Within our lifetime over half of the world’s population will be living without access to safe water and sanitation. Eight year old Vanessa and her parents walk almost a mile down the cliffs of El Alto in Bolivia to collect water from an unreliable well every day. Yet they live just a few hundred metres from their city’s main water treatment plant and can see millions of gallons just beyond the barbed wire fence. They are victims of increasing water commodification. The struggle for this precious resource is explored through compelling stories of families living in Bolivia, Detroit, Dar Es Salaam and Rajestan.
City of Borders provides an original view of the vibrant underground community at the only gay bar in Jerusalem where people of different nationalities, religions and sexual orientations create a sanctuary among people typically viewed as the “enemy”. This powerful and provocative documentary intimately portrays the daily lives of five Israeli and Palestinian patrons as they risk their lives challenging taboos and navigating the minefield of politics, religion and discrimination to live and love openly.
Set against the construction of the separation wall between Israel and the Palestinian territories and the struggle for a gay pride parade in the Holy City, these five inter-woven stories reveal the contradictions and complexities in the struggle for acceptance. In observing the lives of the bar regulars, City of Borders explores the bond forged when people from warring worlds embrace the right to be accepted and belong, rather than being divided by their differences.
Is it possible to live completely waste free? Partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least landfill garbage in an entire year. Their light-hearted competition is set against an examination of the sobering problem of waste in North American society. Even as Grant and Jen start to garner interest in their project, they struggle to find meaning in their seemingly minuscule influence on the large-scale environmental impacts of our “throw-away society”. Featuring interviews with renowned artist, Chris Jordan and marine pollution expert, Captain Charles Moore, The Clean Bin Project presents the serious topic of waste reduction with optimism, humour, and inspiration for individual action. Best Canadian Documentary, Projecting Change Film Festival.
This is one of two films created in Manitoba to celebrate 2012 the International year of Cooperatives. Co-op Festival uses commercials, documentary clips and short movies to tell the story of co-ops from Manitoba, Canada and around the world.
This is one of two films created in Manitoba to celebrate 2012 the International year of Cooperatives. Co-op Lions uses commercials, documentary clips and short movies to tell the story of co-ops from Manitoba, Canada and around the world.
Consuming Kids throws desperately needed light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that now sells kids and their parents everything from junk food and violent video games to bogus educational products and the family car. Drawing on the insights of health care professionals, children’s advocates, and industry insiders, the film focuses on the explosive growth of child marketing in the wake of deregulation, showing how marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to transform children into one of the most powerful and profitable consumer demographics in the world. Consuming Kids pushes back against the wholesale commercialization of childhood, raising urgent questions about the ethics of children’s marketing and its impact on the health and well-being of our children.
One teaspoon of dirt contains a billion organisms working in balance to sustain a series of complex, thriving communities that are invisibly a part of our daily lives. The filmmakers travel around the world to capture the stories of global visionaries who are discovering new ways to repair humanity’s relationship with soil and suggesting ways dirt can create new possibilities for all life on Earth. Best Film for Our Future; Mendocino Film Festival.
Granito is a story of Guatemala, its turbulent history, and how documentary film footage is being used as courtroom evidence to bring a measure of justice for crimes committed decades ago. In Granito, our characters sift for clues buried in archives, seeking to uncover a narrative that could unlock the past and settle matters of life and death in the present. Each of the five main characters whose paths cross in Granito are connected by the Guatemala of 1982 where a genocidal “scorched earth” campaign by the military exterminated nearly 200,000 Mayan people. Our characters become integral to the overarching narrative of wrongs done and justice sought that they have pieced together, each adding their granito, their tiny grain of sand, to the epic tale. Jury Grand Prize, Politics On Film Festival.
Happy combines cutting-edge science from the new field of “positive psychology” with real-life stories of people from around the world whose lives illustrate these findings. We see the story of a beautiful woman named Melissa Moody, a mother of three who had a “perfect life” until the day she was run over by a truck. Disabled for nine years and disfigured for life, amazingly she is happier now than before her accident. Manoj Singh, a rickshaw puller from the slums of Kolkata, India who lives in a hut made of plastic bags with his family, is found to be as happy as the average American. Through these and other stories, Happy leads us toward a deeper understanding of how we can all live more fulfilling, healthy and happy lives. Numerous Awards include: Audience Choice, Telluride Mountainside Festival; Grand Jury Award, Amsterdam Film Festival; Best Documentary, Mexico International Film Festival.
