Matt Damon on U2’s role in Sarajevo documentary: “They didn’t want to be the primary focus”

AMC Theatres/FIFTH SEASON

The documentary Kiss the Future features Irish rockers U2, but it’s not about the band — and that’s just the way they wanted it.

The film follows a group of underground musicians and creatives during the siege of Sarajevo, which lasted from April 1992 to February 1996. Aid worker Bill Carter reached out to U2 to connect them with the locals, which eventually led to them playing a concert at Koševo Stadium in 1997 to celebrate the country’s liberation.

While having U2 be part of the film was important, Matt Damon, one of the film’s producers, tells Variety the rockers were concerned about taking the focus away from the story.

“They didn’t want it to be yet another U2 concert film. They didn’t want to be the primary focus,” Damon says, noting the film’s director, Nenad Cicin-Sain, was fine with that because he wanted the film to tell the story of Carter and the Sarajevans.

“He wanted to present their stories of what happened as a sort of collective memory of the time,” he says. “Once the band heard that, they came on board as quickly as we did.”

But while U2 wasn’t the focus of the film, Damon knew their contribution to it was important.

“To do this properly, we not only needed their sign off, but also their footage from the concerts where they did the satellite interviews with Bill Carter as well as footage from the concert they performed in Sarajevo — this had never been seen before, by anyone,” he says. “Without that, we simply couldn’t tell the story.”

Kiss the Future is set to open exclusively in AMC theaters in the U.S. starting February 23 and will stream on Paramount + later this year.

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