Saturday, July 29, 2017




Random Fuzzy

Angelina's statement was written in a way that doesn't make VF the clear target of her displeasure and the statement released by VF does not include a public apology to her or admission of error.  Rather, VF seems to be blaming the critics, implying that they did not make the effort to read and comprehend the whole write-up.

The fact is, viewed against Angelina's and Rithy Panh's statements, the VF writer's account of the exercise and improvisation is clearly off the mark and misleading.  Rithy Panh tweeted the HuffPost headline "Angelina Jolie Refutes Vanity Fair’s Portrayal Of Controversial Auditions" which implies they felt VF's account -- and not just the criticism that came after -- is "false and upsetting."  The vast majority of sites also interpreted it that way.  It raises questions about other possible inaccuracies in the rest of the VF piece.  Of course we know some of the writer's assumptions regarding Angelina's responses were also off the mark.

It was the writer's responsibility as a journalist to make certain that she reported and described things accurately.  She did not have a complete understanding of the exercise and it behooved her to seek clarification especially since she wrote that she found it "rather disturbing in its realism."  It seems she was not aware the premise was based on Luong Ung's real life experience and is a scene in the movie.   She had six weeks to get all the facts right but she obviously didn't think the subject, which she only devoted a short paragraph to, was important enough.  If she understood and wrote clearly that everyone was pretending, it would have greatly altered the perception of the exercise.  This could have been done with a simple edit of what she wrote:
they (pretended to) put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then (pretend) to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie.a justification

VF stumbled with the story right out of the gate as it was mistakenly leaked to bravo tv ahead of its planned release, forcing them to post the entire story online earlier than intended.  What was their scoop of the year has now turned into an embarrassment.

I expect they'll continue to work with Vanity Fair just as they continue to work with People, but Vanity Fair will need to make amends in some form.

Hours before their statements were released to HuffPo, Panh seemed to indicate that they were not going to respond to the accusations right away, tweetingGive time to time... I want to see how far it can go...Yes... the public has a lot of imagination... Cannot fight fire with fire... just need little time. Words flow like a tongue without bone...   That strategy is how Angelina has responded to past controversies but Netflix likely impressed on them the need to keep this from snowballing further.

To look at the bright side, the controversy has raised awareness of the film to the level of a blockbuster that would have normally required tens of millions in ad spending.  Many more will likely watch it just out of curiosity.  Angelina may still be upset but Netflix is probably pleased with the end result.


-- Fussy


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A source familiar with the film’s casting process told HuffPost the children who auditioned were aware they were improvising a scene from the film, adding that no real money was involved. Casting directors reiterated to the kids auditioning that it was a “pretend game” in order to ensure the actors did not feel any pressure, the source said.

The “pretend game” was reportedly based on Ung’s real-life experience of getting caught stealing by the Khmer Rouge. Ung, a Cambodian-American, survived the Khmer Rouge killings that claimed the lives of her parents, two siblings and nearly 2 million Cambodians in the late 1970s.

The actors who were ultimately cast in Jolie’s film are a mix of trained actors, orphans and disadvantaged children. Srey Moch Sareum, the child playing the film’s leading role, lives in a slum community and attends a non-governmental organization school in Cambodia.


Angelina Jolie, director:
Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present.  Parents, guardians, partner NGOs whose job it is to care for children, and medical doctors were always on hand everyday, to ensure everyone had all they needed.  And above all to make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history.

I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting. I would be outraged myself if this had happened. The point of this film is to bring attention to the horrors children face in war, and to help fight to protect them.”


Rithy Panh, producer:
I want to comment on recent reports about the casting process for Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father, which grossly mischaracterize how child actors were selected for the film, and I want to clear up the misunderstandings.
Because so many children were involved in the production, Angelina and I took the greatest care to ensure their welfare was protected. Our goal was to respect the realities of war, while nurturing everyone who helped us to recreate it for the film.

The casting was done in the most sensitive way possible. The children were from different backgrounds. Some were underprivileged; others were not. Some were orphans. All of the children were tended to at all times by relatives or carers from the NGOs responsible for them. The production team followed the families’ preferences and the NGO organizations’ guidelines. Some of the auditions took place on the NGOs’ premises.

Ahead of the screen tests, the casting crew showed the children the camera and the sound recording material. It explained to them that they were going to be asked to act out a part: to pretend to steal petty cash or a piece of food left unattended and then get caught in the act. It relates to a real episode from the life of Loung Ung, and a scene in the movie, when she and her siblings were caught by the Khmer Rouge and accused of stealing.

The purpose of the audition was to improvise with the children and explore how a child feels when caught doing something he or she is not supposed to be doing.

