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A Story of a Syrian Village
Homs, Syria
By Smart Media
07 May 2013

Oyoun Hsain is a small village located in the northeastern countryside of Homs with a population of less than 4000 people.

The area was not subjected to either armed or peaceful revolutionary movements, but it fell victim to shelling and other destructive measures.

A massacre was on the verge of occurring, but the Free Syrian Army intervened and stopped it by evacuating the villagers away.

However, many people were killed due to the continuous shelling by warplanes, artillery and tanks from the battalion next to the village. Mercenaries also broke into the village several times and killed people. In addition to that, more than 120 people were kidnapped. Until this moment, nobody knows anything about what happened to those kidnapped people.

The film shows the destruction in the village after the evacuation of its inhabitants.

The buildings’ ruins embed the village’s memory, the people’s properties and their children’s food.

The film authenticates the story of the village. The film is a call for humanity sent to the neighboring villages, where mercenaries live in and still support the regime. It reminds them of the past years when they lived peacefully together; when all the sects in Syria lived in peaceful coexistence.

The film aims to wake up the remnant of humanity and mercy in neighbors’ hearts; the friends yesterday and the executioners today.

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Hollywood Versus Nollywood, Trailer
Lagos, Nigeria
By Preditor Push
04 May 2013

Hollywood Contra Nollywood By Tee Jay Dan
APRIL 23, 2013 2 COMMENTS

“Critics should be active participants…propound and participate.” BM Dzukogi.

Nothing said in praise of Nollywood, in whatever fashion or design will invalidate the fact that the industry is threatened with poor funding, low quality production, technical ineptitude, piracy and blighted distribution channels. But we must not dwell on the many sins of Nollywood. We should appraise the industry; analyze her with the genuine hope of rediscovering her lost beauty. We must, stakeholders and consumers alike, collectively and jealously trade ideas and criticism; serve as a galaxy of souls to our very own motion pictures enterprise. I am playing my quota by writing this article in hopes that every reader will play their role by spreading the word until the identified defects are righted!

Here’s a little education on how a proper film industry functions. Top on the chain is THE MONEY nearly bracketed by THE FINDERS.

THE MONEY is further categorized into FILM and TV. The FILM category consists of major studios such as Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers e.t.c, whereas the TV category refers to Cable Networks such ABC, FOX, CBS e.t.c. Like every other business, these studios and Networks are structured with CEOs, Presidents, Creative Executives, Assistants and Business Affairs Executives.

THE FINDERS literally refers to professionals who find talents/stories for the studios/networks. The Finders serves as mediators between studios/networks and the products. Since studio execs are too preoccupied to read through heaps of specs/scripts these guys handle the hunt job. They function just like literary agents in the business of publishing.

It is the collation of these two factions; THE MONEY and THE FINDERS that makes up what is known as Hollywood. There is more to the solid structure of Hollywood but this will suffice for lack of space. Sadly, Nollywood strives on the exact the opposites of these dictates! There is no single Studio in Nigeria! The absence of a skeletal framework is Nollywood’s first and major problem. With a functional structure in place, Nollywood will look sexier to potential investors as investment returns will become guaranteed – only then can we bury the old days of financially constrained productions.

It is funny how the lots of producers in Nollywood believe funding to be the most pressing need that must be remedied if the industry is to be revitalized. They often find out albeit painfully so that even with the billions of the world they cannot make mind blowing movies with only money. In this business of ours it is believed that a good film could be made with a bad cast and poor production but no good film can be made with a bad story. There is no gainsaying the fact that our home videos are pretty predictable because the stories made into films are stereotypes! Any good screenwriter could easily hash out two or more stories from a typical Nollywood flick! Do you feel mentally exhausted after seeing a Nollywood film? This is because your brain is busy trying to patch together the unrelated stories/scenes in our home videos. Our producers need to pay closer attention to stories before they give the green light. Here’s an assignment: watch a Chinese, Bollywood or Hollywood movie without the sound then watch a Nollywood film in the same manner – watch the Nollywood clip first if you like. Then return here and share your experience. Please pick films you have not seen before and remember to mute the sound. Yes, that is the power of a good story of the lack thereof!

