards, KOCE continues to be a vital community resource and connector for Southern California. For more information, please visit
* Nielsen Station Index 2007
** Reported by the GfKRoper Public Affairs & Media poll (2007)

Press Contact:
Leslie Licano
714.573.0899 ext. 23