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    hans-petter-moland
    Spending his formative years in the United States, Hans Petter Moland (b. 1955) got his education in film and theatre direction at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating in 1978. After finishing his studies he began directing commercials and music videos for clients all around the world, and became employed by the renowned New York production company Giraldi Productions. He returned to Norway in 1985, and established Moland Film Co. in 1988, which has since grown to be the largest production company for production of commercials in Scandinavia. Moland has won numerous awards for his work in commercials, at both Scandinavian ...

    Spanish director and producer Pedro Barbadillo has worked in the film industry for over 30 years. He has specialized in documentaries that focus on gripping narratives and personal stories that reflect the human condition.
    Money For Nothing: Inside The Federal Reserve is a feature-length documentary about the Federal Reserve - made by a team of Award winners - that seeks to unveil America’s central bank and its impact on our economy and our society

    ScreenZone is proud to have renowned Australian documentary filmmaker David Bradbury join our catalogue, with a number of his award-winning and important films taking centre stage. Bradbury’s films have been shown on all the major Australian commercial and public broadcast networks as well as globally. He has won countless international film festival prizes and been the winner of five AFI ...

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    INTERVIEW: Annie Goldson

    0 INTERVIEW: Annie Goldson

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    REVIEW: WAR! WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

    AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR

    DIRECTOR:    Paul Feine

     

    America’s longstanding War on Drugs is one of the most shocking abuses of the democratic system in our Western world.  Written, produced and directed by Paul Feine, this film takes a critical approach to prohibition and the drug war, using a visually stunning cinematic sweep that is both captivating and elucidating for viewers.

    Richard Milhouse Nixon started the War on Drugs in 1971, ostensibly to sway the rising tide of chemicals affecting the nation’s youth since the hippie explorations of the 1960s. “Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general, these are the enemies of a strong society,” Nixon said in his secret tapes, that survive to this day and are judiciously quoted in the film. It was essentially a political crusade against all those the right wing establishment saw as a threat to their vision of society, and over 40 years later not much has changed.

    The first congressional report in 1972 looked at the science and recommended decriminalisation; Nixon rejected this and instead took a military approach. Every successive president since Nixon has since upheld the scheduling of marijuana, creating a black market supply and demand and vastly empowering the criminal organizations involved. It also bloats the justice system and the enforcement agencies: over half of all budgets and resources now go to drug related crimes.

    Writer-producer-director Paul Feine has created a solid look at the drug war which covers all bases, whilst not substantially offering anything new to the conversation. The wide rage of interviews from government officials and related experts shows overwhelmingly the failure of the war on drugs, and the criminalization of everyday people. And this is the heart of the film: the suffering and injustice of this war.

    Feine shows the human underbelly of the war, and the massive loss of life and property that mirrors larger wars.  And it is here the film shines, showing case after case (over 55,000 every year) where innocent Americans were raided, assaulted, jailed or killed by drug SWAT teams in the war on drugs. And these are not anomalies, but frequent cases. As well as his excellent interviews, Feine has secured access to many SWAT raids, which show the horrifying results of the war on drugs on the frontline. Interviews with survivors of SWAT raids, and real time footage make this a chilling film.

    Feine also examines the militarization of the police force as community defenders have now become extreme soldiers in an idealogical war, armed with military hardware, tanks, weapons and mindsets. The film argues that non-violent drug offences should not be met with military force, and at the same time criminal elements and gangs worldwide gain the funds and resources from the black market to themselves become militias, and the war just starts to grow and engulf entire countries, like Mexico.

    One of the key targets in the film is marijuana, and the film parallels the rise of the medical marijuana movement in many states with the federal crackdown and hypocrisy between the two systems. The prison industry also benefits, as do all the industries around it, and the capitalist system itself which makes money off human misery. Over 2.3 million Americans are now in prison – 20% of the world’s prisoners – and over half of them are in jail because of drugs.

    This is not just a war on drugs, it’s a war on consciousness and the people that choose to change it, and films like America’s Longest War are antidotes to the culture of hate, fear and misery that ride hand in hand with war.

     

    ***   Rak Razam

     

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    REVIEW – CONCEALED FOR YEARS

    30 Years of Darkness – DIRECTOR: MANUEL H. MARTIN (2012)

    Imagine hiding in the dark in a small space behind the walls of your own house, hidden from everyone, even your own daughter, in fear for your life, for thirty years. Imagine waiting for an era to pass, a regime to fall, while trapped in isolation…

    Nominated for the Best Documentary Award at the 2012 Goyas, this is the unbelievable story of Manuel Cortés, the ‘mole of Mijas.’ When the Spanish civil war ended and the borders closed, hundreds of people were forced to go into hiding to escape Franco’s repression and retribution. They lived for decades, hidden under floorboards or in holes behind walls in their own home, knowing they could be discovered at any time.

