Screening of Brother Number One
DFP Professor and Academy-Award nominated filmmaker Peter Gilbert will present his film Brother Number One on October 25 at 7 p.m. at the WFU Byrum Welcome Center. He will also talk about the film as well as his experiences as a documentary filmmaker during a Q&A and reception following the screening.
Brother Number One is a New Zealand documentary co-directed and photographed by Gilbert. The story centers on the torture and murder of Kerry Hamill by the Khmer Rouge in 1978 and follows his younger brother, world champion rower John Dewhirst, on a journey to retrace Hamill’s steps while speaking to eyewitnesses, perpetrators, and survivors of the Cambodian genocide.
Through Rob Hamill’s personal story, Brother Number One explores one of the “forgotten” genocides of the 20th century, examining how and why nearly 2 million Cambodians could be killed by a fanatical regime known as the Khmer Rouge.
"Brother Number One" was the name that Pol Pot, the leader of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime of Cambodia, gave himself. Kerry Hamill was also “brother number one” the oldest boy in the large Hamill family of Whakatane, New Zealand. In 1978, the lives of the two “brother number ones” collided.
Kerry Hamill was on board his charter yacht Foxy Lady with two other men when they anchored at Koh Tang Island to shelter from a storm. His girlfriend Gail had recently left the yacht to visit family in Hawai’i. Unbeknownst to them they had entered Kampuchean waters, neither did they know of the horror story that was unfolding on the mainland.
They had sailed from the hippie era of “love and freedom” into Year Zero. Along with Englishman John Dewhirst, Kerry was seized and tortured for two months at the Khmer Rouge slaughterhouse, Tuol Sleng (S21). After signing confessions taken under duress that "admitted" CIA affiliations, they were executed on Comrade Duch’s orders. A third companion Canadian Stuart Glass was shot and killed when the boat was captured. Some would say he was the lucky one.
The screening, which is sponsored by the Documentary Film Program with a reception provided by Reynolda Film Festival, is free and open to the public.