Friday, 9th – Sunday, 11th December 2005: War and Flight: The Need For Humanitarian Action Film Showcase
UNHCR and ICRC proudly present our inaugural Film Showcase:
“War and Flight: The Need For Humanitarian Action”.
Date: 9 – 11 December 2005
Venue: Asia Europe Institute, University Malaya
(See below for Schedule and Synopsis)
ADMISSION IS FREE. ALL ARE WELCOMED.
For further information, contact Yante Ismail, at tel: 013 352 6286 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Film Showcase will bring to you films of war, and the horrific impact it has on society, but it will also highlight the humanity behind it – the survivors who move on with courage, strength, love and hope to rebuild their lives, under adverse circumstances and frequently in new and foreign lands.
We will showcase a range of critically acclaimed and award-winning feature films like Hotel Rwanda, The Killing Fields and Molly and Mobarak, coupled with feature-length docu-dramas and various short films on war and flight, highlighting various facets of this issue such as the impact of war on women, children talking about living as refugees, the humanitarian work in action and ultimately, inspiring tales of humankind’s sheer will to survive.
Noteworthy are the two afternoon screenings on 10 and 11 Dec, where ICRC and UNHCR will moderate discussions on the issues raised in the films. This Film Showcase is held in conjunction with Human Rights Day 2005, and with the support of the Asia Europe Institute, University of Malaya.
Friday, 9 December 2005 Opening Showcase
8. 30pm – Hotel Rwanda
10. 40pm – Refreshments and performances
Saturday, 10 December 2005 Morning screening
11. 00am – Women Facing War – Palestine
11. 05am – To Be A Refugee
11. 10am – Children of Ibdaa
2. 00pm – The Killing Fields
5. 00pm – Moderated discussion with ICRC & Refreshments
8. 30pm – Women facing war – Yugoslavia
8. 35pm – Refugee Women – Don’t Look Back
8. 40pm – Molly and Mobarak
10. 00pm – Refreshments
Sunday, 11 December 2005 Morning screening
11. 00am – Women Facing War – Afghanistan
11. 05am – The Boy Who Played on the Bhuddas of Bamiyan
2. 00pm – A Safe Place
2. 10pm – Carly
2. 15pm – The Lost Boys of Sudan
3. 45pm – Moderated discussion with UNHCR and a refugee
8. 30pm – War and Dignity
8. 35pm – Marooned in Iraq
10. 00pm – Refreshments
Hotel Rwanda (2004) Running time: 121 mins. Director: Terry George
Based on a true story, the film depicts the heroic actions of Paul Rusesabagina, who risked his life to save over a thousand Tutsis and Hutus marked for death during the Rwandan massacre
This wrenching political thriller, based on fact, performs the valuable service of lending a human face to an upheaval so savage it seemed beyond the realm of imagination when news of it filtered into the West. Its vision of the slaughter of 800,000 Tutsis by the ruling Hutu tribe in Rwanda during a hundred-day bloodbath in 1994, offers a devastating picture of media-driven mass murder left unchecked. The story is based on the real-life experiences of Paul Rusesabagina (Oscar nominee Don Cheadle), the soft-spoken Hutu manager of the Hotel Des Mille Collines, in Kigali, who with his Tutsi wife, Tatiana (Sophie Okonedo), and children, narrowly escapes death several times. Mr. Rusesabagina was directly responsible for saving the lives of more than 1,200 Tutsis and Hutu moderates by sheltering them in the hotel and bribing the Hutu military to spare them. A small, honest, emotionally complex film, Hotel Rwanda simultaneously destroys and reaffirms your belief in the intrinsic goodness of man.
Awards include the 2004 AGF People’s Choice Award &¬† 2004 AFI Fest Audience Award, and numerous nominations including Best Screenplay at the 2005 Academy Awards.
Women Facing War (2001) Running time: 3mins each. ICRC
These short films portray three women in different conflict-scarred lands, and their stories of astonishing resourcefulness and resilience in coping with the disintegration of their families, the loss of their home and belongings, and the destruction of their lives.¬† 1. Gaza, Palestinian Territories Zakiya supports herself and her seven children in the absence of her detained husband. 2. Belgrade, Former Republic of Yugoslavia Olja describes her feelings on learning finally of her missing husband’s death. 3. Afghanistan Nasrin, a widow and mother, explains how medical care has helped her regain mobility after a mine accident.
To Be A Refugee (1998) Running time: 15 mins UNHCR
Refugee children share vivid descriptions of the pain and isolation of being refugees, and their hopes for normal lives. They recount their stories of war and flight and what it’s like “To Be A Refugee.”