    One of the most famous of these ‘moles’ was Manuel Cortés, the former mayor of Mijas, Malaga. With the help of his wife, Juliana, he spent 30 years hidden in a small hole in the wall of their house. The reality of living with Fascism is beautifully brought home in this touching and beautiful film in which one person’s life story illustrates a whole cultures’ suffering.

    This is not just a story about the Spanish civil war. It’s a story about survival and humanity. About the consequences of war and dictatorship. Beautiful animated sequences capture the drama of Manuel and Juliana’s story while archive and interviews provide historical context. The film often feels more like a drama feature than a documentary and is gripping in a unique and charming way.

    “30 Years of Darkness” is a real gem, fusing interviews, analysis and some terrific animation into an intriguing whole that plays like an intelligent thriller. ” – Variety

    ***** Stars

    Lucy Rhoades

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    REVIEW: VIRGIN SALE

     REVIEW: VIRGIN SALEThe Virginity Trade.  Written and directed by Matthew Watson (2009)

     

    “I sold my virginity to an old man. I sold it for $500 to help my family… it was the only thing of value we had,” says Da-Lin, a young Cambodian woman in Matthew Watson’s heartbreaking documentary, Cambodia: The Virginity Trade.

    Throughout Asia there is a belief that having sex with a virgin is some miraculous boon that can bring health, vitality and luck. As virginity cannot be faked, there is also the added benefit of protection from HIV and this all creates a supply and demand for virgins that poor families fall victim to. Customers aren’t just the rich westerners that are coming in search of a sex holiday–it’s often locals, married or not, that perpetuate the sex industry and the horrors within it.

    Against this backdrop Watson follows the story of  everal young girls from the Cambodian countryside who have been sold on the sex market for anywhere up to US $1,200. They narrate their tales and the common threads between them – the patriarchal oppression that demands girls be virgins as they enter into arranged marriages, the social pressure enforced on a cultural level for women to be subordinate to men. Watson does a commendable job of pulling on the heartstrings whilst also backing up the situation with interviews with NGOs advocating change and experts commenting on the issues.

    The situation is, frankly, horrifying. The poverty in Cambodia is so crushing that it is often family members from the impoverished countryside that sell the virginity of their girls to middlemen, who sell on to the cities. Once their virginity is gone, many end up in brothels as virtual slaves, and eventually many become HIV-positive. Those who flee home to their villages are shunned and treated as pariahs because of the “shame” they bring home with them.

    What’s worse, once their virginity is gone these girls are sold on to brothels across Cambodia or over the border in Thailand. In these brothels the young girls are at risk of disease, and if by chance they manage to escape they are subject to social scorn, rejection from her family, and in some cases, imprisonment. Through intimate and revealing interviews, men explain why sex with virgins is so important to them. We hear the stories of those whose lives have been ruined by the virginity trade, and speak to politicians, the police and representatives from NGOs. Can anything be done to end the plight of these girls?

    Watson scores some incredible confessions from the men who buy virgins, as well as mothers who have sold their daughters due to their desperation. He also exposes the cultural hypocrisy of the value of women as commodities and the way that value is also embedded in marriage itself.

    How are things going to change? How can the culture change with all it’s built-in hypocrisies and assumptions? These are some of the most valuable questions Watson asks of the people on the ground and the NGOs fighting to facilitate change. Unfortunately there are no easy answers, but education seems to be at the heart of it, and changing the thinking that men hold around sex, power and culture.

     

    ***** Stars

    Rak Razam

     

    Cambodia: The Virginity Trade is now available on Meet the Filmmakers:

    http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/cambodia-the-virginity-trade

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    REVIEW: BORN TO BE FREE

     REVIEW:   BORN TO BE FREESince I Was Born (2013)   Written and directed by LAURA DELLE PIANE

     

    “My story is the same as that of my father and that of my people. My country is a dream. How can you live without dreams?” eleven-year-old Tamer tells the camera, as director Laura Delle Piane finds an elegant and intimate way to approach the Palestine-Israel conflict: through the eyes of a young boy.

