The New Americans is a seven-hour American documentary, produced by Kartemquin Films, that was originally broadcast on American television over three nights on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in late March 2004. The observational documentary, which includes minimal voice-over narration and very little direct interviewing of its subjects (and none in which the interviewer's voice is heard), follows the lives of a series of immigrants to the United States over the course of four years. The series was filmed between 1998 and 2001, although not all of its subjects were filmed during that entire length of time. The immigrants were filmed both in their countries of origin before immigrating as well as in the United States. The filming during this period was extensive and occurred in the subjects' homes, at their places of work, in government offices, and in a number of other situations, many of them quite intimate. As a result, The New Americans offers an unusually personal and comprehensive look at the people it profiles. The immigrants profiled and filmed in The New Americans include a group of baseball players from the Dominican Republic hoping to secure a career in Major League Baseball; a computer programmer from India and his wife; a family with six children from a farming community in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico; a family of Ogoni refugees from Nigeria; and a woman from Palestine who moves to the United States to be with her new husband, a first-generation Palestinian-American who grew up in Chicago. The locations shown in the documentary include not only each of the immigrants' countries of origin, but also many places in the United States where the immigrants settled or traveled, including Chicago (the Palestinian and Nigerian immigrants), the Silicon Valley of California (the Indian immigrants), Garden City, Kansas and Mecca, California (the Mexican immigrants), and Florida, Georgia and Montana (the Dominican immigrants). The New Americans was executive produced by Steve James (who also produced the acclaimed 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams) and Gordon Quinn, both of Kartemquin Films. It was broadcast on PBS as part of the series Independent Lens, in association with the Independent Television Service (ITVS). The program was also broadcast in the United Kingdom on the cable network BBC Four in early April 2004.
A look at the media circus during the O.J. Simpson civil trial.
VISAS AND VIRTUE is based on the true story of the man known as Japan's Oskar Schindler. In 1940, against the commands of his country and at the risk of ruining his career, Japan's diplomat to Lithuania, Chiune Sugihara, wrote almost 2,000 visas that allowed an estimated 4, 000 - 6,000 Jews escape from the Nazi regime. In I AM VIET HUNG, passion for art and cultural legacy lend elegance to the fading memories of a Vietnamese opera singer struggling to keep his art form alive.
Juxtaposing dramatic 1st person narrations by Corin Redgrave as Williams with interviews with activists in the anti-apartheid and Communist movements in South Africa, this docu-drama presents the life of Cecil Williams -- freedom fighter, theatre benefactor, gay rights advocate and homosexual. Williams was with Mandela when they were both arrested in 1962 -- an arrest that resulted in Mandela's long-term imprisonment
What does a single, working woman have to go through to have a child of her own, without a husband, boyfriend or lover? Following a group of eight New York City women for over two years, And Baby Makes Two tells their provocative and emotionally loaded story; a story of women who, earlier in life, had taken every precaution to prevent pregnancy, and who now actively pursue it - without the help of a partner. What emerges is a complex, emotional and courageous portrait of women determined to become mothers.
SING FASTER is a spirited and comical behind-the-scenes look at Richard Wagner's beloved "Ring Cycle," one of the most ambitious and spectacular operas in history. In the tradition of "Noises Off," this acclaimed film from Academy Award.-nominated filmmaker Jon Else tells the story of Wagner's epic masterpiece entirely from the point of view of the opera's unsung heroes the union stagehands.
Although it has conjured horrific images of society's most feared outcasts ever since Biblical days, leprosy is in fact a mildly communicable disease that has been treatable since the 1940s. "Secret People" recounts the shocking history of this disease in America through the voices of victims who live in the last remaining leprosy sanatorium, in Carville, Louisiana.
Stuart Perkin thought he knew everything about his wife, Sue. After two years of marriage and ten years of friendship, intimacy and life experiences, the couple divorced when Sue announced she was a lesbian. Stuart documents a journey he made from Colorado to San Francisco, a trip that took him into his past and back into the life of his ex-wife. Stuart's interviews with friends, family and Sue explore the reasons why their relationship failed and how Stuart can move forward with his life.
NOW & THEN is a four-year journey through the American rite of passage known as college. This feature-length documentary follows ten undergraduates at Stanford University from move-in day to graduation, from their last days as teenagers to their first days as adults.
Three breast cancer survivors discuss their fight against breast cancer and the emotional and physical stages of the disease.
Documents the trials and triumphs of three families in which some or all of the members are dwarfs.
Three out of every four Americans becomes a parent, yet most of us have never really considered what having a "normal" birth means. How much technology is appropriate for most women? Is the full range of safe options available, and to whom? How do we decide what is best for us? BORN IN THE U.S.A. explores the landscape of current maternity care through the eyes of three caregivers: an obstetrician working at a teaching hospital, a licensed midwife attending home births, and a certified nurse-midwife bridging both worlds in an urban, out-of-hospital birth center. This provocative film raises questions about technology, safety, quality of care, and current childbirth practices in America.
A gripping documentary about the extraordinary world of biker women, an amazing group few of us know anything about. An intimate wild ride with hard-core biker Dusty, a native-born Apache, ex-felon, ex-go-go dancer, and a single mother of three as our guide. Outriders and outlaws, club mamas, Dykes on Bikes, biker babes, weekend warriors, each character we meet along the road struggles to defy traditional stereotypes in the sexually charged world of motorcycling, and in the process, establishes her own uncompromising identity.
Passing Through follows Nathan Adolfson—a.k.a. Chai Chee Man, his Korean birth name—as he searches for his identity between two worlds. In the comic drama Graham's Diner, a workaholic photographer contemplates selling the diner where her family is employed.
The Return of Navajo Boy is a documentary film produced by Jeff Spitz and Bennie Klain about the Cly family, Navajo who live on their reservation. Through them, the film explores several longstanding issues among the Navajo and their relations with the United States government and corporations: environmental racism, white supremacy, media and political representation, off-reservation adoption, and denial of reparations for environmental illnesses due to uranium mining in Monument Valley, Utah, which was unregulated for decades. Bill Kennedy served as the film's executive producer; his late father had produced and directed the earlier silent film The Navajo Boy, which featured the Cly family.\nIn 2000, the film was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival. It has won numerous awards.
The program explores the mountain music of Sand Mountain in rural Alabama. This music tradition is woven into the simple lives of the southerners, proud people who live their music and rely on it to tell the stories of their lives.
In Harm's Way is an experimental film exploring how the experiences of adulthood both defy and reinforce the lessons of childhood. In Carved from the Heart, a Tsimshian carver turns personal grief into a community art project.
This video journal chronicles the intertwined stories of Paul Kwan, a Chinese filmmaker and gourmand who came to the United States from Vietnam 25 years ago, and his sister Diana, a recent immigrant from Hong Kong and a struggling entrepreneur. This personal documentary is both a stand-alone program and the third in a trilogy that probes the American immigrant's experience through the unlikely perspective of Paul's personal relationship with food. Through this program, the twin passions of Kwan's youth — food and films — provide a language to mourn cultural loss as well as retrieve cultural memory.
Confederacy Theory presents and unflinching portrait of the cultural war that has erupted around the confederate flag - a century-old symbol that threatens to divide the South like no issue since the Civil Rights movement. Using never-before-seen archival footage and exclusive interviews with politicians, pundits, activists, and scholars, Confederacy Theory traces the history of this symbol and its impact on Southern culture, history, and identity - from the Civil War to the frontlines of a modern-day secession movement.
SECRETS OF SILICON VALLEY is a shocking exposé of the hidden downsides of the Internet revolution and also a funny and moving meditation on America's love affair with technology. Told without narration, the film chronicles a tumultuous year in the lives of two young activists grappling with rapid social change and the meaning of globalization on their own doorsteps.
This film illustrates the most recent wave of anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States. Through a close look at the personal impact of new immigration laws, this film depicts the severity of current detention and deportation policies. Lives are changed forever, as legal residents find themselves being torn away from their American families and sent to countries they barely know. For political asylum seekers, dreams are put on hold, as they are kept for years in county jails that profit from their incarceration.
With a population of 25 million spilling across the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the former Soviet Union, the Kurds have maintained their way of life for more than 2,000 years, despite attempts by various empires and nation states to eradicate their culture, and, in many cases, the Kurds themselves. Forbidden in Turkey to speak their own language, to sing their own songs, even to call their children by Kurdish names, the Kurds for generations have struggled to preserve their identity and to foster their traditions. In the early nineties, the Kurds of nearby Iraq found themselves suddenly supported in their old war for independence against Baghdad, when their interests coincided with those of Western powers fighting against Saddam Hussein. In the eyes of the State Department, the happy coincidence transformed them into "good" Kurds.
The final decades of the twentieth century brought unprecedented changes for American Indians, especially in the areas of human rights and tribal sovereignty. In 1990, after a long struggle between Indian rights groups and the scientific establishment, the Native American Graves Repatriation and Protection Act was passed.For American Indians, this was perhaps the most important piece of civil and human rights legislation of this century. Skeletons and grave goods that had been gathering dust in museums around the country could come home again, and Indian graves would be protected from further desecration.But a case tested these claims, and Who Owns the Past? focuses on the controversy that emerged. The discovery of a 9,000-year-old skeleton on the banks of the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington, reignited the conflict between anthropologists and Indian people over the control of human remains found on ancestral Indian lands. Anthropologists insist that these remains hold the key to America's past and must be studied for the benefit of mankind, while many Indian people believe that exhuming and studying them is a desecration of their ancestors.Kennewick Man has become a test case for NAGPRA and all that it symbolizes for American Indians. To a large extent, its outcome will determine Indian sovereignty over their past and their future in the 21st century.Who Owns the Past? examines how two ways of seeing the world - scientific versus traditional - are clashing in the case of Kennewick Man.
THE SPLIT HORN is the sweeping story of a Hmong shaman and his family living in Appleton, Wisconsin. Documenting the 17-year journey of Paja Thao and his family from the mountains of Laos to the heartland of America, this poignant film shows a shaman's struggles to maintain his ancient traditions as his children embrace American culture.
Filmed over three years, this award-winning film examines the complex physical and psychological effects of the multi-drug therapies for HIV disease on three women and three men of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
In Gibsonton, FL, thousands of carnival and circus show people have built a close-knit community in the twilight of the carnival sideshow. The residents include the keeper of the "freak animals," a "half-girl" married to the "tallest man in the world," and an octogenarian couple who have produced monkey acts for more than 40 years.
