What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire

Tim Bennett, middle-class white guy, started waking up to the global environmental nightmare in the mid-1980s. But life was so busy with raising kids and pursuing the American dream that he never got around to acting on his concerns. Until now…

Bennett journeys from complacency to consciousness in his feature-length documentary, What a Way To Go: Life at the End of Empire. He reviews his Midwestern roots, ruthlessly examines the stories he was raised with, and then details the grim realities humans now face: escalating climate change, resource shortages, degraded ecosystems, an exploding global population and teetering global economies.

Bennett identifies and calls into question the fundamental assumption that has led to this unprecedented crisis in human history: that humans were destined to dominate the rest of the community of life with the Culture of Empire.

He pushes the dialogue where Al Gore did not go.

Powerful interviews with well-known authors including Daniel Quinn, Derrick Jensen and Richard Heinberg, and noted scientists William Schlesinger and Stuart Pimm, fill in some important pieces. Scathing and humorous use of archival footage is balanced with very human snapshot comments from family and friends.

On Walkabout, Bennett ends with an invitation to join him with courage and consciousness on the unexplored shores of a future not yet written.

Blowin’ in the Wind

Blowin’ in the Wind examines the secret treaty that allows the US military to train and test its weaponry on Australian soil. It looks at the impact of recycled uranium weapons and the far-reaching physical and moral effects on every Australian. The film’s release has been timely as the government currently moves to approve more uranium mines while arguing the contrary – that by going nuclear we are being both ‘safe’ and ‘green’. Blowin’ In The Wind reveals that Iraqi babies are now being born with major birth defects. Bradbury wonders whether Australians living downwind from the military testing ranges will be next. He argues that we were lied to by the British over the Woomera and Maralinga atomic tests. Can we trust another equally powerful partner in our ‘war on terror’? With a cash budget of just $12,000 Blowin’ In The Wind raises pertinent questions which cannot be ignored by the Australian public. The film shocked, angered and surprised large audiences when shown at the Sydney and Brisbane Film Festivals.

Director’s Statement (David Bradbury)

This is a film that very much wanted to find me. I tried to fend it off, exhausted from making environmental and political films on shoestring budgets that told hard truths to my fellow Australians that they needed to hear but preferred to ignore. In today’s climate of self censorship, and public broadcasters who fear that their political masters in Canberra will still further cut their budgets if they support these sorts of films, fellow filmmaker Peter Scott and I pushed on regardless. With a hard cash budget of $12,000 and a beg, borrow or make do philosophy…and a lot of favours, we’ve pulled together this doco I know you’ll never see on ‘your ABC’. The picture it paints and the consequences for us all if we don’t raise our protest loud and long to this new military alliance with the United States is too devastating to ignore.

The Paddy McGuinness’s, the Gerard Henderson’s and Greg Sheridan’s of this world with their sycophantic attitudes towards their media masters and ruling class elite will have a field day in attempting to put this film down, to write it off as ‘propaganda’, typical anti-American sentiment with no substance. It’s time for all of us to draw a line in the sand, to acknowledge whether we are in fact happy to be the 51st state of America.

More than ever, it’s time for us all to stand up and be counted for the decency and genuine moral values of what I believed as a kid it meant to be ‘a fair dinkum’ Australian. Not a false, jingoistic patriotism that is built on fear, that justifies war crimes in the name of the so-called War on Terror. Rather, I embrace a healthy nationalism that acknowledges who we are as Australians with compassion for the underdog and giving everyone a fair go. In a humble but sincere way, I hope this film made with a lot of heart and commitment can play a small but important role in galvanizing a lot of us to do just that.

The Interconnected World

The four videos discuss how the world economic order is being shaped by the global crisis, the rise of Asia and the implications for the rest of the world, how the discovery of oil is affecting a low-income country in Africa, and the transition of a country in Eastern Europe from communism to a market economy and membership of the European Union.

The IMF was established to foster economic stability and promote peace following the devastation of World War II. This global financial institution has been undergoing rapid change to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and played a vital role in helping countries deal with the international crisis.

Malaki – Scent of an Angel

Revolves around families of abducted persons during and in the aftermath of the Lebanese war.It sheds the light on the trauma of six different families constantly teetering on the brink of incertitude.Each family doesn’t know the fate of their abducted member whether dead or alive.The premise of the film is humane for it depicts the broken emotional ties within the family away from any political implication.The film combines real interviews within a surreal set on one hand,and surreal fiction on the other hand.Interviews reveal the families reaction towards the abduction of a member.Fiction part is an incarnation of their fantasies,an awaited day of reunion,a recurring dream and a fantasy. The film plays on the notion of blurred reality and fantasies since the families reality is unbearable; ultimately, they escape to their dream.

Director
Khalil Dreifus Zaarour

Executive Producer
May Abi Raad

Original Music
Nadim Mishlawi

Director of Photography
Elie Berbary

Editors
Marwan Ziadeh, Rabih Osta

Assistant Director
Elyssa Ayoub

Sound Mixing
Rana Eid

Wadim

Wadim K. grew up in Germany. He spoke German, had German friends, and even felt German. But Wadim never received a German passport, because he arrived in Hamburg together with his family as a refugee. 13 years later the public authorities seek to deport the family. This night-time assignment ends disastrously with Wadim’s mother cutting her wrists and his father detained. Wadim is 18 years old and finds himself being deported to Latvia – a country he can hardly remember. He spends the next five years fighting for a new existence. During his final, illegal visit to Hamburg, in January 2010, Wadim throws himself in front of a train. He is 23 years old. The 90-minute film, WADIM, pieces together the mosaic of a short life, representative of the lives led by 87,000 other people with only a provisional status to stay, their existence merely tolerated in Germany. Through photos and very personal family videos as well as interviews with Wadim’s parents, friends, his first love and other contemporary witnesses, viewers put together their own idea of how the family fell apart, how the boy changes from a happy child, who goes to school and plays bassoon, to a character driven away from his home to end up in a Latvian shelter for the homeless, no longer able to hold out against his own fears and concerns.
Note: the trailer is in German but the full film has English subtitles.