Recently I joined camp with Balogun Omo Oba Dayo of Ravernsbourne UK; a Nigerian Filmmaker based in the United Kingdom. In the course of our joint venture I learned a great deal. Nigerians making good movies are either independent producers or our brethren in the Diaspora. Movies like DR. BELLO, LAST FLIGHT TO ABUJA, TWO BRIDES AND A BABY, THE LOST NUMBER by Tony Abulu, Obi Emelonye, Blessing Egbe and Kester Nsirim respectively are clear examples. Oh, there are three kinds of filmmakers in Nigeria; the Nollywood filmmakers, Nigerian Filmmakers in the Diaspora and the Independent filmmakers. It is therefore out of good faith that I propose a conscious romance between these three factions of Filmmakers of Nigerian origin.

Funding is a crucial part of filmmaking especially in Nigeria. Here’s a bitter truth. Over 80% of filmmakers in Nigeria source for production money from marketers in Alaba. These marketers go as far as dictating names for films without reading the scripts! Have you noticed some Nollywood flick with a title that clearly conflicts with the storyline? Now you know why. A similar percentage of the technical crew are a bunch of ‘trial and error’ apprentices who self-graduated or were actually sent forth by their ‘masters’ to wreck Nollywood the more. The camera man you hire for your birthday today might be shooting Nollywood’s next ‘block buster’ tomorrow if he knows a producer or if a friend of his wins a lottery and decides to make a movie. As much as lack of funds is a problem, industry veterans should sign up for professional courses. It doesn’t take a lifetime!

We still suffer some shamefully from poor sound and picture quality in Nollywood. Take the just concluded AMAA 2013 event for instance.

Finally, because Nollywood churns out thousands of movies annually is not a yardstick to say it is without blemish. Popularity isn’t necessarily prosperity so goes the saying. A female Nollywood apologist argued that the industry guys are making big bucks alright hence do not need to up their game. This is laughable. See, in Nigeria pirates earn more than the filmmakers. Forget the paparazzi, safe for some side ‘runs’ our movie stars will be dying in penury. To say Nollywood is fine as it is is a terrible misconception. Let’s have a working structure then we can attract investors. Let’s build a tight knit industry and engage in collaborative ventures so we can make superb movies. Deal with Nigerians in the Diaspora, tackle piracy and pirates head on, mend the rift in AGN, and awaken DGN and SWG from slumber then watch Nollywood bloom.

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A Story of a Fighter and his Gun
Homs, Syria
By Smart Media
01 May 2013

Wa’el Abu Rayan, known to his peers as Abu-Adou was a common construction worker from Al Rastan. A married father of two, Abus has been noted for his obsession with his gun - it never leaves his side.

Emerging from the debris of his bombed out hometown, Abu retreats to the countryside to aid in the training of local would-be fighters. After a day of training he returns home to his family though the gun doesn't leave from his person.

The family man bought his gun by borrowing money from various people and holds it to protect his home town and loved ones. It has become a piece of him, an extra limb, and gives Abu reassurance that it will preserve his “dignity and honour”.

With his gun in one hand and embracing his son with the other he states that he fights to defend the children of Syria.

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DABAL HAI
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
18 Mar 2013

"DABAL HAI" Pictorial Feature on Mini Buses and Conductors of Karachi Produced and Photographed by Yasir Kazmi (Photojournalist/ Documentary Film Maker), Karachi, Pakistan.

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Farm to Fork (Part 1 of 3)
Kathmandu, Nepal
By PIKTO VIDEO
14 Mar 2013

It is strange to observe that despite the sacred statute of food in Nepal, it is paradoxically the origin of many diseases sometimes leading to death. We know that millions of people don’t have enough to eat, and that some of them even face severe conditions of malnutrition. Of all facts, food security remains a major problem in Nepal. But what we know less is that 50% of the diseases come from a misuse of food and water. This alarming figure is more than ever a topical issue. In order to find answers and solutions, we investigated the backstage of food, from where it is produced – the farm – to our final consumption – the fork!

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Women Who Have Lost in Armenia
Tavush, Armenia
By Nazik Armenakyan
08 Mar 2013

Although the ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan was signed in 1994, peace didn't come with it. Ceasefire violations along the border are nearly an everyday reality in Armenia.

Unemployment and poverty, which affects more than one third of Armenia's male population in border cities and villages, has forced them to still risk their lives serving in the military as contractors after they fulfilled their mandatory service.

This multimedia piece features women who have lost their husbands and sons during ceasefire violations. These widows are now forced continue living their daily lives andtake care of their families alone.

