Bidder 70 tells the story of Tim DeChristopher and his stunning act of civil disobedience in a time of global climate chaos. On December 19, 2008, DeChristopher, as Bidder #70, derailed the Bush administration's last minute, widely disputed federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oil and Gas lease auction, acting to safeguard thousands of acres of Utah land. Bidding $1.7 million, Tim won 22,000 acres of land with no intention to pay or drill. For his disruption of the auction, DeChristopher was indicted on two federal charges.
Manjusha Amberwar, a young journalist, examines the causes of an epidemic of farmer suicides in India—one every 30 minutes—that includes her own father. She hopes that by drawing attention to their plight, she can bring an end to this tragedy. But it won't be easy. In 2004 an American company introduced its genetically modified seeds to the Indian market, promising higher yields. Farmers tell her that the seeds require expensive pesticides and chemical fertilizers. And the sterile seeds, unlike the conventional seeds previously used by farmers, have to be purchased again each year.
Through gripping testimony of those who experienced the raid on the Diaz school at the 2001 Genoa G8 Summit, Black Block provides a case study of police violence and arbitrary detention that could happen anywhere. Activists Lena, Niels, Chabi, Mina, Dan, Michael, and Muli, recount in painful detail how they went from demonstrating against the G8 summit in the streets to what they thought was a safe shelter for the night—the Diaz school on the outskirts of the northern Italian city of Genoa.
Through New Zealander Rob Hamill's story of his brother's death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge, Brother Number One explores how the regime and its followers killed nearly 2 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. In 1978, Kerry Hamill and two friends disappeared without a trace while sailing from Australia to Southeast Asia. Rob discovers that a Khmer Rouge cell attacked the boat. One sailor, Canadian Stuart Glass, was shot immediately, but Kerry and Englishman John Dewhirst were taken to the notorious S-21 Prison in Phnom Penh, held for several months, tortured, and killed.
In an office on the outskirts of Kampala, veteran activist David Kato labors to repeal Uganda's homophobic laws and liberate his fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, or "kuchus." But David's formidable task just became more difficult. A new "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" proposes the death penalty for HIV-positive gay men and prison for anyone who fails to turn in a known homosexual. David is one of the few who dare to publicly protest the country's government and press.
Color of the Ocean tells the story of two refugees whose paths collide with those of an altruistic tourist and a Canary Island police officer—changing the course of all their lives. After years working as a border patrolman, José (Alex González) is cynical about his work. His scepticism is tested when he encounters Nathalie (Sabine Timoteo), a German tourist assisting a boatload of refugees she discovers landing on the Canary shores. One of those refugees, a Congolese man named Zola (Hubert Koundé), is placed in an internment camp.
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can the United States save its badly broken healthcare system? American healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually within 10 years. Patients pay more, yet health outcomes are worse. Thus it is no surprise that healthcare is a top concern in the United States and at the center of an intense political debate.
Based on events of the Bolivian Water War of April 2000, Even the Rain recounts a story that parallels the history of Christopher Columbus, with sticks and stones confronting the weaponry of a modern army. Only this time the fight is not over gold, but the simplest of elements—water. Obsessive idealist Sebastián (Gael Garcia Bernal) has sworn to direct a film about Christopher Columbus, showing what Columbus set in motion when he arrived in Latin America: the obsession with gold, the taking of slaves, and the terrible violence visited on Indians who fought back.
In a Ukrainian village, the formidable Olga Nenya single-handedly raises 23 foster children. Sixteen are the mixed-race offspring of visiting African students and Ukrainian women, who often see no choice but to abandon their babies. And that’s where Olga comes in. Family Portrait in Black and White is an inspired and challenging tale about the meaning of family that charts the rhythms of Olga’s hectic household, where the children find safety in a society that constantly reminds them they are outsiders.