    The Dheisheh refugee camp is situated in the West Bank, near Bethlehem. Over 13,000 people live in the 1.5 km square radius of the camp, and one of them is Tamer. Piane films Tamer and his friends as they play at being members of the resistance amongst bombed out buildings, and we understand in this bittersweet moment the heavy cultural burden of not just Tamer, but all his people, who are sentenced to their country-come-prison camp of the West Bank.

    Tamer’s father Nader was deprived of his own childhood–arrested at 15 and tortured in jail. He wants the best for Tamer and  tries to protect his son from the everyday dangers of life under the Israeli military occupation.  “I am not afraid of anything but I am in pain and it’s normal because I live under occupation and I am not free,” Tamer tell us. The 63-year history of Palestinian occupation is thus embodied in young Tamer, and brilliantly witnessed as we follow him around the camp and see its heartwrenching predicament.

    But this is not just a story about refugees and war. Tamer also has a dream: he wants to see the sea. The Israeli ‘defense wall’ not only locks in Tamer and his people, it stops them seeing the Mediterranean Sea, just 40 km away but almost inaccessible to Palestinians–they need special permission to go there, which is virtually impossible to obtain. But Nader applies, nonetheless. He too, needs a dream to keep his heart alive.

    They are rejected year after year, as Tamer watches the Israeli settlements grow, surrounding them like a trap. Piane builds the tension well, evoking the haunting sights of the kids against the defense wall, the camp under mortar fire, Israeli soldiers dragging people away in the night. A haunting sequence shows Nader and Tanner at his grandfather’s grave, Nader explaining how he was shot 30 times when breaching curfew on his way to get bread and milk. He was 65 years old.

    Nader doesn’t want his son to be a martyr, too. He wants him to be free, and being free means being able to make a choice, Tamer tells us. But what choice does he have, really?

    Still, when the family finally get to travel to the Dead Sea, and swim in the water, all choices–and politics–melt away. And that one taste of freedom is enough to keep the dream alive, at least for now, in this spellbinding documentary.

     

    **** Stars

    Rak Razam

    Since I was Born is now available on Meet the Filmmakers:

    http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/since-i-was-born

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    REVIEW: THE GIRLS ON THE AVENUE

     REVIEW: THE GIRLS ON THE AVENUEThe Girls of Phnom Penh.  Written and directed by Matthew Watson (2009)

     

    The sex trade is a challenging subject, and it gets even murkier when it involves Cambodia and the infamous capital city Phnom Penh, where the Western dollar buys and supports the virtual imprisonment of local women. Director Matthew Watson tackles this subject with a commanding bravo as he focuses on the stories of three young girls dragged into prostitution.

    Srey Leak, Me Nea and Cheata are little more than children. They share the same preoccupations, insecurities and vanities of teenagers the world over, yet nightly make the greatest sacrifices to help their families. Watson elicits their history, burdened with the weight of their poverty, the corruption of their innocence, and the human heartache of life itself sunk deep into their eyes, and tenderly captured by the camera. He then anchors this in a stylishly edited documentary that emotionally packs a whallop.

    Cameraman Khem Sophal and Watson give the documentary an astounding cinematic sweep that invites the viewer deeper into the sordid stories of the girls, all set against the bustling backdrop of Phnom Penh itself, images flashing by like Midnight Cowboy. The soundtrack is by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. It is that cool.

    The dialogue and on-screen presence of many of the girls interviewed is raw and rings true. We see one girl sending money back to her mother in a village, to pay for medication to help her fight breast cancer:  “Take care of yourself,” her mother says to her daughter on the phone, after accepting money from her. “There are a lot of bad people.”

    The girls have hierarchies within their order, and jealousies, and the frank and candid confessions that Watson capture are the heart of this film. All his subjects are shot well with expert cinematography, and they open themselves to the camera in the most intimate way with a type of crying desperation. Each has their own burden amongst the poverty and system – the girls are always taking out small loans for the cost of living, or to help their loved ones, and then they get caught in a web of debt they can never get out from.

    “We work very hard for not very much money,” says another girl. “No girl wants to be a prostitute. But poverty forces me to be a sex worker. And I have to sleep with clients to earn a living.” Watson juxtaposes this statement against footage of the girls being tested for HIV and having their blood tested, needles piercing their skin as the camera lingers intimately on the moment.

    This is a story about redemption, humour and sisterhood in the face of dreadful adversity.This film, does, however, carve itself a happy ending from a subject that runs deep with human misery, and it does so in such a lyrical and elegant way that it shines light even on these dark places.

    A must-see.

