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Ghosts of Jeju Will Be Screened at the Veterans For Peace National Convention

Good News! The Ghosts of Jeju will be screened on August 9, 2013 at the annual VFP convention in Madison, Wisconsin, and I’ll be going!

Since I am not a veteran, I joined the Maine Chapter last year as an associate member. My chapter is paying my way to go to the entire convention from August 7 – 11. I also received $1,000 towards the completion of the film. My thanks to Doug Rawlings, a member of the national committee, for including the film in this year’s program.

Here’s the program agenda for the 5 pm slot on August 9th.

http://www.vfpnationalconvention.org/2013%20Convention/caucus_frislot.pdf

Oliver Stone Interview Clip

Here it is….a short outtake of my 25 minute interview of  Oliver Stone. This is only about 5 minutes in length. Oliver insisted on a “French-Canadian” pronunciation of my name – twice, and he made reference to my film two times as well.

At one point Oliver asked for some water and how much time we had left. His comment to me was quite funny.

Some of what you won’t see will appear in the film, which I hope to have finished by June 1, 2013.

Enjoy,

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.

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.

New Series – Gangjeong Village: Up Close and Personal

While in Gangjeong Village last September, I had the opportunity to interview over 20 villagers and activists who have been protesting the construction of that massive naval base in their tiny village to serve the needs of the U.S. “pivot to Asia” in order to check China.

As I am working hard to finish the feature-length documentary, Jeju: In the crosshairs of war, I’ve been reviewing hours of video, most of which will not be used. But, because all of it is of great value, I decided to create this series entitled, Gangjeong Village: Up Close and Personal to allow people to get to know these wonderful people on a personal level.

I hope that you are moved, as I was, by their perseverance against overwhelming force, their endurance, their peacefulness, and their joyful spirits.

First in the series is Fr. Mun Jeong Hyeon, the iconic 74 yr old priest who has been beaten, hospitalized and jailed for protesting the construction of the base. Fr. Mun is known as a “street father” because of his support for victims of human rights violations inflicted by state power. Ordained in 1966, he organized the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice in 1974 and opposed the dictatorship when the military carried out extrajudicial killings.

Fr. Mun is a true man of peace and has been at the forefront of protecting human rights in Korea. I hope you enjoy the series and this visit with my friend, Fr. Mun.

Bruce Cumings on “Operational Control” of the South Korean Military

Bruce pictureMost Americans are unaware of the role the U.S. Military has played in Korea since World War II. But, ever since then, the U.S. Military has had “operational control” of the Korean army that continues to this day.

Bruce Cumings, a historian and leading expert on Korea and East Asian American relations explains how and why the U.S. controls a standing army of 650,000. He will also explain why the recent change in U.S. policy of allowing S. Korea to extend the range of its ballistic missiles to reach all of N. Korea, and the sale of drones to S. Korea is causing a rise in tensions between the two Koreas.

At a time when N. Korea is defying the international community and the U.S. for launching rockets and detonating a third nuclear test, the danger of the U.S. being dragged into another conflict with the North because of “operational control” has increased exponentially.

One interesting insight that Bruce offered was that Obama’s “pivot to Asia” isn’t really a pivot to Asia, as it is a pivot out of Afghanistan and the Middle East because the U.S. presence in the Pacific has not changed since the end of WWII. He says, all Obama has done is “”shift”” more resources to places in the South Pacific and East Asia.

Enjoy this informative 10 minute excerpt from the two hour interview with Bruce Cumings.

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.