Screening – John D McHugh Double-Bill

Screening September 2, 2011 7:00 PM

Frontline is proud to present a double screening of John D McHugh’s films Bahrain: Fighting for Change and Endgame?.

Filmed in late February 2011, Bahrain: Fighting for Change examines the mounting pressure and activism of protesters looking for governmental reform in the Gulf state. Inspired by the similiar revolutionary movements in Egypt and Tunisia, Bahrain citizens took to the streets of the country’s capital, Manama, calling for the power of the monarchy to be curtailed and for constitutional reform. However, their peaceful demonstrations were disrupted when seven people were killed at Manama’s Pearl Roundabout by the government. Despite recent efforts between the protesters and the government to reach a peaceful conclusion, the objective of the revolutionaries has now changed to call for the dissolving of the monarchy.

John D McHugh goes right into the heart of the state’s entrance into the “Arab Spring,” delving not just into the opinions and motivations of citizens, protesters, and government officials, but also into the tenuous position of the country on the world’s stage. A Shia majority ruled by a sunni regime, Bahrain serves as an important foothold in the Middle East for the United States due to it’s close proximity to Saudi Arabia and Iran, who also want the country as an ally. With revolution in the air, how will Bahrain cope with international pressure, attention, and most importantly, the hearts and minds of its citizens?

Endgame? examines the question of American military success in Afghanistan in the weeks leading up to President Obama’s decision on the eventual size of the military’s presence there. Filmmaker John D McHugh follows the US 4th infantry division in the city of Kandahar and the surrounding region during the months of April and May as he observes both the continuing warmth in Afghan/American relations and the incalculable setbacks.

After several years of filming in the region, McHugh observes some extremely positive results between citizens and the army, of which soldiers are the most proud. However, after a mass prison escape through a tunnel, army members begin to doubt the sincerity of their relationships. With pressure mounting to succeed in the ten-year war, and activists calling for a peace treaty in the face of a growing Taliban network, Endgame? illuminates the grey area in Afghanistan.

Total running time: 50 mins