     

    ***** Stars

    Rak Razam

     

    The Girls of Phnom Penh is now available on Meet the Filmmakers:

    http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/the-girls-of-phnom-penh

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    REVIEW: OPERATION EREBUS

     REVIEW:  OPERATION EREBUSErebus: Operation Overdue    Directed by Peter Berger

    On November 28th, 1979, an Air New Zealand DC-10 carrying 257 passengers on a sightseeing tour of Antarctica did not return on time… Eleven ordinary policemen went to the inhospitable and volcanic Mount Erebus where they discovered the plane crash and hundreds of dead bodies, an operation which would haunt the men who responded, the families of the victims and the New Zealand psyche for decades to come.

    This is an intriguing documentary that blends historical re-enactments of the police Disaster Victim Identification Team’s lives with real time interviews with the main characters decades later. These ordinary blokes from Auckland had never been to Antarctica and experienced the hellish conditions there, but the duty fell to them to go. The blend of real interviews with the re-enactments brings to life the visual context and emotional power of these events, and gives the film an edge traditional documentaries may lack.

    “There’s nothing worse than the fear of the unknown. And the known wasn’t particularly good either.” – Stuart Leighton The team found the terrible reality of a plane crash and the multitude of bodies they had to recover from the most inhospitable location on the planet. This is a psychological drama as well – many of the official respondents were young and naïve street police, and the pressure on these men to do their duty – to tag, bag and recover bodies in this situation was terrifying. One wrong move and they too, could be killed from unexploded canisters, the snow and ice and arctic conditions, and the dramatic re-enactments heighten this tension.

    A warning to viewers–whilst the recovery scenes are delicately handled the reality is still heart-wrenching as an overwhelming “scene of utter destruction– both human and aircraft” awaited them. Decapitated bodies, people torn apart–the horrors experienced continued not just in the recovery process, but have haunted the response squad down the long years since the tragedy. And it is their story of courage and perseverance, of human duty that shines through in this film.

    There is also the backstory of the culpability of the airline with regards to the crash, and the mystery of what happened to the flight. They appear to have crashed directly into Mount Erebus in a snowstorm, and the responsibility of the company is still controversial to this day, and was downplayed by the airline at the time. A ring binder that was in the hands of the captain of the flight was recovered, but mysteriously went missing when handed over to the airline’s representatives. Photographs of the flight the time it went down also showed the conditions were clear, but that depth perception was skewed from the dry air conditions.

    The story of that doomed flight, and the brave New Zealand men who responded to the tragedy has become part of the cultural landscape for New Zealanders, and this film is a unique window into that slice of history and the human spirit it revealed.

    ***** Stars

    Rak Razam

    Operation Erebus is now available on Meet the Filmmakers:

    http://screenzone.tv/admin/products/erebus-operation-overdue

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    NEW FILM: Keep on Rolling

    In just over a century, cars have completely transformed our way of life. In many areas, cars are prioritised over people. 62% of urban space is now devoted to roads or car parks and garages are often larger than children’s rooms. Devoting so much public space to the least efficient form of transport has also changed the way we interact with our environment. Children go out much less and watch much more tv. This film examines the implications of our love affair with the car. Directed by Oscar Clemente.

    View the full film here: http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/keep-on-rolling

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    NEW FILM: Arc of Fire

    They call it ‘Arc of Fire’. It’s the biggest operation against illegal logging in Brazil’s history. And its mission is to save the Amazon. Since April 2008, Federal Police, National Security Force Agents and the Environmental Protection Agency have been conducting joint operations against the timber mafia. It’s been dubbed the first ecological war of the 21st century. Hundreds of armed policemen scour the Amazon by helicopter, looking for signs of illegal deforestation. Already, they’ve imposed millions of Euros in fines, dismantled illegal sawmills and razed thousands of charcoal ovens to the ground. But locals, who rely on the lumber industry, claim Operation Arc of Fire is driving them to destitution.

    View the full film here: http://meetthefilmmakers.com/product/arc-of-fire

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    NEW FILM: Black Diamond: Fool’s Gold

    It’s an old story with a perverse new twist. Before, it was known as the transatlantic slave trade. Today, it’s just called business. This is the compelling story of the international web of speculation and trafficking in African boys, under the guise of international football. Every African boy dreams of being scouted for a Western club. Football means a way out of poverty for their entire families: a passport to a new life. But most of the boys are simply pawns in a cynical game governed by self-interest and money. Tricked out of thousands of euros, they end up abandoned in foreign countries. We travel from the slums of Accra and Abidjan to the petro-dollar sports temples of Arab potentates and unravel the networks ensnaring these African boys.

