• Germany's news in English

German film on music in torture wins Emmy

The Local · 20 Nov 2012, 12:41

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"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.

Story continues below…

The Local/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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.
Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd