Katalyst blogspot archive 2009 – 2012

In Archive on November 23, 2015 at 20:15

For archive purposes, we’re reposting the old Katalyst Blogspot from 2009-2012 here.


“Addicted in Afghanistan” now available to stream or download!


It is with great excitement that we can finally announce our multi-award winning feature length documentary “Addicted in Afghanistan” is now available to stream or buy to download here!
Thanks to Distrify you can watch this film and if you embed it on your own blogs or websites, you get to earn  revenue from film sales!  Please see the Addicted website for further details about the film.

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Filming the “Accidental Activists”


As I am about to head back out to Libya to continue filming my documentary “Libya: After the Fall” and to film other stories about the many challenges Libyans face on the bumpy road to democracy, I wanted to take a moment to write about some of my experiences filming in Tripoli back in November & December 2011.  I initially wanted to make a film about the revolution itself entitled “Libya February 17.” It was to be a documentary recounting the brave stand many ordinary Libyans took to defy the rule of Muammar Gaddafi.  Armed with little but a tripod, my camera and a few contacts, I hit the ground running in Tripoli back in November 2011.  This post will mention just a few of these wonderfully brave Libyans I met.

Bab al Aziziya

Sharron Ward filming at Gaddafi’s Bab al Aziziyah compound Tripoli, Libya

Salwa – lost for words

In Libya on July 15, 2014 at 23:45


Salwa Bugaighis was a human rights lawyer and founding February 17 Revolutionary who was one of the first activists to protest on February 15th in front of the Courthouse in Benghazi, Libya.  She was a member of the National Transitional Council and fought courageously for human rights & dignity and especially for women’s rights in Libya.  On the night of June 25 2014, Salwa was mercilessly gunned down in her own home by suspected Islamist  militants who fear freedom, dignity, democracy and the rule of law.  I filmed this interview with Salwa in Tripoli soon after the overthrow of Gaddafi and she talked about her hopes for the future and some of her fears – all somewhat prophetic now.  Another tragic loss that has become the blood bath of post-conflict Libya.  Too many sacrifices.  May she rest in peace.



It’s Fiji Time!

In Fiji on January 25, 2013 at 22:25

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Recently I saw a random photo about Beachcomber Resort – an idyllic choral atoll deep in the South Pacific just off the coast of Fiji.  As it happens, in 1995 I visited this island.  It was the idyllic picture-postcard-perfect paradise you imagine the South Pacific to be.  But I had just come to Beachcomber from Nadi, Fiji where I saw the real side of Fiji.  Most tourists only go to the resorts in the islands, rarely going into the main islands of Fiji – Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, asides from perhaps visiting the capital Suva.  It was here that you get to see the real Fiji and the warmth and friendliness of its people.   Coming from New Zealand, it was my first time seeing a “developing” nation up front.  The disparity between the luxury tourist resorts, and the poverty of the average Fijian was stark.

Most of the Fijian economy at that time was based on exporting sugar cane and of course from it’s tourism.  I’ll never forget seeing kids and women washing their clothes in the river; most houses did not have running water.  Although mainly made up of indigenous Fijians – who are Melanesians, Fji has a growing number of Fijian-Indians – descendants of Indian contract labourers brought to the islands by the British colonial powers in the 19th century.  Back then, tensions had been rising between the native Fijians and Fijian-Indians, and most ethnic groups tended to socialise amongst themselves.  Democratic rule was interrupted by two military coups in 1987 because the government was perceived as dominated by the Indo-Fijian community.  This accounted for a flux of emigration of Indian-Fijians away from Fiji, fearing discrimination.  But it was in Fiji that I celebrated my first Diwali – and I can remember walking down the  sandy lanes of the sugar plantations at night, seeing fairy lights twinkling in the distance, proudly draped around Fijian-Indian homes.

Fiji had another coup in 2000, and yet another one in 2006 –  so for a small island nation, it’s certainly had it’s share of political upheaval.  At least the police were friendly.  I can remember spending a night sitting with the Fijian police who were stationed near our hotel drinking kava kava, sitting on the floor clapping three times as we passed the kava bowl around, of this strangely numbing narcotic brew.  No wonder the police there seemed so relaxed.


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