In the securities markets, virtually everything is now automated as we increasingly trade online. But the legendary, hyper-charged sense of danger and controlled chaos of the trading pits survive at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. There, traders still scream "buy" and "sell" orders in a frenzied system known as "open outcry." This documentary captures the language and atmosphere of what may be the last gasp of a centuries-old ritual.
The sudden death of the King of Lesotho in January 1996 led to the coronation of his thirty-something bachelor son, Prince Mohato. Shot over a period of four years, the program follows Prince Mohato as he returns to the small country of Lesotho from London, is crowned King, and soon finds himself in need of a suitable wife. Soon Mohato becomes attracted to Karabo, "KB," a shy young woman attending the local university.
Maggie Kuhn (1905-1995) founded the Gray Panthers after being forced to retire at the age of 65, in what Ralph Nader describes as "the most significant retirement in history." It galvanized Maggie's campaign against mandatory retirement and ageism. Her outrage fueled a political chain reaction that left society's treatment of older Americans forever changed.
This program looks at the strange underworld of the song-poem industry. In this little-known subculture, "ordinary" people respond to come-on ads in the back pages of magazines ("Send in Your Lyrics -- Make $50,000 in Royalties!"), mailing in their heartfelt but often bizarre poems to music industry companies that, for cash, set those poems to music.
On an isolated Maine island of 350 people, a clash over arts education spins out of control into vandalism and death threats, tearing apart friends and neighbors. Sigourney Weaver narrates this program following a former Broadway producer as he creates a musical to help the community heal its wounds through songs about lobstering, loneliness and the beauty of the sea.
Since the 1980s, the rural working class town of North Adams, Massachusetts, has struggled to kick-start its economy following the mill closings. This program explores how, with the 1999 opening of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the town has united its blue collar base with visionaries from the art world to reinvent itself in the post-industrial economy.
It's 1999, and the booming city of Austin, Texas keeps on growing - thanks largely to men like Ramón and Juan, who work some of the hardest jobs in an America that doesn't want them. Through the lives of these two men and a battle over Austin's controversial day labor program, LOS TRABAJADORES brings to life the vivid contradictions that haunt America's dependence on and discrimination against immigrant labor.
An observational documentary about the on- and off-court struggles of Native American basketball players at Wyoming Indian High School.
Radio stations banned it, but when Billie Holiday sang "Strange Fruit" the whole world listened anyway. Sprung from the pen of an unknown Bronx schoolteacher named Abel Meeropol, the song continues to mesmerize musicians and civil rights advocates alike with its chilling vision of a lynching. This program shows how a little-known Jewish songwriter and an African- American icon created a song that changed America.
From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Freida Lee Mock ("Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision") comes this engaging portrait of the best-selling author and laugh out loud humorist Anne Lamott ("Bird by Bird," "Operating Instructions," "Crooked Little Heart," "Traveling Mercies," "Blue Shoe"). The moving story of a survivor and an iconoclast, the film follows Annie through a year of writing, teaching and mothering. Lamott, a recovering alcoholic and single mother who is both a born-again Christian and liberal activist, shares her unique insights on such universal concerns as loss, alienation, bad hair days, loneliness, creativity, motherhood, unfirm thighs, faith and the meaning of life.
During the Nazi occupation of France, four very young women -- who were neither Jews nor Communists, nor in any danger of arrest --chose to risk their lives as resistance fighters. Brought together in Ravensbruck concentration camp, they helped one another survive. Airing in conjunction with Holocaust Remembrance Day, this program shares the story of four heroines whose intense friendship, riveting memories and social activism lasted long after the war was won.
HEART OF THE SEA is a portrait of Hawaiian legend Rell Kapolioka' ehukai Sunn, who died of breast cancer at the age of 47. Known worldwide as a pioneer of women's professional surfing, Rell Sunn achieved iconic status, not only for her physical power and beauty, but also for her high-profile community activism. Through her feats and her canny use of the media, she left behind a larger-than-life story that was her greatest gift.
Maria, mother of four, is a spokeswoman for Second Amendment Sisters and a firm believer in the right to bear arms. Frances is an advocate of gun control who lost three sons to urban bullets. Together, they eloquently expand the contentious debate over gun control to include women who fall on both sides of a historically male-dominated issue.
In the face of thunderous blasting and choking dust caused by mountaintop mining, the last 40 families of Blair, WV, stay to fight America's second-largest coal company as it threatens their homes. RAZING APPALACHIA is the story of a remarkable grassroots effort to redefine the role of government and power of corporations over our daily lives.
Hansel Mieth: Vagabond Photographer is the compelling tale of a pioneering woman photojournalist who created some of the most indelible images of America mid-20th century. A German immigrant who arrived in this country in the midst of the Great Depression, she rose to become a celebrated LIFE magazine staff photographer. Armed with convictions, perseverance, and talent, Mieth courageously carved out a career in the male-dominated world of photojournalism at a time when very few women were accepted in the profession.
Daddy & Papa is a one-hour documentary film made by producer/director Johnny Symons in 2002, it explores same-sex parenting as seen in the lives of four families headed by male couples. The film also examines the legal, social, and political challenges faced by gay parents and their children.
This film takes a look at the work of Brazilian-born contemporary conceptual artist and rising star Vik Muniz -- sculptor, photographer and self-proclaimed magician. Muniz, best known for his book "Seeing Is Believing," which made both the New York Times and the Village Voice top 10 lists of photography books in 1999, uses his knowledge and interest of the history of photography to demonstrate how viewers can be easily deceived by the images around them.
A spiritual thriller set in an automotive graveyard and a story based on a real-life plane crash.
The famous fighting monks of the Shaolin Monastery have seen a resurgence throughout the world, aided in part by the popularity of kung-fu movies among the hip-hop set and films like "The Matrix" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." The film follows a handful of Shaolin monks who have brought the style to America, chronicling their adventures in New York City, Houston and Las Vegas.
This program puts a human face on the Middle East conflict by chronicling the story of Bassam, a Palestinian American telephone repairman from Cleveland who returns home for an arranged marriage with a "home-made bride." On the West Bank, everyday domestic duties and squabbles are carried out against a backdrop of shelling and violence. Once in America, however, his bride discovers that life in exile is not necessarily an easier alternative.
This personal documentary chronicles the filmmaker's struggle to know and grieve for the father she never knew, a soldier who died in Vietnam when she was a baby. Through her journey of discovery, and those of her family and her father's friends, the film sheds light on the more than 20,000 Americans whose fathers were killed in Vietnam -- and on those who continue to lose parents in war.
Part history, part mystery, part comedy, this program is an offbeat look at one eccentric California town. A memorable cast of local armchair historians describe some of Livermore's legends -- a supernatural light bulb, a cursed totem pole, a scandalous book of photographs and the ominous nuclear lab.
A unique classical music ensemble of three young women take the musical world by storm, collaborating with a struggling composer to debut one of the first triple concertos written since Beethoven's.
Recruiting a stand-up comic, a rock band, feuding academics and Hollywood actresses to his cause, an irreverent filmmaker searches for the secret something that gave Emily Dickinson her poetic power.
Three young Mormon men, age 19, embark on a two-year rite of passage in Germany as part of a long-standing worldwide effort by Mormon missionaries to spread their faith at home and abroad.
Short film block: "Title": Directed by "Compulsory Breathing": David Munro "Don't Nobody Love the Game More Than Me": Martha Pinson "Sergi": Paul Sullivan "Dilly Dally": Mark Pellington "Tom Hits His Head": Tom Putnam "Bike Ride": Tom Schroeder
For nearly 70 years, the Hackberry Ramblers have played an infectious, toe-tapping blend of Cajun music and Western swing. MAKE 'EM DANCE tells the story of the remarkable multigenerational band that has been in continuous existence since 1933. Part biography, part road movie, the documentary captures the poignant and funny exploits of these "agin' ragin' Cajuns," from a bayou crab boil to MTV to their first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.
A straight-arrow rural Texan Pentecostal/Baptist minister, Curtis Boyd relinquished the pulpit in the heat of the social changes of the 1960s and became a doctor who provided thousands of safe, illegal abortions prior to Roe v. Wade. Together with a group of east Texas clergy, Dr. Boyd was and remains dedicated to the ideal that all women have the right to a safe abortion.
Raised by their grandmother, young Raymond and Danny continue to hold out hope for their mother's recovery from drug addiction -- even after she's given up hope herself. WHY CAN'T WE BE A FAMILY AGAIN is an Academy Award-nominated cinema verite portrait exploring the strength and love that bring together two brothers who long to be reunited with their mother. Blending experimental images with an intimate interview with poet and therapist Robert Hall, DOWNPOUR RESURFACING chronicles how one man transformed a childhood of abuse into a life of confidence and strength. Reaching for the language of dreams, the program enlists dancers, musicians, archival footage and a woman performing a tea ritual to illustrate the healing of Hall's story.
A "troublesome property" for his master, Nat Turner has remained a " troublesome property" for the historians, novelists, dramatists and others who have struggled to understand the leader of the famous 1831 slave rebellion. Using an innovative approach that combines documentary techniques, dramatic filmmaking and historical methodology, this program explores how the many meanings of Nat Turner remain critical to understanding the racial history of our country.
Stanley Nelson is a third-generation, upper middle-class African American who spent the past 40 summers in Oak Bluffs, an affluent African-American resort community on Martha's Vineyard. Building on personal stories of summers past, this film explores the tightly-knit world of black professionals who created a refuge to call their own.
Jimmy Scott's voice conveys a young boy's innocence, a soft sensuality and the lessons of 76 hard-lived years of failure and redemption. Through concert footage and intimate interviews, rediscovered jazz legend Jimmy Scott recounts his stranger-than-fiction odyssey through poverty and obscurity to worldwide recognition as one of the most distinctive vocalists of our time.
After Joanna Katz, a South Carolina woman, was brutally tortured and gang-raped, she survived to face her assailants and transform herself into a victim's rights advocate. Called upon to testify at parole hearings year after year, Katz decided to collaborate with a seasoned filmmaker to tell her own story, challenging the parole system in order to heal herself -- and to give courage to other women who have suffered violent crimes.
As a worker with an international aid organization stationed in a remote village in Zambia, filmmaker Shantha Bloemen saw more and more unemployed Zambians selling used clothing from the U.S. in the marketplace. Tracing a winding t-shirt trail carved by global economics, T-SHIRT TRAVELS explores the World Bank's devastating role in directing Zambia's economic policies and the underlying reasons why so many Africans remain in poverty.
