DER Documentary

They Turned Our Desert Into Fire

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by Mark Brecke
color, 88 min, 2008

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
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Reporting the devastation, forced displacement, and genocide in Darfur should be a story with daily coverage. Mere mention of the word "Darfur" should set off a passionate exchange, or at least the question, "What can be done?" Unfortunately, the people of Darfur struggle with a problem common to so many victimized by geo-political realities: how to overcome the willful indifference of powerful government and media interests who find their story unimportant or merely inconvenient.

With images and first-hand accounts, filmmaker Mark Brecke shares his experience of the Darfur crisis with Amtrak train passengers journeying eastward on a three day trip to Washington D.C. Their reactions, interwoven with hard facts and expert opinion, raise the central question in They Turned Our Desert Into Fire - Why does the public not understand the severity of this crisis and how can the world continue to do nothing?

In addition to the film and a slideshow of Brecke's photographs, this DVD also contains the short film War as a Second Language (27 min., 2002). Mark Brecke culled from 15 years of newsreels, documentaries, and raw footage of the Vietnam War to create an audio track which he then juxtaposed with moving and still images he shot in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1995. Tourists replace soldiers and the audio design becomes a haunting and evocative narrative about history and the legacies of war.

“One of the best films I have seen all year.” — Sara Carden, Producer, CNN International / Inside Africa

“The most sincere film on Darfur today.” — Jennifer Clibbon, Producer, CBC News, Our World

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Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Best Documentary, São Paulo International Film Festival, 2007
Official Selection, Sarasota Film Festival, 2008
Global Peace Film Festival, 2008
Best Feature - Human Rights, Artivist Film Festival, 2008
BendFilm, 2008
Santa Cruz Film Festival, CA, 2009
National Geographic Theater, Washington DC, 2009
South American Seminar on Promotion of Equality, Bahia, Brazil, 2009
Addis International Film Festival, Ethiopia, 2010

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts