Thursday, October 28 NYC film benefit and Q&A Panel
Timely East Timor Documentary
All proceeds going to the Center for Constitutional Rights and the East Timor Action Network. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.
For inquiries or advance ticket purchases, please call Meaghean Murphy, Center for Constitutional Rights; 212-614-6472 666 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10012. Please make checks payable to the Center for Constitutional Rights.
First Run/Icarus Films, Occasional Productions and the New Zealand Film Commission are pleased to announce the U.S. theatrical premiere of PUNITIVE DAMAGE (77 mins.), the moving true story of a death in East Timor and the power of a mother's grief. Produced and directed by award-winning New Zealand filmmaker Annie Goldson, a special benefit screening followed by a panel discussion will be held at 7:30 pm on Thursday, October 28 at the Art Greenwich Theatre, with all proceeds going to the Center for Constitutional Rights and the East Timor Action Network.
In November of 1991, Helen Todd received a phone call that every parent dreads. She was told that her son, Kamal, had been injured, shot on a small island the world knew little about - East Timor. The nightmare grew over the next few days, until finally she was informed of his death, then blocked from traveling to the island by the Indonesian authorities.
When 20-year-old New Zealander Kamal Bamadhaj travelled to East Timor to assist a human rights investigation, his last words to his mother were "I'll be careful, Mum." Three weeks later he was dead, shot at point blank range by the Indonesian military. Televised images of the massacre at Santa Cruz Cemetery in Dili, East Timor, sent shock waves around the world. Kamal was among the estimated 271 unarmed East Timorese killed that day.
PUNITIVE DAMAGE spans four years and three continents to end up in the United States Court, as Helen Todd, with the help of progressive New York law firm The Center for Constitutional Rights, takes on the Indonesian government in ground-breaking legal action. "At least I could speak out against the military officers and military culture that murdered my son. I could bring a lawsuit," Helen says. With eyewitness accounts from Timorese exiles, and clandestinely shot footage and photographs, the documentary's evidence against the Indonesian military is damning. The court case-which resulted in a $14 million fine against the general responsible for the massacre-created a landmark precedent in the growing international trend to bring human rights violators to trial.
Kamal once told his mother that "a just cause is never a lost cause." With the ignominious 1998 resignation of Indonesian President Suharto and the explosive recent events in East Timor, Kamal's words do indeed seem prescient. Finally, independence for East Timor appears within reach.
The film opens in New York at Cinema Village on Friday, October 29 for limited engagement (22 E. 12 St.).
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