Bill Carter (born 1966) is a writer and director. He directed the documentary film Miss Sarajevo, which consists of amateur video material he shot during his stay in the besieged city of Sarajevo. He is the author of Fools Rush In, his memoirs of working for an aid agency during the War in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Carter became involved in the Balkan conflict when he was traveling the world after his girlfriend died in a car crash in 1991. After traveling to Split, he joined The Serious Road Trip, a humanitarian aid organization distributing food and medicine to places the United Nations and the Red Cross would not go. Arriving in Sarajevo, he decided to stay with the Sarajevans, inspired by the way they tried to maintain the life they had before the siege began. He saw Sarajevo as key because Sarajevans refused to be divided along ethnic lines with many Serbs joining the defence of the city against the Serb nationalist besiegers. Carter began to do some work for the Sarajevan television, and he managed to get an interview with Bono from rock group U2. Bono, who later admitted that he was deeply touched by Bill Carter's story, heard about the importance of pop music in Sarajevo and said that he would love to play in Sarajevo. Carter quickly concluded that this was too dangerous -- not least because the large gathering of fans that would assemble might be shelled by the besieging Serb nationalists. Instead, Carter came up with another way of connecting rock music with Sarajevans; instead of "bringing U2 to Sarajevo" he would "bring Sarajevo to U2", by means of satellite linkups to U2's Zoo TV Tour concerts, giving the people of Sarajevo a chance to tell their story to the world.
In 1995 Bill Carter made the documentary film Miss Sarajevo out of the video material he recorded. Bono insisted that he would call the film Miss Sarajevo, after the beauty contest Sarajevans organized during the siege, and wrote a song by the same title as soundtrack to the film. Miss Sarajevo won the International Monitor Award, the Golden Hugo Award and the Maverick Director Award, Newport Beach Film Festival.
When in 1997 U2 finally performed in Sarajevo, during their PopMart Tour, Bill Carter was in the audience, meeting with the friends he had made during the siege.
On April 6, 2009 Carter was awarded honorary citizenship by the city of Sarajevo, the highest civilian award possible for those that helped the city during the siege of Sarajevo in the Bosnian War.
Carter's second book, Red Summer, tells the story of his time as a commercial salmon fisherman in a remote Alaskan village over a four year span. Both books are being reprinted by Schaffner Press.
Bill Carter's newest book, Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, The Metal That Runs The World, is set for publication on October 16, 2012 with Scribner Press. This book begins with Carter realizing his yard in Bisbee, Arizona is heavily contaminated with heavy metals created from a copper smelter more than a hundred years ago. As he and his wife contemplate living in a town where there still exists a large open pit copper mine, Carter begins to investigate the larger issues of mines, communities, and copper itself. The book goes from Arizona to Indonesia to Alaska and back again.