In his life and his work, acclaimed Afro-Cuban-Puerto Rican poet Piri Thomas has used creative expression as a means to confront and overcome poverty, racism, violence and isolation. Author of the acclaimed autobiographical novel Down These Mean Streets, Thomas, through poetry, stories and performances, chronicles his journey from Spanish Harlem to prison to life as an author, educator and activist.
Israeli filmmaker David Fisher inspires his four siblings to begin an emotionally challenging search for their long-lost sister. In a creative documentary style, with revealing moments of grief and humor, Fisher dissects a tangled web of relationships to uncover the dark secrets of the past, secrets that his parents were afraid to unearth and that are representative of Israel's own birth pains.
When Harvard expelled faculty members Richard Alpert and Timothy Leary in 1963 for LSD experimentation, Alpert traveled to India and returned transformed into the beloved guru Ram Dass. Now in his 70s, the author of the best-seller Be Here Now continues to inspire people all over the world as he deals with the effects of a massive stroke.
The remarkable story of The Weather Underground, radical activists of the 1970s, and of radical politics at its best and most disastrous.
In Los Angeles, there's only one place where you can celebrate the synchronicity of an old-school Chinatown establishment, classic jazz, DJ culture and the underground dance scene: the Grand Star. Find out how this restaurant became one of the city's liveliest and most intergenerational and culturally integrated neighborhood nightclubs. In DOUBLE EXPOSURE an artist and self-proclaimed "old Chinese lady" sets out to explore her own identity and prove that it's never too late to take a risk by making her first film in her 60s. The result? An experimental program that expresses her roots in two countries through self-effacing humor, double-exposed images and an immigrant's long look back at her native China.
Three young Cambodian American men, raised on the streets of San Francisco's tough Tenderloin district, travel to Cambodia wielding video cameras to capture their experiences of meeting fathers, sisters and brothers for the first time. These family reunions reveal the quagmire of Cambodian political upheaval and military invasion, as well as the heavy toll of years spent apart in different worlds.
Through a journey that takes her back to her roots in Thailand, a young Mien woman from Sacramento strives to come to terms with her father's death and drug addiction, and her sister's murder. Reunited with her Mien relatives, she begins to grasp the complexity of her father's past and experience the nuances of lost identity.
When his wife and daughter abandon him, East Indian immigrant Gopal (Roshan Seth) reinvents himself as an all-American bachelor. With women's magazines as his guide, he pursues Mrs. Shaw (Carol Kane), the divorcee next door. But he finds there's more to love than the pages of Cosmo would suggest.
In recent years, the ancient art of sumo has witnessed the rise of an increasing number of foreigners to the top of its professional ranks. From Hawaii to Atlantic City, the experiences of American wrestlers provide an entertaining glimpse at the past, present and future of sumo, revealing how this former bastion of Japanese tradition is grappling with globalizing Western forces.
When lesbian music student Kristina Boerger moved to a small Illinois college town, she didn't find a ready-made community. So she created one with what she loved best: choral singing. Assembling a ragtag group of volunteers, she created a lesbian choir in the middle of this conservative area. Showing the choir's evolution into a nationally accepted and recognized award-winning ensemble, THE AMASONG CHORUS documents how the spirit and dedication of one person can help transform a community.
Explores a little-known side of Dr. Seuss and some interesting inspirations behind his works.
Each July for more than 30 years, polka lovers from around the United States have descended on the tiny rural town of Gibbon, Minnesota, for the Gibbon Polka Fest. Meet numerous "polka people" and performers as they demonstrate their love and hope for the future of polka through dance, music, personal stories and observations.
Filmed by the first-ever team of women video journalists trained in Afghanistan, this uncompromising film reveals the effects on Afghan women of the Taliban's repressive rule and of the U.S.-sponsored bombing campaign. Leaving Kabul for the first time and traveling to rural regions of the country, the filmmakers present footage of women whose lives have been devastated by recent events.
Look beyond Hollywood to create a fresh candid portrait of America's second largest city.
Young girls whose lives were shattered by the child sex trade describe the day they were abducted from their villages as "the day my god died." By weaving footage from the brothels of Bombay with these girls' stories, producer Andrew Levine offers an unforgettable examination of the growing plague of child sex slavery.
Follows teenager Tara Neal as she deals with fierce policy debates while facing boys on the mat.
Fine.: When factory worker Ed is confronted by a co-worker's pressing question over lunch, he begins to question his own decisions and his current life as a husband, father and suburbanite. Doki-Doki: In suburban Tokyo, Yumi finds herself waiting every day with the same group of strangers for the same seats on the same train. Who are these fellow commuters? Where do they live? What are they like? One day, she decides to find out.
Five shorts ranging from funny to creepy to downright scary prove that just because they're short, they don't have to be sweet. "Title" Director "The Fine Line Between Cute and Creepy" Robert D. Slane "La Puppé" Timothy Greenberg "A Monster's Calling" Louise Johnson "The School" Ezra Krybus and Matthew Miller "Why the Anderson Children Didn't Come to Dinner" Jamie Travis
A gang member, a hustler and a small-time dealer. They served their sentences and they're on parole. Now they're about to discover that walking out the prison gates is just the beginning. This intimate and dramatic film sheds light on the profound experience of doing time and trying to go straight.
Stunning footage and interviews showcase the lives transformed by maverick teacher Albert Cullum.
Amid pervasive blackouts and corruption, an American energy company purchases a formerly state-run electricity company in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Cultures clash, tempers flare, and managers and locals tussle as a struggling nation attempts to build itself from beneath the rubble of Soviet collapse.
A sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter in North Carolina in 1960 was a pivotal civil rights event.
Greg Smith and his family bare all in this unflinching portrait of a 65-pound man striving for the American dream. Fueled by discrimination, Smith created "On a Roll" talk radio from his wheelchair in 1992. The father of three travels the globe but finds his own nation's capital inaccessible - a minor challenge compared to living independently and having safe intimate relationships.
When the filmmaker's cousin was elected Guyana's president seven years ago, Janet Rosenberg Jagan -- considered one of the founders of Guyana along with her husband, Cheddi Jagan -- became the first American-born woman to lead a nation. This program interweaves family history and Guyanese history with the extraordinary life story of one unconventional woman.
On an historic weekend in November 1977, 20,000 women and men attended the first federally funded National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas, where they caucused, argued and finally hammered out resolutions that revolutionized the women's movement. This program features archival footage and interviews with past and current activists and participants.
Eighty-one-year-old Irja and her 95-year-old best friend Lucille are the only lucid residents at a senior citizens' home for political progressives. This program delves into their world, revealing how these women salvage support and community in their old age.
Easter in Washington, DC, means children hunting for eggs on the White House lawn. But blocks away is one of America's poorest neighborhoods, where a storefront church serves as a beacon of hope. Tracing the lives of four parishioners in the months before Easter, this film shows how the holiday's promise helps pull them through adversity.
Legendary jazz bassist Milt Hinton (1910-2000) was also a skilled photographer and storyteller. This insider's view of jazz and life in 20th-century America is told by Hinton and fellow musicians, including Branford Marsalis and Quincy Jones. Archival footage and hundreds of Hinton's photographs document his unique journey.
An illiterate Zulu musician wrote Africa's most famous song, "Mbube" -inspiration for the pop classic "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" - and received pennies for his efforts. Traveling into the musical worlds of South Africa and America, this film celebrates the song's timeless power while revealing injustices within the international recording industry.
In 1974, a new sound hit New York City's underground music scene: a band of misfits called The Ramones. This film follows this quartet of unlikely rock stars, known as the progenitors of punk, through more than two decades of touring, recording and bickering - from a shared Queens childhood to their 2002 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Producers: Jim Fields and Michael Gramaglia. Rock icon and former legendary frontman for The Clash, Joe Strummer is hot on the comeback trail, touring America and Japan via concert footage and interviews before his untimely death in 2002.
A Jewish woman in a Ukrainian city seized by the Germans in 1941 writes her son a final letter.
How has Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines, managed to court, coddle, use and abuse power for nearly four decades? News clips, propaganda films, home movies, verite footage and interviews with Marcos, her friends and her enemies reveal her methods.
An in-depth look at modern-day Vietnam, where communism and capitalism are going head-to-head.
In 2000, an experimental court opened in Brooklyn's Red Hook, a neighborhood plagued by a cycle of unemployment, poverty and crime. Instead of jail time, offenders are sentenced to job training, drug counseling and community service. This film follows the ups and downs of several defendants and staffers involved in a legal revolution that has become a model for courts nationwide.
As Hollywood stuntwomen for "Wonder Woman" and "Xena: Warrior Princess," Jeannie Epper and Zoe Bell have been set on fire, thrown off buildings, dragged by wild horses and hit by cars. Who are the real women behind these two television icons? This film follows their daily struggles to stay employed, stay thin and stay sane in this notoriously macho profession. The broadcast includes the animated adventure, "Piki & Poko: Taking the Dare!" Piki and Poko, the Eternal Martial Arts Warriors from Another World, attempt to save the universe and master their own awesome powers.
Narrated by Cheech Marin and scored by Ry Cooder, this film shows how a community was betrayed by greed, political hypocrisy and good intentions gone astray. Don Normark's haunting photographs evoke a lost Mexican-American village, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, razed in the 1950s to build Dodger Stadium.
A young artist befriends an elderly gay stranger who co-founded the revolutionary journal Fire!
“One Nation Under a Groove,” a profile of Parliament Funkadelic that features animation (including an “Afronaut” character voiced by Eddie Griffin) to explore P-Funk's unique mix of rock and R&B, and its rebellious vibe---tightly controlled by mastermind George Clinton, whose 50-year career links doo-wop and hip-hop. “It was just a party,” says singer Nona Hendryx
Vieira de Mello, who devoted his life to global humanitarian efforts, was killed in Iraq in 2003.
Vernon Sager is a cowboy struggling to survive in Porcupine, South Dakota, in this story of real cowboys and Indians living in the middle of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Winters with temperatures that reach 30 degrees below zero and summers with prairie fires and frying-pan heat have pushed most of Sager's family and friends off the land. But Vernon still gets up at 3:00 a.m. to saddle his horse and count calves. This program is the real-deal Rawhide, the story of people fighting to preserve a vanishing way of life.