Young lovers Qays (Kais Nashef) and Layla (Maisa Abd Elhadi) are university students in the West Bank who hail from Khan Yunis in Gaza. He is pursuing a degree in literature and she in engineering, but they are forced to return home before completing their courses. In the more religious and traditional environment of Khan Yunis, their love story can continue only by marrying. Yet Qays, who is a construction worker living in a refugee camp, is too poor to convince Layla's father that he can provide for his beloved daughter.
Werner Herzog's latest stunning documentary focuses on the bleak yet fascinating subject of capital punishment, following the moving story of Michael Perry and Jason Burkett, two young men found guilty of three capital murders in Texas. Perry was executed eight days after filming commenced, while Burkett was sentenced to life in prison. Unravelling the crime and trial from separate viewpoints, including the victim's families and prison staff, Herzog's masterful exploration of life on Death Row shows the devastating effects of capital punishment on all involved.
Jailed for running away from home to escape abuse, for allegations of adultery, and other “moral crimes,” the women of Afghanistan’s Badum Bagh prison band together to fight for their freedom. The film follows three young prisoners as they go to trial, revealing the pressures and paradoxes that women in Afghanistan face today, and the dangerous consequences of refusing to fit into society’s norms. Their defiant actions come to be seen as threats to the very fabric of society, and their acts of self-determination as illegal.
Léa Pool's critical, investigative documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc. begins on a sunny day in San Francisco as thousands of people prepare for a gruelling two-day walk to raise money for a cure for breast cancer. As the film explores the history of breast cancer, corporate fundraising, and the presentation of breast cancer campaigns in the media, each return to the run makes the effort seem more problematic.
Meet Masha, a 19-year-old who grew up in the Putin era, on her journey through the Kremlin-created Nashi youth movement. This coming-of-age tale focuses on Masha's personal political struggle and paints a grim picture of the Russian political climate. Many see Putin as the one leading Russia back to being a global superpower. Masha grows up with this belief, wholeheartedly supporting Putin's policies and seeking to rid Russia of what Nashi believes are Russia's "enemies"—the political opposition, investigative journalists, and human rights defenders.
Beautifully shot and interweaving interviews with scenes from soy fields in Paraguay, Raising Resistance explores Latin American farmers’ struggle against the expanding production of genetically modified soy in South America. Biotechnology, mechanisation, and herbicides have radically changed the lives of small farmers in Latin America. For farmers in Paraguay this means displacement from their land, loss of basic food supplies, and a veritable fight for survival.
Reportero follows veteran reporter Sergio Haro and his colleagues at Zeta, a Tijuana, Mexico-based weekly, as they dauntingly ply their trade in what has become one of the most deadly places in the world to be a journalist. Since the paper's founding in 1980, two of the paper's editors have been murdered and the founder viciously attacked. "Impunity reigns in Mexico, especially here along the northern border," explains Adela Navarro, Sergio's boss and Zeta's co-director.
With plenty of pop music and 'girl power', Salaam Dunk delivers a tale of hope and inspiration, courtesy of one winning group of Iraqi women basketball players at the American University in Sulaimani, Iraq. The women come from all over the country to attend this prestigious university, but many cannot tell family back home that they go to an 'American' college. The team itself is a 'mini Iraq'—comprised of Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, and Christians.
In Pakistan, a woman's face is deemed to be her greatest asset. Someone seeking to punish a woman need only destroy her face to do her permanent harm—both physically and socially. Saving Face exposes how acid attacks affect women in Pakistan, including Zakia, whose husband attacked her outside a courthouse when she filed for divorce, and Rukhsana, whose spouse attacked her in the marital home where she still lives because she cannot afford to care for her children alone. The film focuses on one courageous man trying to help this community, Dr. Mohammad Jawad.
Journalists in Sri Lanka risk life and limb to practice their profession. Lasantha Wickrematunge was one of these champions. He was gunned down by eight men in broad daylight in the capital, Colombo. His newly wed and now widowed wife, Sonali Samarasinghe, had to arrange her bridegroom’s funeral only a few days after the wedding. Besides being editor-in-chief of the critical newspaper The Morning Leader, Wickrematunge was also a fierce opponent of the Sri Lankan government.
