Oliver was most gracious when we recorded this interview. He was happy to endorse the film and the protests against the construction of the naval base in Gangjeong Village. Here it is again…
Oliver was most gracious when we recorded this interview videotaped by Paul Michaud and Lucas Stewart of Patracompany. Many thanks to Oliver.
Bruce Gagnon, my friend and coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, screened the film for his international board meeting in Sweden this evening (6/29/13). Here are his remarks:
“It was a smashing hit….people were crying and they were clapping at the end…..I handed out the DVD’s strategically to key leaders in various Swedish cities, and from Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Japan and Mexico…..people passed the hat to send money to the village but I insisted they keep the money towards sending a representative from Sweden to the village ASAP……they loved the music, the story, and the resistance…..many people sent congrats to you….it’s was a European opening night showing……5 stars”
This evening, Bruce Gagnon, my friend and coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space screened the film for his board at the annual meeting in Sweden tonight (6/29/13). Here are his remarks:
It was a smashing hit….people were crying and they were clapping at the end…..I handed out the DVD’s strategically to key leaders in various Swedish cities, and from Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Japan and Mexico…..people passed the hat to send money to the village but I insisted they keep the money towards sending a representative from Sweden to the village ASAP……they loved the music, the story, and the resistance…..many people sent congrats to you….it’s was a European opening night showing……5 stars
I will also be blogging and uploading new short features not included in the 80 minute feature documentary.
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Good News! The Ghosts of Jeju will be screened on August 9, 2013 at the annual VFP convention in Madison, Wisconsin, and I’ll be going!
Since I am not a veteran, I joined the Maine Chapter last year as an associate member. My chapter is paying my way to go to the entire convention from August 7 – 11. I also received $1,000 towards the completion of the film. My thanks to Doug Rawlings, a member of the national committee, for including the film in this year’s program.
Here’s the program agenda for the 5 pm slot on August 9th.
This is absolutely amazing, wonderful, and a blunt telling it like it is. She called Obama what he is, “a war criminal,” and she called out the Irish Parliament for showering him with praise as if he were one of their own.
My goodness, if only others around the world in their own parliaments would speak truth to power!
This is a must watch video for all who fight for peace, justice, and truth!
Since returning from S. Korea on September 30th of last year, I have been totally consumed with research and editing the film. Many people helped make it all possible with financial contributions and constant support and encouragement.
I’m indebted to Charles Hanley, Bruce Cumings, and Oliver Stone for their contributions. When Oliver told me the original title was too long and confusing (Jeju: In the Crosshairs of War…Again) I had to rethink it. During the interview, Oliver mentioned “ghosts” in describing those who had been massacred. Charles Hanley also told me about the ghosts that the men of the 7th Cavalry saw throughout their lives. They were the ones who massacred some 400 men, women and children at No Gun Ri under orders from “the top.” I also recalled hearing people in Gangjeong Village talk about ghosts. Hence, The Ghosts of Jeju.
I have entered the documentary into twelve major film festivals including Sundance, Chicago, Austin, Boston, Hollywood, San Diego Asian Festival, and the Seoul International Film Festival. The hope is that a distributor will pick it up. Meanwhile, a distributor in Los Angeles that favors documentaries of political and social issues agreed to view the film.
Thanks go out to Paul Michaud, Lucas Stewart, and Travis Steward of Patracompany LLC in Brunswick. They were always available to help with the film and this website. Paul and Lucas traveled with me to Washington, D.C. to film the interview with Oliver Stone. Paul also accompanied me to NYC to film the interview with Charles Hanley, and to Charlottesville, VA to film the interview with Bruce Cumings.
Finally, it was Bruce Gagnon who arranged for me to go to Jeju last August, and Bruce has supported my efforts with cash donations, constant encouragement, and reviewing the film at several stages of development. Our recollections of how it came about differ slightly, but here’s my version.
It was one day in mid August of last year that I was visiting with Bruce in his office, as was my custom on a weekly basis. I had been hearing and learning about Jeju from Bruce, so when he said “I’ve got to find three people to go to Jeju,” I said, “I’ll go” to which he replied “are you kidding?” I said I was serious, and he then said, “but will Paula (my wife) let you go?” Without asking Paula, I said, “no problem.”
So, right then and there, Bruce fired off an email to Jan Passion in San Francisco informing him that I was ready to go. Jan works for Peaceworkers with David Hartsough, and they have been paying for transportation to Jeju. Jan replied within minutes asking when I could go and if I would stay for a month. To which I said, “I can go as soon as we can book a flight.” Since I already had a passport, I only needed to pack. Two weeks later, I was on a plane to Seoul with over 100 lbs of equipment.