When one American family loses their son in the Iraq war, their lives -- and views -- are irrevocably changed. Danish filmmakers follow the Kaylor family over the course of a year, tracing their individual reactions and changing attitudes on the military and global politics.
Identical twins Margarita and Ramona de Saa became acclaimed ballerinas with the National Ballet of Cuba. Once inseparable, their relationship disintegrated as one sister left for America while the other embraced the Cuban revolution. This program is the story of two women forever linked by birth and dance, but struggling to overcome rifts not only between sisters but also between nations.
How do American artists address our nation's most pressing social issue? Using spoken, sung and chanted word, African American, Latino, Asian American and Native American authors, performance artists, poets and singers explore the pain, frustration and humor of racism in America.
As three of the thousands of Latina immigrants working as nannies and housekeepers in Los Angeles, Judith, Telma and Eva have all left family and friends behind to come to America. This program reveals the challenges these women face as they pursue the American Dream, their significant roles in American households and the globalization of motherhood.
This film explores the plight of North Korean refugees trying to escape their homeland and China, and tells the story of activists who put themselves in harm's way to save them via a clandestine underground railroad.
This documentary follows the lives of the women of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. The story is told by the Sisters themselves -- at work, prayer and leisure -- as they pursue a balanced life based on the Rule of St. Benedict and face an uncertain future with spirit, conviction and wit.
They don't make "buddy movies" like this in Hollywood. Independent Lens presents five short films that focus on a pivotal moment in a friendship: "Agora," by Christopher Newberry; "John and Michael," by Shira Avni; "Miracle Mile," by Dong Hyeuk Hwang; "The Raftsman's Razor," by Keith Bearden; and "Reservation Warparties," by Angelique Midthunder.
With the help of God, guns and the hundreds of blood relatives that populate his jurisdiction, Sheriff Ronald E. Hewett oversees Brunswick County, North Carolina, a rural region fraught with murder, robbery and the occasional theft of ceramic lawn ornaments. SHERIFF is pure cinema verite, an unexpected portrait of a man trying to do good in a bad world.
Shot over four years, GIRL TROUBLE is the story of three girls entangled in San Francisco's juvenile justice system. Documenting the girls' remarkable successes and heartbreaking setbacks -- their struggles with poverty, parenthood, violence and homelessness -- it exposes a system that fails to meet the need of girls in trouble.
Credited with inspiring the Black Power movement, Robert Williams led his North Carolina hometown to defend itself against the Ku Klux Klan and challenge repressive Jim Crow laws. This program follows Williams' journey from southern community leader to exile in Cuba and China, a journey that brought the issue of armed self-defense to the forefront of the civil rights movement.
In the summer of 1964, a three-night riot erupted in two predominantly black neighborhoods in downtown Rochester, New York, the culmination of decades of poverty, joblessness and racial discrimination and a significant event in the civil rights era. Using archival footage and interviews with those who were present, this program explores the genesis and outcome of these three devastating nights.
Shot on location in a nursing home, ALMOST HOME tells the real stories of aging: couples both bonded and divided by disability, children torn between caring for their parents and their children, nursing assistants doing unsavory work for poverty wages, healthy elders fearful of moving to the dreaded nursing home and a visionary nursing home director committed to changes that would shuck the nursing home stigma and alleviate such dread.
In 1978, Oakley Hall was a promising playwright on the verge of national recognition when a mysterious fall violently transformed his life. This program is the haunting story of a young man's fall from grace, of the vibrant artists who surrounded him and what happens when, decades later, a theater company discovers the very play he was writing the night he fell.
A Girl Scout troop unites daughters with mothers convicted of serious crimes in a Texas prison.
They faced death threats on the job -- from some of the men they worked with. With the story of Lt. Brenda Berkman of the Fire Department of New York at its core, this film explores the history of women firefighters in America and the price these women have paid to serve their communities.
Native American activist and poet John Trudell fuses radical politics with music, writing and art.
La Sierra, a small neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia, is ruled by a group of young men, mostly teenagers, affiliated with Colombia's illegal paramilitary armies. Over one year, this program follows the lives of three of these young people -- two of them paramilitaries themselves -- as they experience war, death and love.
Tracing the history of professional bowling in America, from its glory days in the 1950s to its near extinction by the late 1990s, this program follows four pro bowlers as Professional Bowlers Association CEO Steve Miller sets out to modernize the sport.
The intersection of art and life are at the core of this program, a musical journey featuring the 105 musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The film focuses on the mystery and magic of music itself, creating a mosaic of the stories, ideas and experiences that form the heart of these musicians' lives inside and outside the concert hall.
FISHBOWL: In the sleepy plantation town of Hilo, Hawaii, 11-year-old Lovey is trying to be anything but herself. In this dramatic short adapted from Lois-Ann Yamanaka's "Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers," Lovey's comical -- and often painful -- quest culminates in one fateful Halloween night. AMERICAN MADE: Trapped in the middle of the desert on their way to the Grand Canyon, a Sikh-American family has only one hope: the remote highway and the occasional car that drives by. This program confronts issues of tradition, faith, conformity and sacrifice after the family's youngest son accuses his turban-clad orthodox father of looking like a terrorist while stranded on a remote desert road.
This program presents the future of human reproduction available today in Los Angeles. With dreamlike cinematography, the film takes a roller-coaster ride through the business of DNA from different perspectives: wealthy sperm bank presidents, expectant surrogate mothers, gene designers, hate radio talk show hosts, infertile suburban couples, now-adult designer babies, blonde and blue-eyed egg donors and feminist lawyers.
Two young Bolivian brothers brave deadly conditions in mining tunnels to earn money for school.
Explores the fierce clash between an individual's right to privacy & concerns for national security.
This is the epic tale of Farmer John, a maverick Midwestern farmer who -- in spite of the condemnation from his community -- bravely transforms his farm amidst a failing economy, vicious rumors and arson. In doing so, he creates a bastion of free expression and a revolutionary form of agriculture in rural America.
This inspiring film follows five children as they fight cancer with the help of their families, nurses and doctors. This harrowing and intimate series spans six years to chronicle how families respond to crises, how courage is found in unlikely places and how the humor and energy of youth can be powerful medicine.
This inspiring film follows five children as they fight cancer with the help of their families, nurses and doctors. This harrowing and intimate series spans six years to chronicle how families respond to crises, how courage is found in unlikely places and how the humor and energy of youth can be powerful medicine.
The World According to Sesame Street is a 2005 feature-length documentary created by Participant Productions, looking at the cultural impact of the children's television series Sesame Street, and the complexities of creating international adaptations. It focuses on the adaptations of Sesame Street in Bangladesh (Sisimpur), Kosovo (Rruga Sesam, in Albanian; and Ulica Sezam, in Serbian), and South Africa (Takalani Sesame).
Follows a close-knit Chesapeake Bay community and the events of the 50th crowning of Miss Outdoors.
Animator Paul Fierlinger presents humorous observations of people, dogs & things of a divine nature.
Looks at the life and colorful career of the multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist.
Journalists and champions of independent media work to make and keep their societies free.
Residents, artists and activists in Hudson, N.Y., protest the proposal for a multinational coal-fired cement plant.
A SAD FLOWER IN THE SAND is the first major film documentary about a largely unsung writer of the twentieth century: John Fante, the renegade author whose highly autobiographical novels illustrate his deep-rooted love of Los Angeles and his struggles working through poverty and prejudice.
This documentary tells the story of five Cuban photographers whose lives and work span more than four decades and whose perspectives on photography are as varied as their opinions about the Cuban Revolution. From photographers whose lens portrayed the heroic masses to more contemporary photographers who seek to portray individual truths, their stories uncover the power of art to liberate.
A selection of four short films that focus on teenagers struggling with different challenges. "Title" Director "Paris, 1951" Jasmin Gordon "Someday Flowers Bloom" Mai Heiselmann "The Zit" Mike Blum "My Life Disoriented" Eric Byler
Meet two women who lead in a battle against a coalition of national environmental groups for control of the ocean. Three hundred years of fishing tradition and the health of the ocean hang in the balance.
Shadya Zoabi, a charismatic 17-year-old karate world champion, strives to succeed on her own terms within her traditional Muslim village in northern Israel. Despite her father's support, she faces the challenge of balancing her dreams with her religious commitments and others' expectations. This film takes an intimate look at the evolution of a young Arab-Israeli woman with feminist ideas in a male-dominated culture.
Three men travel the world delivering live-saving humanitarian aid to civilians and doctors.
Meet people with a neurological disorder that causes their muscles to twist in abnormal movements.
Explore the life and career of the unheralded man who changed jazz and popular music forever.
1 in 7 Afghan women dies in childbirth. Sedika Mojadidi explores the people behind these statistics.
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes is a 2006 documentary film written, produced, and directed by Byron Hurt. The documentary explores the issues of masculinity, violence, homophobia and sexism in hip hop music and culture, through interviews with artists, academics and fans. Hurt's activism in gender issues and his love of hip-hop caused him to feel what he described as a sense of hypocrisy, and began working on the film.
Follow the 2004 Missouri campaign of unknown Jeff Smith, that took on the political establishment.
In 1990, two thieves dressed as police officers gained entrance to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, successfully executing the largest art heist in modern history. Among the 13 priceless works lifted was Vermeer's "The Concert," thought to be the world's most valuable stolen painting. This riveting film thoroughly explores the theft and the fascinating, disparate characters involved.