Children of Ibdaa (2002) Running time: 30min Director: S. Smith Patrick
CHILDREN OF IDBAA: To Create Something Out of Nothing is about the lives of several adolescents in a Palestinian children’s dance troupe from Dheisheh refugee camp in the West Bank. They use their performance to express the history, struggle, and aspirations of the Palestinian people, specifically the fight to return to their homeland. Through interviews and documentation of the children, the video offers insight into their families’ displacement from their villages in historical Palestine, the physically and emotionally stressful aspects of life in a refugee camp, and the unique experience of participating in the politically motivated dance troupe. The story culminates in a visit by the children for the first time to demolished villages from which their grandparents were expelled in 1948.
No other film exists about these unique adolescents and their creative, conscientious, and peaceful contribution to the international dialogue that shapes their lives. Through their performance, the members of Ibdaa bring the perspective of Palestinians to the attention of the Western communities that they visit. Ibdaa’s use of traditional debke dance perpetrates the Palestinian culture while they creatively and non-violently address a brutal political reality.
Awards include the 2003 Golden Gate Awards – Best Documentary Short
The Killing Fields (1984) Running time: 142mins Director: Roland Joffe
The Killing Fields is an unforgettable, epic film based upon a true story of friendship, loyalty, the horrors of war and survival, while following the historical events surrounding the US evacuation from Vietnam in 1975.
American newspaper correspondent, New York Times reporter Sydney Schanberg is covering the secret US bombing campaign in Cambodia. After having persuaded his Cambodian assistant, friend and interpreter, Dith Pran to remain behind with him to help cover the story after the communist Khmer Rouge takeover and withdrawal of US military forces, Schanberg unintentionally betrays his aide by miscalculating the situation. They are separated and Pran is forced to remain when Schanberg and other American journalists and Westerners evacuate to escape a life-threatening situation in occupied-Cambodia during the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975.
The film chronicles scenes of suffering endured during the Cambodian bloodbath (known as “Year Zero”) that killed 3 million Cambodians, when the courageous and indomitable Dith Pran endures the atrocities of the Pol Pot regime and is captured by the communist Khmer Rouge and punished for befriending the Americans. His struggle to stay alive in the rural, barbaric ‘re-education’ labor camp, his two escape attempts from his captors, and his horrifying walk through the skeletal remains of the brutal massacres in the Valley of Death, the muddy “killing fields,” all present potent apocalyptic images on his journey to Thailand. The Killing Fields is not an easy movie, but it is a very fine one.
Awards include 3 Oscars at the 1984 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (Haing S. Ngor), Best Cinematography (Chris Menges), and Best Film Editing (Jim Clark).
Molly and Mubarak (2003) Running time: 85mins Director: Tom Zubrycki
This touching and heartbreaking film is in part a love story, with a complicated dynamic of feelings expressed and withheld, of needs met and unmet. It’s a story of loss, on many levels.
Mobarak Tahiri, an Afghan refugee from a persecuted minority group called Hazara, an arrived in Australia by boat and granted a temporary protection visa. He came to the small town of Young as a result of a decision by an enterprising abattoir manager to recruit Afghan asylum seekers. He meets Lyne Rule and her daughter Molly who welcome him into their family. Mobarak embraces their welcome, and soon strong feelings develop between Molly and Mobarak.
Against Molly and Mobarak’s burgeoning relationship emerges a picture of a town divided. The Bali bombing and a heightened fear of terrorism cause racism to resurge.
Mobarak wants to pursue his friendship with Molly, but, although there are ambivalent aspects to her feelings, this is more than she wants. This is a sentimental education of a particularly poignant kind. Mobarak has to work out how to manage this rejection.
He’s in limbo, separated from his family in Afghanistan, unable to establish the relationship he hopes for, feeling increasingly distanced from his fellow-Afghanis, and desperately unsure of his future in Australia. And there is no comforting pay-off at the end. Mobarak’s temporary protection visa has run out, we are told: he is waiting for the result of his appeal to remain in Australia.
The Boy Who Plays on the Buddhas of Bamiyan (2004) Running time: 96mins Director: Phil Grabsky
Effervescent eight-year-old Mir lives in the ruins of the 1600 year old Buddhas of Bamiyan which were so ruthlessly destroyed by the Taliban in Afghanistan in March 2001. Filmed over the course of a year against the dramatic backdrop of Bamiyan, the filmmaker captures the hardship of life for the refugees in this war- torn land.
Mir is the main character in this feature film. He is fun, cheeky, inquisitive, energetic and bright. He also lives in a cave and owns virtually nothing – though to him this is normal; it is all he’s known.
