Saturday February 7th, 2015

Another Look at “No Fire Zone”

WASHINGTON, DC, 7 February 2015 — Ann Peters, Director of Development and Outreach at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, made this image during our screening and panel discussion this week of “No Fire Zone,” about war crimes by the Sri Lankan army during a 2009 offensive against Tamil rebels.

UK filmmaker Callum Macrae showed the latest version of his award-winning documentary to a full house at American University’s School of Communication.

On the far left is Juan Méndez, professor of Human Rights Law in Residence, Washington College of Law. Since November 2010, Méndez has been the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In the center is Carolyn Gallaher, associate professor, School of International Service. Gallaher focuses on two distinct research areas—organized violence by non-state actors and urban politics. I moderated the discussion from the podium.

In a wide-ranging discussion with the crowd, Callum talked about how he collected and sifted through hundreds of hours of footage of the offensive to patch together an extraordinarily powerful documentary, and how he verified the veracity of that footage.

 

Friday February 6th, 2015

“No Fire Zone” Draws Packed, Diverse Crowd

WASHINGTON, DC, 4 February 2015 — UK filmmaker Callum Macrae addresses a packed house at American University’s School of Communication after the screening of “No Fire Zone,” his award-winning documentary on human rights abuses during the 2009 campaign by the Sri Lankan military against Tamil rebels.

On the far left is Juan Méndez, professor of Human Rights Law in Residence, Washington College of Law. Since November 2010, Méndez has been the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment. In the center is Carolyn Gallaher, associate professor, School of International Service. Gallaher focuses on two distinct research areas—organized violence by non-state actors and urban politics. I moderated the discussion from the podium.

In a wide-ranging discussion with the crowd, Callum talked about how he collected and sifted through hundreds of hours of footage of the offensive to patch together an extraordinarily powerful documentary, and how he verified the veracity of that footage.

Monday February 2nd, 2015

WEDNESDAY 6:30 pm: Filmmaking and the Fog of War

WASHINGTON, DC, 2 February 2015 — Please join us this Wednesday evening for the screening of “No Fire Zone,” about human rights abuses during the 2009 offensive by the Sri Lankan military against the Tamil population. UK filmmaker Callum Macrae will share the innovative ways he garnered and continues to use footage to help pave the way to justice for thousands of civilians killed, wounded and missing during the final days of the Sri Lankan war.

Joining us for a panel discussion after the screening will be Carolyn Gallaher, Associate Professor at the School of International Service (SIS), and Juan E. Méndez, a Professor of Human Rights Law In Residence at the Washington College of Law (WCL).

Best regards,

Bill Gentile

Saturday January 24th, 2015

Turn Your Film Into a Campaign at American University

WASHINGTON, DC, 24 January 2015 — What to do with your film once it’s finished?

In conjunction with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, American University’s School of Communication is hosting award-winning British filmmaker Callum Macrae for a screening of his film, “No Fire Zone.” After the screening, Macrae will discuss how he’s turned the film into a campaign to create awareness about some of the worst human rights violations of our time.

(AU recently became a member of the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium. See http://www.american.edu/soc/news/International-Reporting-Fellowships-to-Flow-from-Pulitzer-Center-Partnerhsip.cfm)

Macrae’s film examines the Sri Lankan civil war and the government’s final assault against Tamil Tigers. His investigation into atrocities against civilians during this assault, and his ability to weave what he uncovered into the film, resonates with students, faculty and filmmakers across a wide spectrum of interests. Besides the film’s subject matter, Macrae’s effort to raise awareness of those atrocities addresses the debate surrounding international relations, traditional journalism vs. “advocacy” or “campaigning” journalism, and other compelling points of discussion.

See http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/sri-lanka-kilinochchi-civil-war-human-rights-justice-tamil-tigers for Callum’s Pulitzer Center-supported project page for additional details.

On the evening of Wednesday 4 February, Macrae is scheduled to show his film in the SOC’s Forman Theater and to participate in a panel discussion. For specifics on the event, see http://pulitzercenter.org/event/american-university-callum-macrae-no-fire-zone-sri-lanka-civil-war-crimes-civilian-casualties.

Please join us for light food and refreshments before the event, which is free and open to the public

For questions, contact me at billgentile@billgentile.com.