Race discrimination infects America’s capital punishment system. According to a landmark study regarding race and the death penalty, a black defendant who kills a white victim is up to 30 times more likely to be sentenced to death than a white defendant who kills a black victim. RACE TO EXECUTION, a film by Rachel Lyon, traces the fates of two death row inmates, Robert Tarver in Russell County, Alabama and Madison Hobley in Chicago, Illinois. Their compelling personal stories are enlarged and enriched by attorneys who fought for these men’s lives, and by prosecutors, criminal justice scholars and experts in the fields of law and the media. RACE TO EXECUTION reveals how, beyond DNA and the issue of innocence, the shameful open secret of America's capital punishment system is a matter of race. Once a victim’s body is discovered, his or her race—and the race of the accused—deeply influence the legal process: how a crime scene is investigated and the deployment of police resources, the interrogation and arrest of major suspects, how the media portrays the crime and ultimately, the jury selection and sentencing. Hugh Kite, a white man, general store owner and mainstay of his rural Alabama community, was murdered during the course of a robbery on September 15, 1984. Less than four months after Kite was murdered, Robert Tarver, a black man, was sentenced to die. The prosecutor at Tarver’s trial rejected all but one of the African Americans qualified for jury service. Eleven white Alabamans and one African American composed Tarver’s “jury of his peers.” And as prosecutors have long known, a trial can turn on who is sitting in the jury box. Recent research indicates the extent to which the make-up of the jury affects sentencing: when five or more white males sit on a capital trial jury, there is a 70 percent chance of a death penalty outcome. If there are four or fewer white males, the chance of a death sentence is only 30 percent. Whether in the rural South or the inner city North, virtually all-white juries are commonplace—and potentially lethal to black defendants. In 1987, in Chicago, Madison Hobley, a young black medical technician married to his high school sweetheart, lost his wife and son in an apartment house blaze. Hobley was accused of setting the fire. Police officers claimed that Hobley had signed a written confession but that spilled coffee had destroyed the document. A panel consisting of 11 white jurors and one African American juror convicted Madison Hobley and sentenced him to die. With key 2005 Supreme Court decisions overturning death sentences in Texas and California due to racial discrimination in jury selection, RACE TO EXECUTION offers a timely analysis. The film examines the subtle yet persistent ways in which American culture consistently overlooks matters of race in criminal justice. Neither advocating nor repudiating capital punishment, the film catalyzes dialogues about the inherent imbalances that lead to inaccuracy and unfairness in the application of the “ultimate punishment.” The film concludes with the exoneration of one man and the execution of another. In both cases, race is a factor impossible to avoid. Yet there are signs that the death penalty is being used less often in the United States and scrutinized differently than it was even five years ago. The Supreme Court heard five death penalty cases in 2005 alone. Is this progress, or are recent reforms still inadequate? The varied voices heard in RACE TO EXECUTION contribute to a thoughtful examination of the factors that influence who lives and who dies at the hands of the state.
They live crowded together in cement factory dormitories where water has to be carried upstairs in buckets. Their meals and rent are deducted from their wages, which amount to less than a dollar a day. Most of the jeans they make in the factory are purchased by retailers in the U.S. and other countries. China Blue takes viewers inside a blue jeans factory in southern China, where teenage workers struggle to survive harsh working conditions. Providing perspectives from both the top and bottom levels of the factory’s hierarchy, the film looks at complex issues of globalization from the human level. China Blue, which was made without permission from the Chinese authorities, offers an alarming report on the economic pressures applied by Western companies and the resulting human consequences, as the real profits are made—and kept—in first-world countries. The unexpected ending makes the connection between the exploited workers and U.S. consumers even clearer.
This eye-opening expose of the $80 billion coffee industry traces one man's fight for fair trade.
Enron dives from the seventh largest US company to bankruptcy in less than a year in this tale told chronologically. The emphasis is on human drama, from suicide to 20,000 people sacked: the personalities of Ken Lay (with Falwellesque rectitude), Jeff Skilling (he of big ideas), Lou Pai (gone with $250 M), and Andy Fastow (the dark prince) dominate. Along the way, we watch Enron game California's deregulated electricity market, get a free pass from Arthur Andersen (which okays the dubious mark-to-market accounting), use greed to manipulate banks and brokerages (Merrill Lynch fires the analyst who questions Enron's rise), and hear from both Presidents Bush what great guys these are.
In 2001, Japanese American painter Jimmy Mirikitani, over 80 years old, is living in the streets of lower Manhattan. Filmmaker Hattendorf takes an interest, and begins to engage with him to create a documentary of his life. After the World Trade Center destruction on September 11, 2001, the debris- and dust-choked streets are deserted. When Hattendorf looks for Mirikitani, he is still in his usual spot near Washington Square Park. She invites him to stay a while at her apartment nearby to recover from the devastation and unhealthy air in the streets. Gradually we learn who he is, and of his past...with amazing and unexpected results. (The cats of the title are featured in Mirikitani's artwork.)
Three young Cambodian refugees find themselves caught between a tragic past & an uncertain future.
Reveals how Jehovah's Witnesses have helped shape history beyond the doorstep.
This film tells the true story of a bohemian St. Francis and his remarkable relationship with a flock of wild red-and-green parrots. Former street musician and San Francisco dharma bum Mark Bittner falls in with the flock as he searches for meaning in his life, unaware that the parrots will bring him everything he seeks.
Legendary Afro-Cuban pop singer Lupe Victoria Yoli, “The Queen of Latin Soul Music,” aka La Lupe or La Yiyiyi, rose to fame in the 1960s and died in 1992 virtually unknown. Beautiful, sexual and the epitome of Afro-Cuban 60s sophistication, La Lupe remains the quintessential bad girl and perpetual outsider, renowned for emotional performances and as the embodiment of female narcissism who stopped at nothing in the name of love and passion. Shot in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the U.S., this film tells her story through interviews and rare archival footage from the groundbreaking musical era.
Fifty million Americans do crossword puzzles each week, many in the venerable New York Times, where Will Shortz has been editor for 12 years. "Wordplay" presents an entertaining and informative look at Shortz' work and that of the puzzle constructors with whom he collaborates, as well as coverage of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, an annual competition founded by Shortz, that profiles a number of intelligent and ingratiating contestants.
This film follows eight-year-old students in an elementary school in China as they campaign for school monitor. This is the first election for a class leader to be held in a school in China. The three candidates campaign, holding debates and showing their intellectual and artistic skills, until one is voted the winner.
This is a film explores the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip and efforts to achieve democracy amidst great social and political turmoil. Told from the perspective of the Israeli police force, this film explores how these individuals try to balance their emotions, beliefs and conscience while attempting to maintain civil order and a democratic outcome.
U.S. soldiers who fought on the island of Attu in Alaska during WWII journey back to the location.
Follows contestants in their quest for the Miss Navajo Nation crown, featuring stories of winners.
A town facing serious health risks and age-old racial tensions between Indian and white society.
A look at a small courthouse in Cameroon where two women help others fight against cases of abuse.
Chronicles the pressure of a year in the life of Pennsylvania State University's Daily Collegian.
This program offers an unsparing look at Ralph Nader, one of the most important and controversial political figures of our time.
The story of Nicky Gottlieb, a former child genius diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 21.
Dr. Jack Kessler, a prominent neurologist, shifts his diabetes research to stem cell research when his daughter is paralyzed from the waist down. The program brings the stem cell debate to the forefront and examines the constantly evolving interplay between the promise of new discoveries, the controversy of modern science and the courage of people living with devastating disease and injury.
A young Muslim American struggles to take over his father's halal slaughterhouse in New York City.
While working on his latest screenplay in Beijing, Hui Rao experiences writer's block and begins to live the life of the character he is trying to create.
Banished is a documentary film about four U.S. cities, which were part of many communities that violently forced African American families to flee in post-reconstruction America. In incidents which took place in Texas, Missouri, Georgia and Indiana between 1886 and 1923.
Follows two former felons in different stages of life "on the outside." / Examines the challenges faced by ex-convicts as they adjust to life after incarceration. The film focuses on the Exodus Transitional Community, a New York City-based organization (founded by Julio Medina).
With unprecedented access, this intimate documentary goes behind the scenes with Africa's first freelyelected female head of state, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of Liberia. The film explores the challenges facing the new president and the extraordinary women surrounding her as they develop and implement policy to rebuild their ravaged country and prevent a descent back into civil war.
A profile of America's first all-female mariachi band, Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles.
Jock Soto, who is Navajo Indian and Puerto Rican as well as gay, retired in June 2005 from the New York City Ballet after a 24-year career; this story climaxes with his emotional retirement at age 40. This is not a film solely for a ballet audience; it is also an exploration of identity, heritage, transition and family.
King Corn is a feature documentary film released in October 2007 following college friends Ian Cheney and Curtis Ellis as they move to Greene, Iowa to grow and farm an acre of corn. In the process, Cheney and Ellis examine the role that the increasing production of corn has for American society. The film shows how the industrialization of corn has all but eliminated the family farm, which is being replaced by larger and larger industrial farms. This trend reflects a larger industrialization of the North American food system, whereby, as was outlined in the film, decisions relating to what crops are grown, and how they are grown, are based more on economic considerations than their ramifications on the environment or the population. This is demonstrated in the film by the production of high fructose corn syrup, an ingredient found in many cheap food products, such as fast food. The two return to the same small town that was coincidentally home to both of their great-grandfathers.
Follow the journey of legendary teacher Robert Cazimero and the only all-male hula school in Hawaii as they celebrate their 30th anniversary and prepare to compete at the world’s largest hula festival. NA KAMALEI: The Men of Hula goes beyond deep-rooted stereotypes of "grass skirt girls" and reveals a story of Hawaiian pride—past and present.
In the wake of 9/11 and the hate crimes that followed, a Sikh American struggles to believe in the American dream amidst a climate of xenophobia and fear.
This film follows one woman's quest to uncover the secrets of how her family survived the Khmer Rouge genocide. Socheata Poeuv's family survived the Killing Fields, escaped across the border and became Americans. She searches for the truth about what her family escaped from and why her history has been buried in secrecy for so long.
Reveals a little-known battle of the Civil Rights Movement, led by an indigent, under-educated prisoner. Texas-born, Mexican American Fred Cruz came of age and found his life's calling in prison, where the sanctioned cruelty and brutality among inmates and guards moved him to fight the state prison system in the court of law.
The Cool School is an object lesson in how to build an art scene from scratch and what to avoid in the process. Featuring Academy Award nominee Dennis Hopper and narrated by Academy Award nominee Jeff Bridges, the film focuses on the seminal Ferus Gallery.
The amazing and compelling true story of the fateful voyage of Donald Crowhurst, an amateur yachtsman who enters the most daring nautical challenge ever - the very first solo, non-stop, round-the-world boat race. Through re-enactments and interviews with family and friends, the viewer witnesses Crowhurst's maritime inexperience and eventually an ending that shocked a nation.
A Japanese family searches for their daughter who was abducted by North Korean spies in 1977. / Recalls the 1977 kidnapping of schoolgirl Megumi Yokota from her Japanese hometown by North Korean agents, who took her to North Korea.
This program combines bold and original animation with extraordinary archival footage to explore the build-up to and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. Set to the music of revolution, then and now, the film features the vocal talents of Hank Azaria, Mark Ruffalo, Dylan Baker, Liev Schreiber, Nick Nolte, Jeffrey Wright and Roy Scheider. A parable of hope, courage and victory, this program is the story of young Americans speaking out.
