Andrew Berends – released and on his way home

Posted Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Good news from Nigeria – documentary filmmaker Andrew Berends has been released and is heading back to the United States. It appears that his Nigerian translator, Samuel George, and another man arrested with them have been asked to return to State Security Services today but it is hoped that they will be cleared too. Thanks to everyone in the Shooting People community (and beyond) who made calls on Berends’ behalf.

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Andrew Berends – provisionally released

Posted Sunday, September 7th, 2008

Excerpt from recent press release: NEW YORK, September 5, 2008 – American filmmaker Andrew Berends is being provisionally released to US embassy personnel late Friday night, but is required to return to the State Security Services on Monday for what is expected to be routine final processing. Berends was moved Friday from the SSS offices in Port Harcourt to the Nigerian capital of Abuja. His translator, Samuel George and a Port Harcourt businessmanhave apparently also been provisionally released in Port

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Updates on Andrew Berends

Posted Friday, September 5th, 2008

Documentary filmmaker Andrew Berends is still being held in Nigeria, along with is translator Samuel George. Get updates here: and take action here: “CPJ calls for the immediate release of Samuel George and Andrew Berends whose only crime is carrying out their work,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes. “The Nigerian military must stop arresting local and international journalists on spurious allegations, and it should halt its effort to censor reporting of the Niger Delta region.” CPJ’s

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Making films against torture

Posted Monday, May 5th, 2008

Shooter Marc Hawker has co-directed (with Ishbel Whitaker) a series of films for Amnesty’s unsubscribe campaign, depicting various kinds of torture used by the CIA in US detention camps. We recently featured Waiting for The Guards on Watch Film and now you can watch Marc’s latest film for the campaign, a 90 second piece shot at 1,000 frames per second, called The Stuff of Life, depicting someone undergoing waterboarding, or what the CIA euphemistically refers to as an “enhanced interrogation

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Fighting Cultural Imperialism, or Badass Wombles!

Posted Monday, April 14th, 2008

The kind of knee-jerk anti-Americanism you often get in Europe annoys me as much as knee-jerk anything else. It’s often simplistic, ill-informed, hypocritical, and driven by fear rather than thought. But there can be no doubt that there is a degree of cultural flattening taking place, and the culture usually flows in one direction only: out of the US (yeah yeah I know there are exceptions like The Office and The Beatles and The Queen). I miss the cultural differences

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Street Photography with Jem Cohen – Sat Dec 8th

Posted Friday, December 7th, 2007

Street Photography as a Right and a Journey – more info on UnionDocs. This is happening tomorrow night in Williamsburg and sounds pretty awesome: Jem Cohen will show short works and excerpts from over 2 decades of shooting on the street. As this is the last week for public comment on the newly revised city regulations governing street photography and filmmaking, he will also lead a forum on what’s right, and what’s seriously wrong, with the rules. Information will be

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Changing the world through film

Posted Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

The Britdoc Media Conference took place earlier this year in London. The goal was to bring together “nearly 200 policy-makers, filmmakers, foundations, charities and companies working for global change to learn how to successfully exploit the power of film as a global advocacy tool.” You can now watch the conference and download transcripts of panels. Speakers include Orlando Bagwell, Robert West and Robert Greenwald. The conference outreach booklet is also worth downloading because it contains both short articles and case

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New draft of proposed permit rules for NYC

Posted Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

On Monday the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting announced the new draft of their permit rule proposal. You can download the new draft on the website but here’s the key change: The New Film Rule Proposal Under the new draft of the proposed rule, a permit would be required if equipment or vehicles are being used by the production or if the filming activity creates an obstruction. “Equipment” is defined as film cameras, videocameras, lights, sets, and other

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Steal This Film

Posted Friday, September 14th, 2007

International copyright is such a tricky issue. On the one hand I understand that artists and businesses need to make money in order to survive personally and commercially, but it is also clear that the winds of change are blowing and, as one man says in Steal This Film, “When the winds of change are blowing, some people build shelters while others build windmills.” People thought that the VCR was going to destroy the film industry but it didn’t. What

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Proposed changes at the NYC Mayor’s Office

Posted Monday, July 16th, 2007

There has been some discussion on the NY Filmmaker’s bulletin about the proposed changes to permit requirements at the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting. As this New York Times article makes clear, the new rules would require two or more people who want to use a camera in a public location for more than 30 minutes to get a city permit and insurance. As filmmaker Jem Cohen and others have pointed out, this could prove to be a

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