Late last year, South Sudan’s president, Salva Kiir, accused his former vice president, Riek Machar, of attempting a coup d’état amid accusations of rampant corruption within the government. Infighting immediately broke out within the presidential guard, sparking what has now become a brutal tribal and civil war that has pitted Machar’s ethnic Nuer loyalists against the majority Dinka, who have sided with Kiir. Machar narrowly escaped assassination, fleeing to the deep bush as Kiir’s troops razed his home and killed his bodyguards. And now the world’s newest sovereign nation is in imminent danger of becoming a failed state.
In February, journalists and filmmakers Robert Young Pelton and Tim Freccia set out on a grueling mission to locate Machar in his secret hideout in Akobo and get his side of the story. Accompanying was Machot Lat Thiep, a former child soldier and Lost Boy who had advised on South Sudan’s constitution and now works as a manager of a Cosco in Seattle. Machot acted as a guide of sorts, arranging Pelton and Freccia’s rendezvous with Machar through a series of endless satellite-phone calls to old contacts and rebel platoons, who would eventually guide the group to the deposed vice president.
After spending a couple days with Machar, he granted Pelton and Freccia unprecedented access to the front lines of a battle in Malakal, where for the first time in history the pair documented the heretofore mythical White Army as they looted, murdered, and pillaged their way to some twisted interpretation of “victory.”
For the past decade, New Zealanders Joanne and Gareth Morgan have been living the semiretired lifestyle of their dreams, traveling around the world on motorcycles alongside a few of their closest friends. They’ve traversed all seven continents on their bikes, with routes as varied as Venice to Beijing, Florida to northern Alaska, and South Africa to London, just to name a few. Gareth funds his own trips, many of which he uses to pursue philanthropic endeavors, particularly in the social-investment space. He is able to do so with money he’s made as an economist and investment manager—one who has earned the reputation for criticizing unethical practices in New Zealand’s financial-services industry.
In late August, the Morgans embarked on their most ambitious journey yet, at least physically. The real journey began years ago, when they decided they wanted to ride the Baekdudaegan, a mountain range that stretches the length of North and South Korea’s shared peninsula. After countless hours of negotiation and coordination with both governments, they were granted permission. It was, the Morgans believe, the first time anyone’s ever traveled through both countries like that since the partitioning of Korea in 1945. By making the trip they hoped to demonstrate how Koreans can come together over what they have in common. To symbolize this, the Morgans took some stones from Paektu, a holy mountain in the North, and brought them to Hallasan, a similarly sacred peak in the South.
Joanne and Gareth shot the entirety of their trip, the footage from which they have graciously allowed us to cut into a short film, which will air Tuesday, December 3 on VICE.com.
In Fresh Off the Boat season two, Eddie takes you on a global excursion examining cities in transition. From the abandoned Packard Plant in Detroit to migrant Kyrgyz workers in Moscow to the yurts of the Gobi Desert, we see the wreckage that global capitalism has left behind and get a glimpse of what could be its next meal in the Mongolian steppes. From high-powered meetings with the pandas of Chengdu and pasta with self-proclaimed celebrity gangster Dave Courtney, we ask the people on the ground whether the changes we’re seeing and the progress we’ve been promised are actually helping the every day man in his pursuit of happiness. Of course, this all happens through the lens of food, across a table, on a plate. Fuck with the kid.
The premiere episode of Fresh Off the Boat season two will air September 30 on VICE.com.
Julian Assange Talks to VICE About Bradley Manning and Political Payback - Trailer
In the buildup to Julian Assange’s run for the Australian senate, VICE was invited to the Ecuadorian embassy in London for a rare in-person interview. Our visit coincided with the conviction of Bradley Manning, the young US Army private whose alleged espionage put WikiLeaks on the map. Assange spoke to us about political payback, his plans for freeing the most famous whistle-blower in history, and why the world needs a WikiLeaks political party.
Starring Lil Bub and Bub’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, along with Grumpy Cat, Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat, and meme-manager supreme Ben Lashes, Lil Bub & Friendz follows the life and times of Bub and examines the internet-cat phenomenon, in general.
Lil Bub & Friendz will premiere worldwide at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.
VICE Films, in partnership with Snoopadelic Films, presents Reincarnated. The documentary follows Snoop Dogg as he journeys to Jamaica to record an album with Diplo. While there, Snoop finds himself embraced by the Jamaican people, is positively impacted by Rastafarian culture, and becomes reincarnated as Snoop Lion.
Reincarnated is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7.