I AM is an utterly engaging and entertaining non-fiction film that poses two practical and provocative questions: what is wrong with our world, and what can we do to make it better? The filmmaker behind the inquiry is Tom Shadyac, one of Hollywood’s leading comedy practitioners and the creative force behind such blockbusters as “Ace Ventura, ” “Liar,Liar,” “The Nutty Professor “and “Bruce Almighty.” However, in I AM, Shadyac steps in front of the camera to recount what happened to him after a cycling accident left him incapacitated, possibly for good. Though he ultimately recovered, he emerged with a new sense of purpose, determined to share his own awakening to his prior life of excess and greed, and to investigate how he as an individual and we as a race, could improve the way we live and walk in the world. In his search he meets with variety of remarkable men and women from the worlds of science, philosophy, academia, and faith – including David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson, John Francis, Coleman Barks and Marc Ian Barasch.
The world of environmental direct action has been a secretive one, until now. With unprecedented access, Emily James spent over a year embedded in activist groups such as Climate Camp and Plane Stupid, documenting their clandestine activities. Just Do It introduces you to a powerful cast of mischievous and inspiring characters who put their bodies in the way. They super-glue themselves to bank trading floors, blockade factories and attack coal power stations en masse, all despite the very real threat of arrest.
One of the activists, Marina Pepper, is a cheerful soul who believes in the subversive power of offering the police a nice cup of tea. The protest groups are intensely British, a roving awkward squad, intent on being a fly in the ointment of profit; yet they make friends with the bemused cops and bailiffs, and get a bit upset when things inevitably turn sour. Just Do It is an absorbing, illuminating and at times very funny film.
Louder Than a Bomb is a film about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust. It is also about poetry. Every year, more than six hundred teenagers from over sixty Chicago area schools gather for the world’s largest youth poetry slam, a competition known as “Louder Than a Bomb”. Rather than emphasize individual poets and performances, the structure of “Louder Than a Bomb” demands that kids work collaboratively with their peers; presenting, critiquing, and rewriting their pieces. To succeed, teams have to create an environment of mutual trust and support. For many kids, being a part of such an environment in an academic context is life-changing.
Louder Than a Bomb chronicles the stories of four teams as they prepare for and compete in the event. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the tempestuous lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world. This is language as joyful release by irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance. The community they create along the way is the story at the heart of this inspiring film. Numerous Audience Choice Awards including: Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival; Best Documentary, Austin Film Festival.
In this inspirational film,Velcrow Ripper captures the vibrancy of the epic Occupy Oakland general strike. Acclaimed spoken word artist, Drew Dellinger, recites his powerful poem ‘Occupy Wall Street’ as he moves through the crowd of dedicated activists. Dellinger says, “Our communities need us. We are all leaders. How could we ask for anything less than the future?” The poem is set to the hauntingly beautiful music from the ‘Saracen’ album by Jef Stott.
Grade 7 students at Queneesh Elementary School were charged with the task of creating messages to encourage peace around the world. Their inspiration came from learning about the recent and ongoing conflicts in Sudan, The Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Somalia as well as hearing former child soldiers Michel Chikwanine and Emmanuel Jal speak about being immersed in war, their escape from it, and their commitment to bringing awareness and support to the communities they left behind. This inspiring film brings powerful messages of hope and a challenge to all of us from the next generation.
Permaculture: The Growing Edge is an antidote to environmental despair, a hopeful and practical look at a path to a viable, flourishing future. The film introduces us to inspiring projects; visiting David Holmgren’s homestead, sheet mulching an inner-city garden, transforming an intersection into a gathering place with City Repair and joining mycologist Paul Stamets as he uses mushrooms to clean up an oil spill.
We meet some of the key figures in the permaculture movement including Australians, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren who started this movement in the 1970s. The film gives us a glimpse into this worldwide network of skilled ecological designers, teachers, food growers, natural builders, environmental activists and visionaries.
One generation from now most people in the North will have spent more time in the virtual world than in nature. This emotionally moving and humorous film follows six teenagers who spend five to fifteen hours per day behind screens. Play Again, takes them on their first wilderness adventure – no electricity, no cell phone coverage, no virtual reality. Through the voices of children and leading experts, Play Again investigates the consequences of a childhood removed from nature and encourages action for a sustainable future. Best of Fest, Colorado Environmental Film Festival; Audience Award, Portland Oregan Women’s Film Festival.
