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"I had a soundman working for me. One day he was wearing a dress and a wig, and as I understand it, that is the way he will work for the rest of his life"  -Steve Martin on working in Hollywood
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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On the eve of the sixth anniversary (February 28, 1999) of the botched raid on the Davidians at Waco, Texas, the Oscar nominated documentary exploring the FBIís actions is screening in Australia. We look at the issues and the man who produced, wrote, directed and edited the film, William Gazecki.

As Kevin Thomas noted in the New York Times, Waco; The Rules of Engagement is a "meticulously detailed, step by step and terrifyingly persuasive all-out attack on government agencies and officials for their handling of the siege of the Branch Davidian at Waco, Texas."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated this shocking film for Best Documentary. The film argues that the FBI machine-gunned the Branch Davidians and committed numerous other right violations there. The nomination caps a long list of honours.

"itís an understatement to say that the film is provocative"

This full length documentary presents the complete picture of the tragic series of events outside Waco that resulted in the shooting of four federal agents and the gassing and fiery deaths of 76 men, women and children in February 1993. The film raises serious doubts about some aspects of the FBIís version of the story. It provides an opportunity to review the historical record of events at a time when government agencies and police around the world Ė Australia included - are having to deal with explosive situations, often beyond their emotional and intellectual capabilities.

Thomas, writing at the time of the filmís US release (itís taken 18 months to reach Australia) says "itís an understatement to say that the film is provocative in every sense of the word." This, despite the fact that filmmaker William Gazecki maintains a calm, detached tone throughout, which allows us to judge everyone, including Branch Davidian leader David Koresh, for ourselves.

The powerful look and feel of the film is due in large part to the editing artistry of Emmy Award-winner, William Gazecki.

In addition to his skill as a video editor, Gazecki brought to the project a talented ear for dramatic, gripping sound. A specialist in the field of post-production sound mixing, it was in the area that he won an Emmy Award for the hit television series St. Elsewhere. He also received Emmy nominations for his work on Hill Street Blues, thirtysomething and Moonlighting. His work on thirtysomething brought him an International Monitor Award in 1987. He has also been honoured by the Cinema Audio Society and the Society of Motion Picture Sound Editors.

Gazecki developed his keen ear in the music business. At the age of 20, he was hired by prominent record producer Richard Perry. Early on, he worked with such major artists as Fleetwood Mac, Leo Sayer and Joe Cocker. Along with music pioneer Paul A. Rothchild, he completed the successful sound track and record album of the feature film The Rose starring Bette Midler and went on to produce two records for The Doors, adding to their collection of Gold and Platinum.

William has studied film and television production at UCLA, the University of Southern California and the American Film Institute.

In 1991, he founded his own company, Ultravision, which has provided video production services and support for over 50 productions including documentary, educational and other non-fiction projects.

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Film critic Roger Ebert has suggested that a Pulitzer for film be created to recognise works like Waco: The Rules of Engagement.

See our REVIEW

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