On June 18, 2008, two residents of the Armenian village of Chinari (Tavoush) were killed by an Azerbaijani sniper. Twenty year-old Levon Petrosyan died from his wounds. When fifty year-old Rafik Saghoyan went to help Levon, he too was struck down.

On April 27, 2012 three Armenian soldiers were killed during clashes with an Azerbaijani military unit that had infiltrated the border of Tavoush Province. The soldiers who died defending the border were Arshak Nersisyan, Davit Abgaryan and Aram Yesayan.

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Authority for the Promotion of Virtue
Aleppo, Syria
By salem_rizk
26 Feb 2013

At times appearing beneath a banner with the name "The Islamic Front for the Liberation of Syria," a man referred to as Abu Sulayman introduces "The Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Defense of the Oppressed." The name of this committee is similar to that of the police that enforce Sharia Law in Saudi Arabia, called, "The Committee for the Protection of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice." In his statement, Mr. Sulayman describes the provision of aid and the provision of security and policing as two core aspects of the committee's mission. Following his statement are a series of brief interviews, including people seeking assistance from the committee as well as a member of the committee apparently interacting with one of their detainees in a temporary holding cell.

Partial transcription below. Full transcription, including time code, is available on request.

[Transcript from the video statement]: We are members of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Defense of the Oppressed. We work primarily on security and policing. Our security arm operates throughout all of the liberated areas. As everyone knows, many violations and crimes have occurred and are occurring at the hands of both civilians and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

God willing, we will now be able to provide security by utilizing our committee's Islamic civilian police force so that we might stand against all criminals and violators who would damage public or private property. As far as our security and policing operations in the liberated areas, we go on patrols, set up checkpoints and send committee forces to provide the security and curb theft and other transgressions.

We always seek peaceful solutions, especially when it involves any armed groups (FSA members), by sending respected religious authorities to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. If this approach does not succeed, then we use force to arrest the offending party, whether it is an individual or a group. The offender is then brought to our Sharia Law Committee.

As mentioned, our work in this committee is multi-faceted, and includes providing assistance to those in need. The aid side is a very important aspect of our work.

[Excerpts from the interviews]:


[A civilian woman]: I have come here because my children are hungry and I am hungry, and we have been for the past 3 months; and for 3 months they have been promising assistance, and I haven't seen anything. My cousin came here asking for a house and they haven't provided her with one.

[Mr. Sulayman, speaking to one of the religious authorities, apparently also on the committee]: "To avoid the temptation that a woman living alone can introduce in the community, we need to provide this woman with a home."

[Mr. Sulayman, speaking to the same woman, who has approached the committee for housing assistance]: "Take care of your home (don't break sharia law), be a good muslim, keep your children with you, and we will provide you with a house."

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Beitar Jerusalem - a Club at War with...
Jerusalem, Israel
By Mat Heywood
12 Feb 2013

January 30 2013 Beitar Jerusalem, a top football club in the Israeli Premier League announced their two new signings, Chechen Muslim’s Zaur Sadayev and Gabriel Kadiev. The signings come as a shock to the clubs fans renowned for their vehement anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stance.
The club fan base known as “La Familia” shout slogans such as “Death to Muhammed” and “death to all Arabs”. On the 19th March 2012 a youtube video surfaced showing Beitar fans attacking two veiled Muslim women and their male companion, Arab janitors held back the fans and a fight ensued at the shopping mall until the police arrived. The fans actions reached such a critical point that even Likud MP, Reuben Rivlin, reprimanded the fans for their blatant racism.

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New Cut Real Democracy
Palestine
By Andy Beale
08 Feb 2013

Real Democracy is a vote donation program, organized by Israeli and Palestinian activists, and enacted through Facebook. The campaign allowed disenfranchised Palestinians to vote in the most recent Israeli Knesset elections through Israeli citizens who donated their ballot. Interviews were conducted with activists on both sides who organized the project, as well as Israeli Citizens, East Jerusalem Residents, and West Bank Residents who had heard about the initiative. The campaign signals the development of a new strategy in anti-occupation organizing in the region.

PTC
During the recent Israeli elections, a group known as Real Democracy used social media to reach across the green line, connecting anti-occupation activists in Palestine with supporters in Israel. Since Palestinians living outside the borders given Israel in 1948 live under Israeli military occupation but are not allowed to vote in Israel, Real Democracy organizers decided to use Facebook to give them a voice in the elections.