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf addresses his ideas for a democratized society.
Josh Osborne hatched a plan with his friends and relatives to kill his mother after she reneged on a deal which would have left the family farm to him.
The story of a group of female Army support soldiers who became the first women in American history to be sent into direct ground combat in violation of official policy. Without sufficient training but with a commitment to serve as needed, these young women ended up fighting in some of the bloodiest counterinsurgency battles of the Iraq war. This film makes public, for the first time, this hidden history. / The experiences of "Team Lioness," female soldiers in Iraq who took part in house raids and patrols in order to interact with Iraqi women. In the process, they became involved in direct combat with the enemy, including in 2004 in Ramadi.
Meet Cody, Nick and Travis—three teenagers from the Swinomish Tribe. After hard times on the rez lead to rehab and drug court, they are offered an alternative: to make a documentary about the impact of two oil refineries on their community. A collaborative coming of age story, MARCH POINT follows the ambivalent and once-troubled teens as they come to understand themselves and the threat their people face.
THE ATOM SMASHERS explores what happens when politicians, not scientists, decide which scientific projects will be funded and which will be cut, and depicts the contradictions that arise when the most educated population in the world begins to doubt the place and value of science. Archival film and vintage footage illustrate the history of Fermilab and cultural attitudes towards science in America, with key scientific ideas brought to life through animation. Despite the setbacks, the physicists at Fermilab continue the search. Until Europe’s atom smasher goes online and starts generating the massive amounts of collisions it takes to find such a minute particle, there’s still a chance that they can win the race. As physicist John Conway says, “This work is too important not to be done somewhere.” But will it be done here in the U.S.? Or will he and the rest of the physicists at Fermilab soon be packing their bags for Europe?
Filmmaker Immy Humes presents a portrait of her father, the legendary forgotten novelist and counterculture icon Harold Louis "Doc" Humes. Doc’s friends and family—including Norman Mailer, George Plimpton, Timothy Leary, William Stryon, Peter Matthiessen, Paul Auster, and Jonas Mekas—weaving together a story of politics, literature, protest and mental illness, shedding light on an original mind as well as the cultural history of postwar America.
This program tells the story of making a grand opera about the birth of the atomic bomb. This behind-the-scenes documentary follows composer John Adams and director Peter Sellars over the course of a year as they work to forge the tale of J. Robert Oppenheimer into a music drama like no other: the strange and beautiful "Doctor Atomic."
This 50-minute documentary unfolds the creative journey of Albert Maysles' cult classic, GREY GARDENS - from non-fiction film to spectacularly mounted Broadway musical. Captured in the 1975 Maysles film, GREY GARDENS, the indomitable Edith Beale and her daughter Edie, aunt and cousin to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, were revealed to be a most unique and engaging mother daughter act - inhabiting a folie à deux built upon powerful interdependence, quirky eccentricity, courage, devotion and love. Their essence and their story soon catapulted them to cult icon status, an ironic counterpoint to Mrs. Onassis' own such status, and culminating in the ultimate homage: being portrayed on the Broadway stage. The documentary will feature behind-the-scenes footage of the show's rehearsals, performance and insightful interviews with the creators and cast, as well as a revealing interview with Albert Maysles and relevant insights from Beale authorities, devotees, cultural commentators, audience and fans.
Iraqi film student Muthana Mohmed gets his dream job working on a Hollywood movie, where expectations and misunderstandings collide. / Iraqi film student Muthana Mohmed, whose school was destroyed by American bombs, lands a dream job working on a Hollywood movie in the West. On set, idealistic expectations and cultural misunderstandings collide, launching Muthana on a journey more complicated than either he or his American benefactors ever anticipated. By Nina Davenport.
Helvetica is about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which celebrated its 50th birthday in 2007) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives. The film is an exploration of urban spaces in major cities and the type that inhabits them, and a fluid discussion with renowned designers about their work, the creative process, and the choices and aesthetics behind their use of type.
America's original shock-jock, Petey Greene overcame poverty, drug addiction and prison time to "tell it like it is," shocking and entertaining everyone from the ghetto to the White House. Narrated by Don Cheadle, "Adjust Your Color" looks at how Greene's explosive language and brash style unsettled the establishment as he battled both the system and his own demons on a journey to becoming a leading activist during some of the most tumultuous years in recent history.
A lone undercover cop moves into a small farming town. By the end of the blazing summer of 1999, 46 people are arrested for selling cocaine—nearly all of them African American. It was heralded as one of the biggest drug busts in Texas history, until a team of lawyers set out to uncover the truth.
The doctrine, “separate but equal” ended in the 1950s, right? Think again. At America’s oldest Mardi Gras—celebrated each year in Mobile, Alabama—events remain segregated between white and black residents. Beneath the surface of pageantry, lies a complex story about race relations and the ever-present racial divide that persists in America today.
Iranian American filmmaker Marjan Tehrani chronicles her brother's return to Iran during the start of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, as he travels with his American wife to have a traditional Persian wedding and explore his lost heritage. In weaving the couple's personal story with historical footage, "Arusi" considers the history, impact and troubled relationship between Iran and America. By Marjan Tehrani.
Have you ever dreamed of being waited on hand and foot? For the past six years, Lakshmi has been doing just that for her employers—virtually unnoticed. That is, until one of Lakshmi’s employers begins to film her daily life on the job in Mumbai, India. In a deeply personal portrait, the film takes a hard look at the Indian caste system, gender and class relations.
Abu Amar, an ex-Mujahideen soldier, is trying to build a peaceful life after years of fighting in the Soviet-Afghan war. "Recycle" follows Amar's daily life as he scours the streets to earn a meager living collecting cardboard to recycle while struggling with his faith and the social realities of life in the Middle East.
Everyone has seen a nature documentary with a ferocious kill on the Serengeti Plain. Well, here’s a different story about villagers navigating the dangers and costs of living with wildlife. After a century of “white man’s conservation,” the Maasai of Kenya and Namibia’s Himba people are vying to share a piece of the eco-tourism pie. But can they fulfill the expectations of Westerners without abandoning their native culture?
How does the simple act of planting trees lead to winning the Nobel Peace Prize? Ask Wangari Maathai of Kenya. In 1977, she suggested rural women plant trees to address problems stemming from a degraded environment. Under her leadership, their tree-planting grew into a nationwide movement to safeguard the environment, defend human rights and promote democracy, earning Maathai the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004.
A home of your own: that’s the American dream. But what happens when the dreamers are immigrants, factory workers and Communists? Director Michal Goldman traces the history of "The Coops," a cooperative apartment complex built in the Bronx by Jewish garment workers. The film tracks the rise and fall of the community from the 1920s into the 1950s, bearing witness to lives lived across barriers of race, convention and sometimes even common sense.
What were the Japanese Kamikazes thinking just before crashing into their targets? When Risa Morimoto discovered that her beloved uncle trained as a Kamikaze pilot in his youth, she wondered the same thing. Through rare interviews with surviving Kamikaze pilots, Morimoto retraces their journeys from teenagers to doomed pilots and reveals a complex history of brutal training and ambivalent sacrifice.
It’s a civil war that’s lasted 40 years. Passed down from son to son. Fought eye for an eye. Over 15,000 dead and counting, while the world stands by. Welcome to South Central Los Angeles. But what’s at the root of this long-standing battle? Filmmaker Stacy Peralta hits the streets of LA to find out, and speaks with former and current members of the Bloods and the Crips, two of the most notorious and violent street gangs in America.
This is the story of a group of young men who survived for 72 days after their plane crashed in the Andean Cordillera in October 1972. / The 16 young men (of 45 passengers and crew) of a 1972 plane crash in the Andes recall their ordeal, which found them stranded for 72 days on a snowy peak after the search for the plane's wreckage was called off.
In June 1943, Ina Soep, the rich and beautiful daughter of an Amsterdam diamond cutter, met a married couple—a poor accountant named Jack Polak and his vivacious wife, Manja—at a birthday party for a friend. Six months later, the three of them were sharing a barrack at Kamp Westerbork, a Nazi holding camp in the north of Holland. So begins one of the most complex stories of love, hope and transcendent luck to emerge from the Holocaust.
As wars rage in the Middle East, the U.S. military is eager for more recruits—unless you happen to be openly gay. ASK NOT explores the tangled political battles that led to the infamous “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and reveals the personal stories of gay Americans who serve in combat under a veil of secrecy.
During the 1976-1983 military dictatorships in Argentina, thousands of citizens were kidnapped and never heard from again. Director Juan Mandelbaum returns to his native Argentina to discover what happened to friends and loved ones who were among the "desaparecidos." His journey reveals the depths of terror that they experienced and the continued fight for justice. Terrence Howard hosts the series.
He was a postal clerk, and she was a librarian. With their modest means, Herbert and Dorothy Vogel managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history. In "Herb & Dorothy, " filmmaker Megumi Sasaki looks at a couple whose passion and disciplines defied stereotypes and redefined what it means to be an art collector.
Five generations of mining families illustrate the story of Butte, Mont., once the world's largest producer of copper. / Irish actor Gabriel Byrne narrates the tale of Butte, Montana, once the world's largest producer of copper -- the "Richest Hill on Earth," the town that "plumbed and electrified America," the Pittsburgh of the West. Butte forged a community whose toughness, vitality and solidarity speak to what's missing in America today, while raising profound questions about the costs and consequences of industrialization and use of natural resources.
Pickpocketing is common practice in Kolkata, India. In an attempt to crack down on more serious crime, the police offer Azad, a young pickpocket, a full pardon if he helps track down more notorious criminals. Azad must choose whether he'll collaborate with the police or risk it all for life on the streets.
This program follows the efforts of American Indian tribes to bring renewable energy projects into their communities. From the Sioux tribes of Great Plains in the Midwest to the Navajo and Hopi of the Southwest, tribes are fighting to protect their land, air and water from the harmful impacts of mining and burning coal on their lands. This program documents how young Native leaders won a legal battle to close a large dirty coal plant not far from Las Vegas, which sends electricity to California.
When indie rock drummer Pat Spurgeon finally gets his big break, his body breaks down. Refusing to make his failing kidney a deterrent, Pat goes on tour with his band Rogue Wave: making music, searching for a donor and administering his own dialysis along the way.
