Uncensored is a documentary that recounts the lives of Colombian journalists during the narcoterrorism war (1980s and 1990s), led by the legendary Pablo Escobar, as well as early 2000s when revolutionary groups were at their peak. In 1985, Colombia had the highest murder rate in the world and drug lords, guerrilla, paramilitary groups and corrupt government officials ran the country. Those in power used intimidation tactics, kidnapping and murder to silence the courageous journalists who sought to expose corruption. Many survived…but some were not so lucky.
Interviews will focus on their life experiences and interactions with revolutionaries and/or drug cartels. The story will be told through the voice of the reporters who will be put into context by the experts.
- Elizabeth Mora-Mass (Interview done): Mora-Mass is a journalist who worked in Colombia during the 1980’s and 1990’s. She interviewed Pablo Escobar six times. In the early 1990’s, she decided to flee the country in fear for her life. Mora-Mass works as a reporter in New York and received the Fanny Calderón de la Barca Award for her investigative work on human trafficking in New York.
- Mario Torres (Interview done): Torres was a prominent radio personality in Colombia during the 2000s. As a way to help the underrepresented group of peasants he belonged to, he decided to also run for town councilman. Torres’ ethical principles and political views put him in conflict with the left-wing Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). As a result of his opposing views, the FARC assassinated his mother, brother and uncle.
- Richard Velez (Interview done): Velez is a Colombian journalist and camera operator currently living in exile. He was victim of several kidnappings and an assassination attempt. After recording a massacre of peasants by military forces he was beaten and left to die by the soldiers involved in the incident. He survived but his life continued to be at risk, which forced him to flee the country and seek political asylum in the U.S.
- Irma Londoño (Interview done): Londoño is a Colombian journalist who worked during the 1980’s and 1990’s. She survived a kidnapping and received numerous death threats. As the severity of the intimidations escalated, she left the country and settled in the United States. Interview will take place in late January.
Additionally, we will interview experts who can give contextual information to the viewers about the socio-economic state of the country at the time. This person will recount the rise and climax of the narcoterrorism war imposed by Pablo Escobar and the revolutionary groups. He/she will also explain the role of journalists during this period. Interviewees are:
Silvio R. Waisbord (Interview done): Professor and Associate Director in the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. He is the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Press/Politics. Author of a novel and a number of books including Watchdog Journalism in South America.
- Gerardo Reyes Copello (Interview done): Reyes is the director of Univision’s investigative unit. He spent 22 years at the Miami Herald and is a recipient of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Maria Moors Cabot award for excellence in journalism. He worked for El Nuevo Herald, the sister publication of the Miami Herald. Reyes has also written a book on investigative reporting and an unauthorized biography of Julio Mario Santo Domingo, listed by Forbes magazine as one of the wealthiest men in the world.
The film will provide critical insight for those reporters who are currently in conflict-torn territories. At the moment, numerous journalists have been killed covering news in extremely dangerous countries. Despite differences in time period and situation, many reporters today suffer physically and psychologically in similar ways as the Colombian journalists of this era. Through this film, I hope the audience understands what is at stake for the numerous reporters who risk their safety to report the truth.
Pakistan: Covering insurgents.
Iraq: Covering the war.
Libya: Covering the overturning of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.
Mexico: Covering drug-related war and corruption.
Afghanistan: Journalists receive intimidation from the Taliban and government.
What We Need & What You Get
The funds we gather will go towards the editors (although most part of editing charges will be in-kind donations), music permissions, traveling expenses to meet with the interviewees (one lives in Tampa and two in New York). Additionally, we need to rent the equipment for all interviews. The amount we are asking is just part of the expenses but fortunately we have been able to save on a few things. We understand how important every single dollar donated is, therefore the money is always spent sparingly!
Other Ways You Can Help
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