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Stephen Howell Alex Ghaffari Writing 20 10 December 2010 2010 Festival Guide.

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Presentation on theme: "Stephen Howell Alex Ghaffari Writing 20 10 December 2010 2010 Festival Guide."— Presentation transcript:

1 Stephen Howell Alex Ghaffari Writing 20 10 December 2010 2010 Festival Guide

2 Contents The Theme of War…………………………………………2 Featured Plays……………………………………………….3 Featured Films……………………………………………….4 Play Listing……………………………………………………. 5 Film Listing…………………………………………………….6 Community Partners…………………………………….. 7 2 This documentary festival is increasingly relevant as the United States operates in wars across the globe, and as other nations struggle in conflicts. This festival is intending to enlighten people to acknowledge that most of what they know about war, and their associated attitudes, are a product of the media, including documentaries and plays designed to educate. North Carolina is the home many military bases and has a high veteran percentage. We hope this festival not calls attention not only to war, but veterans and their issues.

3 3 The Theme of War In shaping our own Theater and Film Festival of North Carolina, Stephen and I wanted to display the simplicity and straightforward nature of the genre and its ability to get the truth across without excess information. On the other hand, however, such works within this genre form a “creative reality”; a world in which true events are recounted but not lacking a creative or visionary setting in which the events take place. Thus it is important that we show these films and plays not only for their historical relevance and basic truth but also for their success in balancing this important historical accuracy with the artistic visions of the director. It is this balance that all documentary filmmakers or playwrights must strive for when they are challenged to create a believable world of truth as well as an artistically interesting and attention- grabbing piece.genrecreative realityhistorical accuracy Our festival is based on the widespread phenomenon of war. It seems as though at any given time in the world’s history, one group of people or another is at war. It was a necessary task, therefore, for our selected directors to capture the essence of this terrible epidemic; the bloodshed, terror, desolation, and lastly, displacement. Stephen and I found that in all of our selected works, the idea of people being displaced by war was a common theme. Aftermath by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, along with Iraq in Fragments by James Longley, document Iraqis forced to the fringes of Baghdad and even neighboring Jordan. My Name is Rachel Corrie by Katharine Viner and Gaza Strip also by Longley illustrate the trials and tribulations that native Palestinians experience. And so, we are going to focus on not only the devastating effects of modern warfare but in addition delve into the lives of many citizens of various warzones who were forced to leave their homeland for safer territory.

4 4 Featured Plays The Voice of the Civilians The Unintentional Autobiography Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s documentary play entitled Aftermath gives a voice to the native Iraq citizens who might not have had the chance to speak in the past. With their lives violently interrupted by the United States military invasion in March of 2003, hundreds of innocent civilians were forced to leave their homes and flee to nearby Jordan. Blank and Jensen interview dozens of these people; once a relatively content group of Iraqis under the imperfect, but in their eyes, bearable regime of Saddam. Only the Iraqis’ side of the interviews are included in the play, creating the powerful effect of the actors speaking directly to the audience. Blank and Jensen also include much Arabic language to add authenticity to their production. Throughout the play, the audience learns about the refugees’ relatively peaceful living situation before the occupation and how that all changed in a matter of months seven years ago. We meet people like Rafiq, a Middle seven years ago. We meet people like Rafiq, a middle aged pharmacist from the Baghdad area who fled his business and his home, not before witnessing the gruesome death of his young nephew at the hands of United States soldiers. Another man, Adbdul-Aliyy, an imam at the mosque of Fallujah, was apprehended by American forces and detained at Abu Ghraib, a prison outside of Baghdad in which the United States military inflicted physical and psychological abuse on the detainees. As a viewer of Aftermath, it is difficult to feel no sympathy for the displaced citizens of Iraq. March 20, 2003 was a day that altered their lives forever. In the one-woman play, writers Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner channel the voice of Rachel Corrie. Corrie made international headlines in 2003 after she was crushed to death by an an Israeli bulldozer while protesting the demolition of a Palestinian home. Corrie grew up in Washington, and attended Evergreen State College where she took a year off to do peace work. The twenty-three-year-old traveled the Gaza Strip in, as part of the International Solidarity Movement, which uses “direct actions” tactics to help Palestinians during the Second Infitida. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been burning for centuries, and the Gaza Strip, the home of many Palestinians, is at the heart of it. Her death not only renewed American’s interest in the area, it also create controversy over how liable the Israeli Defense Force was. To this day, Rachel’s parents are involved in lawsuits surrounding Rachel’s death. However, Rickman and Viner take an alternate route through her life and illustrate Rachel’s internal conflicts and the months before her death. The play uses only Rachel’s personal journals, diaries, and emails for material, creating a clear picture into Rachel’s mind, absent of outside bias. Thus, My Name is Rachel Corrie is able to reveal her childhood ambitions to end world hunger, her strong political views, and her shock at the war-torn Gaza Strip.

