United Nations Screens Global Arts Corps Documentary Film

 
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 A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake follows a group of diverse South African actors as they tour the war-torn regions of Northern Ireland, Rwanda, and the former Yugoslavia. During their travels, the protagonists meet local communities and try to share with them their own country’s experience with post-conflict reconciliation. As they ignite this dialogue full of raw memories of atrocity and pain, the actors find they must once again confront their homeland’s violent past, and question their own capacity for healing and forgiveness. It also features never-before-heard original music by jazz legend Hugh Masekela.

 The Panel Discussion will feature:

  •  Nick Boraine, South African actor known for HomelandDistrict 9 and Paradise Stop; and Associate Artistic Director of Global Arts Corps.
  •  Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Professor and Research Chair in Historical Trauma and Transformation, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
  •  Michael Lessac, director and producer of A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake; and Artistic Director of Global Arts Corps.
  • Renata Segura, Associate Director of the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum, Social Science Research Council.
  • Moderated by Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division, UN Department of Public Information.

 The event will take place in Conference Room 4 at the United Nations Headquarters on 17 November, 2016, starting at 6:45 p.m.

 Please RSVP HERE by COB Monday, 14 November, 2016.

Note that all attendees must bring a photo ID.

 Trailerhttps://vimeo.com/94867835

 Film’s websitehttp://www.asnaketoasnake.com

 This documentary screening is presented by UN Department of Public Information and the Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide.

This programme focuses on learning the lessons of the Rwanda genocide in order to help prevent similar acts in the future, as well as raising awareness of the lasting impact of genocide on the survivors and the challenges that they still face today.

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Please note that all guests are asked to bring a photo ID, and the screening will begin promptly at 6:45pm.

 

Download our Visual Report from Rwanda

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Global Arts Corps recently returned from the Rwandan tour of our Cambodian production, See You Yesterday. After our world premiere at the Ubumuntu Arts Festival, we went on to perform in the Kigeme refugee camp for over 15,000 Congolese refugees.

Click on the image above to download our visual report from the tour, with photos from our performances in Kigali and the refugee camp and a selection of responses from our cast and audience members.

From the World Premiere of See You Yesterday in Rwanda

Performance of See You Yesterday from the Kigeme refugee camp

Performance of See You Yesterday from the Kigeme refugee camp

 Dear Friends,

This past week the World Premiere of our Cambodian production See You Yesterday–produced in partnership with Phare Performing Social Enterprise, Phare Ponleu Selpak Association, and Amita Performing Artstook place at the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Kigali, Rwanda, which brought together companies from over 20 different countries to perform for Rwandan audiences on the grounds of the Kigali Genocide Memorial.

We are writing to you now from the Kigeme refugee camp in southern Rwanda, where our Cambodian cast just performed for the third time, attracting audiences of over 5,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo at each of our 3 performances.

Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for a more complete report on this extraordinary tour. 

– The Global Arts Corps Team

Performance of See You Yesterday from the Kigeme refugee camp

Performance of See You Yesterday from the Kigeme refugee camp

After our final performance of See You Yesterday at the Kigeme refugee camp

After our final performance of See You Yesterday at the Kigeme refugee camp

Global Arts Corps would like to thank the

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who have generously supported See You Yesterday throughout the production’s development and whose long-standing committment to this project have made this Rwandan tour possible. 

Announcing the World Premiere of See You Yesterday in Rwanda

Global Arts Corps is honored to announce that we have been invited to present the World Premiere of See You Yesterday at the Ubumuntu Arts Festival in Kigali on July 17th, 2016.

The Festival will bring together companies from 18 different countries around the world–including Syria, Kosovo, Sudan, Iraq, and the North of Ireland (among others)–for 4 days of performances and dialogue on the grounds of the Kigali Genocide Memorial, all dedicated to fostering reconciliation. This year, the participating companies will also include 2 of our cast members from previous productions: Global Arts Corps Associate Artists Thembi Mtshali-Jones (from South Africa) and Vincent Higgins (from the North of Ireland).

Immediately after the festival premiere, the cast of See You Yesterday will travel to the Kigeme refugee camp in Rwanda, where they will play for audiences of over 8,000 Congolese refugees at each performance who have sought shelter from the long and devastating war in their home country. Between the Congolese threatened by decades of violence and its repercussions across generations; Rwandans remembering the 21st anniversary of their own genocide; and these young Cambodian performers who have used their physical skills to build a production from memories handed down to them by their parents and grandparents of a genocidal regime–we have an opportunity on this tour to achieve an amazing milestone in cross-border communication and to share the incredible joy that these Cambodian artists bring in this new work. 

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For more information, click the image below to download our press kit.

Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information as we prepare for the World Premiere and Rwandan tour of See You Yesterday.

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Global Arts Corps would like to thank the

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who have generously supported See You Yesterday throughout the production’s development and whose long-standing committment to this project have made this Rwandan tour possible. 

