Friday, August 04, 2006

History TV: "The Bomber's Dream", August 7th

Here's something to consider for communications and events you may be planning around the anniversaries of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings this week-end.

The Bomber's Dream, a film by Barry Stevens.

It's a feature length look at the very controversial practice of bombing civilians, in history and in the present. The film has a somewhat personal touch, as Barry Stevens's family "more or less bombed each other" in the second world war. The film deals with the development of the law and ethics of war, and an international legal regime to stop our very worst capabilities. It's not a happy film, but there is hope.

The film airs on History TV on Aug. 7th (between the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) People should check for local broadcast times.

A press release follows.

Fergus Watt
WFM - Canada




Documentary airs Monday, August 7,

8pm ET/5 pm PT with a repeat at 12am ET/9 pm PT

(July 11, 2006) Nothing epitomizes the brutality of modern warfare like aerial bombing. By the end of World War II, bombing had erased the old distinction between soldiers and civilians. Air power has given the USA and the West their unprecedented dominance. Yet rarely has television told this story. THE BOMBER'S DREAM is a landmark, feature-length film that takes a hard look at the hidden history of the most significant military innovation of the past century.

The documentary is a highlight of Bombardier Week on History Television, and airs the day after Hiroshima Day on Monday, August 7, 8pm ET/5 pm PT with a repeat at 12am ET/9 pm PT.

Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Barry Stevens weaves history and a present-day detective story into a visually arresting and personal journey into the heart of desire for ultimate military power. THE BOMBER¹S DREAM addresses the heated moral controversy of aerial bombing and looks at a recent high-tech air strike that went tragically wrong, resulting in the first-ever lawsuit by the victims against those who bombed them.

For British-born Stevens, the film reflects both his boyhood dream of becoming an RAF pilot and a deep family divide. His mother, whose earliest memory was of a German Zeppelin bombing during World War I, survived the London blitz of the next war. But he also had German cousins fighting for the Nazis, one of whom recounts his British bombing raids as an ace Luftwaffe pilot.

"What prompted me to look at bombing," says Stevens, "was that knowledge of my family bombing each other and the sense that no other form of warfare is so impersonal, for the warrior, and yet so devastating and so immediate for ordinary people. Our history with bombing ­ especially the way we beat the Germans and the Japanese by bombing the heart of their cities ­ somehow is rarely examined. When it has been, it's been one-sided, either praising, for instance, the awesome power of the F15 on the right, or making pleas for victims of war on the left. I tried to make a film that gave the whole picture from above and below."

Stevens interviews people who do the bombing, and others who have been bombed, as well as historians, ethicists, and a U.S. Air Force lawyer who decides whether a target is legal. Among those taking part are Swedish historian Sven Lindqvist; Noble Frankland, the official historian of Bomber Command; and Michael Walzer, the world¹s leading ethicist on Just War theory.

The emotional core is the story of Vesna Milenkovich who lost her daughter Sanya during a 1999 NATO air strike on a bridge in the small Serbian town of Varvarin. Milenkovich joins other injured townspeople to seek justice in a foreign court. While the legal battle continues, Stevens seeks to find out who made the decision to attack the bridge, how and why. In doing so, he traces the story of how we both developed our capacity for total destruction and tried to rein it in with laws like the Geneva Conventions. After many attempts, Stevens tracks down and confronts the Kosovo war's commander, Gen. Wesley Clark, a 2004 U.S. presidential nominee.

"Iraq and Afghanistan were where bombing started, the British were bombing there over 85 years ago," says Stevens. "Now we are back there, but are actually able to target a truck in Kandahar from a joystick in Las Vegas. Does that make us more callous, or more careful?"

A writer, director, and producer of many documentaries, Barry Stevens is perhaps best known for Offspring (2001), describing his search for the sperm donor who was his biological father, and for his 200 or so half-siblings. It was sold to about 40 countries and nominated for an International Emmy, and received the Donald Brittain Gemini for best social documentary, and other honors. Stevens also became an advocate against the anonymity of sperm donors. His writing awards include Geminis for Gerrie & Louise, (1997 International Emmy for Best Documentary) and The Diary of Evelyn Lau (featuring the screen debut of Sandra Oh).

2 comment(s):

It was very interesting especially in light of the current events in the Middle East. However, what the author did not aknowledge was the slippery slope was already trodden in when National States began to conscript their own soldiers to serve as cannon fodder in games played big boys who never got satisfied with their toys.

By Anonymous Boris, at 3:40 PM  

Well said! Thanks!

By Blogger Annamarie, at 7:46 PM  

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