1. Two thirds of the world's coca - the raw material used to produce cocaine - is cultivated in areas controlled by a Marxist guerrilla army. The rebels from the FARC - the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - earn hundreds of millions of pounds each year from the illicit business in drugs.

    In the 1980s, cartels in the Colombian cities of Cali and Medellin dominated the cocaine trade. After they were dismantled, the guerrillas claimed a share of their income. With increased funds the rebels now control 40% of the territory of Colombia.

    But cocaine income hasn't only armed Marxist guerrillas. It also equipped an illegal force of right-wing paramilitaries who want to bring about what the Colombian army has proved incapable of achieving - the defeat of the guerrillas. The Cocaine War is an ideological struggle over the destiny of Colombia, pitting FARC guerrillas with right-wing paramilitaries and government troops

    In a rare interview, Carlos Castana, the then leader of the largest paramilitary group, explains why his movement was born. Funded by wealthy land-owners involved in the processing and trafficking of cocaine, the paramilitaries drive those suspected of aiding the guerrillas off their land. Murder is used systematically to terrorize farmers.

    The United States - the major consumer of cocaine - described the situation as "an emergency" and increased aid to the Colombian military. A staggering £800 million will be spent to arm the Colombian army and police. But the US trained forces will not combat the paramilitaries. While it is officially a "war on drugs", in practice it is war against communist guerrillas.

    The film was described by Time Out (22.3.00) as "an informative documentary" which gives a "balanced account of a turbulent situation".

    Picture Editor: David Howell
    Producer: Ewa Ewart
    Exec Producer: Fiona Stourton

    # vimeo.com/28611732 Uploaded 456 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  2. Alongside Serbia, Montenegro was the only nation to remain in President Slobodan Milosevic's Yugoslavia after Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia parted amid war. in 1999, Montenegro's pro-Western leader, Milo Djukanovic, threatened to call a referendum on its independence from Serbia unless Milosevic changed his policy toward the smaller republic. Milosevic refused to budge.

    More than a decade of Milosevic's rule resurrected Montenegrin nationalism, turning it into potent political force.

    In 1999, Montenegro's pro-Western leader, Milo Djukanovic was locked in a tense stalemate with Milosevic. Djukanovic accused Milosevic of using the same tactics that triggered war elsewhere in Yugoslavia: "Milosevic is playing a dangerous game and he doesn't care about t he consequences."

    We know now that a shortly afterwards, Milosevic was overthrown. War was averted and Montenegro later peacefully separated from Serbia and became an independent nation.

    The film was described in the Observer (30.7.00) as "excellent". The Sunday Times (30.7.00) also said the documentary was "excellent".

    The Radio Times wrote that "this chilling report" is "current affairs of the highest standard."

    "Brave" - The Times

    Chris Dunkley in the Financial Times said "Rees and producer Frank Smith do a depressingly excellent job" and said the film "excels".

    Picture Editor: David Howell
    Executive Producer: Fiona Stourton

    # vimeo.com/28119427 Uploaded 617 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  3. Britain’s democratic institutions have recently been the focus of unprecedented scrutiny. And a fundamental issue hovered over Parliament at the end of the Blair and Brown governments; the relationship between truth, politics and the media.

    Clare Short, the former Cabinet Minster bluntly tells the program: "Tony Blair lied to the cabinet and Parliament, the country repeatedly." The former Deputy Director of Communications in Downing Street, Lance Price confirmed the lack of honesty at the heart of government. "I told lies on behalf of the Government, sometimes at my own behest, sometimes because I was asked to do so".

    Phil Rees investigates the relationship between truth, politics and the media and asks a blunt question: Is the British government fully honest with the public when it makes the most moral decision of all, the decision to take the country to war?

    Produced and Directed by Kai Lawrence
    Executive Producer: Phil Rees

    # vimeo.com/27834973 Uploaded 119 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  4. The Good Friday Agreement was said to be Tony Blair’s greatest achievement. In an interview with Phil Rees, the former Prime Minister said that same model could be applied to the Middle East, where he became a special envoy.

    But after the discovery of a truck with 200 kg of explosives in March 2009 and the continued killing of members of the security services, is the war in Ireland truly over?

    The program interviews two former IRA members - part of the same unit that planted bombs in London in 1973 – who now stand on opposing sides of a political chasm.

    Gerry Kelly, a former IRA bomber is now part of the Northern Ireland government in Stormont. He says that compared to "how we were twenty years ago or ten years ago or five years ago, then clearly we have a successful peace process."

    A fellow IRA volunteer in 1973, Marian Price, disagrees. "I don’t think Ireland’s at peace at the moment because the conflict hasn’t been resolved, the core issue hasn’t been dealt with".

    Produced and Directed by Kai Lawrence
    Executive Producer: Phil Rees

    # vimeo.com/27723554 Uploaded 115 Plays / / 0 Comments Watch in Couch Mode
  5. In Japan, a million young men have shut the door on real life.

    Almost one man in ten in his late teens and early twenties is refusing to leave his home – many do not leave their bedrooms for years on end.

    It is a lost generation. Many millions of families are devastated. But they mostly suffer in silence, unable to understand the plight of their children. The first western psychologist to study the problem describes the condition as “an epidemic” sweeping Japan.

    It is called hikikomori by the Japanese – meaning “social withdrawal”. Yet little is known about the problem and parents of sufferers prefer to hide their pain rather than seek help.

    Phil Rees' film discovers the hidden pain that is scarring Japan’s youth. We meet the mother of a 17-year old boy who took over the kitchen of the family home. Her son has refused to leave the kitchen and has not spoken to outsiders for four years. Members of his own family rarely see him. He does not bath and lives surrounded by a mound of garbage, which spills from the kitchen into the hallway. The family have been forced to cook meals on a makeshift camping stove.

    Another case revealed by the programme is that of a boy who has locked himself in his bedroom for four years. Throughout these years, his mother – who sleeps in the next room – has not seen her son. She only knows that he is alive because she sometimes hears the creaking of floorboards. Some can remain in their bedrooms for twenty years before the family seek outside help.

    Peter Patterson wrote in the Daily Mail (21.10.02). "One of the true purposes of television - to tell us something new, extraordinary and amazing, with the added bonus that it might have implications for our lives - was more than fulfilled last night. Reporter Phil Rees, for Correspondent, had my eyes out on stalks with The Missing Million.

    Filmed and Directed by Darren Conway.
    Assistant Producer: Mai Nishiyama

    # vimeo.com/28627261 Uploaded 13.4K Plays / / 2 Comments Watch in Couch Mode

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Television documentaries by Phil Rees.

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