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Richard Rowley and Jacqueline Soohen are members of Big Noise Tactical Media, a New York based radical media group. Their groundbreaking feature films, Zapatista (1998), Black and Gold (1999) and This Is What Democracy Looks Like (2000), have won top honors at hundreds of film festivals from New York, Toronto and Los Angeles to Berlin, Seoul and Bogota. They have also produced television and video reports from the front lines of struggles around the globe. In 1999, as founding members of the Independent Media Center video team, they collaborated in cutting the historic daily satellite feeds from the WTO protests in Seattle. They have reported for national television news programs from Argentina, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Ecuador, Brasil, East Timor, South Africa and Palestine, where they were the only media to break the siege on the Church of the Nativity.

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The film, "Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield," has received an official nomination for 2014 best documentary by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The film follows longtime Democracy Now! correspondent and investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truths behind America’s expanding covert wars. It is directed by Richard Rowley, director of The Fourth World War by Big Noise films.

Watch the full interview with Jeremy Scahill and Rick Rowley when the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on Democracy Now! Watch the interview below:

 
DVD Review - Black and Gold
by Dave "Corvid" McCallum
DVD Note

For all the strugglers and sufferers of whatever origin, this film is an inspirational kick in the ass to rise up and unify in the face of oppression. This is the story of the Latin Kings - who in 1994 made the transformation from NYC’s largest street gang, into the Latin King and Queen Nation - a revolutionary socialist organization dedicated to uplifting community and influenced by the Black Panthers and the Young Lords.

Big Noise Dispatches
By Mathius Mack Gertz
reelgrok.com

In the early Twentieth Century, Americans only got there news from newspapers and newsreels in the theatres.

Then came radio and television and the internet and the newsreels and many newspapers went the way of the Dodo. Today American news is fairly sanitized. It is hard to get different perspectives on many topics; especially those points of view that are in conflict with prevailing views by the military industrial complex and corporate government policies.

Big noise is trying to fill the gap with Dispatches;  a video series of shorts DVD's that brings perspective on such political topics as Venezuelan and Mexican oil, the World Bank, homelessness in America, debt speculators, Iraq and Afghanistan, the Brazilian rainforest and Big Oil, torture, election fraud at home and abroad.

Very well produced, these are definitely not Dick Cheney's favorites and should be viewed more for story content then art. Dispatches is a very different perspective on the world and on America's role in it This is a MUST series for history and humanities teachers on the high school or college level, as well as anyone who wants to have a better handle on the truth. Think of it as a magazine subscription that you watch and then share. Go to the website and check it out.

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Dispatches 1-4
By Ernesto Aguilar
Political Media Review


Big Noise Films has cultivated a reputation for delivering some of the grittiest documentary films out there — often first-person footage of grassroots rebellions by communities deeply affected by oppressive histories and institutions. The media collective built its name on films like This is What Democracy Looks Like and Zapatista. However, it was the biting relentlessness of the sublime The Fourth World War, not to mention the criminally underappreciated yet sanguine Black and Gold, which truly established Big Noise as an outfit ready to present unembedded coverage in the finest, if not most jarring, journalistic tradition...

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Dispatches 6
By Ernesto Aguilar
Political Media Review

Dispatches 6 starts with a punch, in telling the story of nine-year-old Ali Kinani, killed in a massacre of Iraqi civilians in Nisoor Square, Iraq, following the U.S. invasion of the country. Military contractor Blackwater was largely blamed for the internationally notorious shootout in a civilian-filled district in 2007, though the company cast aspersions on everyone from insurgents to the U.S. military for civilian deaths. The massacre is a crime for which no one to this day has gone to jail. Journalist Jeremy Scahill, who authored the sublime Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army, does a masterful job in “Blackwater’s Youngest Victim.”

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The Jena 6
By Bill Templer
University of Malaya
Political Media Review 

“The DA’s pen has replaced the lynching noose” -Mumia Abu Jamal

Barely noticed In the midst of the hullabaloo and media hype over the death of Michael Jackson, a notorious case of racial injustice against six working-class African-American youths came to a quiet conclusion in the LaSalle Parish courthouse on June 25, 2009, in the parish (county) seat of Jena, state of Louisiana.