See You Yesterday – Previewed in Phnom Penh

A Note from Michael Lessac

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We’ve just returned from Phnom Penh where we had an extraordinary opening of our Cambodian production See You Yesterday. Word spread fast and we played to overflow houses filled with children and adults of all ages, including some former Khmer Rouge soldiers, survivors of the genocide, students and teachers as well as delegates from around the world who were part of Cambodian Living Arts’ Forum on “Living Arts in Post-Conflict Contexts.”

We have added a magnificent new score by Michael Jay, an exquisite lighting design by Dave Feldman, a subtly brilliant soundscape by Scott Lehrer, and beautifully simple costumes by Vong Vannak. The piece starts in a circus rehearsal room with this opening line: “Every day we rehearse to become normal again.” It quickly catapults into an adventure of startling imagined reminiscence. Very little translation is needed in this piece because, using their extraordinary circus skills, the cast paints memories. They have created a piece that moves like a graphic novel. It is structured out of their own lives, their own research, and leavened with their own imagination. This company has become an incredible ensemble and their circus skills are world class. We worked on this piece for seventeen weeks over a period of four years. They have in my opinion created a vision and memory of incredible honesty and imagination – hope out of despair.

“KR gives way to Hope in Haunting Show” was the headline of the lead story in the Cambodian Daily the next morning.

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After each show we mingled with elders who said they were were swept away by the immediacy and generosity of these magnificent young people, finally in dialogue with their elders in what I can only describe as a reconciled reunion. People were listening to each other again.

To my friends, I can only say I wish you all could have been there and promise that I will do my best to bring it on tour around the world.

See You Yesterday – World Premiere Phnom Penh

Global Arts Corps is thrilled to announce two upcoming World Preview performances of our Cambodian production, See You Yesterday (formerly known as REBOUND), in Phnom Penh on March 11th & 12th.

The cast of See You Yesterday in rehearsal at ISPP in Phnom Penh.

The cast of See You Yesterday in rehearsal at ISPP in Phnom Penh.

Jointly presented by Global Arts Corps and Cambodian Living Arts, the two performances will take place at the International School of Phnom Penh Black Box Theater. The event details are as follows:

See You Yesterday – Two World Preview Performances:
A Global Arts Corps Production
Produced in partnership with Phare Performing Social Enterprise and Phare Ponleu Selpak Association
Friday, March 11th, 7pm Saturday, March 12th, 6pm

Venue:
International School of Phnom Penh (ISPP) Black Box
Hun Neang Blvd, Phnom Penh, Cambodia (click here for directions)
For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Line Producer Amrita Performing Arts at +855 (0)77 945 015 / +855 (0)77 986.

The cast and creative team of See You Yesterday in rehearsal at ISPP in Phnom Penh.

The cast and creative team of See You Yesterday in rehearsal at ISPP in Phnom Penh.

In preparation for these two performances, Global Arts Corps’ team is currently in the midst of our final 10 days of rehearsals with our young Cambodian cast. An award- winning composer and lighting designer, both from New York, have joined us in Phnom Penh and we are all working along with a local costume designer to add final production elements to the piece.

These two preview performances bring Global Arts Corps together in close collaboration with several of the most significant Cambodian arts organizations–Cambodian Living Arts, Amrita Performing Arts, Phare Ponleu Selpak Association, and Phare Performing Social Enterprise–and will allow our cast to perform before an international audience deeply invested in the subject matter of the production they have created.

Please stay tuned for more updates as we approach the performances.

Looking to 2016

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, we have just returned from nine weeks in Cambodia, teaching and collaborating with one of most exciting group of performing artists our directing team has ever experienced in our combined years. When these young circus performers present their exploration into their past on stage, they will be sharing their creative memory with young people around the world struggling to come to terms with their own violent histories.

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2016 looks to be full of significant opportunities for Global Arts Corps and these young performers:

  • The project has been chosen, out of thousands of applicants, to be one of 10 presented to an audience of over 400 performing arts presenters from 40 countries at this year’s annual ISPA conference in New York City in January.
  • Already a 2017 American tour of the production is being planned, with confirmed interest from over 10 presenters across the United States. It seems likely that an international tour will follow;
  • We have been invited to premiere the Cambodian production in Rwanda and South Africa (funding pending), exactly ten years after Truth in Translation premiered in Kigali in 2006, and 20 years after the establishment of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission;
  • We will be working with a Grammy and Academy award-nominated composer and music engineer, Michael Jay, to create the production’s score, as well as premiere lighting and sound designers from NYC;

We have shot an extraordinary new segment of film capturing the drama, the excitement and occasional sadness that has gone into the creation of this piece along with the personal stories, aspirations, memories, fears and hopes of the actors involved. With the trip to Rwanda and South Africa, the first installment of that film will be completed. With the American tour, a second film will follow their journey as they share their stories with youth around the world.

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We would of course not be at this point without the sustained support of all of you–our friends, donors, and colleagues–and cannot hope to achieve all we have set out for 2016 without your contributions.

We ask that you please consider supporting this project and our plans for the new year by making a tax-deductible donation to Global Arts Corps at http://globalartscorps.org/home/donate/ and by helping us spread the word about this project to other potential friends and supporters who might be in position to join us.

