|Mark Brecke is an award-winning filmmaker and photographer, whose work documents the stories of people victimized by war, ethnic conflict, and genocide. Since 1995 without benefit or influence from mainstream media organizations, he has covered some of the most troubled regions of the world. Mark's work has been exhibited at a wide variety of venues, ranging from micro-cinemas to the Toronto International Film Festival and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. His work has also been featured on CNN, National Geographic, NPR and Democracy Now!. His photographs are in the collections of the United States Memorial Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. and the Museo de Memoria y Tolerancia in Mexico City.|
Emerging from the late 1980's experimental film community in San Francisco ----an environment in which personal expression often prevails over commercial viability----Mark studied cinema with Philip Greene (apprentice of Ansel Adams and assistant to Dorothea Lange), and continued his studies at UC Berkeley with found-footage, underground filmmaker, Craig Baldwin.
In the 1980's, Mark began experimenting with Super 8mm film as his preferred medium, and for the past two decades, his films have incorporated, in varying degrees, an interplay of photographic stills, motion images, and found and recorded sound. His experimental documentary film War as a Second Language was composed from 15 years of newsreels, documentaries, and raw footage of the Vietnam War to create an audio track, which he then juxtoposed with moving and still images that he shot in Vietnam and Cambodia in 1995. Tourists replace soldiers and the audio mix becomes a haunting and evocative narrative about history and the legacies of war. Amnesty International added War as a Second Language to their permanent film archive in 2004.
In 2003, Mark traveled to five countries to photograph the letter-writing subjects for a book project called Letters to America: A Chance for Us to Listen. Included on the travel itinerary was Iraq, where Mark was one of the few embedded photographers present during the invastion who was not affiliated with any official media organization.
In 2004, Mark extended his tong-term project on genocide to cover the crisis in Darfur. He photographed the refugee camps in eastern Chad and traveled behind rebel lines in the Darfur region of Sudan. From 2004 to 2010 he presented his Darfur photographs and lectured to more than 100 different audiences, including the U.S. Senate. In 2006 the U.S. Senate selected ten of Mark's Darfur photographs to be displayed in the Russell Rotunda of the U.S. Senate Building. That same year he was invited to participate in the international multi-media group exhibition DarfurDarfur, which traveled to over 35 museums and galleries worldwide.
Mark's film on the Darfur crisis, the critically acclaimed They Turned Our Desert Into Fire (2007), won the International Jury Prize for best documentary at the 31st Sao Paulo International Film Festival (2007). It also won the top documentary award at the Artivist Film Festival in Los Angeles (2008). They Turned Our Desert Into Fire has worldwide broadcast and institutional distribution through Documentary Educational Resources. San Francisco's Purebred Productions produced the Film.
In addition to other ongoing projects, he has worked as a stills photographer on feature and documentary films since 2002.
They Turned Our Desert Into Fire (2007, HD, 88min.)
War as a Second Language (1995/2002, Super 8, with archival audio soundtrack 26min)
Hilton Hotel (2001, Super 8, with a Theremin sound track, 3 min.)
The Men's Room (1996, Super 8, with live recording of a confession, 7min.)
Mannequin Dual Projection, multimedia installation (1995, Super 8, 3min.)
It's My News (1995, Super 8, time lapse cinematography, set to Chopin. 10min.)
Bodega (1994, Video, set to a Jonathan Richman song, 12min.)
Kool-Aid (1989, Super 8, 5min.)
MUNI (1988, Super 8, 3min.)
2009 The South American Seminar for Promotion and
Equality, Salvador Brazil.
2006 Google Tech Talk, Google headquarters,
Mountain View California.
2006 World Affairs Council, San Francisco California.
2006 The Watson Institute for International Studies
Brown University, Providence Rhode Island.
2005 Kennedy School of Government Harvard
University, Cambridge MA.
2005 United States Senate, Washington D.C.
Google Earth in partnership with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
New York Times Bestseller "Not on Our Watch"
The Green Belt Movement
U.S. and Int'l Distribution (dvds and broadcast)
Contact Documentary Educational Resources