Category Archives: Regis Tremblay

My interview with Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone 1

It was nerve wracking for a few tense minutes when Oliver Stone didn’t appear at 8 pm as expected. Our window for getting an interview was closing fast because Oliver was due to appear at a symposium at 9 pm in another building on the American University campus.

The lights were already set up and the cameras and audio recorder were on standby. Paul Michaud and Lucas Stewart, my young professionals were anxiously waiting with me and watching the minutes tick away.

We had filmed a wonderful interview with Oliver’s co-author, Peter Kuznick 45 minutes earlier, but Peter had gone to introduce a one hour clip of their magnum opus, The Untold History of the United States to an audience of over 100 people. I texted Peter that Oliver had not arrived and he replied, “he’ll be there.” A few minutes later, I again texted Peter asking if there might be an alternative if we didn’t get the interview in before the symposium. Peter texted back, “he’s usually late. Patience.”

At just about 8:30, Oliver walked in and I introduced myself. The rest was pure serendipity. Oliver had taken the time to view the rough-cut 38 minute version so he knew what the film was about. The first thing he asked was how I was going to distribute it. He took note that I had a rather limited network.

Paul and Lucas  attached  the lavalier microphone, and his next request was to see the monitor. I almost cracked up. The famous film director wanted to see what the shot looked like. Since we don’t have an expensive monitor, the boys quickly removed both cameras from the tripods and let him see how he looked. With a nod he said good and pulled out a comb and combed his hair.

He continued to question me about when I thought I’d be finished, did I have all of the archival material I needed, did I have the Korean interviews, etc. I told him the only thing keeping me from completing the film in one month’s time was money to pay Paul and Lucas to do the post-production editing. He was focused like a laser.

“Ok, let’s do it,” he said. “If I don’t get what you want, we’ll do it over.” The next twenty minutes were unbelievable. Oliver went out of his way to mention my name three times and how important this film was.

When we finished the interview, he asked if there was anything he could do to help. I asked if he would like to have my business card and he said “yes.” I thanked him and said I would contact him.

As Oliver was leaving, I asked if he would sign my copy of The Untold History of the United States. This is what he wrote, “To Regis – my best wishes for you and for Korea.”

Peter Kuznick wrote, “To Regis, a fellow crusader for truth and justice.”

From there, we broke down and packed up our equipment and headed for a place where we could wind down and ……………well, celebrate a little!

Short film clips to follow later in the week.

Gangjeong Village Video Documentarian Jailed

Dungree-1Park Sung-Soo has been documenting the daily struggle in Gangjeong Village since the summer of 2011. He was accused of trespassing when he entered the navy base complex to protest the harassment of two young women reporters with sexual remarks by the base security personnel.

The two young women reporters appealed the incident to the Korean Human Rights Committee, but their case was dismissed.

Dungree

Park Sung-Soo, AKA Dungree, was not able to pay his fine amounting to $1500 U.S. dollars, so he decided to serve out his fine in jail for 28 days. Dungree is resolute in not wanting anyone to pay his fine. He is willing to bear the sufferings he will encounter for the month in prison.

Dungree is a victim of the new government’s strategy to oppress people with  fines and to put down the protest against the illegal construction of the base.

Since the beginning of the struggle in Gangjeong Village in 2007 to February 2013, there have been upwards of 700 arrests with 500 indictments. 22 activists have been imprisoned. All have been released with the exception of Prof. Yang Yoon-mo who has been sentenced to 18 months, this being the fourth time he has been jailed. Prof. Yang agreed to end his 52 day old hunger strike on March 24, the third since his protest began.

The average fine against the activists has been approximately $3,000 U.S. dollars, and some have had fines as high as $9,000 U.S. dollars bringing the total amount of fines to $450,000 U.S. dollars. But, that’s not all. The total compensation fee for “damages” is approximately $290,000 U.S. dollars.

All of the activists are willing to go to jail because they cannot afford the fines.