Best regards,

Bill Gentile

 

 

Saturday January 3rd, 2015

“No Fire Zone” Screening/Discussion at American University

WASHINGTON, DC, 3 January 2015 — Award-winning documentary filmmaker Callum Macrae is on hand Wednesday, February 4, 2015, at American University for the screening of “No Fire Zone,” which tells the story of the final 138 days of the 26-year Sri Lanka civil war and sheds light on the government’s brutal military offensive that saw between 40,000 and 70,000 civilians die.

The screening and discussion are part of the launch of the Pulitzer Center’s Campus Consortium partnership with American University.

“No Fire Zone” documents war crimes, summary execution, torture and sexual violence with direct evidence recorded by both victims and perpetrators on mobile phones and small cameras.

The February 4 event should be a fascinating intersection of documentary filmmaking, human rights activism and international law. It’s just another way of Raising Our Voice With Video. This is what I teach at American University, in my LIVE Video Workshops (see http://videojournalismworkshops.com/live) as well as the ONLINE Video Workshops (See http://videojournalismworkshops.com).

This February 4 event is open to the general public. For details, click HERE. Please feel free to contact me with questions at billgentile@billgentile.com

Image by Callum Macrae. Sri Lanka, 2014.

Monday December 22nd, 2014

Raising Our Voice With the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

WASHINGTON, DC, 22 December 2014 — American University now is a member of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting’s Campus Consortium. As part of Campus Consortium Membership, AU and the Pulitzer Center will select two students for international reporting projects of their choice involving an underreported systemic issue. Each student fellow will be awarded $2,500.00 to help pay for the reporting project. See the attached article for details.

This relationship is especially helpful for students enrolled in my Foreign Correspondence class, which is why I’m so excited and proud to have helped engineer it. The fellowships are open to print journalists, photojournalists, documentary filmmakers, students working for non-profits or non-governmental organizations, etc.

For details, click HERE.

 

Monday November 10th, 2014

Talking With the Amazon at American University

WASHINGTON, DC, 7 November 2014 — Professor Tod Swanson of Arizona State University addresses participants of a workshop organized by the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University. The workshop was titled, “Religion and Democratic Contestation in Latin America: Rights and Justice Claims around the Environment and Gender/Sexuality.”

Dr. Swanson spoke to the group about how his work on Amazonian religion seeks to understand how heightened empathy with plant and animal species is believed to mediate emotional relations to family and community.

I hope to work again with the CLALS on the current round of research. My first collaboration with the Center included a trip to Guatemala where I produced three videos on God and gangs in that Central American nation. You can see them:

HERE, HERE, and HERE.

(Photo by Bill Gentile.)

 

 

 

Thursday October 30th, 2014

Veteran Backpack Journalist Visits the New

WASHINGTON, DC, 29 October 2014 — Former student Bill Delano took time from his busy freelance schedule to Skype with students in my Backpack Documentary class — 10 years after he, himself, was a member of the same class. Delano has gone on to build an extraordinarily successful career for himself, not only on a professional level but also on a personal level. After his visit, students used these words to describe him: dedicated, search, unique, genuine, captivating, passionate, thoughtful, imaginative. The list goes on.

Take a look at Delano’s production reel and see why my students were so impressed. Click HERE to see it.
(Photo by Bill Gentile.)

Wednesday October 15th, 2014

Decade of Docs in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON, DC, 14 October 2014 — I showed the progression of my work from black and white still photos to high definition documentaries at a function at American University’s School of Communication (SOC). My presentation was part of the panel discussion, “A Decade of Documentary Filmmaking in DC.”

The event was presented by Docs In Progress and Our City Film Festival in collaboration with Women in Film and Video-DC, and the SOC.

The discussion was moderated by Sam Meddis, adjunct professor at American University and George Mason University. In addition to myself, panelists included Erica Ginsberg, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Docs in Progress; Kiley Kraskouskas, Co-Founder and President of Thinking Forward Media; and Jeff Krulik, documentary filmmaker in the DC area since the mid-1980s.

(Photo by Esther Gentile.)

 

Tuesday October 14th, 2014

Final Steps for “To Catch a Dream”

WASHINGTON, DC, 12 October 2014 — Ella Patel (center) reviews narration she is recording for our upcoming documentary, “To Catch a Dream.” The film follows four Afghan girls as they journey from their war-torn home country to Hong Kong, where they compete in an international competition of commercial law.

From the far left are Audio Tech Manny Cooper, the film’s Executive Producer Laila Rossi, Narrator Ella Patel, and Editor Esther Gentile.

We taped the narration at American University’s Kreeger Building, a state-of-the-art facility.

(Photo by Bill Gentile.)