Filmmaker Courts Danger to Document Longest Running Conflict in History

Janson Media today announced the release of the award-winning documentary Pawns of Paradise: Inside the Kashmir Conflict (1 x 54') to Worldwide Television, VOD, New Media, Non-Theatric, and DVD/Video markets. The special captures the layered culture of Kashmir and the effects that 62 years of dispute has had on what was once one of the richest areas in its region.

Flashpoint Kashmir. Could the unthinkable happen tomorrow? Few other territories on Earth pose so much danger to world peace. With nonstop fighting since 1949, it"s the longest ongoing conflict in the world today. India and Pakistan — both nuke-ready heavyweights — lay fierce claim to the territory. Between them over one million soldiers straddle the Line of Control. But what of the war-scarred Kashmiri inhabitants — the 12 million people who live in one of the most resource-rich environments on earth — dense with alpine forests, massive river systems, fertile valleys and soaring mountains like K2? This is their story, as told through the eyes of independent filmmaker and video journalist Zoltan Istvan, who traveled alone in the region to capture the conflict within.

Kashmir means paradise on Earth. But in Istvan"s 6-week filming journey through the war-torn region it was anything but. Instead the journey revealed a people — Kashmiri Hindus and Muslims — in great despair each trying to build lives in a land beset by 50 years of war and terrorism. A visit to a Kashmiri Pandit refugee camp showed how hundreds of thousands of Hindus went from being the richest people in the region to the poorest, forced from their homes and lands by militant violence. On the other side of the Line of Control, in a poorly supplied civilian hospital in Pakistan"s Muzaffarabad District, Muslim amputees of all ages told horrible details of being caught in the fighting. In Srinagar, a widow gave solemn testimony about her husband, a shopkeeper who was murdered after being accused of militant activity.

In this Itstvan Media production, Zoltan captures all the hidden faces of the proud but crumbling Kashmiri culture that rarely is seen by the outside world or covered by traditional media. His footage also includes exciting adventures through Kashmir"s stunning, world famous landscapes. This includes hitchhiking through the lush Kashmir Valley; trekking through the Himalayas; horse riding near glaciers in Pakistan"s northern tribal areas; house boating on Dal lake; off-roading to Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh where oracles cast out evil spirits; and motorcycling through the militant ridden countryside of Azad Kashmir.

Born in Los Angeles in 1973, Zoltan Istvan began sailing alone around the world at the age of 21. After visiting 70 countries on his sailboat The Way, he pursued journalism. He"s written for the New York Times Syndicate, National Geographic.com, Cruising World, San Francisco Chronicle, Sail and Outside. At 28 he began working with the National Geographic Channel — filming, writing, narrating and producing television news segments and webcasts, and publishing online articles about adventure, science, human rights, wildlife and environmental issues from places such as Vanuatu, Uruguay, Cambodia, Bolivia, Spain, Vietnam, Greece, Brazil and Paraguay. For more information on Zoltan, including his other projects, please visit the Istvan Media website.

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