There is no way to sugar coat these gross violations of human rights and the total disregard and disdain for the civil rights of these people who are fighting for self-determination, a transparent and open democratic process, justice, peace, and the survival of their culture, not to mention their livelihoods.

To blame for this most recent displacement of indigenous people, the violation of human rights, the destruction of the environment, the beating of war drums, and the escalation of tensions around the world is the government of the U.S., the U.S. war department, and the military industrial complex.

Meanwhile, the Village is protesting the navy’s military residential housing project which will effectively obliterate this 400 year old village with accommodations for 8,000 military personnel.  This base will require maintenance facilities, an airport, radar, fuel tanks, bars, restaurants, shops, and brothels, and probably missile silos.

What is happening on Jeju Island, and in so many other places around the world, are crimes against humanity.

America! Now they are coming for us! Not only is the #1 U.S. export weapons and “security,” but now the corporations are fast at work to get us to pay for their lust for power and profits. They want (Congress will do their bidding) to pay for all of it on the backs of the middle class and the poor.

Every state in this country owes thousands of jobs to the corporations who produce the weapons and supplies of war. Because of this, there is hardly a person in Congress who will oppose their lust for more and more and more. They threaten to close down their factories and move if Congress doesn’t keep increasing the war budget that feeds the military industrial complex.

Just a cursory glance across this land reveals their ugly job-creating lies from coast to coast, and from border to border: tar-sands, Keystone pipeline, the East-West Highway in Maine, the proposed LNG tank in Searsport, Maine, hyrdo-fracking wherever they can find gas. They are stealing our own precious resources like water and selling them for profit.

Meanwhile our states are broke and can no longer maintain critical infrastructure; provide quality education; and protect the social safety net, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

There is only one answer to this suicidal march: more than 60% of the discretionary spending of the U.S. (our taxes) go to the military aka the war department. If one includes veteran’s benefits and NASA, the percentage is much higher. Bush’s wars will cost us more than $4 TRILLION. There are more than 800 U.S. military “bases” in every corner of the globe……supposedly for national security. Read: the interest of the corporations who extract resources and exploit other nations.

The Villagers of Gangjeong along with the Catholic Bishop of Jeju, Bishop Kang, have the answer: “Peace is the way. No Naval Base on the Island of Peace.” It is the moral obligation of every human being to oppose war and work for peace and justice in the world.

For those who are not able to travel to Jeju to support this struggle, you can send donations to www.savejejunow.org to help pay the fines and to support the activists who represent us in this global struggle against the U.S. imperial march towards domination of the world by force.

Jesuit Activists Protest in Gangjeong Village

Many priests, nuns, ministers, and Buddhist monks regularly travel to Gangjeong Village on Jeju Island to protest the construction of the massive naval base that is destroying the village, the pristine ecosystem, and contributing to the military expansion of the United States, not to mention raising the already high tensions of the region.

Among the most regular protestors are three Jesuits who have made direct action their priestly ministry. All have been arrested and jailed for obstructing construction of the base. I spent many hours each day chatting with them and filming their encounters with the Korean police as many as ten times every day.

I taped an interview with the three one day during lunch in front of the gates. Their comments were inspirational, but the final couple of minutes are hilarious. Enjoy meeting my friends and brothers in this 5:50 clip.

Oliver Stone’s “South of the Border”

Pretty much overlooked in the U.S. and labeled as “controversial” and “anti-American,” Oliver Stone’s documentary is refreshing. At a time when the U.S. considers any country that goes against its will an “enemy,” Stone reveals a totally different picture. I would strongly and enthusiastically encourage everyone to watch the entire documentary.

His journey began with his desire to discover the social, political and economic movements in South America. His interviews with the following democratically elected leaders is eye-opening and inspiring: Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez.  Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Fernando Lugo in Paraguay, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua, Kristina Kirchner in Argentina, Lula De Silva in Brazil, and Raul Castro in Cuba. All of these leaders have implemented reforms that have angered the United States, which for over one hundred years has destabilized, dominated and extracted the resources of their countries.

