Far From Men Wins at Munich

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Letters From Iraq

Categories: Politics

A View From The Inside

Over the past many, many months I have had the opportunity (the pure joy) to communicate via email with Arjwan M. AL-Jawadi, or as she prefers to be called, Jwana.

Jwana lives in Iraq and there have been many times over the past couple years when I have feared and anguished for her safety and the safety of her family as the violence escalated so dramatically in Iraq. Many times our correspondence has simply been for me to inquire about her well being and I always breathed a sigh of relief when I would hear from her that things were still OK there.

Jwana found us here at Viggo-Works because of her knowledge and love for the writings of J.R.R.Tolkien, and of course because she has become a Viggo fan. She admires his activism as well as his acting skills. We are fortunate indeed that she reached out to us and we thank our lucky stars and Allah for the internet so that we can communicate.

Jwana is 27 years old, has her Masters degree in computer engineering and lectures in Iraq. We at Viggo-Works are simply thrilled that she has agreed to tell us about her life and her country and her hopes and her fears through what we hope is a series of letters to us here at V-W.

Of course our common inspiration is Viggo who says it so well..."We actually have more in common with other people, other cultures and other races, than not. People need to make a conscious effort to try and find some common ground, rather than react to what they see as differences."

So, here is Jwana's first letter to us. It is full of concern, but it is also full of hope. We hope it is a beginning.

Between the Past and the Future of Education in Iraq: Calling for Aid

In a country that has suffered from many wars and under the current circumstances of losing peace and destroying all aspects of human culture even losing hope in having a normal life, education is like a ship sinking at sea, calling for aid.

By looking at education in past years, you can see that education was thriving, not only in the Iraqi nation, but in many others countries in the world where Iraqi students studied and became teachers, doctors, and engineers and their names are still mentioned nowadays for their great work and the great experiences that they had.

That generation was interested in getting an education and learning, even traveling, taking all the chances to increase there knowledge. They also had the chance to be educated by teachers who came from different countries than Iraq. This led to the benefit of having an education that developed different skills, and led to new experiences. Remember that Iraq in eighties and even in the nineties, was under an economic embargo and thus had no internet connections, and no valuable and important books were available, and even if they could be found, their cost was enormous.

But people at that time were still committed to education from primary and secondary schools to universities. However, nowadays things have changed. The difficulties of leading a normal life in Iraq have increased every day. The efforts to live in peace means that education is the last thing people need to worry about. Besides these daily difficulties, many of the good teachers in schools, and the doctors and the engineers in the universities have left their jobs and left the country under the threat of being killed by terrorists. This has created an enormous loss in Iraq of greatly qualified and certified professional people. Even though, in the current days, many of the modern communication tools are now available, from mobile phones to internet connections, and valuable books are now more available, this has not helped to raise the level of the quality of education. The new teacher certified generation is not good enough and experienced enough to raise the level of education because they have not been able to learn from the generation before, who have left Iraq.

Our chances for traveling to other countries or getting teachers from those countries to come to Iraq are limited due to the hard daily living and dangerous circumstances. But that does not lead us to lose hope. Every morning, the Iraqi students and teachers wake up early and take their books and go to their schools and their universities to get and to give an education. They do this despite the fact that on the same morning a terrorist will take his gun and try to steal this chance of education. Even if people are apathetic about education in the current days, they still do believe that there is a need for education and there is a need for an educated Iraq. They believe that there may be still a hope, like a candle in a dark tunnel to light the way for education's future in Iraq, and bring the level and commitment to education to the way it was before, and perhaps even make it better.


© Viggo-Works/Arjwan M. AL-Jawadi . Used by permission.

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Work on 'The Road' gets up and running

Source: The Boston Globe.
Found By: Chrissie
Categories: The Road

Our thanks to Chrissie for surfacing this interesting piece from the Boston Globe.
What strike? While many other movie projects are on the shelf due to the writers walkout, Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz are getting ready to begin work on "The Road," the film version of Cormac McCarthy's critically acclaimed book. The Gloucester couple, who operate the Waltham-based PR firm Schwartz Communications, are the producers of the film, slated to start shooting next month. Financed in part by billionaire Mark Cuban, the film's cast includes Viggo Mortensen and Charlize Theron, who'll play the wife of Mortensen's character and be seen mostly in flashback. "In Viggo and Charlize, I'd say we have two of the most gifted - and cool - actors working today," Steve Schwartz told us yesterday. "It doesn't get any better than this." Published in '06, "The Road" is the story of a father and son who walk through a desolate, post-apocalyptic American landscape in search of civilization. The film will be shot over 10 weeks in Oregon, New Orleans, and in Washington, on Mount St. Helens, as well as along an abandoned four-lane highway not far from Pittsburgh. "We're looking forward to making a smart and scary movie that reflects the reality of 2008," Schwartz said. "If you're smart, there's a lot to be scared about now." The film will be released later this year. "In time for the Oscars," said Schwartz.

© 2008 NY Times Co. . Images © AP/2008 Reed Business Information..

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A Message From Viggo At Perceval Press

Source: Perceval Press
Categories: Perceval Press

A short and timely message from Viggo posted at Perceval Press.

Daily Reminders to Democratic Candidates:

Why, in the interest of democratic discourse, free speech and common decency, have none of the candidates selected by the corporate media in this country to participate in the televised debates in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada not demanded that Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and other qualified candidates be included? Are they so afraid of a profound, unfettered discourse of the important issues we all face? Is this a democracy, do we really have public airways in the United States of America? For shame Clinton, Obama, Edwards, McCain, Romney, Huckabee et al!

