The documentary follows a reporter in Niger as he learns more about the 2012 food crisis in the Sahel region, and shows how Development & Peace responded through Caritas Niger with help from the Canadian Foodgrains Bank.
This film is brought to you thanks to a generous donation from The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.
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.
Bidder 70 centres on an extraordinarily ingenious and effective act of civil disobedience demanding government and industry accountability. In the name of climate justice, University of Utah economics student Tim DeChristopher purchased oil and gas lease rights to thousands of acres of federal land in southern Utah, even though he had no intention of paying for it. Follow Tim (Bidder 70) from college student to incarcerated felon. DeChristopher says, “At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like…With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow…” Powerful, intelligent and very entertaining, Bidder 70 will show you how one person can change the world. This is a truly inspiring story.
In 2009, Fredrik Gertten’s documentary, Bananas!, chronicling a lawsuit against controversial food giant Dole, was set to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Dole responded with threats of legal action combined with an aggressive media and public relations campaign to quash the film’s release and discredit the reputation of the filmmakers. The filmmaking team behind Bananas! refused to be bullied, filing a counter-suit and launching their own media strategy. A true documentarian, Gertten picks up his camera again to capture his fight for free speech. Big Boys Gone Bananas! is an in-depth case study of an independent filmmaker’s David and Goliath battle with a corporate machine. As Dole’s PR company puts it, “It is easier to cope with a bad conscience than a bad reputation”.
In the years since the World Trade Organization forced India to open its markets to genetically modified seeds such as Monsanto’s BT Cotton, farmers have been forced into untenable debt in order to buy the more expensive seeds and the fertilizers and pesticides required to make them grow. Every 30 minutes a farmer in India kills himself in despair because he can no longer provide for his family. Will Ramkrishna be next? A cotton farmer at the epicenter of the suicide crisis region, he is struggling to keep his land. Manjusha, the neighbours’ daughter, is determined to overcome village traditions and become a journalist. Ramkrishna’s plight becomes her first assignment. A deeply affecting, character-driven film, Bitter Seeds masterfully weaves a rich tapestry of compelling human stories and subplots, that allows you to enter a world that is both personal and profound. Oxfam Global Justice Award & Winner Green Screen competition at IDFA; Jury Award, Green Festival Korea.
Hundreds of hydroelectric dams in Panama– incinerators burning garbage in India– biogas extracted from palm oil in Honduras– eucalyptus forests harvested for charcoal in Brazil; what do these projects have in common? They are all receiving carbon credits for offsetting pollution created somewhere else. But what impact are these offsets having? Are they actually reducing emissions? And what about the people and the communities where these projects have been set up? The Carbon Rush travels across four continents and brings us up close to projects working through the United Nations Kyoto Protocol designed Clean Development Mechanism. This groundbreaking documentary asks the fundamental questions, “What happens when we manipulate markets to solve the climate crisis? Who stands to gain and who stands to suffer?”
On April 20th, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the Gulf of Mexico taking the lives of 11 workers, pouring millions of barrels of oil into the ocean and creating one of the worst environmental disasters in history. Dirty Energy tells the personal story of those directly affected by the spill who are now struggling to rebuild their lives amidst economic devastation and long-term health risks. The fate of the Gulf region and its inhabitants is largely unknown. The systematic failures of BP and the federal government to properly confront this environmental calamity with honesty and integrity has powerful consequences, but sadly the human cost has been greatly underestimated and hidden from the public. Still today, the people of the Gulf are fighting to preserve their endangered way of life. This is their story. Social Justice Award, Santa Barbara International Film Festival
Edible City is a film that tells the stories of extraordinary people who are digging their hands into the dirt, working to transform their communities and doing something truly revolutionary–growing local systems that are socially just, environmentally sound, and economically resilient. Can people disengage from the destruction taking place on planet earth and engage in something that helps to heal the earth and sets us free from the corporate systems that do us more harm than good? Local food production may be the answer to many of the challenges we face today. The film looks at examples of creative community based food security projects, including exciting work in many American inner city neighbourhoods as well as in Cuba.
