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2013-01-28

Dirty Wars, Documentary on U.S. Covert Warfare Abroad, Wins Sundance Cinematography Award

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The documentary "Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield" follows investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truth behind America’s expanding covert wars, focusing on the Obama administration’s increasing use of armed drones and secretive units including the Joint Special Operations Command. On Saturday, the film’s director, Richard Rowley, was awarded the Sundance Film Festival prize for best cinematography in a U.S. documentary, honored for "elevating the art of observational cinema through sophisticated lensing and an electric-color palette." Accepting the award, Rowley said: "Almost three years ago, when Jeremy and I knocked on a door in Gardez in rural Afghanistan, we were the first Americans that a family there had seen since Americans kicked their door in and killed half their family. And they invited us in, and they shared the most difficult story of their lifetime with us, because we promised them we’d do everything we could to make their story heard in America." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: In the documentary track, Blood Brother won the jury and audience prize for best documentary. Several films featured on Democracy Now! last week also won awards.
Gideon’s Army , about public defenders in the South, won for besting editing. The Square , about the Egyptian revolution, won the audience award for best world documentary. Who Is Dayani Cristal? , about a Honduran migrant who died crossing the U.S. border, won best cinematography for a world documentary. And Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield won best cinematography for a U.S. Documentary.

Dirty Wars received the honor for, quote, "elevating the art of observational cinema through sophisticated lensing and an electric-color palette." The film was directed and edited by Richard Rowley of Big Noise Films. Jeremy Scahill is the narrator and subject of the film. He is also co-producer and co-wrote the script. The film follows Jeremy to Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen as he chases down the hidden truth behind America’s expanding covert wars, focusing on the Obama administration’s increasing use of armed drones and secretive units, including JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command. Rick Rowley, who shot the film, accepted the award Saturday night.

RICK ROWLEY: Almost three years ago, when Jeremy and I knocked on a door in Gardez in rural Afghanistan, we were the first Americans that a family there had seen since—since Americans kicked their door in and killed half their family. And they invited us in, and they shared the most difficult story of their lifetime with us, because we promised them we’d do everything we could to make their story heard in America. And so, I have to thank Sundance for letting us keep that promise.

AMY GOODMAN: Rick Rowley, accepting U.S. documentary cinematography award for Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. To see our full interview with Rick Rowley and Jeremy Scahill and other Sundance interviews throughout last week, you can go to our website at democracynow.org. Yes, this is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. As we continue with our broadcast today, we go to a break and then come back with Mariel Hemingway. Stay with us.

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