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Documentary Feature  





Betrayal, The (Nerakhoon)
Directed by
Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath (co-director)
USA / 2008 / 91 minutes

Screening Times and Venues:
Upstate Films I
10/04/2008, 1:00PM
Bearsville Theater
10/05/2008, 11:00AM
Twenty-three years in the making, famed cinematographer-turned-director Ellen Kuras, along with co-director and narrator Thavisouk Phrasavath, document this extraordinary saga of a family torn apart by the nasty "secret war" financed by the CIA in Laos during the Vietnam era. Exquisitely photographed and enhanced by a haunting, melancholy score, "The Betrayal" is an extraordinary meditation on both the obscenity of war and the many "betrayals" stemming from it. Thavi, one of ten children born to a high ranking U.S.-backed military father, tells us of the horrifying consequences of the sudden U.S. abandonment of the Laotians who believed in the American mission. "The time will come when the universe will break," quotes Thavi's mother, citing ancient prophesy, and indeed we are witness to its truth as we follow Thavi and his family from Laos to the alien culture of New York. Alternately shocking and poetic, this is brilliant and informative storytelling. (Barbara Pokras, A.C.E.)
Ellen Kuras, an unprecedented three-time recipient of the Sundance Film Festival's Best Dramatic Cinematography Award, was first recognized for her black and white cinematography on "Swoon" (1990), Tom Kalin's acclaimed independent film. Other work includes Isaac Mizrahi's "Unzipped," Mary Harron's "I Shot Andy Warhol," and Spike Lee's Oscar-nominated "4 Little Girls," as well as his features "Summer of Sam," and "Bamboozled." She was also DP on Rebecca Miller's "Angela" and "The Ballad of Jack & Rose," Ted Demme's "Blow," and Harold Ramis' "Analyze That" starring Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal. More recent films include "Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind" and "Be Kind Rewind" directed by Michel Gondry, "Heart of Gold," the Neil Young concert film and "Lou Reed's Berlin." She is currently shooting the Untitled Sam Mendes Film. "The Betrayal" (Nerakhoon) is her directorial debut

Thavisouk Phrasavath- Co-Director / Co-Writer / Editor
Active within the Laotian American community in the U.S. and Canada, Thavisouk Phrasavath is a creative consultant for developing Lao TV and other media.

During his early years in Brooklyn, he served as the primary liaison/translator for Laotians living in New York City and surrounding areas. His background in community work includes assisting Gang Prevention for Youth and Family Crisis Intervention through the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association and working with the police department as a liaison and interpreter for the Lao community in dealing with domestic and gang-related issues. Formerly an Area Policy Board Member, Thavisouk has consulted for the NYC Board of Education.

Thavisouk's film work extends into writing, editing, directing and shooting. His projects as editor include Mira Sorvino's directorial debut "Making Famous", as well as "Summer School", "Cuba Libre", "Americanos", "Streaming with the Prez", "Vietnam on the Cusp", "Sound Painting", and most recently, "Golden Venture", which was widely recognized and distributed. Thavi has also directed and edited music videos for independent artists, is a published poet, and has won awards for his painting and illustration work.

Thavisouk Phrasavath graduated with honors from Pratt Institute with a degree in Electrical Engineering.

"The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)" is Thavi's first film as both subject and filmmaker.

Cast/Featuring: The Phrasavath Family
Executive Producer(s): Cara Mertes (for P.O.V./American Documentary)
Producer(s): Ellen Kuras, Flora Fernandez-Marengo (producers) Wilder W. Knight II, Gini Reticker, Chiemi Karasawa (co-producers)
Director(s): Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath (co-director)
Screenwriter(s): Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath
Cinematographer(s): Ellen Kuras
Editor(s): Thavisouk Phrasavath
Composer(s)/Music: Howard Shore
Other Credits: co-production with P.O.V./American Documentary
Pandinlao Films  

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