August 06, 2009 13:47 ET

"END OF THE RAINBOW" Premieres on the PBS World Series "Global Voices" on Sunday, August 30, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - August 6, 2009) - "END OF THE RAINBOW" is an in-depth look at the impact of global mining on local populations, their economy, their traditions and their environment. It depicts in striking detail the confrontation of two cultures -- one indigenous, the other a unique reflection of the age of globalization. Using a gold mine in Guinea to look at how concessions granted to transnational corporations play out in local communities, the film reveals that most often, people trade one set of hardships for another. A film by Robert Nugent, "END OF THE RAINBOW" will air on the PBS World series "Global Voices" on Sunday, August 30, 2009, at 10 PM (check local listings).

"END OF THE RAINBOW" shows the piece-by-piece dismantling of a massive gold mining operation in Borneo, then follows its reconstruction in northeastern Guinea and its impact on a Guinean village near where the gold mine was rebuilt after the mining company negotiated a secret royalty arrangement with the local government, a governing body noted for its corruption. Although the terms of the royalty contract are secret, one thing is known: The local population receives only 0.4 percent of the profits from the mine.

The chief of the Guinean village and the mine's chief engineer, who is English, guide us through the two sides of the issue. The Guinean village had been an agrarian community. Families eked out a living from the ground with short-handled hoes and earned extra income panning for their own gold in the dry season. To make way for the new mine, whole villages had to be relocated; although the company compensated the farmers for their holdings, several were unwilling to leave. But some of the local men received well-paying jobs at the mine. Discos opened and the Guinean miners began to adapt to a modern consumer lifestyle.

The mine's chief engineer and his international team of expats created a culture of their own, the center of which is a whites-only pub equipped with satellite television, copious liquor and the flags of a dozen nations. The mine manager ruefully admits that he lives only for the moment and has no home, no savings, no family and no hobbies, unless you count his work. He and the other whites are full-fledged citizens of the new global economy.

Soon conflict breaks out as drought brings hunger to the village. The farmers can no longer supplement their income by panning for gold since the company now owns the fields. The once tranquil landscape is ravaged by a Dante-esque pit -- fouled by poisonous, cyanide-laced water and in constant danger of cave-ins.

Determined to keep the locals out, ostensibly for reasons of safety, the mine turns over enforcement to the Guinean army, whose soldiers are shockingly abusive to their fellow citizens. At a community meeting, the chief insists that "the poor have rights too," but he is powerless in the face of the company and the government. He can only conclude that "the gods who protected Africa have abandoned us."

Evenhanded and thoughtful, "END OF THE RAINBOW" tells a firsthand story of a world changing forever, one of countless similar stories being played out around the globe in which people are struggling between a difficult past and an uncertain future.

About the Filmmaker

Robert Nugent (Director) Robert was born and raised in Asbury, New South Wales. Instead of taking over the family printing business, he left home and labored in the steel works at Wollongong. He then moved to Arm dale to study natural resource management. He worked on a World Bank project in Somalia, where he met an old locust hunter. When he finished his degree, he got a job in Broken Hill chasing locusts all over inland Australia. He loved the outback and learned to fly, running around in small planes over the deserts. After the locusts, he was lucky enough to get a job with an indigenous organization in Alice Springs. The locusts caught up with him again after three years, and he left Alice Springs for Darwin and started working for the United Nations, running projects in war zones, against locusts in Afghanistan and rice pests in Cambodia.

Never without a camera, Nugent left the United Nations after 11 years and earned a master's degree in documentary filmmaking at the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. Then he spent a year interviewing Australian war veterans, chasing the memory of his father, who had never spoken of his wartime experiences. He is currently working on a film for the Australian War Memorial, editing footage that he took when he was an official cinematographer for them in Iraq, in 2006. He has a company called Visible Impact Assessment, which looks at how film can be used by communities to monitor and evaluate change; the company has projects in the works in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia. Nugent is currently developing a film on war and locusts.

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