Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Brian Woods & Kate Blewett Documentaries

"The Dying Rooms" Brian Woods & Kate Blewett (1995)
Producers/directors Brian Woods and Kate Blewett uncover the systematic neglect of abandoned babies in Chinese state-run orphanages. They find "dark rooms" where the weakest and least liked children are left to die. These are known as "The Dying Rooms. After completing the original film, The Dying Rooms, Kate and Brian were contacted by Human Rights Watch who were in the process of helping a Chinese doctor, Dr Zhang, to escape China. She brought with her copious official documents detailing the policy of "summary resolution" used to keep orphanage numbers in check, plus photographs of babies that had been starved to death in the Shanghai No. 2 Orphanage. This new evidence was incorporated into a second film, Return to the Dying Rooms.

"Innocents Lost" (1998)
Kidnapped, sold, starved, beaten and set to work round the clock, surviving on rubbish tips and road sides; given to the gods as punishment for a sin committed by a family member; neglected and written off as worthless; dumped in Gulags for stealing a loaf of bread. These are the innocents who are lost. "Innocents Lost" is a hard-hitting documentary film about crimes against children around the world. This documentary brings to the screen the faces and voices of children who are, for a brief moment, given a chance to be heard, a space to speak of their silent unhappiness. "Innocents Lost" travels around the world, to Costa Rica, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Russia, Togo and the United Arab Emirates to uncover the harrowing stories of the lives of these children who are truly innocents who just need love and support.

"Eyes of a Child" (1999)
It is a frightening fact that in today’s affluent Britain, almost one in three children live in poverty. Their childhood has been stolen: they are denied a childhood free of adult cares and worries. Poverty and lack of social support forces them to make adult decisions and bear adult responsibilities long before they should. "Eyes of a Child" relies entirely on the testimony of the children themselves to paint a picture of life on the edge of society.

"Slavery: A Global Investigation" (2000)
Slavery is officially banned internationally by all countries, yet despite this, in the world today there are more slaves now than ever before. In the 400 years of the slave trade, around 13 million people were shipped from Africa. Today there are an estimated 27 million slaves - people paid no money, locked away and controlled by violence. Multi-Award winning documentary makers Kate Blewett and Brian Woods saw this terrible exploitation with their own eyes. The result is an utterly devastating film.

"Kids Behind Bars" (2001)
Hidden away in the very darkest corners of countries that would rather not acknowledge their existence, there is an army of children whose voices are never heard. They can be raped, tortured, beaten and murdered by adults who supposedly represent the law, yet enjoy almost total immunity from it. Children are tortured in police custody. They are held in prisons in inhuman and degrading conditions. They are denied the due process which should guarantee them fair trials. They are held for years without charge. They are forgotten by the world that walks past the bars of their existence. With unprecedented and unique access to juvenile prisons around the world, this film looks at the experience of incarceration for juvenile offenders in countries as diverse as the U.S.A. and India, the UK and Brazil.

"Bulgaria's Abandoned Children" (2007) & "Bulgaria's Abandoned Children: Revisited" (2009)
"In 2007 the BBC documentary film 'Bulgaria's Abandoned Children caused an international outcry because the images of neglect were so shocking to witness in a country that had just become a member of the European Union. Bulgaria has more institutionalised mentally and physically disabled children than anywhere else in Europe. The film is a heart-rending and eye-opening look into the life of one institution. Eighteen months after filming it, director Kate Blewett returned to Bulgaria in 2009 to film with a handful of the children featured in the original documentary, seeing where they are today and how their lives have changed since the outcry and changes brought about by the film." - BBC

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