Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 3-Synopsis

Seoul Train

Captures the life and death of North Koreans as they try to escape their homeland and China.

With its riveting footage of a secretive “underground railroad,” SEOUL TRAIN is the gripping documentary exposé into the life and death of North Koreans as they try to escape their homeland and China. SEOUL TRAIN also delves into the complex geopolitics behind this growing and potentially explosive humanitarian crisis. By combining vérité footage, personal stories and interviews with experts and government officials, SEOUL TRAIN depicts the flouting of international laws by major countries, the inaction and bureaucracy of the United Nations, and the heroics of activists that put themselves in harm’s way to save the refugees.
Language English, Korean, Mandarin
Directors Jim Butterworth,Lisa Sleeth,Aaron Lubarksy

Iraqis in Egypt: Time is Running Out

Captures the hardships and challenges faced by 5 Iraqi families living now in exile, in Cairo

A short documentary film that follows the lives of five Iraqi families who are now living in exile in Cairo. They recall the disturbing events that forced them to flee their homes and discuss the challenges they are now facing in Egypt as they try to live as refugees. While all of the Iraqis featured in this film have been persecuted for different reasons, once in Egypt they all find themselves subjected to similar problems as they struggle to survive. For now, their lives are in limbo as they wait for the help they so desperately need.
Language English and Arabic
Director Joshua Van Parag

Genocide in me

Dealing with the impact of the 1915 Armenian genocide, this film captures the life of Araz Artinian – one of the five million Armenian refugees – who lives in Canada and who asks herself the universal question “Where do I belong?”.

An angry, tender and funny film, The Genocide in Me deals with the impact of the 1915 Armenian Genocide on the life of young filmmaker Araz Artinian, who has had to carry this legacy since her childhood. In this personal journey, Artinian, torn between her father’s passionate commitment to the Armenians of the Diaspora and her own personal needs, confronts the reality of living in a multicultural melting pot, and asks herself the universal question “Where do I belong?”. The documentary deftly weaves together 8mm film footage shot by the filmmaker’s grandfather from the 1940’s to the 1980’s in Egypt and in Canada, with riveting photographic archives of the Genocide, the filmmaker’s present-day video journals, and a deeply honest narration. Through moving interviews with the last survivors of this Genocide in the USA and through a risky trip to Turkey, Artinian goes back to the origin of her father’s obsession, an obsession born of the Turkish denial and the fear of losing the Armenian culture.
Language English
Director Araz Artinian

Arna’s Children

In spite of her Zionist family background, Arna starts a theatre group for Palestinian children as a way to help them express their frustration, anger, bitterness, and fear.

ARNA'S CHILDREN tells the story of a theatre group that was established by Arna Mer Khamis. Arna comes from a Zionist family and, in the 1950s, married a Palestinian Arab, Saliba Khamis. On the West Bank, she opened an alternative education system for children whose regular life was disrupted by the Israeli occupation. The theatre group that she started engaged children from Jenin, helping them to express their everyday frustrations, anger, bitterness and fear. Arna's son Juliano, director of this film, was also one of the directors of Jenin's theatre. With his camera, he filmed the children during rehearsal periods from 1989 to 1996. Now, he goes back to see what happened to them. Yussef committed a suicide attack in Hadera in 2001, Ashraf was killed in the battle of Jenin, Alla leads a resistance group. Shifting back and forth in time, the film reveals the tragedy and horror of lives trapped by the circumstances of the Israeli occupation.
Language English & Arabic
By: Juliano Mer Khamis

New Year Baby

Impelled to confront and give human face to her childhood shadows, Socheata travels to Cambodia to unravel the mystery shrouding her family’s survival and eventual escape.

Born in a Thai refugee camp on Cambodian New Year, filmmaker Socheata Poeuv grew up in the United States deemed by her family “the lucky one,” fated to good fortune. As a child in the United States, she knew that her parents had survived oppression and genocide under the Khmer Rouge, but they never spoke of it aloud. Twenty-five years later in the suburbs of Texas, her parents make a startling admission, and the impact of the Khmer Rouge suddenly becomes very real. Impelled to confront and give human face to her childhood shadows, Socheata travels to Cambodia to unravel the mystery shrouding her family’s survival and eventual escape. Her voyage parallels her family’s emotional journey through a series of revelations: unimaginable sacrifice; promises made and kept; the fierce and solemn love for those who were left behind, and finally, one long unsung hero, a “Cambodian cowboy,” is unveiled. With disarming candor, humor and poetic animation, Poeuv’s debut feature resurrects memory and personal history to reclaim her family’s past, and what is easily a heartbreaking story also becomes one of triumph.
Language English
Director Socheata Poeuv

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