    View the full film here: http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/black-diamond-fools-gold

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    NEW FILM: The Cost of Sushi

    They’re known as ‘floating goldmines’. In the fish markets of Tokyo, a single bluefin tuna can sell for over €20,000. But the international trend for sushi has pushed this species to the brink of extinction. In the past 40 years, Western Atlantic bluefin tuna stocks have declined by over 82%. Stocks of many other species of tuna have collapsed completely. Now, it is the Mediterranean spawning grounds that are coming under attack. For years, Roberto Mielgo, worked for the sushi industry. Now, he is using his in-depth knowledge and contacts to try and protect bluefin tuna. He has developed a network of contacts around the Mediterranean sea that reports to him every suspicious move. Roberto’s data enables environmental organizations to monitor and denounce fleets that exceed fishing quotas. But millions of jobs are dependent on the sushi industry. If bluefin fishing is banned, these jobs could be lost. From Croatia to Greece, from Japan to the coast of Spain, we investigate the global impact of tuna fishing and ask if there is such a thing as sustainable sushi. Director: Pedro Barbadillo.

    Watch the full film here: http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/the-cost-of-sushi-emptying-the-seas

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    REVIEW: WAR! WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR?

    AMERICA’S LONGEST WAR

    DIRECTOR:    Paul Feine

     

    America’s longstanding War on Drugs is one of the most shocking abuses of the democratic system in our Western world.  Written, produced and directed by Paul Feine, this film takes a critical approach to prohibition and the drug war, using a visually stunning cinematic sweep that is both captivating and elucidating for viewers.

    Richard Milhouse Nixon started the War on Drugs in 1971, ostensibly to sway the rising tide of chemicals affecting the nation’s youth since the hippie explorations of the 1960s. “Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general, these are the enemies of a strong society,” Nixon said in his secret tapes, that survive to this day and are judiciously quoted in the film. It was essentially a political crusade against all those the right wing establishment saw as a threat to their vision of society, and over 40 years later not much has changed.

    The first congressional report in 1972 looked at the science and recommended decriminalisation; Nixon rejected this and instead took a military approach. Every successive president since Nixon has since upheld the scheduling of marijuana, creating a black market supply and demand and vastly empowering the criminal organizations involved. It also bloats the justice system and the enforcement agencies: over half of all budgets and resources now go to drug related crimes.

    Writer-producer-director Paul Feine has created a solid look at the drug war which covers all bases, whilst not substantially offering anything new to the conversation. The wide rage of interviews from government officials and related experts shows overwhelmingly the failure of the war on drugs, and the criminalization of everyday people. And this is the heart of the film: the suffering and injustice of this war.

    Feine shows the human underbelly of the war, and the massive loss of life and property that mirrors larger wars.  And it is here the film shines, showing case after case (over 55,000 every year) where innocent Americans were raided, assaulted, jailed or killed by drug SWAT teams in the war on drugs. And these are not anomalies, but frequent cases. As well as his excellent interviews, Feine has secured access to many SWAT raids, which show the horrifying results of the war on drugs on the frontline. Interviews with survivors of SWAT raids, and real time footage make this a chilling film.

    Feine also examines the militarization of the police force as community defenders have now become extreme soldiers in an idealogical war, armed with military hardware, tanks, weapons and mindsets. The film argues that non-violent drug offences should not be met with military force, and at the same time criminal elements and gangs worldwide gain the funds and resources from the black market to themselves become militias, and the war just starts to grow and engulf entire countries, like Mexico.

    One of the key targets in the film is marijuana, and the film parallels the rise of the medical marijuana movement in many states with the federal crackdown and hypocrisy between the two systems. The prison industry also benefits, as do all the industries around it, and the capitalist system itself which makes money off human misery. Over 2.3 million Americans are now in prison – 20% of the world’s prisoners – and over half of them are in jail because of drugs.

    This is not just a war on drugs, it’s a war on consciousness and the people that choose to change it, and films like America’s Longest War are antidotes to the culture of hate, fear and misery that ride hand in hand with war.