Thank you all for your continued interest in our work, and we wish you a happy and healthy new year,

All of us at Global Arts Corps

“Mud was up to here”

From Our Production Development Workshop in Cambodia:
A Note from Michael Lessac

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…Just had our first run-through. For all of us, the directing staff and the circus performers, this was the first time we didn’t just know we were exploring the past…we felt it. One young performer, referring to a Khmer Rouge scene in a muddy rice field, said, “Up until now, when I worked on this scene, on the best days, the mud in the field was up to here (he points to his ankle), but this time it was up to here” (he points to his upper thigh). I had to smile, thinking maybe that was perhaps the most sophisticated statement of acting I have heard in a long time.

A few days later, we were visited by the mother of one of our associate artists, Belle Sodhachivy Chumvan. Belle’s 76-year-old mother, Nou Sondab, was a famous actress before the genocide and survived the Khmer Rouge regime to continue on to be one of the preeminent actresses and singers in Cambodia. Interestingly, she is credited with being one of the first actresses to introduce realistic perceptual acting in the country. When she announced her age to the cast, she took her teeth out to demonstrate what happened when a Khmer Rouge soldier kicked her in the mouth.

At any rate, when I visited her after the run-through (she had tears in her eyes), she said to me through a translator, “These children…they weren’t there, but now they are and it is so good to see that they understand.”

Why else are we Global Arts Corps?

When a present generation plays back the past to the older generation, a fine and beautiful healing communication is achieved. If nothing more, there is an understanding between generations, an empathic acknowledgement of what their elders went through…which is perhaps forgiveness for ourselves as well as for each other. An exchange of gifts.

All best and happy holidays,

Michael Lessac

Scotland Screening and Other Updates from Global Arts Corps

 Dear Friends,

We are pleased to announce that A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake will be shown at the upcoming Africa in Motion Film Festival in Edinburgh. The film will be part of a series exploring recent transitions towards freedom across the African continent. The Africa in Motion Film Festival, now in its tenth year, highlights remarkable stories and filmmaking from across the region. This year’s festival will run from Friday, October 23 to Sunday, November 1. Here are the details for our screening:

Edinburgh Screening
Friday, October 30th, 8:45pm
Summerhall, Red Lecture Theatre
1 Summerhall
Edinburgh, EH9 1PL

Tickets and more information can be found here.

We are also very happy to welcome a new board member at Global Arts Corps, Alan Winnikoff. Alan is the co-principal of Sayles & Winnikoff Communications and has an extensive background in digital communications and content strategy for arts organizations. We look forward to collaborating with Alan to share our work with a broader audience and expand our current media presence.

And finally, Michael and Jackie Lessac are traveling to Cambodia this week for our final eight-week production development workshop with the performers of the Phare Ponleu Selpak. They will be joined by Global Arts Corps Associate Artists from the US, Cambodia, Kosovo/France, and South Africa. A fusion of circus and theatre, the final production will explore the silenced past of a nation through the imaginations of its youth.

A photo from our last workshop with the Phare performers, February 2015, Battambang

A photo from our last workshop with the Phare performers, February 2015, Battambang

 Please stay tuned for more updates on their progress in Cambodia in the coming weeks.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Warmly,

Global Arts Corps 

More Screenings on the Horizon and a Note from South Africa

Upcoming U.S. Screenings of A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake and Recent Screening at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre

Dear friends,

At the end of September we will screen A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake in Dallas in association with Dallas Faces Race, the Embrey SMU Human Rights Program, the Trans.Lation project, and SMU Meadows School of the Arts. Following the Dallas screening, the film will be part of the Global Peace Film Festival in Florida at the beginning of October. Please find specific screening information below.

Dallas Screening

Wednesday, September 30th, 7:30pm
Angelika Film Center, Mockingbird Station
5321 E. Mockingbird Lane (Dallas, Texas 75206)
More information about this screening can be found here.

Global Peace Film Festival Screenings

Screening 1 – Thursday, October 1st, 8pm
Sun Trust Auditorium @ Rollins College, Winter Park FL
E. Fairbanks Ave. and S. Interlachen Ae. (Winter Park, Florida 32789)

Screening 2 – Friday, October 2nd, 5:30pm
Premiere Cinemas 1
3201 E. Colonial Dr. (Orlando, Florida 32803)
Tickets for both screenings can be purchased here.

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Dr. Boraine speaks on the panel following GAC film screening at the Holocaust Center in Cape Town (photo credit: Vincent Raffray)

As many of you know, our first feature documentary, A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake, has been screened in classrooms and theaters across the globe since its world premiere at the Durban International Film Festival last summer. The film has been met with critical acclaim and racked up various awards including two honorable mentions at the Woodstock Film Festival as well as the Fund for Santa Barbara’s Social Justice Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Most recently, we screened the film back in South Africa at the Cape Town Holocaust Centre in partnership with the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. It was by all accounts a moving evening made even more special by our panelists who spoke directly following the film–Dr. Alex Boraine, the co-chair of the South African Truth Commission along with Desmond Tutu; former TRC commissioner Mary Burton; and GAC members Yvette Hardie and Nick Boraine.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Cape Town screening, and, as always, thank you to all of you for your continued support.

Warmly,

Global Arts Corps