From looking at rap as a tool for social change to rape as a tool for enslavement, Les films d’ici and Ginger Foot Films boast a provocative new slate.
Hip hop is most often portrayed as the music of urban youth in America, but with it’s popular growth and chart-topping appeal it is definitely crossing borders. The Furious Force of Rhymes looks at hip hop as protest music, and follows performers and hip hop aficionados to France, Israel, Senegal, Columbia, and back to New York as they make their mark in their respective communities. The upcoming doc from Paris-based producer and distributor Les films d’ici combines archival footage with current interviews and live performances to create the story of hip hop as activism, and the possibilities for music to create social change. The doc is due to wrap by the end of 2009 with both a 90- and 52-minute version.
When one thinks of Cuba a few things come to mind. For some it may be fantasies of a cheap resort vacation and big cigars, but for most Che Guevara, socialism and Fidel Castro are likely more to the point.
Castro and Cuba have been synonomous for nearly 50 years, but this year his health caused him to step down from his presidential post, which is what got lead director Bernard Mangiante to begin thinking of a time when Castro will die. What would that mean for Cubans who have lived either most of or all of their lives under his rule and for whom the lifestyle and mindset of their country has been determined by this one man? Mangiante and Les films d’ici set out to Cuba to talk to its citizens, from workers to intellectuals, from students to farmers, to get a real look into the heart of the country, as opposed to the images and illusions created by the media. Cuba Between Two Hurricanes is due to wrap this month and is made in association with ARTE.
For over 50 years the mass rape of over 200,000 women across Asia during WWII by the Japanese Imperial Army was kept quiet; partially due to the shame felt by the victims. However, in 1996 Maria Rosa Henson wrote a book about the experience called Comfort Women: Slave of Destiny finally breaking the silence and letting the world know what had happened to her when she was a child. Since then, organizations started up in Asia, Europe and the USA that lobby for an apology from the Japanese government. Kirsten Esch and Björn Jensen are working on a film documenting the apology-seeking efforts and their results. One apology, which was delivered in 2007, was accompanied by a statement from then Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe claiming that there was no proof that the women were coerced. This doc, produced by Ginger Foot Films and tentatively called Comfort Women: Japanese Rape Camps in WWII, will be available in 90- and 52-minute versions and will follow the grandmothers (Lolas as they’re called) in the Philippines who continue to protest outside of the Japanese embassy looking for reparations for their pain.