He Zhimin’s hands shake as he holds a small coloured photograph of his son. The shakes had started nine months ago, when his son vanished. On the back of the card, he has printed his son’s details. “He Wen, Age 35, 1metre 75cm. Missing…”
Unlike Ai Weiwei, China’s best-known dissident and artist who was arrested boarding a plane to Hong Kong, on April 3rd, He Wen’s disappearance has gone largely unreported by the world’s media and there are no high profile calls for his release. But his story holds the key to understanding China’s most repressive crackdown since Tiananmen 1989. Read the rest of this entry »
Thousands of mentally impaired people in China are being abducted into slavery. China’s Lost Sons is a documentary I’ve just made with Director Matt Haan for Channel 4’s critically acclaimed foreign affairs strand, ‘Unreported World’ to expose one of the untold stories behind China’s economic boom. This is a very dark film that focuses on one man’s inspirational search for his son. We shot this film in the midst of the most repressive crackdown since Tiananmen ’89 and I hope stories like can add some sort of context to the cracks opening up as China feels the growing pains of massive social upheaval and economic development. Click here for a clip from the film. Read the rest of this entry »
Unreported World – the critically acclaimed foreign affairs series is back for our 21st Series – on UK Channel 4, online on 4oD, and un-geoblocked for first time for the world to witness. We bring an insight into the lives of people in some of the most neglected parts of the planet – lives largely overlooked by the global news machine. The new series kicks off in India with a powerful film from reporter Seyi Rhodes and director Richard Cookson: ‘Leprosy Heroes’ premieres this Friday @ 7:30pm. Our investigations have no place without our audiences, awareness & impact – so please spread the word and tune in… Read the rest of this entry »
Welcome to my new online home – it’s been given a slight makeover, a proverbial haircut, and some minor corrective surgery by some kind pros who refused my suggestion of a web-equivalent of a moustache. Shame. So with less facial furniture than planned, a warm welcome to a reversioned portal in my little professional world – including such snazzy additions as a video section, more photos in the gallery, press links, talks (if anyone ever wants to listen) and general information etc! Promise to do a better job updating it in the future – with videos from new films, photos from shoots, blogs from the road etc – and quick bite size morsels on FB and Twitter. Well we’ll see how we get on… and if anyone’s interested! Happy travels, Olx
We’ve made a film about malaria in Uganda but so what? Will it change anything? Hopefully awareness of the disease is increased a little bit, perhaps even more attention and resources focussed on the theft of government drugs. But then what? Can we make a difference? And should we? I hope we can. I’ve teamed up Malaria Consortium to establish a project in Apac to provide support for the embattled local hospital. For more info, get involved or donate and help save lives- please click here…
Despite being a preventable and treatable disease, malaria still kills nearly a million people a year – the majority are young children in Africa. ‘Malaria Town’ is a documentary I’ve made with Director Will West for Channel 4’s critically acclaimed foreign affairs strand, ‘Unreported World’ where we report from northern Uganda and the town known as the “malaria capital of the world.” We documented shocking levels of corruption including the theft of malaria treatment drugs, and how organic products sold on Britain’s high streets are also playing a role in continuing the pandemic. Full details here. Here are a few easy links: ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT: Theft and Drugs take Malaria Drugs away from Africa’s poorest, by Oliver Steeds VLOG: Emotion in Journalism SOME THOUGHTS: Reporters Blog MALARIA INFO: Links to more information about Malaria, organisations involved in the fight, educational resources etc. FACEBOOK: Unreported World on FaceBook FILM SUMMARY & PRESS REVIEWS – read on.. Read the rest of this entry »
Long before Alcatraz, there was Devil’s Island – the most notorious and vicious prison complex ever constructed. Over a century of operation, 70,000 men were incarcerated there, less than 10% survived. Built in the tropics of French Guiana, it was called the perfect prison – penned in by the jungle on one side and the sea on the other. Escape was said to be impossible. But a few did escape? In the final episode of the series, I explore the horrors of prison life and test out tales of great escapes could be true.
A dark investigation into the nightmare of Hitler’s Aryan worldview, Nazi racial policies, how ‘bog-bodies’ were used by Himmler as justification for murder, SS expeditions to Tibet, (Hitler thought Buddha was the last great Aryan leader), gun-wielding modern-day neo-Nazis, the complicity of the scientific community to provide the SS with the pseudo-legitimacy to justify industrial mass-murder. Horrific.
The hunt for the most notorious piece of Nazi treasure is on… The infamous Amber Room is the most valuable piece of missing art in the world. For more than 200 years these lavish wall panels, made entirely from carved amber, gems and gold, were the pride of the Russian czars – that is, before the Nazis looted the treasure in 1941. I pick up the story where it was last seen – in the medieval fortress in the city of Koenigsberg, (a city now called Kaliningrad, fondly known as the corridor of crime, a good place to go if you’re into trafficking people, guns, drugs, stolen cars or have a penchant for having your eyes stabbed out with a pencil)… onto Nazi hideouts across Europe to an underground German fortress, into secret Czech mine-shafts, and even drilling deep beneath a medieval castle used by the SS…. There’s some sneek peek video on the Solving History Page on the Discovery Site… But could there be a Swiss Connection? A number of our sources told us that the Amber Room would most probably have been hidden along with numbers to secret bank accounts… At first I didn’t realise the complexity and complicity of the Swiss involvement, but read my Dispatch below to see what I found out… Read the rest of this entry »
Exploring the mystery of El Dorado — its very name has has become synonymous with a legend of a mythical city of gold lost in the wilds of South America. For hundreds of years explorers have mounted expeditions to find it… and as strange as it seems, I am a strong believer that there is lots still to be found… large chunks of unmapped, unexplored regions of the Amazon and the Andes, makes it technically possible.. and we actually find something new to add to the debate… From the golden churches of the Incan capital Cusco, we follow the trail of El Dorado (aka Paititi) along a road of ruins deep into the remote Andes Mountains….