Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BURMA VJ: Monks In Exile Speak Out About The Saffron Revolution

New York, May 8, 2009--Three monks, leaders of the Saffron Revolution and now in exile in the US, speak out about the 2007 uprising against the Burmese military junta portrayed in Anders Østergaard's documentary BURMA VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country, made in collaboration with undercover video journalists working for the Democratic Voice of Burma. The monks form part of the All Burma Monks' alliance (ABMA) , located in Utica, which supports the many monks imprisoned in Burmese jails, where prisoners are not fed. ABMA also supports refugee monks who have escaped from incarceration and torture in Burma and works with other groups to promote human rights and democracy in Burma. See also the interview with Anders Østergaard and Khin Maung Win on this blog. BURMA VJ is currently in theatrical release and playing at the Film Forum in New York.


Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BURMA VJ: Anders Østergaard, Khin Maung Win, Interview

BURMA VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country ,  directed by Danish filmmaker Anders Østergaard uses camcorder and cellphone footage from undercover DVB reporters risking their lives. The story of the brutal quelling of the September 2007 monks'  uprising is narrated by an unseen protagonist, Joshua, a 27-year-old reporter  exiled in Thailand. 
Background--Burma, September 2007: An increase in fuel prices sparks extensive protests by students and activists against the military junta, a repressive regime that has held the country hostage for over 40 years. For the first time, they are joined in the streets of Rangoon by thousands of Buddhist monks (the saffron revolution). As the ranks of the protestors rise to 100,000, foreign news crews are banned and the internet is shut down. The Democratic Voice of Burma, a collective of 30 underground video journalists (VJs) record these dramatic events on handycams and cellphones and  smuggle the footage out of the country, broadcasting it worldwide from Norway via satellite. Risking torture and life imprisonment, the VJs  document the brutal clashes by the military and undercover police and the violence committed on the monks  themselves also becoming the targets of the authorities.

A Sundance and Berlin  festival award winner, the film opens May 20 at the Film Forum, New York  in this its theatrical premiere.
Interview with Anders Østergaard and Khin Maung Win, deputy director of the Democratic Voice of Burma in exile was filmed by Liza Béar and originally posted on http://squaringoff.blip.tv.

Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Monday, May 11, 2009

René Ricard Reading "The Secret" at Poet Insurgency, Marble Cemetery

May 9, 2007--While Samantha the raven presides over the Marble Cemetery on Second Street, last Saturday Marble Cemetery 41 Second Avenue was host to the Poet Insurgency--none more seductive than René Ricard, here featured.
Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Directed by Ian Olds (Occupation: Dremaland), Fixer: Ajmal Naqshbandi initially follows the relationship between an Afghan intrepreter (fixer) and his client, US journalist Christian Parenti. Six months later, Ajmal is kidnapped by the Taliban with the Italian reporter Daniele Mastrogiacomo. Mastrogiacomo is released in exchange for the release of five Taliban prisoners, while Naqshbandi is beheaded by his captors. ". . .Ajmal was not simply an innocent bystander--collateral damage in a brutal war . . .To do justice to the man and the truth, Ajmal's story had to be told in the context of journalism and the escalating crisis in Afghanistan." [from Ian Olds' director's statement]. This post consists of excerpts from the second half of the Tribeca FF press conference, held at the DirectTV Press Center. The film won the Best Documentary award at Tribeca. The broadcast rights have been acquired by HBO Documentary Films. It will be aired in August.
Formats available:Quicktime (.mov)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Garapa: Director Jose Padilha: Tribeca Film Festival

April 29,2009--Award-winning Brazilian director Jose Padilha (Bus 174, Elite Squad) discusses his new documentary Garapa. Shot in the impoverished North East region of Brazil, this powerful and moving documentary chronicles the effects of hunger and malnutrition on three separate families. The last screening of this film at the Tribeca Film Festival will be on Saturday May 2nd at AWC Loews, 66 Third Avenue at 11th Street, New York. The film opens theatrically in Brazil on May 29.
Formats available:Quicktime (.mov)