Blog Archives

The Border

The Border from Ebony Butler on Vimeo.

This film is a video montage from my time on the border of Thailand and Cambodia. Filmed in Poipet, the video attempts to express what life is like for the innocent children forced into slavery and child labour and also those dying from AIDS, which is an ever-growing problem in the region.

Child labour, sexual exploitation, human slavery, child trafficking, disease, poverty and famine is rampant and destroying thousands of lives everyday, damaging the social fabric of society.  The children and women are the ones who suffer the most and much aid and international action is needed to help this troubled nation.

Our community projects, both local and global, involve activities that promote social change, for the betterment of society and for the protection of our planet. We recycle, restore and deliver bicycles to the most marginalized and isolated groups affected directly by war, poverty or disease. Furthermore, we use the power of media to raise awareness of the most important, under reported and time critical issues. We aim to create a more positive attitude toward caring for people in need, regardless of race or religion, promote action within the community and strive to bring about social change.

www.bikes4life.com.au
www.childtroopers.com
www.atlanticstarproductions.com

Bikes 4 Life Uganda Video

Bikes 4 Life Promo Uganda 2012 from Ebony Butler on Vimeo.

A short promotional and thank you video for the successful 2012 Bikes 4 Life Uganda Project.

Featuring the honorable Dr. Olara Otunnu, UPC President and former U.N Under Secretary General for the Office of Children and Armed Conflict.

Copyright: Atlantic Star Productions 2012.

See: www.bikes4life.com.au and www.facebook.com/bikes4lifeorg

Africa Part 2

Late next month we will be returning to Africa to complete filming for our documentary, Child Troopers, which has been three years in the making.

We will be spending most time in Uganda again, however are trying to get access into the DRC or South Sudan. It’s not going to be easy but we feel it is important to get closer to the war and current rebel activity.

Thanks to an amazing supporter and dear friend who is helping out financially, Sanne Kurz, an award winning cinematographer from Berlin, will be joining our team and shooting for us in East and Central Africa.

Wish us luck… Hopefully all goes well and we’ll be back in Australia or the US for post production around April/May!

Child Troopers Film Crew in California, Heading to NYC

Child Troopers director Ebony Butler has taken her human rights documentary project to the United States of America, where she has found a whole new host of supporters and interested parties.

Ebony is currently working from Hollywood Los Angeles with her local crew where she is working on Child Troopers second phase of production. She is also being mentored by some leading industry players. The impressive list of international film and TV professionals she has mustered include Shine Global CEO Mark Fennessy and Australian born, LA based director Rod Hardy. Ebony’s has 5 official mentors who have each signed on as industry specific advisors to the young director for her debut feature documentary film Child Troopers, slated for release in 2012.

As of next week Ebony will leave Los Angeles for New York and Washington DC where she has scheduled in meetings and on camera interviews with some of the world’s leading humanitarian organizations, NGO‘S, political figures and other child soldier and human rights lobby groups. The line up includes: the United NationsHuman Rights WatchAmnesty International, OXFAM and Resolve (formerly known as Resolve Uganda). There are a number of other key players, analysts and experts in the arena of international and African politics, American foreign policy and geopolitics set to meet with Ebony over the next month to discuss her film and offer unique insights into the conflict in Uganda and beyond.

We will be back with more information about the progress Ebony and her crew are making soon.

Excited times ahead so stay tuned and if you like what we are doing please sign up to our blog and share this with friends or on your favorite social networking site!

Please also join us on twitter @atlanticstar233 and on facebook at facebook.com/childtroopers

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US Producer Takes on ‘Child Troopers’

Child Troopers and Atlantic Star Productions are excited to announce producer Alec Pedersen to the team.

Director of Child Troopers, Ebony Butler, will be traveling to Los Angeles next week where she will work with Child Trooper’s U.S Producer, Alec Pedersen (The Cove; Unity). She will then head across to New York and Washington DC to conduct interviews and further research issues related to the film.

Research for the upcoming trip to America will focus on children in conflict & child soldiers, peace & justice, civilian protection & security, aid & development, modern day child slavery & child trafficking.