© Perceval Press.

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Filming of 'The Road' leads to Pittsburgh

Source: The Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Found By: Ewa and Sally
Categories: The Road
© 1976-2008 Sugar Inc.
Our thanks to both ewa and Sally for bringing us this piece from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

By Barbara Vancheri, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Apocalypse, here we come.

Pittsburgh has landed "The Road," a big-screen adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy best-seller of the same name that will star Viggo Mortensen, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce and a young Australian actor named Kodi Smit-McPhee.

2929 Entertainment, which is producing the movie, and the Pittsburgh Film Office yesterday confirmed rumors "The Road" will shoot in Southwestern Pennsylvania for eight weeks starting in late February to take advantage of the cold and snow. The film also will spend a week in Louisiana and a week in Oregon.

The movie is budgeted at under $30 million and will feature 15 or so speaking roles along with background players. It is set to arrive in theaters at the end of the year.

Marc Butan, president of 2929 Productions, said yesterday that the film will follow the book closely, opening in a post-apocalyptic world and using flashbacks to illuminate the characters.

He said the production looked at states with tax incentive programs and the director did a tour of Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Connecticut -- "all the places that have the really aggressive incentive programs."

"What we found was Pennsylvania, and the Pittsburgh area in particular, offered the most diverse set of looks," Butan said. It's a road movie, with characters walking for days on end, and filming will take place in suburban areas along with coal mines, forests and an unused freeway a couple of hours away.

"We're going to be working in and around the city. We're able to accomplish a lot of different looks."

"The Road" was given the stamp of approval by both the Pulitzer Prize selection committee and Oprah Winfrey, who made it a book club selection. It's from the novelist whose "No Country for Old Men" has been turned into one of the most acclaimed films of 2007.

By most accounts, it's a depressing but haunting story of a father and son in a post-apocalyptic America. A catastrophe has ruined the land, killed millions and left the survivors to scavenge for food and shelter, cope with a steady fall of ash and -- more alarmingly -- try to avoid cannibals.

Mortensen will play the unnamed father, young Smit-McPhee ("Romulus, My Father") his son and Theron his late wife. Pearce will factor into scenes near the end of the movie.

Mortensen is a possible Best Actor Oscar contender for his tattooed turn as a Russian mobster in "Eastern Promises," while Academy Award winner Theron ("Monster") recently played a beleaguered detective and single mother in Paul Haggis' "In the Valley of Elah." She helps a grieving father learn the ugly truth about his dead soldier son.

"The Road" will reunite Pearce with Australian John Hillcoat, who directed him in "The Proposition." Joe Penhall will adapt the novel.

"Hillcoat is going to be one of the great ones," Butan said, with an ability to create tension, extract great performances and make the most of minimalist landscapes.

Dimension Films will distribute the movie in the United States. 2929 is co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mt. Lebanon native Mark Cuban.

Asked if Cuban steered the movie to his hometown, Butan said, "Anytime there's a chance of doing something in Pittsburgh, he's all for it. He loves Pittsburgh."

The movie will crown a busy winter in Pittsburgh, with "Homecoming" starring Mischa Barton, Kevin Smith's "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" and Bob Tinnell's "Feast of the Seven Fishes" all finishing or starting production.

A production office for "The Road" is expected to open later this week, and the Pittsburgh Film Office's hotline will provide hiring information, once it's available.

"We have been working with them since late last year," Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office, said yesterday of the production. She credited incentives new and old for luring the movie to the region.

"The governor and our legislators put into place one of the most lucrative film incentive programs in the country in Pennsylvania in July," she said yesterday of the expanded film tax credits.

That started filmmakers looking at Pennsylvania, and Pittsburgh stands out because of its excellent crew base, diversity of locations and the fact it's more economical than its competition, including Philadelphia.

Keezer said this is the beginning, not the end, of work for 2008. "There's a lot more to come. Prior to June, we will be seeing a huge influx of film work in the region."

Production everywhere is bending to strikes or threats of strikes, as the writers' walkout may be followed by work stoppages involving directors and actors this year.

© 1997 - 2008 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved. Images © 1976-2008 Sugar Inc.

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Viggo Nominated for BAFTA Award

Source: British Academy of Film and Television Arts

Our CONGRATULATIONS to Viggo on his Leading Actor nomination at the prestigious BAFTA Awards.

And to everyone behind Eastern Promises on its Best Film nomination.
Leading Actor
GEORGE CLOONEY - Michael Clayton
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS - There Will Be Blood
JAMES McAVOY - Atonement
VIGGO MORTENSEN - Eastern Promises
ULRICH MÜHE - The Lives of Others

Best British Film
ATONEMENT - Tim Bevan/Eric Fellner/Paul Webster/Joe Wright/Christopher Hampton
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM - Frank Marshall/Patrick Crowley/Paul L Sandberg/Paul Greengrass/Tony Gilroy/Scott Z Burns/George Nolfi
CONTROL - Orian Williams/ Todd Eckert/Anton Corbijn/Matt Greenhalgh
EASTERN PROMISES - Paul Webster/Robert Lantos/David Cronenberg/Steve Knight
THIS IS ENGLAND - Mark Herbert/Shane Meadows

© British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

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Last edited: 2 July 2015 07:32:08