Inspired by his relationship with a Kwaxkwaka’wakw elder, Richard Boyce embarks upon a cinematic journey contrasting the tree farms that dominate the landscape surrounding his home with an ancient rainforest on the Pacific Coast. Guided by passion and a determination to honour reality, Boyce travels to the most remote corner of Vancouver Island, through some of the most intensive logging on the planet, into a wilderness that is on the brink of extinction. The trees, ranging from seedlings to massive 1,200-year old colossi, thrive along the banks of an ancient river flood plain, which provides for diverse life forms in the temperate rainforest.
This film is an evocative journey, contrasting modern logging with forestry as practiced for ten thousand years by First Nations people.
Opium is a commodity that has tremendous power, both to ease pain and to destroy lives. For centuries, the opium poppy has played a pivotal role, not just in the lives of people who grow, manufacture and use it, but also in the sphere of international relations.
In Raw Opium, we meet a variety of people with different perspectives including opium growers in southeast Asia, a UN drug enforcement officer on the border of Afghanistan and a former Indian government drug czar. We are introduced to Portugal’s new, revolutionary policies toward its drug situation and to Vancouver’s Insite Clinic with its creative approaches to this complex issue. Assumptions about drug addiction and the War on Drugs are profoundly challenged.
The International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP) teamed up with EP Films to create a documentary that tells the story of the threats facing the Great Bear Rainforest and the continued efforts of the First Nations communities and conservation groups to protect this wild landscape. SpOil follows the Great Bear Rainforest Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition (RAVE) that sent a swat team of photographers and filmmakers to the Great Bear Rainforest to document the beauty and the threats to this wild landscape. Stunning cinematography! Best Environmental Film,Vancouver International Film Festival; Nominated for the Moving Mountains Award,Telluride Mountain Film Festival.
Adventurous pioneers transform Peru’s harsh northern desert into a fertile valley of mango and lime orchards. But all they have worked for is threatened when gold is discovered under their land. Fear, violence and murder rock their once quiet community. In the midst of chaos, a martyr’s vision unites the farmers and leads them down a revolutionary path of non-violent resistance. These brave men and women take on corrupt politicians and a Canadian mining company in an epic tale of ordinary people rising to heroic deeds in times of great crisis. In the community of Tambogrande, united action leads to victory.
This film examines how economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking, worsening nearly every problem we face.
The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance and starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together with initiatives such as Transition Towns to rebuild more human scale, ecological economies.
Voices from six continents tell us that climate change and peak oil give us little choice: we need to localize, to bring the economy home. The good news is that, as we move in this direction, we will begin not only to heal the earth but also to restore our own sense of well-being. The Economics of Happiness challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world. Best in Show, Cinema Verde Film Festival.
The industrial powerhouse of a lost American era has died, and the skeleton left behind is present-day Detroit. Now, against all odds, in the empty lots, in the old factory yards, and in between the sagging blocks of company housing, seeds of change are taking root. A small group of dedicated citizens, allied with environmental and academic groups, have started an urban environmental movement with the potential to transform, not just a city after its collapse, but also a country after the end of its industrial age.
Urban Roots is the inspiring story of a group of dedicated Detroiters working tirelessly to fulfill their vision for locally grown, sustainably farmed food in a city where people have found themselves cut off from real food and limited to the lifeless offerings of fast food chains, mini-marts, and grocery stores stocked with processed food from thousands of miles away.
White Water, Black Gold takes us with Director David Lavallee on a three year journey following an imaginary drop of water, and later an imaginary drop of oil, down the Athabasca River and across western Canada. The result explains the inextricable link between water and oil in our modern world while unveiling threats the tar sands projects pose to the third largest watershed in the world as well as the Arctic and Pacific Oceans.
Having worked as a hiking guide in the Columbia Icefields for 15 years, Lavallee saw profound changes to the mountain landscape. At the same time, Alberta was ramping up growth in the extremely water-intensive tar sands industry downstream. Whether it’s a dam breach that could destroy the Mackenzie watershed, tailings ponds that are approaching the size of a great lake, or tanker traffic on Canada’s pristine west coast; it’s clear that our country’s water is in trouble.