They took Hollywood by storm -- escaping the brutal Soviet oppression of the Hungarian Revolution and rising to fame with classic films like Easy Rider, Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Deer Hunter. Cinematographers Laszlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond pioneered the "American New Wave." This film is a portrait of their 50-year journey and their deep bond of brotherhood.
Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.
A documentary exploring the art and science of origami. / Think origami is just paper planes and cranes? Meet a determined group of theoretical scientists and fine artists who have abandoned careers and scoffed at graduate degrees to forge new lives as modern-day paper folders. Together they reinterpret the world in paper, creating a wild mix of sensibilities towards art, science, creativity and meaning.
A young, irreverent priest arrives at Saint Patrick Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts, only to confront boiling ethnic tensions in a changing working-class community. Filmed over four years, the program follows the wildly diverse personal stories of Father Paul O'Brien and his unruly flock, as they struggle to hold onto faith in the face of desperate circumstances.
A documentary following an New England senior citizens chorus preparing a one-night-only concert of rock, punk and R&B for the town of Northampton, Massachusetts.
This program examines the creative and commercial value of musical sampling, including the related debates over artistic expression, copyright law and, of course, money. For more than 30 years, innovative hip-hop performers and producers have been re-using portions of previously recorded music. When lawyers and record companies got involved, what was once referred to as a "borrowed melody" became a "copyright infringement."
Who has the authority to define your identity? Considered one of the most controversial scholars of our time, Melville Herskovits — a Jewish anthropologist — challenged the norm in the 1940s when he wrote that black culture wasn’t pathological, it was African. Leading a seismic shift in the way African American culture is understood, Herskovits’s work raises ideas that still
This is the story of a single father who is determined that his nine-year-old daughter become a rap star and thus redeem his deferred dream. This program follows the father-daughter duo through the grit and glamour of the music industry, the struggles of being a single dad with no means and the sacrifices a child makes in order to make her daddy proud.
Mine tells the poignant and powerful story of animals left behind during Katrina, and of the struggles of hurricane victims to reunite with their beloved pets. This meditation on the essential bond between humans and animals expresses the power of compassion in contemporary America. In "Home," director Matthew Faust gives an evocative archive of his family's house in Chalmette, Louisiana, flooded by Hurricane Katrina.
With engrossing interviews and archival footage, filmmaker Jihan El-Tahri exposes the power struggles inside South Africa's African National Congress and charts its shift from liberation organization to the country's post-apartheid ruling party. Ousted president Thabo Mbeki, new leader Jacob Zuma and others offer insight into the polarizing political tug-of-war that threatens not only the ANC, but also South Africa itself.
This is an up-close look at four teens who have lost their sight. The film follows their struggles to fit in, prepare for college and live independently. Theirs is a world where crossing an intersection, cooking a meal or navigating an unfamiliar area can be a challenge that sighted viewers never consider.
In 1999, filmmaker Monika Navarro's uncles were deported from the United States to Mexico, forced to leave the only country they knew and, as servicemen, had pledged to protect. Set against the backdrop of increased attention to the U.S.-Mexican border, "Lost Souls (Animas Perdidas)" explores national identity, the lives of immigrants and what happens when deportees are returned to a homeland they no longer consider home.
What's a child's education worth? For one visionary rookie principal, it's priceless. At the Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics, an innovative public high school in New York City's South Bronx, Principal Edward Tom leads a dedicated group of teachers, students and parents in their biggest gamble yet. Within a community infamous for hardship, can this brand-new school live up to its promise, and inspire new stories of achievement and excellence?
After world-renowned Tibetan master Geshe Lama Konchog passed away in 2001 at age 84, the Dalai Lama charged the deceased monk’s devoted disciple, Tenzin Zopa, with the task of finding the reincarnation of this spiritual leader. Plagued by doubt, Tenzin knows his discovery is awaited by thousands of followers. Unmistaken Child is the story of his four-year search. Stunningly shot, Unmistaken Child follows Tenzin as he embarks on an unforgettable quest by foot, mule, and even helicopter, traveling through breathtaking landscapes and remote traditional Tibetan villages. Along the way, Tenzin listens to stories about young children with special characteristics and performs rarely seen ritualistic tests designed to determine the likelihood of reincarnation. He eventually presents the child he believes to be his reincarnated master to the Dalai Lama — who will ultimately make the final decision.
Joan Allen narrates this film about Hannah Senesh, the World War II-era poet and diarist who became a paratrooper, resistance fighter and modern-day Joan of Arc. Safe in Palestine in 1944, Hannah joined a mission to rescue Jews in her native Hungary. Hannah parachuted behind enemy lines, was captured, tortured and ultimately executed by the Nazis.
Narrated by Jamie Lee Curtis, "DIRT! The Movie" digs into the fascinating history of this lowly substance, explaining how four billion years of evolution have created the dirt that recycles our water, gives us food, provides us shelter and can be used as a source of medicine, beauty and culture. Destructive methods of agriculture, mining practices and urban development have placed this vital resource in danger.
Filmed over four years, GARBAGE DREAMS follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world's largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo. When their community is suddenly faced with the globalization of its trade, each of the teenage boys is forced to make choices that will impact his future and the survival of his community.
In 1975 rural Texas, a local mayor's daughter grapples with an unplanned pregnancy -- finally deciding to have her baby in secret before giving her away in a hidden adoption. Twenty-three years later, the adopted child also has an unplanned baby out of wedlock. "Sunshine" tells the intimate story of this second-generation single mother and her own struggle with the idea of family.
Explore one family's unforgettable journey as they travel halfway across the world in search of a miracle to heal their autistic son. The film blends footage from the family's adventure through the Mongolian countryside with scenes from their life at home in Texas. Bolstered by testimony from autism experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin, this compelling film exquisitely captures an astonishing physical and spiritual journey.
Two filmmakers, one Hindu and the other Muslim, sneak their cameras into one of the most beautiful, yet dangerous, places on Earth. In a region where religious alliances have spawned more than half a century of war, can these two filmmakers learn what makes Kashmiris choose their homeland over their own lives, even as their friendship is put to the test?
Versailles, a tight-knit neighborhood on the edge of New Orleans, is home to the densest ethnic Vietnamese population outside of Vietnam. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, residents rebuild their homes — only to have them threatened by a toxic landfill planned in their neighborhood. As the community fights back, it turns a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change.
An elderly man hires Solo, a Senegalese cab driver, to drive him to a mountaintop in North Carolina where he plans to commit suicide.
This documentary is about a singular parking lot in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the select group of parking lot attendants that inhabit its microcosm. The attendants are a uniquely varied group of men comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students, philosophers, intellectuals, musicians, artists, and marginal-type characters.
A look at the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time - artists and writers who brought a rebellious spirit to their work in a business more often associated with mediocrity or manipulation. "Just Do It," "I Love NY, " "Where's the Beef?," "Got Milk," "Think Different," and other brilliant campaigns for everything from cars to presidents.
The portrayal of Native Americans in cinema. / Cree filmmaker Neil Diamond takes an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at the Hollywood Indian, exploring the portrayal of North American Natives through a century of cinema and examining the myth of "the Injun." Narrated by Diamond with infectious enthusiasm and good humor, this film is a loving look at cinema through the eyes of the people who appeared in its very first flickering images and have survived to tell their stories their own way.
Private Felix Longoria fought and died while fighting the Japanese during World War II. When his body was sent back to his small hometown in Texas, the only funeral parlor there refused to hold a wake for the Mexican American GI because "the whites would not like it." The incident would ripple outward, launching the career of Lyndon B. Johnson, landing the undertaker in a mental institution, and launching the Mexican American civil rights movement.
Filmmaker Chris Billing investigates the deaths of his adopted brothers, two Crow Indian boys who disappeared in 1978. / Some questions are never answered. Some answers are hard to take. Three decades ago, two Crow Indian brothers ran away from home and no one knew why. Their sudden and mysterious deaths sent shockwaves through a tiny upstate New York community. This program relates their adoptive brother's journey to bring Bobby and Tyler home and confront a painful truth that shattered his family.
Beverly May and Terry Ratliff grew up on opposite sides of a mountain ridge in eastern Kentucky. When a mountaintop removal coal mine encroaches on their community, the two find themselves on opposite sides of a debate that divides their community. Who controls, consumes, and benefits from the planet's dwindling supply of natural resources? In a small town in dire economic straits and high unemployment, the coal company's offer to buy land and provide jobs can be hard to resist. How can a community choose between its present and its future? Also: The Virtual Mine.
An inquisitive look at everyday life in Middle America. "45365" explores the vagaries of daily life in an American town -- Sidney, Ohio. Through an intimate look at the lives and landscapes that make up this community of 20,000 people, the film captures various aspects of their shared experience. Conclusions are left to the audience as the component characters speak and act for themselves.
This mini-series follows seven Muslims, Catholics, Evangelical Christians and Jews in training to become professional clergy. Embarking on life paths that demand tremendous personal sacrifice and commitment, these seminarians must uphold timeless truths in an era that values quick fixes and hot trends, and face a public that challenges the relevance of their mission. A new look at an old job, "The Calling" takes viewers into the unknown world of seminaries to tell personal stories of how faith is lived today. (Part 1 of 2)
Muslim, Catholic, Evangelical Christian, and Jewish seminarians embark on their life path in a secular and cynical era. A close look at how faith is lived today. / The conclusion of "The Calling," about America's next generation of religious leaders in the Christian, Jewish and Islamic faiths. The documentary chronicles their transformation from students to ordained religious professionals.
A group of middle-aged men who have found unlikely success as members of Sweden's all-male synchronized swimming team. What begins as a weekly escape from the daily grind of work and family responsibilities gradually evolves into a more serious commitment. Inspired by Esther Williams's techniques from the 1950s, these train engineers and meat buyers, archivists and teachers have become passionate exponents of a sport generally associated with women.
In the midst of Haiti's lush mountains and historical relics are 500,000 orphan children who live in the streets -- known as "the soulless" and forgotten by their own people. This program follows three teenage boys -- Denick, a charming 14-year-old; Nickenson, a tough but sensitive 16-year-old; and Antoine, an energetic paint-thinner abuser -- who share a common dream of education, government assistance, and social acceptance. Shot in the northern city of Cap-Haitien over a period of two years, this film captures the spirit of human survival.
