Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach (Watch Here)

Versus: The Life and Films of Ken Loach is now available on the iPlayer here. Once it’s available on Youtube you’ll find it posted here on Pulse. The following video, for the time being, is the trailer.

Biographical documentary. Ken Loach reflects on his often controversial career, with comments from colleagues, friends and family.

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September 11

The following is Ken Loach’s contribution to 11’09″01 September 11 a film in which French director Alain Brigand invited leading film makers from 11 different nations to provide their own impression of the September 11 attacks in 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame. Loach’s contribution won the the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) Prize for Best Short Film.

Loach and Laverty Support Aminatou Haidar

Aminatou Haidar is known as the “Sahrawi Gandhi”

Scottish writer Paul Laverty and British director Ken Loach issued a joint statement on December 1st (commemorating the anniversary of Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her bus seat for a white passenger) in support of Western Saharan human rights activist Aminatou Haidar.  Haidar is in the third week of a hunger strike after being deported against her will by Moroccan authorities occupying her homeland.  You can watch Democracy Now!’s coverage of Haidar’s plight here.

Statement concerning Sahrawi human right’s activist Aminatou Haidar 

Haidar’s boarding card and Rosa Parks’s seat

On the 1st December 1955, in Montgommery, Alabama,  Rosa Parks refused to obey a bus driver and give up her seat to a white passenger.  On Friday the 13th of November 2009 Aminatou Haidar refused to fill out her boarding card as instructed by the authorities in Laayoun (where she lives)  in Morocco controlled Western Sahara.  

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Looking for Eric / Haifa Film Festival and Welcome Redistribution of Wealth

Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007
Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007

PULSE Exclusive

It is not often we hear of bosses voluntarily sharing profits,  so it was with some delight we heard the good news that the Chief Executive, Nurit Shani, of Lev Cinemas and Films in Israel will use the profits from our film “Looking for Eric” to benefit Israeli film makers.   We hope this new found determination to redistribute wealth will be matched by her wisdom in choosing to support those film-makers most starved of resources.  Logically, that would mean those brave free spirits in the Israeli artistic community who decide to respect the cultural boycott and refuse to accept any funds from the Israeli State. Who knows, but perhaps some time in the future Nurit Shani’s vision will help kick start projects about those courageous Isreali soldiers who formed the group “Breaking the Silence” and spoke out against the “reckless and gratuitous use of white phosphorous” in civilian areas in Gaza, and were appalled by the use of Palestinians as human shields? Perhaps too we will be fortunate to watch films about those young men and women in Israeli prisons who refuse to join the Israeli army because of the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. And why not include Palestinian film makers or is Israel really an apartheid State?  

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Looking For Eric, Melbourne Festival, and the Cultural Boycott

Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007
Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007

In response to an earlier attack by Richard Moore of the Melbourne International Film Festival, The Guardian published an edited version of a response (Boycotts don’t equal censorship) by Ken Loach, Paul Laverty and Rebecca O’Brien. Here is the original.

When we decided to pull our film Looking for Eric from the Melbourne film festival following our discovery that the festival was in part sponsored by the Israeli state we wrote to the Director Richard Moore with our detailed reasons. Continually he has dishonestly misrepresented us and does so again (Comment is Free 27th Aug ‘09) by stating that “to allow the personal politics of one film maker to proscribe a festival position…..goes against the grain of what festivals stand for.” Later “Loach’s demands were beyond the pale”. Once again Mr Moore, this decision was taken by three film makers, (director, producer, writer) not in some private abstract bubble, but after long discussion between us and in response to a call for a cultural boycott, including film festivals, from a wide spectrum of Palestinian civil society, including writers, film makers, cultural workers, human rights groups, journalists, trade unions, women’s groups, student organizations and many more besides. As Moore should know by now “The Palestine Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel” (PACBI) was launched in Ramallah in April 2004, and its aims, reasons, and constituent parts are widely available on the net. This in turn is part of a much wider international movement for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction” (B. D. S.) against the Israeli State.

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Email exchanges between Ken Loach, Paul Laverty, Rebecca O’Brien and the Melbourne Film Festival organizers

Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007
Rebecca O'Brien, Paul Laverty, Ken Loach, Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis and Leslaw Zurek at the Venice Film Festival 2007

PULSE Exclusive

As you may have heard by now, British film legend Ken Loach has pulled out of the Melbourne Film Festival because the organizers’ refusal to observe the cultural boycott of Israel. Following is an exchange of letters that took place between Loach, long-time co-writer Paul Laverty, co-producer Rebecca O’Brien and Richard Moore, the director of the MFF. Recall that earlier Ken Loach had drawn hysterical responses from the media when he pressured the Edinburgh Film Festival to return the funding they had received from the Israeli embassy.

Letter to the Director of Melbourne Film Festival 2009
13th July 2009

Dear Richard Moore

Sadly, we learn that your festival is sponsored in part by the State of Israel.

As you are no doubt aware, many Palestinians, including artists and academics, have called for a boycott of events supported by Israel. There are many reasons for this; the illegal occupation of Palestinian land, destruction of homes and livelihoods, the massacres in Gaza, all are part of the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people.

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