     

    ***   Rak Razam

     

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    REVIEW – CONCEALED FOR YEARS

    30 Years of Darkness – DIRECTOR: MANUEL H. MARTIN (2012)

    Imagine hiding in the dark in a small space behind the walls of your own house, hidden from everyone, even your own daughter, in fear for your life, for thirty years. Imagine waiting for an era to pass, a regime to fall, while trapped in isolation…

    Nominated for the Best Documentary Award at the 2012 Goyas, this is the unbelievable story of Manuel Cortés, the ‘mole of Mijas.’ When the Spanish civil war ended and the borders closed, hundreds of people were forced to go into hiding to escape Franco’s repression and retribution. They lived for decades, hidden under floorboards or in holes behind walls in their own home, knowing they could be discovered at any time.

    One of the most famous of these ‘moles’ was Manuel Cortés, the former mayor of Mijas, Malaga. With the help of his wife, Juliana, he spent 30 years hidden in a small hole in the wall of their house. The reality of living with Fascism is beautifully brought home in this touching and beautiful film in which one person’s life story illustrates a whole cultures’ suffering.

    This is not just a story about the Spanish civil war. It’s a story about survival and humanity. About the consequences of war and dictatorship. Beautiful animated sequences capture the drama of Manuel and Juliana’s story while archive and interviews provide historical context. The film often feels more like a drama feature than a documentary and is gripping in a unique and charming way.

    “30 Years of Darkness” is a real gem, fusing interviews, analysis and some terrific animation into an intriguing whole that plays like an intelligent thriller. ” – Variety

    ***** Stars

    Lucy Rhoades

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    REVIEW: VIRGIN SALE

     REVIEW: VIRGIN SALEThe Virginity Trade.  Written and directed by Matthew Watson (2009)

     

    “I sold my virginity to an old man. I sold it for $500 to help my family… it was the only thing of value we had,” says Da-Lin, a young Cambodian woman in Matthew Watson’s heartbreaking documentary, Cambodia: The Virginity Trade.

    Throughout Asia there is a belief that having sex with a virgin is some miraculous boon that can bring health, vitality and luck. As virginity cannot be faked, there is also the added benefit of protection from HIV and this all creates a supply and demand for virgins that poor families fall victim to. Customers aren’t just the rich westerners that are coming in search of a sex holiday–it’s often locals, married or not, that perpetuate the sex industry and the horrors within it.

    Against this backdrop Watson follows the story of  everal young girls from the Cambodian countryside who have been sold on the sex market for anywhere up to US $1,200. They narrate their tales and the common threads between them – the patriarchal oppression that demands girls be virgins as they enter into arranged marriages, the social pressure enforced on a cultural level for women to be subordinate to men. Watson does a commendable job of pulling on the heartstrings whilst also backing up the situation with interviews with NGOs advocating change and experts commenting on the issues.

    The situation is, frankly, horrifying. The poverty in Cambodia is so crushing that it is often family members from the impoverished countryside that sell the virginity of their girls to middlemen, who sell on to the cities. Once their virginity is gone, many end up in brothels as virtual slaves, and eventually many become HIV-positive. Those who flee home to their villages are shunned and treated as pariahs because of the “shame” they bring home with them.

    What’s worse, once their virginity is gone these girls are sold on to brothels across Cambodia or over the border in Thailand. In these brothels the young girls are at risk of disease, and if by chance they manage to escape they are subject to social scorn, rejection from her family, and in some cases, imprisonment. Through intimate and revealing interviews, men explain why sex with virgins is so important to them. We hear the stories of those whose lives have been ruined by the virginity trade, and speak to politicians, the police and representatives from NGOs. Can anything be done to end the plight of these girls?

    Watson scores some incredible confessions from the men who buy virgins, as well as mothers who have sold their daughters due to their desperation. He also exposes the cultural hypocrisy of the value of women as commodities and the way that value is also embedded in marriage itself.

    How are things going to change? How can the culture change with all it’s built-in hypocrisies and assumptions? These are some of the most valuable questions Watson asks of the people on the ground and the NGOs fighting to facilitate change. Unfortunately there are no easy answers, but education seems to be at the heart of it, and changing the thinking that men hold around sex, power and culture.

     

    ***** Stars

    Rak Razam

     

    Cambodia: The Virginity Trade is now available on Meet the Filmmakers:

    http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/cambodia-the-virginity-trade

    Read More

    REVIEW: BORN TO BE FREE

     REVIEW:   BORN TO BE FREESince I Was Born (2013)   Written and directed by LAURA DELLE PIANE

     

    “My story is the same as that of my father and that of my people. My country is a dream. How can you live without dreams?” eleven-year-old Tamer tells the camera, as director Laura Delle Piane finds an elegant and intimate way to approach the Palestine-Israel conflict: through the eyes of a young boy.

