Storytelling for a Global Audience I Filming characters of different cultures and reaching an International audience
Keynote speakers: James Longley and Thomas Lennon
Moderator: Ruby Yang
About the filmmakers
James Longley is a filmmaker whose intimate portraits of people in politically volatile countries in the Middle East are deepening our understanding of the historical and cultural dimensions of the region’s conflicts. For his low-budget, self-financed films, Longley lives among ordinary families, gaining access to people in places rarely chronicled on film by Westerners. While describing a place, a people, and a circumstance, Longley’s early film in Gaza and his later films in Iraq offer unflinching portrayals of the costs and casualties of civil and international conflicts. He was nominated for the Academy Award® for Iraq in Fragments (2006) and Sari's Mother (2007).
Thomas Lennon’s work in documentary film has earned him an Academy Award and three Oscar nominations. But more often his good fortune has come in pairs: two duPont-Columbia awards, two national Emmys, two Peabodys, and two films that premiered at Sundance. Lennon recently completed Sacred, which draws on the contributions of more than 40 filmmakers around the world to explore the role of prayer and ritual in daily life. He founded, with Ruby Yang, the China AIDS Media Project; their groundbreaking AIDS awareness messages were seen over a billion times on Chinese television and the Internet, probably the most far-reaching AIDS media campaign ever created.
About the moderator
Ruby Yang is an award-winning Chinese American filmmaker. She directed The Blood of Yingzhou District (2007), which won the Oscar for best documentary short in 2007, and The Warriors of Qiugang (2010), which received an Academy nomination in the same category in 2011. The Wall Street Journal called her 2014 documentary, My Voice, My Life (2014), one of the “five most essential films” to come out of Hong Kong that year. She now heads the Hong Kong Documentary Initiative at The University of Hong Kong, which aims to nurture the next generation of documentary filmmakers in the region.
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