23 September 2008


1700 days in prison

The Cambodian human rights group Licadho organized a ceremony today in Phnom Penh calling on the Supreme Court to hear the appeal of Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun.

During the event, 1700 white balloons were released to mark the 1700 days that the two have been held. They've been waiting 17 months for the appeal. We hope they could see the balloons from their cells.

(Video of Sok Sam Oeun's father Vuon Phon from Licadho)

News articles:
Phnom Penh Post
Associated Press
Voice of America


08 September 2008


Public television comes through!!!

Big, big news for Who Killed Chea Vichea?—Jeffrey just called to announce that the public television funding we applied for in May has been approved!

That means ITVS, which funds public TV programming in the US, is going to cover our post-production expenses with matching funds from its LINCS program, so we can edit and produce a one-hour version of the documentary—and in all likelihood it will be shown on public television stations here in the US.

It also means we'll be able to display this:

In the documentary world that means a lot. It's hard to describe what a validation this is for our work, especially Brad's work, and for the struggles of so many in a far corner of the world that sometimes feels forgotten. Chea Vichea gave his life to the struggle four years and eight months ago, and Born Samnang and Sok Sam Oeun have been in their cells nearly as long.

Now, thanks to ITVS, our partner WGBH Boston, and many of you (not just those acknowledged here), we know that their story will come out, will come to the people who buy the clothes that garment workers in Cambodia make, and will come to those garment workers too. And it will come to you!

It's a relief, too. As of last week, we moved the editing operation from Brad's apartment in Bangkok to a small editing suite at Goldcrest Post in New York, with Will Barton editing. Post-production isn't cheap, and this funding is going to make the difference between a shoestring operation and a serious production.

I should also mention that in addition to the one-hour version ITVS is funding, we are still planning to produce a feature-length version of Who Killed Chea Vichea? for festivals, screenings in and out of the US, and international distribution. So the funding effort doesn't end here.

But wow, what a leap forward this is!


03 September 2008


Comrades! A film festival

A quick plug for Asia Catalyst, an organization that, in its own words, supports grassroots human rights advocacy in Asia, and celebrates the power of film and art to inspire and catalyze change.

That's an idea we can get behind.

Its director, Sara L.M. Davis, is a member of our advisory board. In May, Asia Catalyst hosted a discussion of Who Killed Chea Vichea?.

We're grateful for this support. If you're in or near New York City we hope you'll join Asia Catalyst for a promising film festival this weekend.

Banned in Beijing -- Out in New York

September 5-7, 2008
LGBT Community Center
208 West 13th Street, New York

A bit of background from the Asia Catalyst web site:

A weekend showcase of the best work from a gay film festival that authorities banned in Beijing -- a glimpse into the hidden lives of gay Chinese. These exciting and edgy new works are a must-see for all Chinese film buffs!

The old Communist term "comrade" has a secret meaning -- it's used by some gay and bisexual people in China to refer to themselves. We took it as the title of the film festival in order to stand alongside our Chinese comrades, whose work cannot always be freely seen in their own country.

Details and screening times here.

Documentary filmmaker detained

Andrew Berends, an established, award-winning American filmmaker (The Blood of My Brother) and journalist from New York, was detained Sunday August 31st by the Nigerian military along with his translator, Samuel George, and Joe Bussio, the manager of a local bar.

Story at nytimes.com.
What you can do at the D-Word.

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