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George Gittoes - I Witness

55m Art, Painting, Biography, Documentary 1999

This film explores the work of expressionist painter, George Gittoes who has almost single handedly documented the major social and military conflicts of the end of last century and the first years of this.

He was the only western journalist present at the Kibeho massacre. He believes its relatively safe to be a soldier now, that it’s civilians who are being maimed and killed and no-one’s chronicling it.

As the centrepiece to the film we travel with him along the flood ravaged Yangtze River in China as he searches for a subject to paint that will tell the story of the social upheaval caused by the building of the Three Gorges Dam.

The film is richly illustrated with Gittoes’ confronting images. He talks openly about his work and reveals that he needs to take the huge physical risk to go to the centre of the storm and face off the darkness of these places before he is able to create.

He says ‘too much art is about decoration, we’re not looking at our own darkness and by not facing it we’re not changing it’.

WARNING: some images of war and violence may disturb some viewers


Don Featherstone


Don Featherstone

Director of Photography

Paul Ree


Leo Sullivan

Executive Producer

Dasha Ross






Don Featherstone Productions

Bonus Content

In Conversation With George Gittoes


Courtesy of Hazelhurst Arts Centre, Sutherland Shire Council, NSW. George Gittoes discusses his work in George Gittoes: I Witness (exhibition 2014). Filmed by Lachie Hinton at the Rockdale Yellow House and Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery. Music by Yon Yonson.

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