    The Dheisheh refugee camp is situated in the West Bank, near Bethlehem. Over 13,000 people live in the 1.5 km square radius of the camp, and one of them is Tamer. Piane films Tamer and his friends as they play at being members of the resistance amongst bombed out buildings, and we understand in this bittersweet moment the heavy cultural burden of not just Tamer, but all his people, who are sentenced to their country-come-prison camp of the West Bank.

    Tamer’s father Nader was deprived of his own childhood–arrested at 15 and tortured in jail. He wants the best for Tamer and  tries to protect his son from the everyday dangers of life under the Israeli military occupation.  “I am not afraid of anything but I am in pain and it’s normal because I live under occupation and I am not free,” Tamer tell us. The 63-year history of Palestinian occupation is thus embodied in young Tamer, and brilliantly witnessed as we follow him around the camp and see its heartwrenching predicament.

    But this is not just a story about refugees and war. Tamer also has a dream: he wants to see the sea. The Israeli ‘defense wall’ not only locks in Tamer and his people, it stops them seeing the Mediterranean Sea, just 40 km away but almost inaccessible to Palestinians–they need special permission to go there, which is virtually impossible to obtain. But Nader applies, nonetheless. He too, needs a dream to keep his heart alive.

    They are rejected year after year, as Tamer watches the Israeli settlements grow, surrounding them like a trap. Piane builds the tension well, evoking the haunting sights of the kids against the defense wall, the camp under mortar fire, Israeli soldiers dragging people away in the night. A haunting sequence shows Nader and Tanner at his grandfather’s grave, Nader explaining how he was shot 30 times when breaching curfew on his way to get bread and milk. He was 65 years old.

    Nader doesn’t want his son to be a martyr, too. He wants him to be free, and being free means being able to make a choice, Tamer tells us. But what choice does he have, really?

    Still, when the family finally get to travel to the Dead Sea, and swim in the water, all choices–and politics–melt away. And that one taste of freedom is enough to keep the dream alive, at least for now, in this spellbinding documentary.

     

    **** Stars

    Rak Razam

    Since I was Born is now available on Meet the Filmmakers:

    http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/since-i-was-born

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    REVIEW: THE GIRLS ON THE AVENUE

     REVIEW: THE GIRLS ON THE AVENUEThe Girls of Phnom Penh.  Written and directed by Matthew Watson (2009)

     

    The sex trade is a challenging subject, and it gets even murkier when it involves Cambodia and the infamous capital city Phnom Penh, where the Western dollar buys and supports the virtual imprisonment of local women. Director Matthew Watson tackles this subject with a commanding bravo as he focuses on the stories of three young girls dragged into prostitution.

    Srey Leak, Me Nea and Cheata are little more than children. They share the same preoccupations, insecurities and vanities of teenagers the world over, yet nightly make the greatest sacrifices to help their families. Watson elicits their history, burdened with the weight of their poverty, the corruption of their innocence, and the human heartache of life itself sunk deep into their eyes, and tenderly captured by the camera. He then anchors this in a stylishly edited documentary that emotionally packs a whallop.

    Cameraman Khem Sophal and Watson give the documentary an astounding cinematic sweep that invites the viewer deeper into the sordid stories of the girls, all set against the bustling backdrop of Phnom Penh itself, images flashing by like Midnight Cowboy. The soundtrack is by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. It is that cool.

    The dialogue and on-screen presence of many of the girls interviewed is raw and rings true. We see one girl sending money back to her mother in a village, to pay for medication to help her fight breast cancer:  “Take care of yourself,” her mother says to her daughter on the phone, after accepting money from her. “There are a lot of bad people.”

    The girls have hierarchies within their order, and jealousies, and the frank and candid confessions that Watson capture are the heart of this film. All his subjects are shot well with expert cinematography, and they open themselves to the camera in the most intimate way with a type of crying desperation. Each has their own burden amongst the poverty and system – the girls are always taking out small loans for the cost of living, or to help their loved ones, and then they get caught in a web of debt they can never get out from.

    “We work very hard for not very much money,” says another girl. “No girl wants to be a prostitute. But poverty forces me to be a sex worker. And I have to sleep with clients to earn a living.” Watson juxtaposes this statement against footage of the girls being tested for HIV and having their blood tested, needles piercing their skin as the camera lingers intimately on the moment.

    This is a story about redemption, humour and sisterhood in the face of dreadful adversity.This film, does, however, carve itself a happy ending from a subject that runs deep with human misery, and it does so in such a lyrical and elegant way that it shines light even on these dark places.