5 5 Featured Films Turning a Blind Eye Ghosts of Rwanda is a PBS Frontline documentary film on the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Created in honor of the tenth anniversary of the horrific period of murder in Rwanda, the film examines the events and decisions made during and after 800,000 ethnic Tutsis were ruthlessly murdered by Hutu extremist tribe members. The film provides an eyewitness account of the genocide including interviews with members of the Tutsi tribe who saw dear friends and family brutally killed and United Nations and United States officials. Specifically, then-president Bill Clinton was interviewed at length. In the interview, he explains to the world why the United States did not want to get too involved in the Rwandan genocide, as he believed it was too soon after their involvement in Somalia to jump immediately to another tense situation in Africa. Madeline Albright, former Ambassador to the United Nations, also tries to justify the organization’s lack of assistance for the helpless Tutsi tribe members when she says that she and the United Nations did not realize how serious the bloodshed and warfare in Rwanda had gotten and that the U.N.’s stance on the matter would have been much different if supplied with accurate information. The head of the Red Cross in Rwanda, however, insists in his interview that all parties, including the United States military and the United Nations, were supplied with adequate intelligence concerning the events in Rwanda and that they simply chose to turn a blind eye. Some argue that the brutal genocide unfolded too quickly for anyone to seriously help the warring tribes. It is clear from viewing this film, however, that the most capable military powers in the world knowingly stood aside while hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians died. War in All Its Causalities Featuring countless interviews and eye-opening footage, Gaza Strip leads the audience deep into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the streets of Gaza. The film opens with the story of Mohhamed Hejazi, a thirteen-year-old paperboy who dropped out of school in second grade out of boredom and a need to provide for his family. Longley follows Hejazi as he navigates the dangerous around the dangerous area, in an all-too calm manner. Herjazi proves to be a unique protagonist for the film; He has a very raw knowledge of politics in the region, and the Israeli Defense Force shot and killed his best friend when they were eleven. The film digresses to other Palestinian victims, and the audience meets a convincing amount of refugees and families displaced by he crisis. Gaza Strip doesn’t shy away from violence and at times is very graphic. In one scene Longley shows the corpse of a children blown by a bomb; in another he shows wailing patients experiencing seizures in a hospital after an IDF gas attack on a Gaza street. The sense of reality in the film is coupled by Longley’s decision to withhold narration and film entirely with a hand-held camera. With a backdrop of market squares and crumbling houses, the plight of Palestinians in Gaza is revealed in a very convincing fashion.

6 6 Play Listing Jonathan Holmes’ documentary play, Fallujah, captures the bloody siege of Fallujah in 2004. Called “theatrical and anti-war,” the play recorded eyewitness accounts from various British and American military personnel who not only had a front row seat to the violence that ensued but also the toll the intense siege took on the innocent natives of the region and their struggle to escape the bloodshed.Fallujahtheatrical and anti-war Fallujah My Name is Rachel Corrie Aftermath In Conflict Blank and Jensen’s documentary play, Aftermath, is distilled from their on-site 2008 interviews and focuses on the disrupted lives of dozens of innocent Iraqi refugees, now living in Jordan. Reviewed here, the play shows that the violence occurring in Baghdad starting in 2003 proved too dangerous for these natives; some family members were even lost before leaving. Their only choice was to desert their homeland. Longley’s documentary film entitledAftermathhere Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner’s My Name is Rachel Corrie is the story of Rachel Corrie, from her childhood in Washington to her death thousands of miles away on the Gaza Strip. The play has was received with both criticism and acclaim and was painting as a striking portrait of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. The theme of war is dominated during Rachel’s time in Gaza, and she is constantly reminded of its effects and implications.My Name is Rachel Corriecriticism and acclaim InconflictInconflict compiles the stories of seventeen veterans from the Iraq War and details how their lives have been forever changed by the conflict. It takes a different approach than the other war documentaries; instead of focusing on people in wars, Inconflict centers on veterans and their struggles upon returning home. The film has a wide scope of subjects, from across different backgrounds, with one thing in common: their lives will never be the same. Reviews described the "overwhelming loneliness" and changing attitudes of veterans. "overwhelming loneliness"