Made up of 28 musicians and singers with severe mental and physical disabilities, the Spirit of Goodwill Band is a raucous home away from home where members are free to display their talent, humor, and tenacity. This film challenges preconceived notions of what it means to be disabled. / South Florida's Spirit of Goodwill Band, a music group of persons with mental and physical disabilities, as it progresses from small appearances to larger public performances, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Miami.
A profile of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted University of Texas music student, who finds herself at the epicenter of racial controversy, struggling against the odds and ultimately ascending to the heights of international opera.
An iconoclast who himself became an icon, William Burroughs explored the outer boundaries of culture and identity in the 1950s. His work was vilified by conservatives and banned by the U.S. government, but emerged to influence artists for generations to come. Burroughs's friends and colleagues remember the public persona and the private man.
At the age of 16, Cyntoia Brown, who had suffered a long history of abuse, killed a man who picked her up for sex. The filmmaker has unprecedented access to Cyntioa in prison, and spends two years with her and her family as they await her eventual sentencing to life in prison in Tennessee. This film challenges our assumptions about violence and explores how a young person can be predestined for tragedy by life circumstances.
Civil war came to Rose's Congolese village, with it the nighttime arrest of her entire family, the execution of her husband and grim negotiations with guards which led to her separation from her five-year-old daughter, Nangabire. More than a decade later, resettled in Phoenix, Rose and her children are reunited with Nangabire. Rose emerged from her experience advocating forgiveness and reconciliation.
This story of how a treasure trove of banned Soviet art worth millions of dollars was stashed in a far-off desert of Uzbekistan develops into a larger exploration of how art survives in times of oppression.
In his short career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a phenomenon. Discovered in the late 1970s through his graffiti art on the Lower East Side, he sold his first painting to Deborah Harry for $200 and later became best friends with Andy Warhol. Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this documentary.
Artist Vik Muniz journeys from to his home country of Brazil, and to Jardim Gramacho, the world's largest garbage dump located on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. There Muniz photographs an eclectic band of catadores -- pickers of recyclable materials -- and works with them to "paint" their portraits using garbage. The resulting collaboration with these inspiring characters provides profoundly moving evidence of the transformative power of art and its impact on the human spirit.
After being beaten into a coma, Mark Hogancamp is left brain damaged and traumatized. He devises his own brand of therapy by constructing a 1/6th-scale World War II-era town in his backyard and weaving complex storylines around his characters. Through Marwencol, Mark embarks on a long journey back into the real world, both physically and emotionally.
This haunting film about a film examines a classic Nazi propaganda movie used by historians for decades to provide insight into the realities of life in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942. The recent discovery of a second reel in an East German archive has thrown the veracity and intent of the Warsaw Ghetto footage into question.
As the first Muslim woman to lead an Islamic nation, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto evolved from a pampered princess to a polarizing politician in one of the most dangerous countries on Earth. Accused of rampant corruption, imprisoned, then exiled abroad, Bhutto was called back to Pakistan in 2007 as her country's best hope for democracy. Struck down by assassins, her untimely death sent shock waves throughout the world.
Beginning in the modern day and working backward, Beetle Queen Conquers Tokyo explores the history of Japan's love affair with bugs. Using insects like an anthropologist's toolkit, the film uncovers Japanese philosophies that will shift viewers' perspectives on nature, beauty, and life, and counter the exigencies of day-to-day life.
Welcome to Shelbyville is a glimpse of America at a crossroads. In this one small town in the heart of America's Bible Belt, a community grapples with rapidly changing demographics. Just a stone's throw away from Pulaski, Tennessee (the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan), longtime African American and white residents are challenged with how best to integrate with a growing Latino population and the more recent arrival of hundreds of Muslim Somali refugees.
Fred Martinez was one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. Two Spirits explores the life and death of a boy who was also a girl, and the essentially spiritual nature of gender.
Episode Synopsis: Season 13 premieres with new host Mary-Louise Parker introducing "Wham! Bam! Islam," about the challenges involving "The 99," a comic book about Muslim superheroes created by Kuwaiti psychologist Naif Al-Mutawa. He raised $7 million in capital, hired Marvel comic veterans and released the first issue during Ramadan 2006, but it was banned in Saudi Arabia and Middle East sales failed to meet expectations. As a result, he tried to go global without sacrificing the comic's underlying Muslim ideals.
Episode Synopsis: "Donor Unknown" charts the story of 20-year-old JoEllen Marsh, who was raised by two mothers in Pennsylvania, as she searches for her sperm-donor father, known only as "Donor 150." Thanks to an online registry for the children of sperm donors, she meets half-siblings that she never knew existed; and, thanks to a New York Times article about her quest that he just happens to see in a Venice, Cal., coffee shop, eventually manages to connect with her biological dad.
"Lives Worth Living" tells the story of the disability rights movement in America, which began after WWII when disabled veterans returned home; and culminated in 1990 with the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The documentary includes remarks from the movement's pioneers, including Fred Fay (1940-2011) and Judi Chamberlin (1944-2010); former congressman Tony Coelho; and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
"Deaf Jam" chronicles the experiences of Aneta Brodski, a deaf Israeli teen living in New York, as she moves from American Sign Language poetry, where body movements convey meaning, into the spoken-word slam scene and collaborates with Palestinian slam poet Tahani Salah on a politics-transcending performance.
Anne Makepeace's "We Still Live Here—As Nutayunean" tells the story of linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird's work to resurrect the long-forgotten language of the Wampanoag (the Native Americans who saved the Pilgrims from starvation). The documentary details what led Baird, in 1994, to begin the effort to return the dormant language to the living; and also explains the factors that led to the language's extinction a century ago.
"The Woodmans" charts the short life of influential photographer Francesca Woodman, who took her own life in 1981 at the age of 22. The profile includes comments from her parents, artists George and Betty Woodman; and brother Charles Woodman.
"These Amazing Shadows" focuses on the National Film Registry, an eclectic collection of movies considered to be "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" by the National Film Preservation Board. Included: clips from many of the films; remarks from Librarian of Congress James Billington; such directors as Barbara Kopple, Christopher Nolan, Rob Reiner, John Singleton and John Waters; such actors as Tim Roth, Debbie Reynolds and Zooey Deschanel; and film critics and historians.
The five-part "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?," a history of the global anti-apartheid movement, opens with "Road to Resistance," which recalls the 1948 implementation of government-sanctioned discrimination in South Africa. The African National Congress launches a nonviolent campaign against apartheid, but its leaders are forced underground or, like Nelson Mandela, imprisoned. ANC deputy president Oliver Tambo, meanwhile, travels the world in search of support for the anti-apartheid cause.
Part 2 of 5 of "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?" examines "The New Generation," and its effort to overturn South Africa's apartheid system. Included: the refusal of western nations to boycott South Africa; a youth uprising in the township of Soweto; the 1977 murder of activist Steve Biko.
Part 3 of 5 of "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?," "From Selma to Soweto," details the anti-apartheid movement in the U.S., where in 1986 legislation was passed that imposed sanctions on South Africa over the objections of President Reagan.
Part 4 of 5 of "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?, The Bottom Line," details how international grassroots campaigns to boycott and divest from companies that did business in South Africa pressured those companies to exit the apartheid state.
The conclusion of "Have You Heard From Johannesburg?, Free at Last," recalls the end stage of South Africa's apartheid system, when internal and external pressures forced the government to the negotiating table and consent to elections in 1994 that resulted in the once-banned ANC winning a majority in parliament and the once-imprisoned Nelson Mandela becoming president.
Daisy Bates was a complex, unconventional, and largely forgotten heroine of the civil rights movement who led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.
The Black Power Mixtape examines the evolution of the Black Power Movement in the black community and Diaspora from 1967 to 1975. The film combines music, startling 16mm footage (lying undiscovered in the cellar of Swedish Television for 30 years), and contemporary audio interviews from leading African-American artists, activists, musicians and scholars.
Shukree Hassan Tilghman, a 29-year-old African-American filmmaker, is on a cross-country campaign to end Black History Month. Through this tongue-in-cheek journey, “More Than a Month” investigates what the treatment of history tells us about race and equality in a “post-racial” America.
In Danville, California, Lee Gorewitz wanders on a soul-searching odyssey through her Alzheimer’s & Dementia care unit. Confined by the limits of her physical boundaries, she scavenges for reminders of her life in the outside world. Yet her search is for more than a word, or a memory, or a familiar face. It is a quest for understanding. A total immersion into the fragmented day-to-day experience of mental illness, You're Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don't is the first documentary filmed exclusively in an Alzheimer’s & Dementia care unit, and the first told from the perspective of someone suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The film reveals Lee's penetrating ruminations and charismatic vitality, challenging our preconceptions of illness and aging. Here is the journey of a woman who will not let us forget her – even as she struggles to remember her self.
Every day, millions tune in to Sesame Street to see one of the world’s most adored and recognizable characters — a furry red three-and-a-half year-old monster named Elmo. Yet, with all of Elmo’s fame, the man behind the icon is able to walk down the street without being recognized. As a teenager growing up in Baltimore in the 1970s, Kevin Clash had very different aspirations from his classmates — he wanted to be a puppeteer. More specifically, he wanted to be part of Jim Henson’s team, the creative force responsible for delivering the magic of Sesame Street on a daily basis. With a supportive family behind him, Kevin made his dreams come true. Combining amazing archival footage with material from the present day, filmmaker Constance Marks explores Kevin's story in vivid detail and chronicles the meteoric rise of Jim Henson in the process. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and including interviews with Frank Oz, Rosie O’Donnell, Cheryl Henson, Joan Ganz Cooney and others, this insightful and personal documentary offers up a rare, behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson legacy.
Interweaves the extraordinary story of Septentrional’s six decades of creativity with the history of Haiti. How did the country go from being the first free black republic with a huge wealth of natural resources to a shattered nation unable to support its citizens? How did the hope created by the rise of Jean Bertrand Aristide and the despair that followed the coup that drove him from power contribute to the inevitability of the January 2010 earthquake’s horrific death toll? The film gives context to the current problems facing Haiti, from the brutality of French colonialism and the bloody revolution that brought Haitians their freedom to the crushing foreign debt, the 15-year American occupation that ushered in the brutal dictatorship of “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and the earthquake that killed almost 300,000 people. The passion, commitment, dreams, and joy of Septentrional’s musicians reveal the indomitable Haitian spirit. With a sweeping narrative and infectious music, this is the story of not just one band’s survival, but also Haiti’s survival.