More information regarding Child Troopers will be released soon so keep checking in for updates! See: http://www.childtroopers.wordpress.com

If there is something you would like to know, or an opinion you would like to voice, please do as we encourage dialogue and promote discussion on all issues!

Follow Child Troopers on Facebook.com/childtrooopers or check out the blog atlanticstarproductions.blogspot.comfor information on human trafficking, slavery, human rights, child soldiers and much more!

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Music and Film, Two Powerful Mediums – Combined, What Can They Achieve?

Salvador (BA) - O Cantor Stevie Wonder fala na...

Stevie Wonder - Image from Wikipedia

Music and Film. They can achieve almost anything. They can bring about world-wide unity, create harmony, promote cross culture and cross border compassion, understanding, peace and care! They can both ignite social action, they can mobilize people all over the world with love, insight and empathy… and every other ingredient necessary for a better world… ‘for you and for me and the entire human race’. (R.I.P Michael Jackson)

I truly believe that the power of music can create positive social change throughout the world. Music being the universal language means that it is one thing that we are all bound together by…. People unite when it comes to music and I hope to see music (and film) being used on a much larger scale than it already is, to bring about social and political change, and to create a better world for all. The same goes for film my friends and fellow film lovers! – Now on a more personal note:

I have just got off the phone to L.A, where I spoke with the amazing Mr. Billy Griffin, Soul King of America… Billy Griffin (born in Baltimore, Maryland)is an American singer and songwriter. He is best known for replacing Smokey Robinson as lead singer of The Miracles in 1972. Griffin has written songs and sung backing vocals for Aretha Franklin, The O’Jays, Ronald Isley, Freda Payne, Edwin Starr, Evelyn Champagne King, Herb Alpert, Martine McCutcheon, The Emotions and many others. Billy has had so many more wonderful achievements in the world of music and was honored with the other Miracles, when the group received a Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame on March 20, 2009.

Billy Griffin found me through my human rights activism and awareness campaigns, which I am able to conveniently execute through my film production company, Atlantic Star Productions. Billy has been following my work in Africa for quite some time now. It was a year or so ago when he wrote to me and said, ‘Ebony, one day, we should work on something together.’

For the past two and a half years I have been working tirelessly on a documentary about the LRA conflict in East Africa and the child soldiers and other victims of war in Northern Uganda, entitled Child Troopers. In 2010, I set-up  a not for profit organization Bikes 4 Life, raising bicycles for neglected, impoverished  and isolated victims of war. Billy’s desire to get involved with me on a humanitarian project has never slipped my mind. We have kept in touch over the internet and planned to meet one day. However, until this afternoon, I had never actually spoken to him. (I had tried but he is harder to get a hold of than me!) So I called again today, and I actually got through!

It was great to hear his cool mellow voice, and even better than his voice was when I asked him to guess who it was on the phone. He was like …’EBONY  from AUSTRALIA!’. (I did however hint that we had never spoken on the hone before – but still, he got it straight away!)

Lately I’ve been writing to Billy quite frequently, as my film is getting closer to completion, or at least it feels like it is! I am heading to America next month to meet my new co- producer in Hollywood, Alec Pedersen. Alec was involved with the 2009 Academy Award winning documentary film ‘The Cove’ and not only does he bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the project, he he also brings much credibility. During my trip I  had also been planning to meet with Billy Griffin while in Los Angeles, to talk about what we would work on together. It was only a few weeks ago when I was looking back on a photograph of Stevie Wonder and Billy Griffin together, (Billy and Stevie are very close friends) that I had a revelation.. I had seen the photo before and loved it, but this time it really got my brain ticking… A few days earlier I had also discovered that Stevie Wonder was awarded the UN (United Nations) Messenger for Peace in 2009.

I had it. I had a brilliant idea, and I knew if I could somehow get it off the ground, that it would have wings, it would fly… it would be absolutely amazing. I told Billy straight away what I was thinking. I basically asked him if he would consider getting together with Stevie Wonder to write a song for the soundtrack in my documentary film, Child Troopers…  a song to represent peace, a song to bring about change, a song to end the suffering of the world’s children…  Music for Change. Movies that Matter. Music and Movies that Make a Difference!!!

