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16/07/2004

APTN Library footage features in US summer blockbuster

One of the biggest audience reactions in surprise US box office hit 'Fahrenheit 9/11' has come from news images sourced from the APTN Library.
The shots in question were selected from hundreds of hours of video covering recent events in Iraq, where Associated Press Television News (APTN) has been capturing extensive and often harrowing footage. APTN cameramen in the city of Fallujah captured images of the charred bodies of US contractors on tape in March of this year, for example.
The film highlights links between US President George W. Bush and prominent Saudis including the family of Osama bin Laden, and criticises the actions of the US administration before and after the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001.
By winning the prestigious Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival in May, Michael Moore's film has become a worldwide phenomenon in terms of publicity and controversy. It is also the first documentary to take the top prize since Jacques Cousteau's 'The Silent World' in 1956.
APTN's Head of Content Development Christopher O'Hearn says the use of APTN footage is an excellent example of the news agency's impartiality when it comes to the provision of archive material. O'Hearn explained: "There is no doubt that the subject matter of Michael Moore's documentary is proving to be controversial, mainly due to the way he has chosen to interpret the images we have filmed. But APTN's mandate is to provide independent, accurate, and objective TV journalism, which means it is not our job to editorialise on the subjects we film. We simply provide the hard facts, and video images that capture a particular moment - and that information then becomes available to whoever needs to use it."
Moore's documentary is not the only recently produced film to use APTN Library to illustrate the issues it confronts. Emir Kusturica's 'Life is a Miracle' tells the story of a Serbian man caught up in the conflict between Serbs, Croats and Bosnians during the 1990s. The director used APTN footage from Sarajevo and other scenes from the war to establish the backdrop for the drama.
The London-based APTN Library also provided recently-shot footage for a new French documentary examining the decisions made by US President George W. Bush and his administration from September 11, 2001 leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Titled 'Le Monde Selon Bush' (The World According To Bush), it is directed by William Karel of Flach Films.
O'Hearn continued: "Archive material contributes a realistic depth when a film-maker needs to illustrate a point or remind audiences of events that have been caught on tape. The fact that all three of these film projects used the APTN Library to source images of comparatively recent events demonstrates that history gets recorded and stored every day here at APTN. Forty-eight hours after a story goes out as 'news' it becomes 'archive', and that footage then becomes available to all."
(GB)
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