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Documentary on Torture Survivors Available Soon

2013 June 23

Our Documentary on Survivors
of Torture is Finished at Last!

I hope at least some of you out there noticed that there have only been a couple of posts on this blog over the past several months. Having given myself a March first deadline to complete a semi-final cut of my documentary, Refuge: Caring for Survivors of Torture, I had to put most Tork-1other projects aside in order to meet that goal – but it was worth it. I was able to complete a reasonable version of the film in time to submit it for showing at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Public Health Association — and it’s been accepted!

But the filmmaking gods are capricious, and no sooner did I get to that point than my computer – my entire editing system – crashed! Yet even that turned out to be a piece of good luck, since I had to move the final steps to the studio of my cameraman, Bruce Petschek, who is also an outstandingly creative editor, and contributed a great deal to the final look of the film.

Al&KittySHWith Bruce’s help, April, May, and a good chunk of June were given over to adding in some terrific music by composer John Kusiak, new graphics by Nick Thorkelson for the opening and final credits, and final tweaking. The film has been closed-captioned for the hearing impaired by CaptionMax, and we’re working on package design with David Gerratt

Refuge: Caring for Survivors of Torture profiles five treatment and support programs in Minneapolis, Atlanta, the Boston area, and Washington, DC. Thanks to the many friends, neighbors, and colleagues who sat through the 90-minute version and gave me their candid critiques, the finished documentary is just a hair over 57-minutes long.

Refuge beautifully highlights and humanizes the issues faced by torture survivors and those treating them. We are reminded that a grant of asylum is only one step in a long journey of healing, and our health care system is woefully deficient in identifying victims and providing necessary and proper care.”
           —  Christy Fujio, JD, MA, Physicians for Human Rights

“A beautiful, powerful, and inspiring film.”
           —  Scott Wright, Torture Abolition & Survivor Support Coalition

“This film offers a moving look at what survivors like our clients have been through before seeking refuge here, as well as an introduction to some of the people who welcome and support them. Refuge will be a great resource for orienting our staff and volunteers, and for letting our community know what it is we do and why we need to be here to do it.”
           — Curt Goering, Executive Director, The Center for Victims of Torture

Six years in the making, the program will be released for distribution within the next few weeks, and will be available in both DVD and Blu-ray. Distribution arrangements will be announced soon but, in the meantime, please contact me by email if you’d like to receive more information about the film, about screenings, or about obtaining copies.

“Think Global, Act Local.” That’s the motto for APHA Boston, and it couldn’t be more appropriate to the programs we have documented and their work with surivors. Will you be attending ? We’re proud to announce that Refuge has been selected for the 10th Annual Film Festival during the organization’s giant annual meeting in Boston this fall. The showing is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5th, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM. You can contact APHA for further information.



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