Following his own political ideology focusing on socialist reform, Chavez implemented a new constitution, participatory democracy, increased government funding of health care, education, and agriculture, land reform, as well as the nationalization of several key industries, especially oil. Any surprise all of this made him a target of the American media and an enemy of the U.S.?
Chavez was elected Venezuela’s president four times with overwhelming majorities. He has alined himself with all of the above governments and leaders who are considered “enemies” of the United States. All of these democratically elected leaders describe their policies as anti-imperialist, and critical of the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. version of predatory capitalism.

Chavez has been a leader in the region supporting Latin American and Caribbean cooperation, the pan-regional Union of South American Nations, the Bolivian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South, and a regional television network.

If you go to the link below, you can see excerpts from South of the Border. Given America’s track record for intervening in sovereign countries all over the planet, the movements in South America are encouraging, enlightening, and give hope there is a way to end the U.S. imperial march to dominate the world.

http://www.youtube.com/southoftheborderdoc

Up Close and Personal with Sr. Stella in Gangjeong Village

One evening at dinner, I sat next to Sr. Stella, a Korean missionary sister with a great sense of humor and a good command of the English language. After dinner and a delightful conversation, Sr. Stella asked, “so why not interview me. I want to tell Obama and the American people something.”

How could I refuse? Sitting next to the 20 ft barbed wire topped fence of the base, with the light fading fast and a fire burning to keep warm on that cool evening, Sr. Stella with all the confidence in the world and the passion of her convictions, let it rip.

She is one of hundreds of Catholic nuns from Korea and Jeju Island who visit Gangjeong Village frequently to stand in solidarity with the villagers and activists in their struggle against the construction of the naval base that is destroying the environment and their village, not to mention the denial of their human right to live peacefully there as they have done for over one thousand years.

Even today, some six months removed from my stay in Gangjeong Village, I am overcome with emotion as I pour through hours of interviews and video for my film, Jeju: In the Crosshairs of War.

I am sure you will enjoy meeting Sr. Stella and be moved by her message.

Colby Students Demand to be Heard

Yesterday, February 27, 2013, I was invited to attend the screening of a powerful and daring documentary created by a group of young students and future filmmakers at Colby College.

The title, Bicentennial: A Documentary was seen by over 100 students and faculty in the Lovejoy Building. In the past week, it premiered to a audience of more than 300 students and faculty. The creators of the film are from Africa, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the U.S. and represent the diversity that is Colby, but in their eyes, not yet!

Challenging Colby’s president, administration, and faculty, these brave and courageous students raised such issues as racism, sexual violence on campus, the lack of help for students with different learning styles, the fact that janitors and cafeteria workers (SODEXCO is a private company hired to run the cafeteria) are not paid a living wage and lack benefits.

Just last night after Colby’s president delivered an address to students and faculty, the students attempted to read prepared remarks and were not permitted to do so. After one student was allowed to speak, the president and faculty then walked out on the students, in what I describe as a shameful, hypocritical, and disrespectful.

Here is an excerpt from a written response of the president of Colby.
“The great excitement of the day also brought with it a challenging moment during the convocation, when several students interrupted the program by coming onto the platform to read prepared statements. I agree that the issues they raised are of concern to us – indeed, I had highlighted most of them in the Bicentennial Address that ended moments before the students took their action – and I think it’s important to note that we have been doing this work and will continue this work in many venues and with many constituencies.”

Here it is for you to decide. http://youtu.be/_GSkp74KT04

The students have promised me a copy of the feature documentary and when it arrives I will share it.

Largest Climate Rally in U.S. History

Capital Mall MonumentBill McKibbin, founder of 350.org, organized a rally in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, February 17, 2013 to pressure President Obama into not approving the Keystone XL Pipeline. Upwards of 40,000 people attended from all over the country and Canada.

