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BBC World News brings international documentaries to a global audience

BBC World News kicks off the New Year with an exciting international documentary series - Storyville Global.  The films, directed by different filmmakers from across the globe, depict a range of contemporary political, cultural and human rights issues. The Storyville Global series, chosen and produced by the Why Foundation, is made up of twenty films and launches with Rodrigo Vazquez’s, Revolution: Do’s and Don’ts, which has been exclusively updated for BBC World News.

From one woman’s political struggle in Bolivia to the horrors of the Cambodian Genocide, and the world’s largest Chinese restaurant, this series explores thought provoking and challenging issues told through a diverse range of global voices.

BBC World News, in collaboration with The Why Foundation, has committed to a total of twenty films for 2015 which will broadcast to its weekly global audience of 76 million viewers. The aim of this partnership is to ensure that high quality films are available to as many viewers as possible, on a truly global platform. The Storyville Global series follows the success of the Why Democracy and Why Poverty documentary series previously broadcast on BBC World News.  

Mary Wilkinson, Commissioning Editor for BBC World News said about the series: “I’m delighted that we’re going to be able to bring some of the best international documentaries to our audience.  We had a very good response when we broadcast the Why Democracy and Why Poverty documentary series and Storyville Global is an exciting and natural progression.”

Nick Fraser, Commissioning Editor of Storyville comments: “It is a dream come true for me that BBC World News is supporting this project showing great quality documentaries to global audiences. And not just in the most developed countries but all around the world. We hope the films will give global audiences great pleasure in watching them.”

The first five films in the Storyville Global series will broadcast on BBC World News in January and February 2015.

Revolution: Do's & Don'ts by Rodrigo Vazquez
10th January 2015

In 2005 Bolivia elected its first indigenous President, Evo Morales, who promised to empower the poor and end systemic corruption through a Socialist revolution. Single mother and worker Jiovana Navias was one the members of parliament chosen to represent 250,000 unemployed single-mothers who lived in utter poverty. Two years after taking her oath as MP, Jiovana still had not managed to create employment for the jobless women. In 2009, Jiovana married a prominent minister from the indigenous party, but was soon put on trial accused of corruption and embezzlement. Jiovana was sentenced to 5 years in prison, from where she witnessed how Evo changed Bolivia and slowly began delivering on his 2005 promise. In 2014 Evo was reelected for a third time in a historic win, while Jiovana is allowed to spend the remainder of her sentence at home with her two children.

My Afghanistan – Everyday Stories of Bombs and Bullets by Nagieb Khaja
17th January

Nagieb Khaja, a young Danish journalist of Afghani origin, travels to Lashkar Gah, capital of the province of Helmand in Afghanistan. Because journalists aren't allowed out of their hotels without a military escort, contact with the civilian population is pretty near impossible. But Khaja has a trick up his sleeve. He gives 30 civilians cell phones equipped with HD cameras and asks them to film their daily lives. This provides us with a rare glimpse into the war-torn existence of regular Afghanis, a valuable antithesis to our very Western perspective on the war.

The Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World by Weijun Chen
24th January 2015

West Lake Restaurant in South China's Changsha can safely call itself the biggest Chinese restaurant in the world, with its staff of 1,000 working 5,000 tables and serving no fewer than 150 ducks per day and 200 snakes per week. The words of the restaurant's staff and guests are used in the film to paint a picture of modern China: the proprietress, one of the city's 20 self-made millionaires, speaks candidly about her failed marriage; a bridegroom-to-be who is celebrating at the restaurant explains the modern Chinese customs associated with the wedding party; and a waitress visits her poor parents in the countryside. Through these scenes, we gain insight into the unique combination of the ancient religious values and the new capitalist values with which China is stepping into the 21st century. What becomes very clear is that not everyone is set to benefit from the economic boom.

Putin’s Kiss: Russia’s Teen Dream by Lise Birk Pedersen
31st January 2015

19-year old Masha is a spokesperson in the government friendly and strongly nationalistic Russian youth organization, Nashi. The movement aims to protect Russia against its 'enemies'. Masha was seduced by the high energy of the movement by the age of 15 and has got a lot of benefits in return for her loyalty. But then she starts seeing a group of critical journalists. Among them is the well-known blogger, Oleg Kashin, who compares Nashi with 'Hitlerjugend'. Masha is defending her movement, but she starts recognizing how harassment and dirty provocations against the Russian opposition by 'unknown perpetrators' is going on around her. When Oleg is getting seriously beaten up and nearly dies, Masha has to take a stand for or against Nashi.

The Mass Murderer and the Journalist by Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath
7th February 2015

An estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died during the rule of the Khmer Rouge, a radical communist movement led by Pol Pot. Among the victims were film director Thet Sambath’s mother, father and brother. In 1999 Sambath decided to seek confessions and explanations from former Khmer Rouge officials at all levels. None had previously admitted any killings.

This film focuses on three Khmer Rouge perpetrators in the northwest of Cambodia and hears graphic accounts of the massacres they perpetrated in the Cambodian genocide. They also give voice to their own feelings of guilt, trauma and remorse. Towards the end of the film the three former Khmer Rouge comrades meet as they try to fathom the history of which they were each a lethal part.

The film also features appearances by Pol Pot, US President Richard Nixon and Deng Yingchao, the widow of Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai.

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