Archive for the ‘films’ Category

This is the second and final film which I produced in Tunisia this (Northern) Spring. It took a while to cut the first of two films, then to cut and promote this one. Journeyman Pictures took it a month or two ago with some success in Scandinavia (thank you, public broadcasting), and I was holding off on promoting it myself until Media set up the pay per click streaming of it. They appear to be having some issues over at Fairfax so I’m posting it myself now. Please enjoy, and share.

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Update: If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, please watch this film here on the websiteand not below on YouTube. You’ll keep a freelance journalist fed that way.

After the Tunisian revolution, the Islamist-led coalition government is facing pressure from the liberal elite on one side, and Muslim hardliners on the other. But one group it needs to focus on, as ever, are the youth of the country’s interior; still unemployed, still unsatisfied, and still fighting eighteen months after kicking off the Arab Spring. This is the first of two current affairs films I’m cutting on returning from Tunisia. As the watermark shows, Journeyman Pictures are helping promote it. Fingers crossed – if you’re interested in screening it in full or in part, leave a comment or hit me up @billcode on Twitter.

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I’ve handed in my notice with SBS News, and although I’d be keen on returning in the mid-term future, all plans are currently focused on Tunisia.

At the end of March I’m switching to freelance journalism, while leaving my young family for a bit and flying to Tunis, where I’m enrolled in an Arabic course. I’ve tried to keep my Arabic study going since returning from Syria last year but it is hard in the middle of Sydney; would Mandarin have been more appropriate?*

I’ll also be working on two current affairs films as a video journalist, which will roughly be on the state of the economy and life for minorities post revolution. I’m taking offers on where to screen them :)

On top of that, I’m hoping to get some articles out around town, so to speak.

I’m currently balancing journalistic planning with travel/accom arrangements and technical requirements (macbook pro purchased, Sony NX5 on order). Five weeks to go.

*Nope, too hard, tried that for a bit. Potentially less useful in Tunisia, also.

Roadtrip N.T. photos

Posted: September 10, 2011 in films, Travel and the world

I see Picasa has an embed gallery feature – but it doesn’t want to talk to WordPress, swines! Anyhow, some pictures from my recent trip across the N.T.

I just got back from the Northern Territory where I’ve been making four films for Living Black and SBS News. Living Black is the indigenous affairs strand on SBS, a magazine style show which screens Sundays at 16.30. The good news is that I managed to do some good investigative journalism which I had a ball doing, while meeting some very interesting people from regions the national media tends to ignore.

I blogged on one of these regions for Living Black this week here and will add some thoughts to this blog when I’ve gathered them. In the mean time my first film on the Wave Hill walk-off/Gurindji freedom day will be on Sunday the 4th September, and the next one on the Muckaty nuclear waste dump plans on the 11th of September.

Update: Here’s the Wave Hill walk-off film:

So we caught one of the films at the Sydney Film Festival, due to the combination of a)babysitter availability and b)a desire to put some money into the film industry after excessive recent freeloading via our torrenting friends around the world.

Luckily, we made a decent choice for this rare event in the form of the Spanish/French/Mexican co-production Tambien la Lluvia, or Even the Rain, directed by Iciar Bollain. We enjoyed it even more because it was held in the opulent and slightly over-the-top State Theatre of NSW. It’s a long way to the screen from the dress section seats when you forget your specs, but otherwise, a nice change.

In a nutshell, Spanish filmmakers head to Latin America in an attempt to make a quasi-revisionist historical drama on the arrival of Christopher Columbus.  They start filming in Bolivia, because Bolivia’s cheap, but their own exploitation of the locals (and their coming to grips with this) is soon at least matched by the attempts of a foreign multinational to extract the locals’ water supply and let the free market do its damage (and yes, there’s a leftist slant to proceedings.) Low and behold, their chief ‘Indio’ rabble rouser in the film also leads his people in the increasingly severe protests and uprising against the pre-Evo Morales Bolivian state, based as they are on real life events.

It’s not too saccharine, when other films would have succumbed to the temptation, and there’s no clear right and wrongs (for the most part) when the production team confront their morals. One for the New Internationalist crowd no-doubt (disclaimer: I too once had a subscription), but a solid, balanced film with occasional documentary-style pretensions and a few strong performances.

Four stars (is what I put on the card on the way out.)

Detroit Public Library by Cass Gilbert.
Image via Wikipedia

This is the best documentary I’ve seen in a while.

That’s because I watch plenty of current affairsy docs, but it’s often nice to look at the macro picture. Julien Temple’s Requiem for Detroit is an inspiring look at the best part of a century in what is now, I learn, America’s first post-industrial city.

Fantastic use of archive material, and above all, brilliant locations – who would have thought so many classic industrial buildings are left to time, and the metal scrappers? – not to mention a great soundtrack (despite Motown and Eminem getting a hearing, not all of which is from the motor city) add to the mix.  I can see why a friend in Berlin, who has a love of bleak industrial landscapes shining through in his photoblog, recommended this one. And the fact it reminds me a little of an Adam Curtis film gets it extra points.

Disclaimer: Although someone has posted it on youtube, which I am clearly linking to, you should buy a DVD, or something.