Beyond the Border, a collection of five films covering war, geography, politics, history and current affairs, will debut on KBYU-TV in September and October.
Fog and Friction, the first installment of the series, presents a timely look at battles in Iraq and Afghanistan on Wednesday (Sept. 22) at 9 p.m., followed by The Arms Bazaar at 9:30 p.m.
Produced by Combat Films and Research for the David M. Kennedy Center at Brigham Young University, the series will examine events, trends and stories from around the world with an emphasis on international relations.
"In the complex realm of international affairs, there are untold stories that can help us gain a greater understanding of our world," said Jeff Ringer, Kennedy Center director and creator of the program concept. "Through this series, we hope to provide an alternative perspective on forces, ideas and facts that are beyond the border of our common experience."
The series' senior producer, Dodge Billingsley of Combat Films and Research, is a seasoned producer and former defense analyst who has documented war zones and trouble spots worldwide.
The Beyond the Border series of four half-hour segments and one full-hour segment will air at 9 p.m. on Sept. 22, Sept. 29, Oct. 6, and Oct. 13. For additional information about the broadcasts, see http://www.kbyutv.org.
Fog and Friction, which examines three separate battles from Iraq and Afghanistan, illustrates that war is a complicated business. This is a glimpse into the decision-making process at the height of battle and the consequences of those decisions.
Abu Dhabi's IDEX arms fair is the scene for The Arms Bazaar, the second installment in the series, which airs Sept. 22 at 9:30 p.m. The conventional arms market is a multibillion dollar industry where shopping ranges from small arms to tanks, to cruise missiles and fighter aircraft, making access to arms as simple as buying groceries at the market.
"We think that The Arms Bazaar will be very interesting, because it's something people don't know a whole lot about, and so it's a chance to introduce people to this strange thing that happens," said Ringer. "It's very common in the Middle East and all over the world, but we just don't talk about it very much."
In the midst of China's Cultural Revolution, five artists led by Jin Zher Lin were sent to China's revolutionary capital Yan'an and instructed to paint together. From the Masses to the Masses, Revolutionary Art of Yan'an, which airs Sept. 29 at 9 p.m., details their seven-year odyssey capturing the life and history of the revolutionary capital on oil, watercolor and wood block print—art that was discovered three decades later.
As the shadow of Soviet control slipped away from the former satellite state, many stepped forward and declared their independence. Ukraine Sonata, which airs Sept. 29 at 9:30 p.m., looks at the years before, during and after the Soviet Union's great Perestroika and how the Independent Republic of Ukraine is negotiating the changes on a musical level, reflecting the conflict between repression and choice.
The beautiful and historic Caucasus Mountains are home to three major conflicts in the former Soviet Union: Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia, and Chechnya, and multiple minor struggles. Intertwined in this convoluted political and geographic landscape is a significant portion of the world's known oil reserves—the subject of Faultlines and Pipelines, which airs Oct. 6 at 9 p.m.
The Beyond the Border series will conclude Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. with a one-hour roundtable discussion moderated by Ringer and featuring Billingsley, BYU professor of political science Eric Hyer and Associated Press photographer Laura Rauch, who has covered many international assignments including the war in Iraq.
The idea for the series sprang from part of the focus of the Kennedy Center.
"One of our responsibilities is to research, support and create outreach products—ways we can reach out to the community and inform them about international affairs," Ringer explained. "We've been doing a nice job with lectures and conferences, but those will only go so far; we wanted to push a little further and that's when we teamed up with Dodge to do this series."
The senior producer for Beyond the Border, Billingsley is a noted filmmaker who has traveled and filmed extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Originally specializing in the Caucasus and Central Asia, Billingsley traveled into war-torn Chechnya to produce Immortal Fortress: An Inside Look at Chechnya's Warrior Culture, which was completed in 1996. While there, he obtained rare interviews with several notable Chechen warlords, including the notorious Shamil Basayev.
Billingsley was one of the few Western observers to observe the fall 2001 fortress uprising at Mazar-i Sharif, Afghanistan, in which CIA agent Mike Spann was killed and American Taliban John Walker Lindh was taken into U.S. custody. Only months later Billingsley accompanied U.S. troops into battle in Afghanistan during Operation Anaconda. He has made multiple forays into Iraq filming with regular troops and Special Forces, reporting back to CNN and other U.S. television networks.
Billingsley received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a master's degree in war studies from King's College in London.
For updates, see the Kennedy Center news and calendar online at http://kennedy.byu.edu or for more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org. See Combat films and Research online at http://www.combatfilms.com.