7 7 Film Listing Ghosts of Rwanda by PBS Frontline’s Greg Barker, illustrates the journey of Rwandan Tutsi refugees in the midst of the Rwandan genocide between the warring Hutu and Tutsi tribes and the inaction of the United States and United Nations forces in 1994. The film, reviewed here, includes first hand accounts of the genocide from people who lived through it were gathered, including interviews with Tutsi tribe members who witnessed the brutal slaughtering of friends and family members. Jonathan Holmes’ documentary play, Fallujah, captures the bloody siege of Fallujah in 2004. Called “theatrical and anti-war,” the play recorded eyewitness accounts from various British and American military personnel who not only had a front row seat to the violence that ensued but also the toll the intense siege took on the innocent natives of the region and their struggle to escape the bloodshed.Ghosts of RwandahereFallujahtheatrical and anti-war Death in Gaza Ghosts of Rwanda Iraq in Fragments Gaza Strip Iraq in FragmentsIraq in Fragments, called “outstanding,” examines war torn Iraq in three parts: an 11 year old auto-mechanic from the predominately Sunni region of Baghdad, a Shiite political-religious movement of Moqtada Sadr, and a Kurdish family who moved to a farm south of Abril. The audience of this film sees both how local people living in Baghdad are confined to certain areas of the city and also how one family relocates to another, more rural town. In both works, the lives and locations of the human subjects are altered because of the war. They are forced to leave their homes in addition to having to deal with the United States occupation and violence in the area.outstanding ThisThis engaging film illustrates the blindness of war firsthand, and the continuous danger state its victims live in. James Miller, the cameraman for this film, dies during the filming, after he was shot in the neck. In a narrative that became all too real, Death in Gaza captures the essence of what it means to be a child growing up amid perpetual terror. The film continues to be relevant today, and it won many awards, including three Emmys.relevant Gaza StripGaza Strip is Longley’s portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and centers around thirteen-year-old paperboy Mohammed Herjazi. The film was accidental; Longley went to Gaza too shoot preliminary footage for another film, but desired to stay after meeting Mohammed and witness the opportunity in documenting the buildup to the election of Ariel Sharon. The film shows the "wrenching human reality" Palestinian residents of Gaza are caught in. Gaza Strip also invokes deeper convictions, as the audience learns of Mohammed’s justification for “throwing stones” and stealing, against his father’s wishes."wrenching human reality"

8 8 Community Partners Eric Greitens James Longley Clay Johnson Duke ROTC UnitsMilitary Reporters & Editors Durham Performing Arts Center MRE is an group of reporters, editors, photographers, television news people, educators, retired journalists, college students and those who cover or are interested in national security and veterans issues Eric Greitens was an Angier B. Duke and Rhodes Scholar at Duke University, and went on to become a Navy SEAL, being deployed 4 times during the Global War on Terrorism, where he earned numerous medals. His photo-essay book, Strength and Compassion, focused how aid can best help children in war-torn countries. He has since been apopinted a White House Fellow and founded the non-point The Mission Continues. Duke is the home of three Reserve Officer Training Battalions, that train the next generation of military officers. They are heavily involved with veterans groups in the community and volunteering in the community. Clay Johnson is a visiting lecturer in public policy at Duke’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy. He has won numerous awards as a documentary reporter and television journalism. He specializes in the production of television documentaries and established Clay Johnson Production in 1996. Clay Johnson is an awarded winning filmmaker, who has extensively done work in the Middle Easy. He made Iraq in Fragments and Gaza Strip, both featured in this festival. His most recent work was in Iran, where he was arrested along with his translator. In 2009, the MacArther Fellowship award Johnson the $500,000 Genius Grant. DPAC is the premier performing arts center in Central North Carolina. They feature over 150 events a year and over volunteering positions to local students and community members.

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