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German film on music in torture wins Emmy

Published: 20 Nov 2012 12:41 GMT+01:00

"Songs of War: Music as a Weapon" made in 2010, beat films from Japan, Brazil and Britain to win in the category of arts programming.

The film follows composer Christopher Cerf, whose work includes more than 200 songs for the children's show "Sesame Street".

He said he was surprised and horrified when he realised that his music had been used to torture prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

"I was furious, on one level, and, I have to say, bemused on another," Cerf told Japan Today online news site in June. "It just seemed insane. And, of course, it hurt my feelings a little bit, too, that my songs were bad enough that anyone thought they’d be useful in this way."

Cerf and German filmmaker Tristan Chytroschek decided to find out how the music was used in torture and interrogation, and spoke with, among others, psychologists, prisoners tortured with Cerf's music, and a US soldier who had been a guard at Guantanamo Bay.

Click here to see the trailer

The International Emmys are awarded by the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which has representatives from 50 different countries.

The last time a German show was honoured was in 2009, when the three-part docudrama "The Wolves" won, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. That film explored the issues surrounding the Berlin blockade, the division of Germany, and the country's reunification.

The Local/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:52 November 20, 2012 by yllusion
Just turn on the radio and you'll have torture right there with so much commercial, repetitive 3-4 chord based music styles, untalented singers, boring electronic beats, annoying choruses and superficial lyrics...
16:25 November 20, 2012 by Leo Strauss
Solution to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib music torture: GEMA.

Solution to GEMA: Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib
00:47 November 21, 2012 by marimay
The radio truly is torture.
04:44 November 21, 2012 by taiwanluthiers
GEMA should send a letter of cease and desist to Guantanamo Bay citing copyright violations for unauthorized use of music in their operation and demand royalty payments.
18:30 November 23, 2012 by almorr
I hate rap music, that would be torture to me, I mean if rap music was played to me on a blaring loud radio or loudspeaker for hours on end, that is torture, and that is what probably happens in such cases at Guantanamo Bay.
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