We conversed back and forth and as it currently stands, I may be pitching the idea to Stevie Wonder myself when I am in LA next month! How I wish I had a team of people helping me on this project. Billy stressed the importance of creating media buzz and hype around the project and assured me that there would be no reason Stevie Wonder or any other musician of his caliber wouldn’t get involved! Billy Griffin was so far in. One down and one to go. Now I am after Mr. Wonder. That’s a challenge and half. But boy, do I love a challenge!!

Dear supporters, fellow music lovers and film fanatics, filmmakers and friends alike, I ask you to please help me with some ideas to create buzz in the States (and Oz), all the way from Melbourne Australia. Let’s get Stevie Wonder doing the soundtrack for an Australian production, let’s get these soul kings to help make the world a better place, by making a song that is sung in all corners of the globe, that is a message of peace, a message of hope…! A message to end world wars and to ensure we make it top priority of all political agenda’s to protect our women and children.

I will do my best to achieve these wild, but nevertheless attainable dreams for the very women and children who I dedicate this work to. However, even if it doesn’t come to fruition this time around,  I will continue to put my heart and soul into making this film, and attempt to reach out to the masses, to protect the innocent civilians caught up in brutal conflicts throughout the world and to help in the campaign to  bring an end to the use of children in war.

Film is a superior medium,  music some say, is equal in greatness.  However all things united, just like people united, are the most powerful of all. Therefore, when film and music are also united, what results is an integrated medium of the most greatest possible force, infinitely capable of creating significant social, political, economic and environmental change, capable of bringing about peace to the world, love to the planet and justice to all… And right now, such changes are needed most!

I welcome all your thoughts on this project… Thank you!

To get involved or to follow our projects see the links below:


http://bikes4life.com.au

http://behance.net/atlanticstar

http://vimeo.com/channels/asptv

http://atlanticstarproductions.com

http://childtroopers.wordpress.com

Please join us Twitter:            @ebony_atlanta       @atlanticstar233      @bikes4lifeorg

Or find us on Facebook:

facebook.com/ebonyatlantabutler     facebook.com/childtroopers     facebook.com/bikes4lifeorg

facebook.com/dancingthroughthepain           facebook.com/atlanticstarproductions

Project Nim

Project Nim

21 January, 2011 | By Anthony Kaufman

Dir: James Marsh. UK. 2011. 93mins

James Marsh’s Project Nim is every bit as engrossing, though not as crowd-pleasing, as his previous hit documentary, the Oscar-winner Man On Wire. In this chronicle of “Nim Chimpsky,” a chimpanzee raised as a human child in the 1970s, Marsh trades in the high-flying tension of daredevil stunts for the high-stakes emotional terrain of animal rights and scientific hubris.

Seamlessly blending subtle reenactments with ample archival footage.

Prior to the film’s opening night slot in Sundance’s World Cinema Documentary Competition, HBO Documentary Films acquired all US theatrical, video and broadcast rights to the film; the channel will most definitely find a theatrical partner Stateside. Based on Marsh’s track record and the eminently intriguing subject matter, Nim should find select theatrical activity and solid TV play in other territories.

Seamlessly blending subtle reenactments with ample archival footage, Marsh lets the story unfold chronologically, beginning in 1973 when Nim was taken from his birth mother by Columbia University professor Herb Terrace, and brought into the Upper West Side brownstone of Stephanie Lafarge, a former psychology student with a large family who attempts to teach Nim sign language.

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Icon Australia picks up motorcycle doc

Cover of "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Cover of Fahrenheit 9/11

Icon Australia picks up motorcycle doc TT3D | News | Screen.

It’s great to hear of the success of the documentary TT3D that Australian film distributor ICON FILMS has secured theatrical distribution for (Australia & New Zealand). The motorcycle documentary was produced and  financed by CinemaNX.

The documentary has had massive success in the UK. According to Screen Daily, the film was UK’s highest weekend box office documentary opener since Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11! Let’s hope it does well for Icon Films in Australia and New Zealand!

Award Winning Documentaries….

VHS Cover.

Image via Wikipedia

I have just rented 5 award winning documentary films to enjoy over the next few days (Network Video South Yarra).

In no particular order they are:

The Reckoning

The Reckoning Film Trailer

Skylight Pictures NY

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