Monthly Archives: July 2009

‘Stolen’ critique identifies questionable methods, unethical practices

‘Stolen’ is to be screened at the Melbourne Film Festival on Friday 31 July.

A detailed report and critique of this new documentary has been prepared investigating the questionable methods and unethical practices from pre to post production used in the making of Stolen, directed by Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw and produced by Tom Zubrycki.
Published by the Australian Western Sahara Association.
Report Production Committee: Yvette Andrews, Cate Lewis, Lyn Allison,
Meredith Burgmann, Ron Guy, Georgia Vlassopoulos, Annette O’Neill

Following the screening of the documentary at the Melbourne Film Festival on 31 July the critique was updated and a Second Edition published.

Read or download Critique – Second Edition >>

Read or download Critique – First Edition >>

AWSA Press Release handed to Minister Garrett 31 July 2009 >>

Melbourne – President Jose Ramos-Horta supports Western Sahara independence 25/07/2009

The President of Timor Leste and co-recipient of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize, Jose Ramos-Horta headlined a discussion on the status of Western Sahara, Africa s last colony, in Melbourne, Australia on 23 July 2009.
His Excellency, President Ramos-Horta examined the parallels between Timor Leste and Western Sahara….(continued)

Read report on UPES website >>

The ethics of documentary film, by Kamal Fadel

kamal_fedal_100.jpgPosted on ‘Unleashed’, ABC website, 24 July.
The Melbourne International Film Festival, which begins today, will be screening a highly misleading and fictionalised film account of life in the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria. The film screens, inexplicably, as a documentary.
This film, Stolen, vilifies its subjects, presents falsehoods as facts and insults a population of refugees who struggle under the shadow of a militarised occupation.

Read Unleashed column on ABC website >>

Transcript of HE Jose Ramos-Horta’s comments on the slavery allegations in the film “Stolen”

image004.jpgRamos-Horta on Stolen:
This is a transcript of what HE Jose Ramos-Horta said on the slavery allegations in the film “Stolen” during an event held in Melbourne on 23 July 2009 where he spoke on the issue of Western Sahara (see news item on the event):
“I have to confess I have not seen the film but have read about all about it for many months – transcripts and articles………this is the first time I heard of it [slavery] in the camps.  It is totally an absurdity and made up, I guarantee you. (read full transcript at link below)

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Timor’s link to a Saharan struggle. Jose Ramos-Horta article in SMH and The Age

jrh.jpgOpinion, SMH and The Age, 22 July 2009.
Jose Ramos-Horta writes:
“As I visit Australia again, to attend this week’s opening of the Melbourne International Film Festival, I have been confronted by the outcry over the film Stolen, which will screen at the festival and which represents, in microcosm, the importance of truth in the struggle for justice. The film, which makes claims of widespread slavery in the Western Saharan refugee camps, represents many of the ugly realities of this central dynamic. It is a scenario I know only too well (continued….). Continue reading

Melbourne 23 July: His Excellency, President Jose Ramos-Horta to be guest speaker at AWSA event

Western Sahara and East Timor…What has really been stolen?

His Excellency, President Jose Ramos-Horta will speak on the parallels between the two nations.  Followed by a Q & A with  Kamal Fadel Western Sahara Representative to Australia & Ambassador to East Timor, Janelle Saffin, Federal Member for Page and chaired by Lyn Allison, President of the Australia Western Sahara Association
Date: Thursday 23 July 2009
Time:  5.30 to 6.45pm
Location:  Kino Cinema 2, 45 Collins Street, Melbourne
Tickets: $10

Event flyer with full details

Kamal Fadel argues that fake documentary should be withheld from screening

Online Opinion, 10 July 2009.
Kamal Fadel argues that the film should be withheld from screening until problems with it are investigated. With the film “Stolen” scheduled to make an appearance at the Melbourne International Film Festival in July, clearly the MIFF organisers, Screen Australia and the federal government need to make some decisions on just what passes for reality and, on just what is considered ethically acceptable in taxpayer-funded artistic output.

Read article >>

Reel drama more fiction than fact or lost in translation?

Sydney Morning Herald, July 13, 2009
Questions persist over the veracity of a slavery film, writes Louise Schwartzkoff.
THE disputed documentary Stolen is full of mistranslations and incorrect subtitles, a translator who worked on the film, Oumar Sy, says.
The Bondi filmmakers, Violeta Ayala and Dan Fallshaw, claim slavery exists in Western Saharan refugee camps.
Controversy surrounded a screening of the film at last month’s Sydney Film Festival, when one of the main subjects, Faitim Salam, left the refugees camps at Tindouf in Algeria to protest against the documentary’s claims.

Read the Sydney Morning Herald article >>

Damage on many fronts in false focus on slavery

The Canberra Times
Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A documentary on Western Sahara refugees marks a low point, writes Kamal Fadel.
Last month in Sydney, the notion of democracy took a pounding. The launch of the documentary Stolen at the Sydney Film Festival marked a low point in local film culture, and signified the tenuous grip on truth we now have in contemporary society. That such a film should be financed with about $350,000 of public money – through Screen Australia – and accepted by the prestigious festival raises questions about the nature of reality and on how it is depicted in mainstream media, such as through the medium of the film documentary.
Canberra Times article.pdf
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