    A must-see.

     

    ***** Stars

    Rak Razam

     

    The Girls of Phnom Penh is now available on Meet the Filmmakers:

    http://meetthefilmmakers.com/film/the-girls-of-phnom-penh

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    Latest Filmmakers

    Latest Filmmakers

    Khalil Dreifus Zaarour

    Khalil Dreifus Zaarour 260x350 Khalil Dreifus Zaarour

    Khalil Dreifus Zaarour, MFA. Writer & director of the short film “THE WINDOW”(13’) and ‘Malakai: Scent of an Angel’.
    Winner of best film in the 13th European Film Festival, December 2006.
    Winner in Mini Film Festival, Dubai Media City 2007.
    Nominated for best short film Sapporo International Short Film Festival 2007, Japan.
    Aired on many TV channels including LBCI, Future TV, ALHURRA TV, ART.
    Screened in many cultural and educational institutions in Lebanon, Jordan, Montreal and Paris.

    Writer/Director of the documentary film “Al Ghouraba” (The Strangers) (40’) about families who live in cemeteries, old citadels and poor streets in the city of Tripoli northern Lebanon. It was broadcasted on satellite channels also sent to participate in many International Film Festivals. The film was screened in many different universities, institutions and cultural centers across Lebanon.


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    Cartsen Rau

    carsten rau 260x350 Cartsen Rau

    Studied political science and history in Berlin and Hamburg

    while studying freelance employee at NDR Television

    1993-2006 author and reporter at NDR Television (Department of Documentation and reportage, before: Politics / News)

    2006 Foundation of the PIER 53 film production with Hauke ​​Wendler

    2013 Foundation of the PIER 53 media (Lower Saxony) with Hauke ​​Wendler

    Author of numerous documentaries , documentaries and reportages for public broadcasters
    and the cinema

    Invitations to various festivals, including the Hot Docs in Toronto, the largest documentary festival in North America, the Kassel Documentary Film Festival and the International TV Festival in Montenegro.

    Directed the acclaimed documentary ‘Wadim’ in 2010.

    Awards:
    Otto-Brenner-price ‘Special’
    Catholic Media Award
    DRC Media Award
    Regine Hildebrandt Price
    Erich Klabunde Price

    Nominations:
    for the German Documentary Film Prize and
    the German Human Rights Film Award


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    John Paskievich

    john paskoveitch 260x350 John Paskievich

    John Paskievich (born 1948) is a Ukrainian-Canadian documentary filmmaker and photographer from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    Paskievich’s 2006 National Film Board of Canada documentary Unspeakable explores stuttering. Paskievich himself stutters and he narrates and participates in the film, which won a special jury prize at the 2006 Whistler Film Festival.

    His other directorial credits include My Mother’s Village, in which Paskievich delves into the experience of other Ukrainian-Canadians, The Gypsies of Svinia, If Only I Were an Indian and the Genie Award-winning short film Ted Baryluk’s Grocery.

    Born in Austria, Paskievich emigrated to Canada at the age of five. He studied at the University of Winnipeg and Ryerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto. An accomplished stills photographer as well as filmmaker, his photographs have been exhibited at prestigious galleries and museums across Canada.

    His photographs have also been published in four books: A Place Not Our Own, Waiting for the Ice Cream Man… A Prison Journal, Urban Indians and A Voiceless Song.

    In October 2007, Paskievich’s first book, The North End: Photographs by John Paskievich, was published.


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    Marit Gjertsen

    marit 260x350 Marit Gjertsen

    Marit Gjertsen studied documentary and television production for three years at Volda University College. From 1993 Thurs 2001 she worked as a photographer and editor for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation NRK. Since 2001 she has been responsible for film production at the University of Tromsø’s Department of Anthropology.

    Marit directed the 2010 documentary ‘Living in a Minefield’.


    Tags: director
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    Joseph Blasioli

    frank blasioli 260x350 Joseph Blasioli

    Joseph Blasioli is a Toronto-based award-winning documentary director with a keen interest in popular culture. He is best known for 1993′s “Blast’em,” a theatrical feature about an aggressive New York paparazzo photographer. In 1999 he won a Gemini (Canadian Academy Award) for The Canadian Broadcasting Channel’s “The New Ice Age,” a 6-part, behind-the-scenes series about a year in the life of the National Hockey League. The following year he produced and directed “Ms. Much: The Denise Donlon Story” for CBC’s Life & Times Series. He is also the director and writer for the TV series “Popstars” for Canada’s Global Television.


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