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DVD Review: War of 33
By Simon Barrett

When it comes to wars not all are reported the same way, why is that? Well the answers are many and varied, if the US has no direct involvement, the conventional media prefers to focus on matters that directly effect the US, and US interests. While one cannot fault the news organizations for reporting on what sells ad’s, it does mean that huge swathes of news go virtually unreported.

When Israel went on the offensive against The Lebanon in 2006, yes you read that correctly, it was only two years ago, it received at best a quick mention on the news, sandwiched between the Teen Miss USA Pageant and the weekend weather outlook.

The War of 33 sets the record straight. It is an intimate, personal and powerful telling of the story of the 2006 war in Lebanon, war that most of us were unaware was actually happening.

The story is told through a series of letters written by Hanady Salman - a mother living through the war in Beirut. These are overlaid with what can only be described as graphic video of what was happening in Beirut at the time.

Through Hanady’s letters we get to understand this conflict and how it effected her, her family, and the country as a whole. There are refugees, and there are wounded, yet few outside of the country seemed to care. Beirut has long been thought of as a bastion of terrorism, and while that may indeed be the case, not every citizen deserves the label.

She tells the stories of her family struggling to maintain their sanity and their humanity during a time of war. The War of 33 is more than a document of a particular historical experience. What emerges is a universal story - a complex picture of love, pain, resistance and survival in the face of uncertainty and violence.

This is an interesting look at a globally ignored conflict. I may be a little cynical, but in my mind the MSM avoided coverage because it involved Israel, and it did not involve The War On Terror.

You can pick up your copy of The War Of 33 from MVD.

Simon Barrett

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The War of 33: Letter From Beirut
By Bill Templer
Political Media Review

The War of 33 tells the story of the 33-day Israeli attack on Lebanon in the summer of 2006 through a series of blog letters written by Beirut journalist Hanady Salman, an editor with the Beirut paper As-Safir. Hanady knew the worst images of that war would not be shown by the Western media or television. So she decided to dispatch regular email updates to a group of friends and colleagues, relaying her personal accounts and many very graphic photographs from around Lebanon. Hers became one of the most powerful voices emanating from Beirut during the war. This documentary film is the later product of that, in part a cinematic monument to the power of people’s blogging in the midst of war’s carnage, and the will to resist (1). Hanady’s original 2006 blog is here: http://beirutjournal.blogspot.com ...

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Letters From Beirut: Film Review of the War of 33
Jesse Schmitt

It seems curious to one whose life is not directly affected by the ravages of war that there are conflicts going on all over the world, all the time. People are fighting with other people, civilians are displaced, and lives are in chaos. This is the story of The War of 33: Letters From Beirut; a documentary released by Big Noise Tactical Media about the war in Lebanon from 2006. Yes, 2006. Beginning in July and running through August, this is the story of one mother who wrote a series of letters about the bombing from Israel and the United State's complicity in it. The New York Times reports the Bush administration has agreed to send a rush delivery of satellite and laser guided bombs to Israel...Israeli officials believe they have approval from the United States to keep attacking Lebanon for at least another week. Sometimes the world likes to take the easy route in order to solve a problem. Our view is it's time to address root causes of problems. And to create a vacuum is unacceptable; it would mean that we haven't addressed the root cause.

This film was obviously skewed in one direction but the overall message is galling. The fact that the top quote above is from an American news program is upsetting; the fact that the second quote is from the President himself is particularly distressing. The letters which dictate most of the running narrative of this film were written by Hanady Salman - a mother who lived through this war in Beirut.

There were flashes of imagery in this short film which were infuriating to say the least: women crying talking about their thirteen year old sons now being "the man of the house" and the imagery of these thirteen year olds cleaning up the devastation from the bombing, superimposed images of the view from a plane as it bombed a building in Beirut, devastated women crying, men covering their mouths in horror, older folks with their head in their hands wondering how any of this could have happened.

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Filmography

2011              Dispatches 07

2010              Dispatches 06

2010              Dispatches 05

2009              Dispatches 04

2008              Dispatches 03

2008              Dispatches 02

2008              Dispatches 01

1999 & 2007   Black and Gold

2007              The Jena 6

2007              Deserter

2007              The War of 33

2003              Fourth World War

2000              This is What Democracy Looks Like

1999              Zapatista

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