Monday, July 27, 2009

Ultra-Orthodox Settler Video

The Israeli Army just announced that there are now more than 300,000 settlers living in the West Bank. Most of them are what I label "incidental settlers," who are not there for ideological, but rather for practical reasons. I spent a couple weeks documenting life in Beitar Illit, a settlement that is barely over the Green Line, and full of ultra-orthodox or Haredi Jews who would prefer not to be settlers at all.

Check out the video and the interesting written piece with photos in the NYT:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The First Casualties of Global Warming

This is one of the most beautifully shot and provocative trailers I have seen in a long time. The Carteret Islanders are one of the first cultures to be threatened by climate change. They probably won't be the last. That's why raising awareness about these issues is so critical.

I studied in an intensive documentary program with the film's director, Jennifer Redfearn, and know personally her dedication to the documentary genre and to the environment. This seems like one of those rare film projects that promises to entertain, educate, and inspire. I urge you all to watch this trailer and to then visit the film's website to learn how you can help this film get made.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Watch the Latest "Settlers Gone Wild" Video

I think this video is fairly representative of how the media generally portrays Israeli settlers; as a monolithic, territorial, and violent entity. Even the Israeli media tends to portray them in this way, as they do in this piece by Israel's Channel 2:

While this fanatic strain of settler does exist, the whole truth is more complicated. Stay tuned to this blog as I will post a series of vids and articles about who the settlers over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tribute to Michael Jackson

I have always really liked Michael Jackson's work. His Thriller music video was a truly great theatrical short. He was one of the best dancers and performers of all time, and he will be missed by millions of fans worldwide. One of the things that most impressed me about MJ was his universal appeal. He was one of the rare figures that could transcend boundaries and politics.

His passing reminded me of a funny moment I had filming one of the Elvis impersonators who follow around the US Mens Soccer Team all over the world. Elvis recalled that when he went to South Korea for the 2002 World Cup, the South Koreans assumed he was Michael Jackson. The way he says Michael Jackson with a Korean accent always cracks me up.

Here it is at 1:48:

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Interesting Story on Iranian Culture Police

This is a really interesting look at the Basijis, the paramilitary force that is the lynchpin of the Iranian police state. They are the ones responsible for quelling street protests, often violently. This piece shows us how they influenced everyday life in Iran before the recent fracas. One can only imagine how much more power they have now.

This is brought to us by American-Iranian Current TV Producer Kouross Esmaeli.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Iran and Citizen Journalism

Hey Y'all

I just wrote an op-ed that can be read on PBS's awesome MediaShift blog. Please have a read and let me know your thoughts. Here is the link!