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Featured Filmmaker

Featured Filmmaker: Mark Taylor

 

In 2005 Mark co-founded the Sydney Latin American Film Festival as a means of sharing stories from Latin America. Mark graduated from the Australian Film and Television Radio School as a documentary filmmaker and since 2006 has been working closely with Australian Indigenous communities in Sydney & Western Australia.

Name: Mark Taylor
Age: 36
Location: Sydney, Australia

Videos:

How/why did you become a filmmaker?
I first picked up a camera when I left my job and attended a community video workshop, the first film I made featured Pauline Hanson being run over by a lawnmower and it won the Pine St Film Festival which awarded me a short course at AFTRS. I went to live in Argentina the following  year with my partner and I bought a video camera at the airport. In Argentina I made a documentary (La Luciernaga) with a group of resilient young people from the ‘Barrios’ on the eve of Argentina’s meltdown in 2001. I returned to Sydney and got involved with Actively Radical Television. I learnt so much from the stories of
the young people on the streets of Cordoba and realised what a privilege and responsibility it is to listen to people stories first-hand and that was enough for me to continue making films.

Where have you worked?
I have worked in East Timor on a film set against the first anniversary of Independence. I have also worked in Salatiga on a short documentary about Festival Mata Air. I have filmed people and recorded their stories in many different parts of Latin America from Mapuche communities in Argentina to traditional farms in Bolivia and Ecuador. Currently I am working in Redfern and in Penrith in Sydney and in remote Western Australia.

Why Was Gamarada an important film to make?
Gamarada recorded the evolution of Sydney’s first Aboriginal mens healing group, set up by a handful of well respected leaders in the community. The group created a unique program to support men in overcoming addiction and anger issues associated with loss of culture and systematic dispossession over 200 years. The healing program strengthened their social and emotional well being and helped them reclaim their roles within their family and community. There are countless communities around Australia facing the same issues and the film has been able to share the story of their journey which has inspired men’s groups around the country.

What was the response of the people in the video when it was completed?
The men felt empowered that their story was now on film and they could share it. They enjoyed looking back on the journey that they had undertaken and also at special moments and special guests that appeared along the way. They would like to make a new film that follows the next generation of men currently doing the program.

Is it important to you that this story gets out to an international audience?
I would like the film to be seen by international audience in order to generate awareness around the issues faced by many from Indigenous communities, particularly men. The film was screened to a group of men and women from First Nations communities in Canada, while they were on a research trip in Australia. They said they learned a lot about the issues faced by Indigenous men in Australia through the film.

How do you see the role of online distribution?
Online distribution is the way forward, it allows people to choose the media that want to engage with and not have to be restricted by a narrow selection offered through television networks.

I also think offline distribution is important though so people can share the experience of watching films and be involved discussions. I am a co-founder of the Sydney Latino Film Festival,  (www.sydneylatinofilmfestival.org) which has been an important way for us to build audiences around the issues facing Latin America.

Can you tell us about Curious Works?
CuriousWorks (curiousworks.com.au) enables communities to tell their own stories powerfully and sustainably. Its aim is to build a future where all Australians have regular access to self-directed, compelling stories from the margins of society. CuriousWorks works with communities to empower local cultural leaders to use digital media to represent their own people in their own ways, for the long term. In doing so, CuriousWorks hopes to slowly build empathy and social inclusion within and between these communities and well as those in the ‘mainstream’ of Australian society.

Our ultimate goal is redundancy, to work ourselves out of a job.

Can you tell us about some of your other films?


La Luciernaga, 2003, 33 mins

Filmed around the time of Argentina’s popular uprising of December 2001, La Lucièrnaga explores the lives of young people working on the streets of Còrdoba. Through their eyes we see what its like to be disadvantaged in a society at the height of free market capitalism. Amidst this hurried world the film also explores a revolutionary organization that commits itself to giving them the chance of a life with dignity. The young people who appear in the film were actively involved in the filming process and much of their camera work has been used in the film.

Festival Mata Air, 2007, 10 mins
In 2007, Festival Mata Air took place in Pancuran and Kalitaman, in Salatiga, Central Java. This is an archive video from the Festival that includes interviews with some of the organisers.

Currently I am working on a project with CuriousWorks and members of the Redfern community on a new film that looks at the role that Boxing has played in the Indigenous community.

If you know of any interesting filmmakers around Asia Pacific you’d like to see featured on EngageMedia.org, write to us today!

Categories
News

EngageMedia Screening in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Event details

When

September 12, 2012

from
01:00 AM to
03:00 AM

Where


Upstairs lounge @ Palate Palette, 21 Jalan Mesui, 50200 Kuala Lumpur

Contact Name

Contact Phone


+6592338332

Add event to calendar

 

On September 11 2012, videos from EngageMedia will be screened at Palate Palette in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Please confirm your attendance on the Facebook event page, where more information about the films is available.