After just one week of video training, local Nepalese youth in Kathmandu share their stories about youth activism in water sanitation and hygiene.
The ancient Maya believed this present world would end and a new cycle arise after 5125 years. What lies behind the myth of the Mayan calendar? How does the story end? Does the water change color? Do the oceans collapse? Does the sky fall as the last tree is cut? Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth follows six young Maya in Guatemala and Chiapas through their daily and ceremonial life. They put forth a wholly indigenous perspective in their own words, without narration. Their cosmovision, in which all life is sacred and interconnected, presents a deeply compelling alternative to the prevailing worldview. As corporations go to the ends of the earth to extract all value, all resources, these Maya reveal their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment. They believe they are the guardians of the Earth. Each story touches upon a facet of the current global crisis. Best Int’l Feature, Planet in Focus Film Festival
How do we become a sustainable civilization? This film takes a unique approach among environmental documentaries. Rather than dispensing facts about climate change, peak energy, and other critical issues, it examines the cultural barriers that prevent us from acting rationally. It asks why population conversations are so difficult to have, and why a roaring economy is more important to us than a survivable planet. It explores our obsession with community growth and economic growth. Hooked on Growth holds up a mirror encouraging us to examine the beliefs and behaviours we must leave behind, and the values we need to embrace, in order that our children can survive and thrive.
This short documentary depicts an Aboriginal Winnipeg teen’s struggle to stay in school and away from local gangs. Filmed over 2 years, the film is a moving portrait of one family trying to break the cycle of addiction, violence and poverty in an environment filled with anger and despair.
In Cuba in 1961, 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. 100,000 of the teachers were under 18 years old. Over half were women. Maestra explores this story through the personal testimonies of the young women who went out to teach literacy in rural communities across the island–and found themselves deeply transformed in the process. In the midst of the literacy campaign, Cuban exiles launched the CIA-supported Bay of Pigs invasion. Although it was discovered and thwarted by the Cuban armed forces, escaped mercenaries combed the countryside, harassing the peasants and their literacy teachers. Maestra is a compelling and beautifully filmed reconstruction of one of the most significant campaigns in Cuba’s history. Fifty years on, the film clearly demonstrates the impact that it had on the lives of all those who took part. “The historical significance of this archive, and its lessons for the present, cannot be overstated.” Howard Zinn
Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers who are leading a campaign of court sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area. Shortly after their displacement, Mohammed’s family and other residents begin peacefully protesting against the evictions, determined not to lose their homes for good. To their surprise, they are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters who are horrified to see what is being done in their name. My Neighbourhood captures voices rarely heard, of those striving for a shared future in the city of Jerusalem.
Deep in the rain forests of Grenada, anarchist chocolate-maker Mott Green operates an unusual chocolate factory that turns out delicious creations. Nothing like Chocolate tells the moving story of the relentless and headstrong Mott Green, founder of the Grenada Chocolate Company, as he pursues his unique vision to create the best chocolate in the world from scratch. Solar power, employee shareholding and small-scale antique equipment turn out delicious chocolate in the hamlet of Hermitage, Grenada. Finding hope in an industry entrenched in enslaved child labor, irresponsible corporate greed and tasteless, synthetic products, Nothing like Chocolate tells a compelling story of a positive alternative based on fairness, community, sustainability and high quality.
This film is brought to you thanks to a generous donation from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation
In Canada’s vast Peace River region the mega-projects include a major new dam, tens of thousands of hydro-fracked shale gas wells, a nuclear power plant, and the Tar Sands. Proponents of these projects argue that countless jobs are being created, resource revenues are pouring in, and schools and hospitals are staying open. Alternatively, there are credible charges that multinational corporations are despoiling an area the size of Florida, converting public assets into private fortunes and leaving a wake of Mordor-like destruction. Energy options are examined by a brilliant cast of specialists who are credible, reasonable, occasionally irreverent, but always extraordinarily well-informed on the subject. Peace Out is a deeply heartfelt account of what’s really going on up North and how our choices down South are making it so. Special Jury Prize, HotDocs; Most Popular Canadian Documentary, 2011 Vancouver Int’l Film Festival
Penny is based on a composite of people we know who are living in poverty.
