Last week The Pen, writer and director of "The Last War Crime" feature film, appealed to the film's fans to protest YouTube's censorship of the preview waterboarding scene from the soon-to-be released feature film. YouTube's purported excuse for banning the video was a false claim that the video contained "nudity, pornography, or other sexually provocative content." In response to more than 7,000 personal protest messages, YouTube has attempted to quietly reinstate the clip, while demands that YouTube implement real accountability continue to mount on the action page.
The film's director, "Pen", commented: "All these thousands of people shared our outrage and astonishment that YouTube should find anything to object to about our waterboarding scene, which in fact has no actual nudity in it . . . none whatsoever. They see this scene and only see the brilliance of our actors projecting the haughty immaturity and over the top arrogance of the amateur torturers who trashed our national reputation. And of course the proof of that brilliance is . . . the illusion of their acting is so good that it pushed YouTube's button. But most importantly, even though this one video is now back up, we are demanding that YouTube provide a clear link where people can challenge any such wrongful censorship in the future. We may have had the social media resources to mobilize a substantial public outcry in this one case, but the next 99 people they cut down will not."
"While preparing to perform the female interrogator in the scene, I experienced some emotional distress because of the reality of the situation. I had visited Guantanamo Bay in April 2006. This interrogation was not a fabricated movie moment. The US military went against habeas corpus and tortured detainees. My heart was with all the unknown individuals who had been wrongly accused and suffered through waterboarding and other 'methods of finding information'. For those reasons, I knew we had to do this scene. Movies are not just for light entertainment, but to bring about awareness, and hopefully justice and change."
The Last War Crime is in submission to the Cinequest Film Festival, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, SXSW, the Cleveland International Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the San Francisco International Film Festival, and the Seattle International International Film Festival, seven of the top breakout venues for serious works of new film art, with an official release anticipated shortly after a film festival run.
On Monday, January 16, at 2PM PST, Pen will appear live on KPFK to discuss all these issues with radio personality Harrison, also being streamed nationally at http://www.thesmartshow.org.