I Am Gitmo – Director Philippe Diaz

Based on real events, I AM GITMO follows the reaction the United States to the 9/11 attack and the human cost that came about from the implementation of the War on Terror. The film focuses on Gamel Sadek, a Muslim schoolteacher as he is taken from his home and delivered to Bagram Air Base, a CIA black site, where he is questioned on the whereabouts of the 9/11 mastermind, Osama Bin Laden. He is tortured when he denies knowing him. Chained and hooded, he is put on a cargo plane to Guantanamo Bay. John Anderson, a military interrogator, is brought out of retirement and assigned to Gamel’s case leaving his daughter behind in New York. Despite relentless beatings, starvation, and torture in Gitmo, Gamel maintains he has no affiliation with Al Qaeda or Bin Laden. John struggles to accept the new torture methods imposed by General Miller, newly in command of the prison, and the mandate to force a confession at any cost. As Gamel prepares for a hearing on his status as an enemy combatant, he realizes he could be held indefinitely, and that John’s testimony will be the deciding factor. Director and writer Philippe Diaz stops by to talk about his inspiration for telling this particular story, the fatally flawed planning, execution and objectives of the War on Terror, the collateral damage done to America’s standing in the world, the staggering loss of innocent human life and the failure of American leadership to acknowledge or compensate the innocent people who were swept up in the overreaction.


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For more go to: iamgitmo.com

About the filmmaker –  Philippe Diaz is known for directing documentaries “The End of Poverty?” (Invited to over 41 film festivals including official selection at Cannes Critics’ Week), “The Empire In Africa,” (official selection at Cannes Critics’ Week, Best Documentary awards at SlamDance, African Film Festival Montreal and Hollywood Film Festival) and the narrative feature “Now & Later.” He has produced over 25 films and was awarded the Louis Delluc, France’s top award, in 1986 for “Mauvais Sang” which was nominated for 3 Césars. In 2004, he created Cinema Libre Studio, to provide an alternative structure for intelligent, indie films to get developed, financed, produced and distributed. 

Postscript – Since 2002, roughly 780 detainees have been held at the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Now, 30 remain. Of those, 11 have been charged with war crimes in the military commissions system — 10 are awaiting trial and one has been convicted. In addition, three detainees are held in indefinite law-of-war detention and are neither facing tribunal charges nor being recommended for release. And 16 are held in law-of-war detention but have been recommended for transfer with security arrangements to another country.