Fernand Melgar’s intimate and emotionally charged portrait of the rejected asylum seekers and illegal migrants in Switzerland’s Frambois detention centre reveals a world that few know from the inside. With amazing access to his subjects, Melgar introduces us to a community of men who share friendships, fears, and a similar fate. There are three possibilities for every resident: to leave free with asylum granted, to leave the country by choice on a regular flight, or to leave in custody on a so-called ‘special flight’ back to their country of origin.
The Invisible War is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about the shameful and underreported epidemic of rape within the US military. With stark clarity and escalating revelations, The Invisible War exposes the rape epidemic in the armed forces, investigating the institutions that perpetuate it as well as its profound personal and social consequences. We meet characters who embraced their military service with pride and professionalism, only to have their idealism crushed.
Jon Shenk’s The Island President tells the story of former President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, who must grapple with the daunting prospect of his country fighting for physical survival and his citizens becoming ‘environmental refugees.’ After bringing democracy to the Indian Ocean nation following 30 years of despotic rule, Nasheed now faces an even greater challenge: rising sea levels that threaten to submerge the Maldives' nearly 2000 islands.
The List tells the story of Kirk Johnson, an American who is fighting to save Iraqis whose lives are in danger because they worked for the U.S. government and military to help rebuild Iraq. After leading reconstruction teams in Baghdad and Fallujah for the United States, Kirk discovers that many of his Iraqi friends and colleagues are being targeted as "collaborators with the enemy." Perceived as traitors, their fates are sealed, and they are systematically hunted—killed, kidnapped, and forced into lives on the run. Frustrated by a stagnating government bureaucracy in the U.S.
Under African Skies travels with Paul Simon back to South Africa as the 25th anniversary of Graceland approaches. Simon revisits the making of the record, surveying from the vantage of history the turbulence and controversy surrounding the album's genesis. His artistic decision to collaborate with African musicians created a new world musical fusion, combining American and African musical idioms while igniting an intense political crossfire.The universal appeal of the music of Graceland proved more powerful and enduring than the political hotbed attending its creation.
At 14, Komona has lived through horrors that eclipse an adult's worst nightmares. In this mesmerizing, otherworldly drama, shot entirely in the Democratic Republic of Congo, comes a story of incredible human resilience. In a small isolated village, Komona lived peacefully with her parents until the day the rebels came. They captured Komona and forced her to commit an irreparable act: slay her parents. In the rebels' camp, the training is merciless. Komona quickly learns to endure, to fight and above all, to survive.
Directed by Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel, Produced and Edited by Peter Kinoy
2011 / 83m
In the early 1980s, death squads roamed the Guatemalan countryside in a war against the unarmed indigenous population that went largely unreported in the international media. Filmmakers Pamela Yates and Newton Thomas Sigel threw themselves into the task of bringing the crisis to the world
On the edge of a cratered road, a cortège-like procession of women solemnly makes its way towards the village cemetery. Takla, Amale, Yvonne, Afaf and Saydeh stoically brave the oppressive midday heat, clutching photographic effigies of their beloved menfolk, lost to a futile, protracted and distant war. Some of the women are veiled, others bear wooden crosses, but all are clad in black and united by a sense of shared grief. As they arrive at the cemetery gates, the procession divides into two congregations; one Muslim, the other Christian.
Defying cultural norms and family expectations, 22-year-old Heba Afify takes to the streets to report on an Egypt in turmoil, using tweets, texts and Facebook posts. Every time Heba heads out to cover the historical events shaping her country's future, her mother is compelled to remind her, "I know you are a journalist, but you're still a girl!" Her coming of age, political awakening and the disillusionment that follows, mirrors that of a nation seeking the freedom to shape its own destiny, dignity and democracy.