The one-woman-band niche I carved for myself provided me many international documentary commissions.
Tibet in Song
"Tibet in Song" 2009 SUNDANCE Film Festival Grand Jury Prize World Cinema Documentary Competition It was January 2004 when I was asked whether my passport was up to date and if I wanted to go to Tibet on behalf of an exiled Tibetan ethnomusicologist Ngawang Choephel? Of course! A week later I landed at 12,000ft in Lhasa, the Capital of Tibet during the Tibetan New Year Losar. My alias was that I was there to document traditional music for friends back in San Francisco. In truth I was armed with Choephel’s treatment to document the struggle to preserve Tibetan cultural identity. I filmed intimate testimonies from Tibetan musicians (among them opera master Pema Dhondup) as well as Tibetans performing folk music in a variety of situations — most notably Lhasa street beggars who are harassed by Chinese officials. A press release described another moment, "Lederer boldly ventured into nightclubs and secured a rare interview with a nightclub owner, who on the spot admits his allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party and the nature of the music performed in his club." Tibetan landscape is a vast plateau of rock and more rock. The Tibetan people melt your heart with their warmth. It was my first time seeing the Himalayas and they took my breath away. I trekked with nomads over 17,000ft in hopes of documenting a high pitched singing called Eastern Lu performed by nomads. I ended up with middle ear infections after contracting a cold and sleeping in a nomads tent with my feet above my head. I awoke with clogged ears and as I descended I knew I was in trouble. Lesson: always bring decongestants to high altitude destinations. Long story short I was medevacked to China briefly, then returned to complete my assignment. Ironically I directed a blind folk singer while I was hearing impaired. All in all I was in Tibet for over a month and then drove overland from Lhasa to Kathmandu documenting along the way. This is a short promo that was edited early on in 2004. The documentary was finally completed and premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2009. http://www.tibetinsong.com/
A Face for Yulce
"A Face for Yulce" (winner of Freddie, Hugo and CINE Golden Eagle awards) aired on TLC in 2006 A young Indonesian girl from a small island, 11-year old Yulce Dailongi was severely disfigured in November 2002 while pouring kerosene into a lit oil lamp. Without any available medical treatment, Yulce lay in bed for eight months until an Australian nurse doing medical aid work sent out a plea for help. Dr. Peter Grossman of the Grossman Burn Center in Los Angeles responded and agreed to provide the treatment Yulce needed. In 2003, LMNO Productions sent me to Yulce's remote island Halmahera in Indonesia with my camera to produce and document young Yulce's story. Yulce told me of how she fought to survive and endures the pain. A vibrant courageous young girl trapped in a nightmare. I accompanied Yulce and her mother to the Sherman Oaks Burn Center in Los Angeles. Yulce underwent a year of reconstructive surgery to restore her appearance and dignity. I then returned Yulce to her village with a new face and outlook. "A Face for Yulce" is the life-changing journey of Yulce Dailongi. This cut features my work. The full length documentary was edited by Kevin Hudnell.
In The Wake of the Zaca
This is a trailer and beginning of the award-winning documentary "In the Wake of the Zaca." I edited the feature length documentary for Luther Green who discovered rare footage of the Zaca and knew he had to tell the remarkable adventures of a California schooner named Zaca. It is a historic story of adventure, romance, and Hollywood glamour all told through the history of a 75 year-old, 118 foot gaff-rigged topsail schooner. Zaca under construction launched in San Francisco on the eve of the great depression. Zaca explored stone-age civilizations in the South Pacific, patrolled the California coast as an armed ship of war during World War II, and served as party boat for sailor and swashbuckling actor, Errol Flynn. She was abandoned in the south of France left to languish as a striped hulk on a mud flat in the south of France, then rose like the phoenix to sail again in the 2003 Imperia regatta in Italy. It was the thrill of a lifetime to experience sailing on the Zaca! To watch the entire documentary: http://www.thesailingchannel.tv/zaca/
Counting On Democracy (Short from Documentary)
The presidential election drama of 2000 is still a mystery to most Americans. Counting on Democracy investigates charges of disenfranchisement and 180,000 uncounted Florida votes cast largely by the working poor and people of color. The film uncovers racial exclusion, voting rights violations and the subverting of a recount in the most contested and controversial election in U.S. history. Produced by Globalvision and Greg Palast. I worked with Danny Schechter of Globalvision as an associate producer. To watch the entire documentary: www.itvs.org/films/counting-on-democracy http://www.linktv.org/programs/counting http://archive.org/details/counting_on_democracy
This is a short clip of veterans that I documented for the film "About Face." The film is a feature-length documentary that tells the remarkable, yet previously untold story of thousands of young Jewish immigrants who fled Germany and Austria in the early days of Hitler's regime, only to perform an "about face" returning to confront their oppressors as American GI's and British Tommie's in WWII. "About Face" does not focus on the camps, the ghetto uprisings or the victimization of the Jewish people. Instead, it depicts the uniquely powerful and unexpected experiences of the Jewish refugees-turned soldiers, who fought with distinction in the US and Allied Armed Forces as combat infantrymen, paratroopers, and interrogators in counter intelligence and military intelligence positions. For more about the film: http://www.aboutfacefilm.com/