The film is about Mir’s life through three seasons: Summer, Winter, Spring. In post-Taliban Afghanistan, though much has changed and is changing, there is no guarantee that Mir will survive life in a cave – the sickness, dirt, dust, lack of water and lack of food. Yet his engaging story is not one of gloom and doom but that of a normal child who takes life as it comes and finds entertainment wherever he can. His playground is the rubble and tunnels of the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan, the shelled and burnt-out town bazaar, the orchard of the local militia. Through his eyes we see the destruction of the town, the ever-present militarization and the welcomed but watched presence of the Americans. Mir has no clue what it is all about but he knows how to have fun.
Acclaimed at international festivals, audiences have responded to the charm of this child, a spark of hope in a dark part of the world. Accolades include Winner of the Valladolid International Film Festival, Award Winner of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Winner of the Chicago Golden Hugo and Special Award Winner of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.
A Safe Place (2004) Running time: 16mins Show Racism the Red Card
This film is an initiative of “Show Racism the Red Card”, a campaign that users top footballers to combat racism, including racism towards asylum seekers. This film provokes viewers to confront the prejudices they hold towards refugees.
The video features young asylum seekers talking about their experiences of seeking asylum in the UK Also featured on the video are Gary Lineker, Thierry Henry, Shaka Hislop, Lomana Lua Lua, David James, Shola Ameobi, Sven Goran Eriksson and Ashley Cole. The film deconstructs the myths about refugees and help bridge the gap of understanding between refugees and local communities.
Carly (1999) Running time: 7mins UNHCR
This animated film features a young girl, Carly who flees from her burning home. All alone, she sets out to find help in other lands. She encounters the Stone-eaters, Smoky-crows and Silk-tails. But none of them will help her because she is “strange and different from them”. Where will Carly find the safety and warmth of a new family?
Carly is an educational tool for children aged 5 – 8 designed to tackle themes such as cultural differences and exile.
Lost Boys of Sudan (2003) Running time: 87mins Directors: Megan Mylan & Jon Shrenk
Lost Boys of Sudan is a feature-length documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America. Orphaned as young boys in one of Africa’s cruelest civil wars, Peter Dut and Santino Chuor survived lion attacks and militia gunfire to reach a refugee camp in Kenya along with thousands of other children. From there, remarkably, they were chosen to come to America. Safe at last from physical danger and hunger, a world away from home, they dream of Paradise, but instead find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia.
It is through their eyes that the film communicates both an idea of what Sudan is like in their memories of home, the differences between the lives they led in Africa and their new lives in the United States, and the simple homesickness and frustration that comes with being transplanted to a totally foreign country. In the end, what comes through is their determination to succeed, adapt, and build a strong foundation in their new country, while never forgetting the people they left behind.
Lost Boys of Sudan won an Independent Spirit Award and screened theatrically in 70 cities across the U.S. to strong audience and critical praise. The film was broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV in the fall of 2004.
War and Dignity (1993) Running time: 9mins ICRC
Soldiers from various countries and different cultural backgrounds talk about international humanitarian law, its universality and implementation, particularly in connection with their own experiences in combat. 9mins
Marooned in Iraq (2002) Running time: 100mins Director: Bahman Ghobadi
With humour and hope, this Kurdish-Iranian film features a nation of wanderers who, despite the ravages of war, embrace life and celebrate it with their music. An elderly Iranian Kurdish man, along with his two musician sons, cross into Iraq during Saddam’s destruction of the Kurds in the wake of the Iran-Iraq war, in search of the woman who abandoned him years ago.¬† It ends inconclusively but illustrates the plight of Iraq’s Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war.
The story takes place in the late 1980s in the Kurdish area straddling Iran and Iraq. With two wild and crazy sons Barat and Audeh in tow, the jilted Mirza sets out to find his runaway wife. He’s taken long enough. To be exact it’s been a total of 23 years since his wife Hanareh left Mirza for his best friend Seyed. Now he has heard through the grapevine that she may be in danger in the Iraqi Kurdistan. So off he goes to track her down in Iraq and keep alive his glimmer of hope they can reunite.
And thus begins the hilarious and colourful trek of sometimes dangerous situations, and peppered with characters make up the unforgettable denizens of the barren mountains.¬† As in his previous films, this Kurdish director is again focusing on the oppression of his people. The film ends inconclusively, but illustrates the plight of Iraq’s Kurds during the Iran-Iraq war.
Awards received include the International Jury Award¬† at the 2002 Sao Paolo International Film Festival and the Golden Plaque at the 2002 Chicago International Film Festival.