EngageMedia screening KL MalaysiaFrom the Facebook event page: For the September edition of our monthly film night, EngageMedia and Palate Palette proudly collaborate for the first time to present Social Justice and Environmental Films From South East Asia, a screening of specially curated short films/documentaries focusing on social justice and environmental issues in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Come learn about some of the issues faced by societies in Malaysia and our neighbors, from street children and trangender/workers rights in Malaysia to indigenous peoples in Indonesia and child rights in Thailand.

Come support and join us! Screenings are free! And so is our popcorn! Seats are allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis (unless you’re having dinner downstairs) so come early!


More information about this event…

Categories
Featured Filmmaker

Featured Filmmaker: Mahamasabree Jehloh

Bree

  • Name: Mahamasabree Jehloh
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Patani, South Thailand

Video History:

Recent Works:

  • Documentary-in-the-making: “Death in the Twilight Zone”, “Agent of Change”, “The Death from Torture” (Watch Trailer)

 

Interview

EM: Tell us about yourself.

MJ: I was born and raised in Sungaigolok, Narathiwat, Thailand. For several years, I worked at Southern Peace Media Volunteer Network. All my videos relate to violence and the conflict in the South of Thailand. I became a coordinator of Southern Peace Media in 2008 and we began to hold training workshops about “Citizen Journalism”. Now we are creating a new website to collect complaints about violence in the region, www.wartani.org.

EM: Tell us about who you are as a filmmaker.

MJ: I ventured into the world of video documentaries during one of the most heated conflicts in Patani in early 2004. After the attacks on the military camp at Narathiwat Province, which caused the death of a number of military personnel and the seizure of more than 600 rifles, the Thai government declared Martial Law in the province, giving full authority to the Thai military. After that time, the military began to make indiscriminate arrests; anyone could be a suspect. They arrested civilians without proof and proper warrants.

But the stories about human rights violations didn’t get much attention, or the right kind of attention. On one hand, mainstream media love to report about militants activities and violence in rural areas. This coverage spreads negative views about people living outside cities. That’s when we decided to join together and create alternative media — to change the point of view about this conflict. We have also tried to support as much grassroots reporting on human right violation in sourthern Thailand as we can.

EM: How did you come to video as a medium? Why do you work with the moving image?

MJ: I worked as a still photograper for nearly 10 years. Why did I change to video? … because sometimes it doesn’t need as much context. In other words, the videos can act as testimony. We can convey to the audience our feeling as a director and, at the same time, present the facts. The filmmaker is like a direct, factual messenger to the audience. We can leave the audience to decide whether that fact is true or not.

What I also find quite interesting is that, with video, you can communicate to people in different nations, just using movement, acts, and so on.

EM: What are the main issues you address in your video work?

MJ: In most of our videos, we talk about Human Rights Violations, cultural opression, and so on. Most of the issues reported are about Malay men, women or children who have been arrested under the Martial Law without any solid evidence. In many cases, after arrested, they got tortured to confess for acts that they never committed.

There is also impunity for security personnel. In Petani, there have been many mysterious deaths, either in jail or while people are under military custody, extrajudicial killing, and so on. For these issues we simply can’t rely on mainstream media reports. For instance, there is a documentary “Child Rights Under Special Laws”. In this video we hear about how the Thai military has been targeting children and arresting them without warrant. Many of these kids then experienced physical abuse.

EM: Tell us about a favourite video you have made, in regards to social justice or the environment.

MJ: One video that I think brought the most benefit was about a a firing incident at the village of Puyor Mongoose, Nongchik Pattani. Military said on mainstream TV, that they had killed four terrorists seriously injured many others. But when we gathered information from people in the villages and put up some video news, the story looks rather different. There were some survivors from the incident, so they were able to give us testimonies about what actually happened. Of course, we try our best to protect their identity. From the survivors, people know that what happened was a slaughter of innocents, not an ambush by terrorists. A video report can be very useful and very valuable, because it can help people to verify that these groups of people are not “terrorists” as we are told every day in mainstream Thai media.

EM: How do you think online distribution is changing the field of independent video making? How do you use online tools in your work?

MJ: Online video distribution is very helpful to us all, since it is free, fast, global, and not censored. We’re using mostly Youtube.com for our works and share it through email, facebook, our network websites, as well as google +. We also uploaded our videos to EngageMedia and they can be watched by audiences from many different places. We’re also subtitling our videos to three languages ​​namely Malay, English and Thai. We are using Universal Subtitles (Amara), to help us in the translation to many languages.

Links

 

If you know of any interesting filmmakers around the Asia Pacific you’d like to see featured on EngageMedia.org write to us today!