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Thursday, December 12, 2013

 

Dirty Wars Documentary gets Oscar nod


Film gets Oscar nod, book on year's top 10 lists, a journalist is freed.
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UK theatrical release poster from Britdoc Films, designed by James Franklin at Assemble.

WHAT A YEAR

Yes, you read that new poster right, the spy master himself, John le Carré, calls the film "gripping, compelling and totally convincing." Thank you, sir.

A year that began with the film's Sundance premiere in January has continued at a rapid pace. We're just getting going — there's so much more to do. So please join in, and thanks for the support.

COMING SOON TO A COUNTRY NEAR YOU

Spanish theatrical release poster (Betta Pictures); Swedish theatrical release poster (NonStop Entertainment).
Todo secreto acaba saliendo a la luz.

That tagline  a favorite of ours  was for our Spanish release this October, when Jeremy launched the book and film together, with front page coverage in the country's leading newspapers.

Since our theatrical run in the US this summer with IFC Films, the film has also released in Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Scandinavia, and Turkey.

Among many other festivals, we played Dokufest in Kosovo, Milano Film Festival in Italy, 
CPH:DOX in Denmark (winning the inaugural F:ACT Award for documentary journalism), and the Warsaw Film Festival (winning Best Documentary), where we received a jury commendation that made us especially proud:

We have chosen Dirty Wars because of its outstanding filmmaking and also for its courageous line of questioning. There is humanity to this film which values a single life above and beyond any governing system. It provokes thought and leaves us moved well after it is over.

Soon, we'll have more news about upcoming releases in France, Brazil, the Middle East and North Africa, and elsewhere. Stay current with us on Twitter and Facebook.
In the US, we were Movie of the Week on iTunes. You can also watch onDVDNetflixGoogle PlayAmazon Instant, and other digital platforms.

"BRITAIN IS UP TO ITS NECK IN..."

"…in US Dirty Wars" — that's the headline from a column in The Guardian discussing Jeremy's investigation and the US-UK "special relationship" in covert warfare, published just as the film premiered in Britain.

On November 29, Britdoc Films released the movie in the UK and Ireland in cinemas, on iTunes, and through a direct digital download off our website.

With our campaign partners at the legal charity Reprieve (which Jeremy calls "one of the most amazing organizations in the world"), the film team also toured the country, talking about UK government collaboration with the US kill program and about the importance of a free press.

In the UK and Ireland, you can download the film directly or watch on iTunes.
Top row, L to R: Britdoc Films' Jess Search and Jeremy Scahill outside the Ritzy in Brixton; Kat Craig, Legal Director of Reprieve, with Jeremy during Q+A after the premiere. Middle: A quote from Voltaire, the epigraph to the book Dirty Wars, on the readograph at the Rtizy. Bottom: Exhibit at the Reprieve table outside the theater; the beautiful Ritzy arches.

DRONE SHADOW

Clockwise from top left: artist James Bridle; Drone Shadow outside the Ritzy Brixton on premiere night; projections at Hackney Picturehouse and outside Edinburgh cinema.
In order to understand the world around us, we sometimes need to draw it out. If you can't really describe the world around you, you can't fully act in it, and are made powerless. When you can just describe it, you can debate and critique it. Drawing its shadow is just the first step.
That's from the artist James Bridle's introduction to the Drone Handbook, which he produced especially for our UK release. It is a free, downloadable DIY guide to making your own illustration of a life-sized drone shadow.

James teamed up with Britdoc Films to create one of the shadows out the Ritzy Cinema in London for our UK premiere, along with a light projection that we've taken on the road.

In The New Yorker, they call James the "Drone Shadow Catcher." Read on here.

TOP TEN!

Jeremy Scahill's book Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield has already emerged on the year's Top Ten lists after its debut at #5 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Publishers Weekly placed it at #3 on its Top 10 Best Books for 2013, across all genres. Amazon selected it for the Top Ten of 2013 in Non-Fiction. And it was a finalist for the GoodReads Choice Awards 2013. The book is available in English worldwide and in Spanish and German, with more translations coming soon, including French and Arabic.

FREEDOM OF THE PRESS

Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye outside the gates of the security prison, upon his release.
On July 23, Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye left the security prison in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, after almost three years incarcerated, including time in solitary confinement and with beatings by his captors.

In the book and film, Jeremy tells the story of how Shaye, a highly respected journalist working for both local and international press (including CNN and the Washington Post), came to be in prison for so long, and why President Obama personally intervened to help keep him there

The last sentence of Jeremy's book says of Shaye, "He should be set free." At every event, whether a book talk or a film Q+A, Jeremy talked about Shaye's case. And just last week, with fellow journalist Iona Craig, a reporter for The Times of London, Jeremy traveled to Geneva to accept a human rights defender award on Shaye's behalf from the Alkarama Foundation
A survivor of a December 2009 US cruise missile strike on al Majalah, Yemen, which killed 41 people, including 21 children and 14 women. Abdulelah Haider Shaye reported on this strike, exposing the US role.

#GAMEOFDRONES

Game of Drones tour stops at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
This fall, Amnesty International USA organized a nationwide college campus bus tour,Game Of Drones (a nod to the HBO series). Each tour stop included a screening of the film, combined with training sessions and actions with local activists, all focused on ending secrecy around the US drone kill program.

In a reflection at the end of the tour, National Youth Program coordinator Kalaya'an Mendoza wrote


Over 7 weeks as we toured the country, thousands decided that they were no longer willing to stand idle as people are killed in our names behind a shadowy "global war theory." Nearly 200,000 people followed the tour online, hundreds of students affirmed their commitment to human rights….
 
Our thanks to these amazing young activists and human rights defenders.

We've organized hundreds of 
campus and community screenings in the US and worldwide. Find out how to bring one to your town.

THANK YOU

Honors from the film community were furthest from our mind when we set out to make Dirty Wars. So we have been surprised and deeply appreciative of the festival awards we've received, being nominated for the Cinema Eye Honors, and voted to thedocumentary shortlist for the Academy Awards

IN CLOSING

Stephen Colbert: "Can you get off the [kill] list?"
Jeremy Scahill: "Only by a drone strike, it seems."

Watch the full throw-down from Jeremy's visit to The Colbert Report.
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