Downloads: Press Release

New York, NY — Aug. 23, 2010 – The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) by Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath, which aired on POV (Point of View), public television’s premier showcase for independent documentaries in 2009, won a Creative Arts Emmy® Award for Exceptional Merit in Nonfiction Filmmaking. The award was presented by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Saturday, Aug. 21 at a ceremony held at NOKIA theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. The event will air as a two-hour special on Friday, Aug. 27, at 1 p.m. ET/PT on E! Entertainment Television. PBS won seven statuettes in all.

The majority of the 70-category Creative Arts Emmy Awards are dedicated to technical disciplines and direction, cinematography, hairstyling, makeup, music, picture editing, sound editing and mixing, special visual effects and more.

Emmys in 26 other categories will be presented at the 2010 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on Sunday, Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on the NBC Television Network at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE.

Now in its 23rd season on PBS, POV has won 23 Emmy Awards, including a 2007 Special News & Documentary Emmy for Excellence in Television Documentary Filmmaking, and earned 51 previous Emmy nominations. POV has garnered many other coveted industry awards and honors, including 12 George Foster Peabody Awards, nine duPont-Columbia Broadcast Journalism Awards, four Independent Spirit Awards, three Academy Awards®, the Prix Italia, the Webby and the International Documentary Association IDA Award for Best Continuing Series. POV airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on PBS from June — September, and features primetime specials during the year. (Check local listings.)

About the film and filmmakers:

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) by Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
Pandinlao Films, LLC in Association with American Documentary | POV
Director/Cinematographer: Ellen Kuras; Co-director/Editor: Thavisouk Phrasavath; Producer: Ellen Kuras and Flora Fernandez-Marengo; Executive Producers: Simon Kilmurry and Cara Mertes

Filmed over 23 years, The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) is the Academy Award®-nominated directorial debut of renowned cinematographer Ellen Kuras in a unique collaboration with the film’s subject and co-director, Thavisouk (“Thavi”) Phrasavath. After the U.S. government waged a secret war in Laos during the Vietnam War, Thavi’s father and thousands of other Laotians who had fought alongside American forces were abandoned and left to face imprisonment or execution. Hoping to find safety, Thavi’s family made a harrowing escape to America, where they discovered a different kind of war. Weaving ancient prophecy with personal testimony and stunning imagery, The Betrayal is a story of survival and the resilient bonds of family. A Diverse Voices Project co-production with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting); funded in part by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). An Official Selection of the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.

The Betrayal (Nerakhoon) also won the Spectrum Award at the 2008 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Best of the Festival Award at the 2008 Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Ellen Kuras, Director
An unprecedented three-time recipient of the Sundance Film Festival’s Best Dramatic Cinematography Award, Director, Ellen Kuras was first widely recognized for her black and white cinematography on Tom Kalin’s 1991 independent feature, “Swoon.” She began her career in 1987, shooting Ellen Bruno’s internationally acclaimed “Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia” and winning the 1990 Eastman Kodak Best Cinematography Focus Award. In 1995, she was nominated for an Emmy for her work on “A Century of Women” and then nominated again for Spike Lee’s
“4 Little Girls.” Kuras has been a recipient of the New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) Muse Award, as well as the Los Angeles Women in Film Crystal Award.

Her other credits include Isaac Mizrahi’s “Unzipped,” Mary Harron’s “I Shot Andy Warhol,” Spike Lee’s Oscar-nominated documentary, “4 Little Girls,” and his feature films “Summer of Sam” and “Bamboozled.” Ellen shot Ted Demme’s “Blow,” starring Johnny Depp, and Rebecca Miller’s “Personal Velocity” (winner, Best Dramatic Cinematography and Grand Jury Award, Sundance Film Festival 2002) and “The Ballad of Jack and Rose.” One of the few women to shoot studio films, she was the cinematographer for “Analyze That,” starring Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro, and Michel Gondry’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Her latest work includes the Neil Young concert film “Heart of Gold,” “Lou Reed’s Berlin,” “Be Kind Rewind” and Sam Mendes’ “Away We Go.”

A native of Cedar Grove, N.J., Kuras initially attended Brown University to study anthropology, but became interested in photography after taking a class at the Rhode Island School of Design. Although awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, she opted to stay in New York City to work in film.

Thavisouk Phrasavath, Co-director
Active in the Laotian American community in the United States and Canada, Thavisouk Phrasavath is a creative consultant for developing Lao TV and other media. During his early years in Brooklyn, he served as the primary liaison and translator for Laotians living in New York City and surrounding areas. His background in community work includes assisting Gang Prevention for Youth and Family Crisis Intervention through the Church Avenue Merchants Block Association and working with the police department as a liaison and interpreter for the Lao community. Formerly an Area Policy Board member, Phrasavath has consulted for the New York City Board of Education.

His film work extends into writing, editing, directing and cinematography. His projects as editor include Mira Sorvino’s directorial debut, “Making Famous,” as well as “Summer School,” “Cuba Libre,” “Americanos,” “Streaming with the Prez,” “Vietnam on the Cusp,” “Sound Painting” and, most recently, “Golden Venture.” Phrasavath has also directed and edited music videos for independent artists, published poetry and won awards for his paintings and illustrations. He graduated with honors from Pratt Institute with a degree in electrical engineering. The Betrayal is his first film as both subject and filmmaker.

Produced by American Documentary, Inc. and now in its 23rd season on PBS, the award-winning POV series is the longest-running showcase on American television to feature the work of today’s best independent documentary filmmakers. Airing June through September, with primetime specials during the year, POV has brought more than 300 acclaimed documentaries to millions nationwide and has a Webby Award-winning online series, POV’s Borders. Since 1988, POV has pioneered the art of presentation and outreach using independent nonfiction media to build new communities in conversation about today’s most pressing social issues. More information is available at

Major funding for POV is provided by PBS, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Educational Foundation of America, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Fledgling Fund, FACT and public television viewers. Funding for POV’s Diverse Voices Project is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. POV is presented by a consortium of public television stations, including KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston and THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG.

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POV Pressroom
Produced by American Documentary, Inc., POV is public television’s premier showcase for nonfiction films. Since 1988, POV has been the home for the world’s boldest contemporary filmmakers, celebrating intriguing personal stories that spark conversation and inspire action. Always an innovator, POV discovers fresh new voices and creates interactive experiences that shine a light on social issues and elevate the art of storytelling. With our documentary broadcasts, original online programming and dynamic community engagement campaigns, we are committed to supporting films that capture the imagination and present diverse perspectives.