Bruce also made arrangements for Fr. Pat Cunningham to meet me at Inchon airport in Seoul, and that turned out to be the most important connection I would make. Pat is a Columban Missionary priest from Ireland who has been in Korea for 17 years. I stayed with the Columbans in Seoul for a few days before flying down to Jeju with Pat, who made all of the introductions and arrangements for where I would stay.
From Pat and the Columbans,I learned a great deal about Korea and the history of the past 60 years. Several of the priests had been in Korea for 40 years working with the poor and disenfranchised.
The next three weeks were not what I had expected, and I think the film will convey what I learned so I won’t belabor that here. Suffice it to say, what I learned made me cry and I felt angry at what my country had done at the conclusion of World War II and beyond. I began to realize that I wasn’t going to document another anti-war demonstration. As Charles Hanley told me, “you stumbled onto something much bigger than you could imagine.” And, indeed I did.
The story I tell in the film has never been told this way and most Americans will be surprised at what they learn about America’s history, not only in Korea and on Jeju, but everywhere the military has gone, constructed war bases displacing indigenous people and destroying the environment from Thule, Greenland to the islands of the South Pacific, and from Asia to South America.
I don’t know if this film will ever make it into even the smallest of venues, but it is a story that Americans and peace-loving people everywhere must know before it is too late. While the struggle on Jeju may be lost… maybe not, the indomitable spirit and courage of the people of Gangjeong village will provide hope that one day we can learn to live in peace with all who people the earth, all the creatures of the earth, and with the only home we have. It is my hope that everyone who sees this film will join in the efforts of millions around the world to bring peace and justice to the only home we have.
Here’s the trailer for The Ghosts of Jeju:
I am a filmmaker living in Woolwich, Maine. In September 2012, I spent a month in Korea and three weeks in tiny Gangjeong Village. Little did I realize what I stumbled into. Against the will of the residents of Gangjeong (pop. 1800) who are mostly fishermen and farmers, the Korean government and Navy began building a massive naval base to accommodate America’s military pivot to Asia.
The villagers and their peace worker supporters have been protesting the construction of the base 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for five years. Not only are they fighting to save their village, but the entire ecosystem of the area which has been declared a positively no construction zone and a UNESCO Biosphere preserve. Also threatened are the Idio-Korean bottle nose dolphins, rare and endangered crabs and frogs, and the fresh-water shrimp that exist only in this village.
Compared to the relatively short-lived Occupy demonstrations in the States, I wondered what had sustained these brave, peaceful people for five years when they have been subjected to the brutal repression of hundreds of police and security guards. What I didn’t learn in my history classes was the role the U.S. Army played in the massacre of as many as 60,000 peasants on Jeju from 1948-1951. Because these fiercely independent people rebelled against the American occupation and the imposition of Sigman Rhee, a brutal dictator, they were labeled Communists.
Recently revealed secret and classified documents, film and photos prove that the Americans equippped the Korean army and police, trained them, provided intelligence, and planned and directed the Scorched Earth assault on these innocent men, women and children.
Only after visiting the Peace Museum on Jeju commemorating the massacre which began on April 3, 1948, did I understand the meaning of the protest and the perseverance and resolve of the people of Gangjeong and their supporters, many of whom survived the massacre and the others are immediate descendants of that horrific period.
Then, as now, the people of Jeju are fighting for self-determination, basic human rights, an open and transparent democratic process, and the protection of this rare and beautiful environment.
My film places the 5-year old struggle in the context of America’s global military imperial domination of the planet through unrestrained and overwhelming force. Once again, the people of Jeju find themselves in the cross hairs of war between more powerful empires. And yet, the indomitable spirit of the Villagers and their supporters, who have not lost hope in spite of overwhelming odds, will inspire and motivate everyone who believes there is a better way to live together on this planet.
A shocking documentary about the struggle of the people of Jeju Island, S. Korea. Set in the context of the American presence in Korea after World War II, the film reveals horrible atrocities at the hands of the U.S. Military Government of Korea.
Using previously secret and classified photos, film and documents, this will be the first English-language documentary about the struggle of the brave people of Gangjeong Village who are opposing the military advance of the United States, just as their parents and relatives did in 1947. As then, they are being arrested, jailed, fined, and hospitalized for resisting the construction of a massive naval base that will accommodate America’s “pivot to Asia,” and will destroy their 400 year old village and their UNESCO protected environment.
And yet, the indomitable spirit of the villagers and their supporters, who have not lost hope in spite of overwhelming odds, will inspire and motivate everyone who believes there is a better way to live together on this planet.