Quote: Shimri Zmeret
“So an Israeli goes on the Facebook page and posts a video or statement saying ‘I want to give my vote.' And a Palestinian goes on the same page and says ‘I will use your vote.’”

PTC
From the Arab Spring to Occupy Wall Street, social media has played an increasingly important role in protest movements. Although Real Democracy organizers believe the campaign could have succeeded without Facebook, they say the social-media platform played a critical role in forging connections between activists who otherwise would have been unable to meet each other due to travel restrictions enforced by Israel.

Quote: Ameer Suleibi
“As Palestinians who live in the West Bank, they cannot enter Israeli area, because we don’t have permission, we don’t have declaration. My age is around 23, and I have never visited Jerusalem. So the best way in order to communicate with Israeli people or Arab people who live in Israel: by the Facebook or by Emails or by, ya3ni, by the internet.”

Quote: Shimri
“So, I can connect with a Palestinian through Facebook much more easily than I can go there because I can’t go to Ramallah and a Palestinian from Ramallah can’t come here.”

PTC
Activists argue that because the occupation has such a profound effect on Palestinian lives, they should be given the right to participate in the voting process.

Quote: Mousa
“The Israeli government, they have a plan to build an apartheid wall in our land, and to take much land from our side, and we are not allowed later to work in that land because it will be inside the wall.”

PTC
As the Israeli magazine +972 reported, one out of three people living under Israeli military control, including the residents here in the West Bank and Gaza, are not allowed to vote.

Quote: Haytham Tofukji
“But as I'm saying, here in Jerusalem, we are not allowed. I mean we are not allowed to be part of the elections, the Israeli elections, as we are residents. According to Israeli law, we are residents of Jerusalem.”

Quote: Shimri
“There's two reasons Israelis should give their votes to Palestinians. One is that Israel is undemocratic, and the second is that the UN is undemocratic. In the UN, the Israelis have the kind of ultimate power, if you want, the veto power, on their side but the Palestinians don't even have a vote in the General Assembly.”

PTC
Real Democracy organizers say several thousand people used the program. With a voter turnout of around 3.6 million this election, it's unlikely that this was enough to influence the elections, though activists say changing the outcome was never the point.

Quote: Haytham
“Maybe this project, if it continues—I'm not saying, because it's the first step—if it continues maybe it will reach a level with the goals of the idea.”

Quote: Mousa
“I believe, the small number, they will not do something. But, in fact, you know, we make a noise.”

PTC
Besides voting for a Knesset member, the Facebook page offered Palestinians the option of asking Israelis to boycott the election. Many Palestinian citizens of Israel who have voting rights boycott Israeli elections on principle.

Quote: Haytham
“For us as Palestinians, we don't consider the State of Israel. We consider Israel as occupation. So here is the point where you boycott them.”

Quote: Lamia Qaddoumi
“Like, any government to come after Benjamin Netanyahu, would be as racist and as dangerous as—as bad as the one before. So why care?”

PTC
Despite the ongoing occupation, many Israelis reject the idea that Palestinians living outside the green line should be allowed to participate in Israel's election process.

Quote: Eitan Bendor
“Because right now, they are the enemy. I mean, it's a big problem. Until you can get to a settlement that both sides can live up to it, then nothing can work. I mean, why should I give if you don't do anything in return?”

Quote: Mani Ben Yisrael
“Why should they donate their votes for Arabs? They don't need a state! You know, they are not a nation, whatever. They should go to Jordan, wherever they came from.”

PTC
Despite some negative feedback, members of Real Democracy say the response they received was overwhelmingly positive. They plan to continue using Facebook to build connections between activists and pursue a democratic solution to the region's problems.

Quote: Mousa
“My message now is to international governments, and that is the most important. My message to them is to make real action for our situation here, and to stop supporting Israeli occupation here.”