We wanted to see how they would improvise when their character is found ‘stealing’ and how they would justify their action. The children were not tricked or entrapped, as some have suggested. They understood very well that this was acting, and make believe. What made Srey Moch, who was chosen for the lead role of Loung Ung, so special was that she said that she would want the money not for herself, but for her grandfather.
Great care was taken with the children not only during auditions, but throughout the entirety of the film’s making. They were accompanied on set by their parents, other relatives or tutors. Time was set aside for them to study and play. The children’s well-being was monitored by a special team each day, including at home, and contact continues to the present. Because the memories of the genocide are so raw, and many Cambodians still have difficulty speaking about their experiences, a team of doctors and therapists worked with us on set every day so that anyone from the cast or crew who wanted to talk could do so.

The children gave their all in their performances and have made all of us in the production, and, I believe, in Cambodia, very proud.


What was written in Vanity Fair:

To cast the children in the film, Jolie looked at orphanages, circuses, and slum schools, specifically seeking children who had experienced hardship. In order to find their lead, to play young Loung Ung, the casting directors set up a game, rather disturbing in its realism: they put money on the table and asked the child to think of something she needed the money for, and then to snatch it away. The director would pretend to catch the child, and the child would have to come up with a lie. “Srey Moch [the girl ultimately chosen for the part] was the only child that stared at the money for a very, very long time,” Jolie says. “When she was forced to give it back, she became overwhelmed with emotion. All these different things came flooding back.” Jolie then tears up. “When she was asked later what the money was for, she said her grandfather had died, and they didn’t have enough money for a nice funeral.”



LOS ANGELES (AP) — Angelina Jolie says accounts of her casting process for children to appear in her film “First They Killed My Father” are false and upsetting. An excerpt from a Vanity Fair profile of the director sparked backlash online earlier this week from people who criticized the methods as being cruel and exploitative.
Adapted from Loung Ung’s memoir, the biographical drama centers on her childhood under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Jolie co-wrote and directed the film, which she talked about in a recent Vanity Fair profile.
The article described a scene in which casting directors in their attempt to find a child actress to play the lead role presented money to impoverished children only to take it away from them as an acting exercise.
Jolie and producer Rithy Panh issued joint statements Sunday responding to the outrage and refuting claims that the production was exploitative through a representative from Netflix, which is producing and distributing the film.
“I am upset that a pretend exercise in an improvisation, from an actual scene in the film, has been written about as if it was a real scenario. The suggestion that real money was taken from a child during an audition is false and upsetting,” Jolie said. “I would be outraged myself if this had happened.”
Jolie said parents, guardians and doctors were on set daily to care for the children and “make sure that no one was in any way hurt by participating in the recreation of such a painful part of their country’s history.”
Panh, who himself is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, added that casting “was done in the most sensitive way possible.”
He described a process that was informed both by families’ preferences and NGO (non-governmental organization) guidelines in which the children understood that they would be acting out a scene.
“The children were not tricked or entrapped, as some have suggested,” Panh said. “They understood very well that this was acting, and make believe.”
The Vanity Fair article went into more detail about the production than the one paragraph that circulated on Twitter, which sparked the initial outrage.
A representative from Vanity Fair issued a statement Sunday saying that author Evgenia Peretz “clearly describes what happened during the casting process as a ‘game’ ” and “that the filmmakers went to extraordinary lengths to be sensitive in addressing the psychological stresses on the cast and crew that were inevitable in making a movie about the genocide carried out in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge.”
Jolie’s film will debut on Netflix sometime after showing at the Toronto International Film Festival this September.


..
Jolie says the story took the casting process out of context, turning a well-thought-out audition into a ploy that seemed cruel and unusual. 

...Jolie and other members of the crew have been forceful in their pushback. The director said in a statement that they didn't use real money, and that they used this casting process because it's "an actual scene in the film." The Huffington Post reported that the kids knew it wasn't a real scenario, and the cast reportedly had the children's parents and guardians on set, in addition to doctors and therapists.
"Every measure was taken to ensure the safety, comfort, and well-being of the children on the film starting from the auditions through production to the present," Jolie wrote in her statement.





In a statement shared with USA TODAY by Netflix representative Cynthia Arntzen, Jolie defends a "pretend exercise in an improvisation" that she used with Cambodian child actors for the Netflix film First They Killed My Father.
....



3 comments:

  1. Hi Fussy,

    So glad Netflixs is standing strongly behind FTKMF, Angelina and Rithy.

    Sky News......seems Rithy and Angelina's statements were released thru Netflixs.

    "But Jolie and producer Rithy Panh denied the claims in a statement released through Netflix, which is making and distributing the film."

    Entire article here: http://news.sky.com/story/jolie-replies-to-false-and-upsetting-criticism-of-casting-process-for-new-film-10968399

    ReplyDelete
  2. jan x doe.‏ @missjanah Jul 29
    Just saw Angelina Jolie at Naimies with Zahara. Yes, this is definitely LA. ❤️

    ReplyDelete
  3. http://www.khmertimeskh.com/5075893/army-blasts-human-rights-watch-chief/

    ReplyDelete