The participants braved temperatures in the 20’s with a wind chill of zero or below and stood for hours listening to speakers, chanting, and marching from the Washington Monument to the White House. They started gathering around 9 am with the last ones leaving some time after 4 pm.

There were people of all ages and nationalities from neighboring states and from faraway. Many traveled overnight in buses and returned home as soon as the rally ended. I attended with my son Tanner. We combined the rally and a trip to the National Archives in College Park, MD to research material for my film.

I had a little fun with the video below, wanting to capture the flavor and spirit of the day. Enjoy and please share.

Jeju Protester Given 18 Month Jail Sentence

002 Prof. YangProf. Yang Yoon-Mo was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for protesting against the construction of the naval base in Gangjeong Village! The crime?  Obstruction of business and jeopardizing the construction of the so called ‘joint civilian-military use base’!

Not only do the ROK government and the ROK Navy continue the lies and deception, but the courts do their part to beat back those who protest the military expansion of the U.S. in Asia and the Pacific.

Professor Yang has risked everything to stop the construction. This is Prof. Yang’s fourth prison sentence. He previously went on a hunger strike for 70 days. Professor Yang left a 30 year career as a prominent South Korean film critic to protest against the base on a full-time basis. During my stay, I had the privilege of meeting him and filming his daily protests at the gates. Professor Yang will be given a prominent role in my documentary.

www.indiegogo.com/savejeju

The video clip of Prof. Yang resisting the police is by Korean filmmaker Cho, Sung-bong.

Here’s a brief video of Professor Yang.

Bruce Cumings Questions Why a Base is Needed on Jeju Island

Bruce picturePaul Michaud, Jr. and I drove down to Charlottesville, Virginia on January 24th to interview Prof. Bruce Cumings for my film Jeju: In the Crosshairs of War…Again

Bruce is the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of History at the University of Chicago, and specializes in modern Korean history and East Asian-American relations.

Bruce is arguably one of the leading experts on Korean History and the Korean War. Thanks to Fr. Pat Cunningham, a Columban Missionary living in Seoul, I learned about Bruce and purchased two of his books. The Korean War, A History is a must read for anyone interested in discovering the truth about Korea and the Korean War. He revealed the previously untold stories of the bloody insurgencies and rebellions, and exposes the appalling massacres and atrocities committed on all sides.

I am personally indebted to Bruce for granting an extensive interview and for his exceptional work as a historian that enabled me to understand why the people of Jeju and Gangjeong Village are opposing the construction of the naval base on their beautiful Island of Peace.

Enjoy this 2:56 clip explaining why he cannot understand the need for another military base in the region, much less on Jeju.

Interview with Pulitzer Prize Winner Charles Hanley

Charles Hanley, Sang-Hun Choe, and Martha Mendoza won the Pulitzer Prize for The Bridge at No Gun Ri, a book detailing the horrific massacre of as many as 400 innocent men, women, and children by the U.S. Army in S. Korea in 1950.

Paul Michaud, founder of Patracompany, a full-service multi-media production company in Brunswick, Maine accompanied me to New York City on February 17, 2013 to film an extensive interview with Charles.

The massacre at No Gun Ri was not an isolated event, but typical of many such mass killings by the U.S. military before and during the “Forgotten War” when perhaps 100,000 civilians were summarily murdered on direct orders from the U.S. military command.

Charles will be featured prominently in my documentary, Jeju: In the crosshairs of war…again.  A short draft is available at www.indiegogo.com/savejeju My film places the peaceful protest against the construction of a massive naval base on Jeju Island to accommodate America’s “Pivot to Asia” in the context of the massacre of as many as 80,000 Jeju civilians alleged to be Communists beginning on April 3rd, 1948 and the imperial military expansion of the United States.

This is a 3:30 clip to introduce Charles and to recommend The Bridge at No Gun Ri.