by Mary Ferreira
Our team traveled to New Delhi, Mumbai and Bihar to film a story about India’s growing population.
Experts believe that India will overtake China and become the most populous nation on the planet in two decades. Coping with so many people will be challenging for policy makers as more and more people leave rural villages for big cities, like New Delhi, to find work and improve their lives. The most recent census puts the current population at 1.2 billion.
For this story, we found our main character, Ranjeet, working at a construction site in New Delhi and convinced him to visit his relatives back in Bihar and to reunite with his son who remained with his grandparents in the village. Eventually, Ranjeet decided to bring the little boy back with him to New Delhi. We decided to join Ranjeet on the train to film the journey. It was a long ride – about 12 hours – before we arrived at our destination but we were able to capture hundreds of striking images and get a sense of what life is really like for the poor.
While following Ranjeet, it was so crowded on the platform that it was difficult to keep up with our camera crew. Fortunately, after most of the passengers left the terminal, we were able to find each other and regroup to complete the story.
by Mary Ferreira
We visited India to film a few stories for UN Television at the end of 2010. One of the pieces dealt with the plight of widows in the Holy City of Vrindavan where most widows settle, waiting to die. It was indeed heart wrenching to see how some widows struggle to survive in the streets.
We followed one widow who now lives in an Ashram founded by Dr. Mohini Giri, an activist, who fights to end poverty and hunger in India. Dr. Giri also works closely with widows offering them a better life.
During this shoot, we visited several places — New Delhi, Agra, Vrindavan, Bundelkhand and Varanasi. The distances between each location were hundreds of miles apart requiring travel by car, train and plane but it was a rewarding experience because of the wealth of footage we captured while there. It was quite a hectic mission.
We also found out that in northern and central India, the Act of Sati (self-immolation) still occurs occasionally even though the British banned the practice in 1829. Later in 1987 the Indian Government ratified the Sati Prevention Act.
However, Dr. Giri continues her fight to improve the lives of widows but it’s often a challenge convincing them to leave the streets for a more comfortable life. Some of these women believe that it is their destiny to suffer in widowhood until death calls.
Our nimble team comprised of cameraman, Joaquim Vieira; fixer Sachi Maniar; driver Mr. Singh; and producer Mary Ferreira.
Link to full story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfA5LBOMdKk
Link to radio story: http://goo.gl/BYBsr
By UNTV Producer, Gill Fickling
A short trailer for the forthcoming feature for 21st CENTURY “Gabon: People of the Forest”
Cameraman Antonio Tibaldi and I were on assignment in the rainforest of Gabon, to make a story about the pygmies.
When we came to the first flood in the narrow path through the dense forest, we duly stripped off our boots and socks, and, amidst fears of water-borne disease and snakes, waded in. The water was refreshingly cool, the sand underfoot unexpectedly soft. Accompanied by our charismatic local UN security guard, Eric, we had set off that morning with pygmy hunters to film their hunt.
We had long-ago lost sight of the men — on arrival at the edge of the forest, they had forgotten our existence and shot off at a brisk trot along the over-grown path. We “townies” were left panting in their wake, abandoned to a cacophony of birdsong and the occasional buzzing of bees. As the hunters were supposed to be the subject of the film, this caused certain concern. And so did the knee-deep water that suddenly stretched endlessly along the path. At the NEXT flood, no shoes-off this time — having finally caught up with the hunters, we couldn’t risk losing sight of them again. As Antonio plunged straight in, boots and all, I suddenly felt myself scooped up onto the back of Eric who could not stand by and watch a woman get her feet wet!
Declining his chivalry at the next flood, I also plunged in fully-shod and we continued like that for several hours, as we filmed the hunters. The sensation of the water oozing between by toes inside my boots was surprisingly invigorating. But sadly, the outcome of the hunt was not so positive — one pigeon to be shared amongst the four families. (more…)
Khalid Al-Jhani was, at one time, an explosives trainer for Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan and now he’s leading an almost normal life. How could that be?
It’s quite a story – one that UN producer Francis Mead explored in Saudi Arabia with videographer Antonio Tibaldi. Together they filmed a short documentary which focuses on how and why people leave terror groups. In recent years Saudi Arabia has developed an innovative rehab programme for people like Khalid Al-Jhani – and their new approach is drawing attention from around the world.
Here, in a short extract from the UNTV documentary, Al-Jhani describes being on the run with Osama Bin Laden not long after 9/11:
Francis and Antonio met Al-Jhani – and found him charismatic, engaging and funny. But he was involved with the world’s best-known terrorist, and became an expert in electronic circuits for bombs. He told many stories about his time in Afghanistan, his 4 year incarceration in Guantanamo, and the pioneering Saudi rehab programme for young men accused of links with terror groups.
In this brief clip, Producer Francis Mead says that Al-Jhani’s story provokes questions about the motives of young men who end up with terror groups:
Moscow’s a huge modern metropolis with cool clubs and classic tourist attractions – but what’s it like to live there if you’re blind?
This is a one minute trailer for a forthcoming documentary focusing on the lives of people with disabilities in Russia from UN TV producer Francis Mead.