GEORGE GITTOES is an artist who deliberately places himself in the path of the war machine. He is also an award-winning filmmaker.
Over the last 45 years he has lived, worked and born witness in countries around the world suffering appallingly destructive violent conflict, including Cambodia, Rwanda, Somalia, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Philippines, Bosnia, East Timor, Palestine, Congo, South Africa, Lebanon, Gaza, Russia, Mozambique, Timor, Western Sahara, Yemen, and Iraq. In these diverse locations he has set up studios to document and advocate for people caught up in the chaos; utilizing art as a positive force to declare “war on war.”
In 1969-71 he was one of the founders of the now-legendary Yellow House in Sydney, inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s vision of artistic collaboration in Provence. In 2010 he settled in the Taliban stronghold of Jalalabad, Afghanistan and established a new Yellow House — just a few blocks from where former Jalalabad resident Osama bin Laden is said to have lived while allegedly plotting the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. George’s engagement with Afghanistan is deep and longstanding, dating back 16 years.
His feature documentaries have been broadcast and screened at festivals throughout the world including; Miscreants of Taliwood (2009), made in Pakistan and screened by SBS, IDFA and at Telluride; Rampage, shot in Miami and screened at Berlin Film Festival where it was nominated for a Golden Hugo Best Documentary and subsequently released theatrically in the UK and Australia. The Soundtrack to War, his feature documentary shot in 2004/04 in Iraq screened on ABC and several scenes were also included in Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Prior to Snow Monkey, his most recent feature documentary, Love City Jalalabad premiered at the Sydney Film Festival 2013 and was nominated for the Foxtel Australian Documentary Award.
Among many prizes, Gittoes has twice been awarded the Blake Prize for Religious Art and was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in 2015.