Final PTC: Wrap-Up

0:00 – 0:09 – establishing
0:10 – 0:32 – PTC B-Roll Facebook group for donating votes
0:33 – 0:45 – Interview with Co-founder of Real Democracy, Mousa Abu Marya
0:46 – 1:07 - Interview with Co-founder of Real Democracy, Shimri Zameret with B-Roll
1:08 – 1:27 – B-Roll, PTC, Narration
1:28 – 1:50 – Interview West Bank Resident, Ameer Suleibi with B-Roll
1:51 – 2:00 – Sound bite from Co-founder of Real Democracy, Shimri Zameret with B-Roll
2:01 – 2:10 – PTC
2:11 – 2:25 - Interview with Co-founder of Real Democracy, Mousa Abu Marya with B-Roll
2:26 – 2:37 – PTC with B-Roll
2:38 – 2:49 – Interview with Student, Haytham Tofukji, Al Quds University, resident of Jerusalem but not permitted to vote.
2:50 – 3:05 - Interview with Co-founder of Real Democracy, Shimri Zameret with B-Roll
3:06 – 3:19 – PTC with B-Roll
3:20 – 3:30 - Interview with Student, Haytham Tofukji, Al Quds University
3:31 – 3:37 - Interview with Co-founder of Real Democracy, Mousa Abu Marya with B-Roll
3:38 – 3:50 – PTC
3:51 – 3:58 - Interview with Student, Haytham Tofukji, Al Quds University with B-Roll
3:59 – 4:10 – Interview with Student, Lamia Qaddoumi, Al Quds University boycotting election with B-Roll
4:11 – 4:20 – PTC
4:21 – 4:35 – Israeli Citizen, Eitan Bendor, against Palestinians voting
4:36 – 4:47 - Israeli Citizen, Mani Ben Yisrael, against Palestinians voting with B-Roll
4:48 – 5:00 – PTC
5:01 – 5:18 - Interview with Co-founder of Real Democracy, Shimri Zameret with B-Roll
5:19 – 5:34 - Interview with Co-founder of Real Democracy, Mousa Abu Marya with B-Roll
5:35 – 5:40 - PTC

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Slum Echoes - Street Angels Foundatio...
Kampala, Uganda
By William Ranieri
01 Feb 2013

Documentary: Slum Echoes -- Street Angels Foundation Uganda
Kisenyi is the oldest slum/ghetto in Kampala. The Mask and the Teacher will guide you through an incredible journey along this multi-ethnic reality. We meet the Karamojong women, listen to real story of the kids of the slum and dance to unique music. Witness the incredible reality in the heart of Kampala.
This video was realized
with no funding
as a tribute
for all Kids in Slums
around the world.

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"Living the Love" - Documentary about...
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
By Gloria Kurnik
08 Feb 2012

In depth portrait of the Hindu Thaipusam festival held annually in Malaysia in January. A unique take on the events through the eyes of a participating couple.
This short documentary is produced in a "personal journey" or "character driven" style.

Synopsis:
Piercing the body out of faith is a custom in most of the oldest religions. Though it may induce fear, doubt and anxiety, it is also associated with a certain sense of mysticism and spirituality. The viewer witnesses here the Thaipusam - the magical Hindu festival where devotees in a state of trance, painlessly carry offerings in the form of heavy burdens and/or have a range of intriguing attachments hooked to their body.

But beyond the images of unbelievable crowds and fanfare, the viewer can also witness the love, trust and devotion merging into an expression of faith through self-sacrifice.

For many, Thaipusam is all about the flourish and the obscure customs. For many tourists, it is the defining evidence of the unique multi-cultural life in Malaysia. For many amateur photographers, it’s one of those places where you capture that ‘one’ unforgettable picture. For some it's a story of love...

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West Papuan Refugees
Vanimo, Papua New Guinea
By David Fedele
16 Feb 2011

For nearly 50 years, the people of West Papua have suffered under brutal Indonesian colonial rule and it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of civilians have lost their lives in Indonesian military operations.

Thousands have fled across the border into neighbouring Papua New Guinea to seek sanctuary.

This footage was taken on Wednesday 16th February, 2011, in the jungle near Vanimo, Sandaun Province, Papua New Guinea - less than 50km from the West Papuan/Indonesian border.

It shows West Papuan refugees returning to their village for the first time since it was burnt three weeks earlier by special operation "Sunset Merona", led by Papua New Guinea Police and Defence Force.

The men came out of hiding in the bush to talk to me, and the women were able to leave for only a couple of hours where they were being held, as they told their captors they were looking for food from the garden. After I left, the men went back into the bush to hide, and the women returned to where they were being held.

Now two years later, my understanding is that many of these refugees are still unable to return to their village, and remain hiding in the jungle, on the run from special operation Sunset Merona.

This footage is clear evidence of contravention of the UN Charter for Refugees by Papua New Guinea, and also raises major questions about the legality of special operation Sunset Merona, and the alleged involvement of the Indonesian Government in pressuring the Papua New Guinea authorities to undertake these raids.