Public Enemy Number One

For most of his working life, controversial Australian journalist Wilfred Burchett chose to report from the “other side”. His unorthodox views and activities caused him to be labelled a traitor by many. Burchett was the first Western journalist to report on the devastating after effects of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He believed that the West was wrong to intervene in Korea. During the Vietnam war he lived among the Viet Cong, and was a friend and admirer of Ho Chi Minh. “I write this as a warning to the world.” So began the story filed at Hiroshima in August 1945 by Wilfred Burchett, the first Western journalist to witness the devastation of nuclear war. While 250 journalists were reporting on the Japanese surrender, Burchett alone realized the real story was in that doomed city, officially off limits to outsiders. World War ll was the last war that Australian Wilfred Burchett was to report from his countrymen’s side. It was his firm conviction that the West was wrong in Korea, and wrong later in Vietnam, and the stories he filed outraged the West. His long-standing friendship with Ho Chi Minh, the leader of North Vietnam, enabled him to live among the Vietcong. Public Enemy Number One includes footage from the Vietnamese archives rarely seen in the West. Was Burchett a traitor as his detractors claim? There are no easy answers. Burchett insists he was exercising his journalistic responsibility in reporting the truth. The West, he felt, was getting only a distorted view of the conflict. His critics, however, felt he was abetting the enemy and even brainwashing allied prisoners. The Australian Government denied him a passport for 17 years, forcing him to live in exile. In tracing Burckett’s life and the wars he covered, Public Enemy Number One raises many issues of vital importance. Can a democracy tolerate opinions it considers subversive to its national interest? How far can freedom of the press be extended in wartime? A gripping part of the film occurs when filmmaker Bradbury was ambushed with Burchett by Cambodian guerillas on a mountain road. In the tradition of photojournalism, Bradbury’s camera kept rolling, recording the bloody scene. Burchett escaped injury but can not escape the irony that confronted him in Cambodia. The Pol Pot regime which he had championed had turned Cambodia into a killing ground worse than Hiroshima. Had his loyalties been misplaced after all?

“Public Enemy Number One has special value as a portrait of a maverick. The film should really be called Public Servant Number One. Wilfred Burchett shows great moral courage resisting pressures to conform. Journalism needs such independent spirits.” – Gordon Hitchens, film journalist

Chris Statuette, Columbus Film Festival, 1981

Flaherty Film Seminar, 1981

Edinburgh International Film Festival, 1981

Golden Gate Award, San Francisco Film Festival, 1981

Blue Ribbon, American Film Festival, 1981

Second Place, Baltimore International Film Festival, 1981

Best Film, Sydney Film Festival, 1981

Berlin Film Festival, 1981

Blast ‘Em: A Celebrity Stakeout!

BLAST ‘EM offers a comical, bold and disrespectful view of the world of paperazzi and their famous prey. They steal up on and photograph their subjects, sometimes with their consent, usually without. The main character of this film is Victor Malafronte, a young professional photographer from New York, who is well-known as the most aggressive and talented of the new generation of ‘photography-killers’. He and his pals take the viewer on a ‘ride on the wild side’, hunting for Madonna (jogging), Michael J. Fox (also jogging), John F. Kennedy jr., Willem Dafoe, Robert De Niro, Sigourney Weaver, and others (who are doing things celebrities do). Besides images of these photographers who are trying to sell their pictures to the highest bidder, the film explores the seemingly endless obsession of the audience with the rich and famous. BLAST ‘EM forces us to ponder on popular-cultural values that we find self-evident. Directed by Joseph Blasioli, Egidio Coccimiglio.

Gore Vidal – The United States of Amnesia

No twentieth-century figure has had a more profound effect on the worlds of literature, film, politics, historical debate, and the culture wars than Gore Vidal. Anchored by intimate one-on-one interviews with the man himself, this is a fascinating and wholly entertaining portrait of the last lion of the age of American liberalism. Commentary by those who knew him best—including filmmaker/nephew Burr Steers and the late Christopher Hitchens—blends with footage from Vidal’s legendary on-air career to remind us why he will forever stand as one of the most brilliant and fearless critics of our time. This is Gore Vidal’s last word and testimony, written and directed by filmmaker Nicholas Wrathall. Featuring interviews with Tim Robbins, Mikhail Gorbachev, Sting, David Mamet and Dick Cavett.

The Assange Agenda

Julian AssangeAssange claims that online surveillance is causing a crisis of democracy and a serious threat to civil rights and, as a result, we need greater control of agencies that spy on us. How real is this? What do the experts say? Through WikiLeaks, he has said that not all national secrets need to be kept from us and some are outright scandals that we should know about. NSA leaks by Edward Snowden confirm what many have suspected. Governments are now collecting our private conversations on a massive scale and passing it on. If it is misused, how could this affect us?