Her comments are derived from Social Planning Council of Winnipeg investigations and advocacy on contemporary social issues.
These shorts will be shown on the Friday night before the screening of Symphony of the Soil and throughout the Saturday shows.
Reflections: Art for an Oil-Free Coast shares the story of an expedition of fifty artists into the truly stunning and remote landscape of British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, a landscape they feel is threatened by Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and supertanker project. As these artists worked among pristine estuaries and alongside bears, they created an amazing collection of art to share with the world. Canadian icon Robert Bateman summarizes the crux of the matter stating, “The real problems facing this planet are not economic, and they are not technical. They are philosophical. So we need to get our philosophy right. What way do we want to go forward? We need a critical mass of people who care deeply in their hearts about nature. And that’s partly what we’re all about here.”
Shift Change tells the little known stories of employee-owned businesses that compete successfully in today’s economy while providing secure, dignified jobs in democratic workplaces. With the economic crisis, millions have been thrown out of work, and many are losing their homes. Some citizens and public officials are ready to think outside of the box, to reinvent economies in order to restore long term community stability and a more egalitarian way of life. This film takes us to the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation that, since the 1950s, has transformed a depressed area of Spain into one of the most productive in Europe with a high standard of living and an egalitarian way of life. In various parts of the US, the film takes us to green industry cooperatives, co-op bakeries, and Equal Exchange, one of the largest roasters of fair trade coffee in the world.
Sing Your Song surveys the life and times of singer/actor/activist Harry Belafonte. This inspirational biographical film begins with Belafonte’s birth into poverty in Harlem in 1927, and his childhood years in Jamaica. Director, Susanne Rostock takes the viewer through his discovery of theatre and his training as an actor, and on to his career and success as a singer. The film includes clips of his career but also reveals the compelling story is his activism for social justice. Belafonte is a tenacious hands-on activist, who worked intimately with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., mobilized celebrities for social justice, participated in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, and took action to counter gang violence and the incarceration of youth. He continues to work in the prison rights movement. Despite his high profile, he has never been afraid to spend time in the trenches even when it involved taking enormous personal risks. Most Popular Nonfiction Film Award, Vancouver Int’l Film Festival
Surviving Progress is a stunning feature documentary that connects the financial collapse, growing inequity, and the Wall Street oligarchy, with future technology, sustainability and the fate of civilization. Ronald Wright, whose best-seller, A Short History of Progress, inspired this film, reveals how civilizations are repeatedly destroyed by “progress traps”. Alluring technologies serve immediate needs, but ransom the future. In the past, we could use up a region’s resources and move on. But if today’s global civilization collapses from over-consumption, that’s it. We have no back-up planet. Surviving Progress brings us thinkers who have probed our primate past, our brains and our societies. Some amplify Wright’s urgent warning, while others have faith that the very progress which has put us in jeopardy is also the key to our salvation. Surviving Progress leaves us with a challenge; to prove that making apes smarter was not an evolutionary dead-end.
Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance, soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet. Best American Film, Traverse City Film Festival
African hip hop pioneer Didier Awadi is on a quest to craft an album that pays tribute to the great black revolutionary leaders and their struggle to realize a dream, a united and independent Africa. In this epic musical and political journey, Awadi visits some 40 countries to collaborate with hip hop activist artists, including Smockey (Burkina Faso), M-1 of Dead Prez (United States) and ZuluBoy (South Africa). Featuring a score by Ghislain Poirier, as well as Awadi’s own songs, United States of Africa draws the viewer into one artist’s profound meditation on the power of music and the impact of political engagement, both individual and collective.
The Navajo territory of “Four Corners” has often been characterized as an “energy sacrifice zone” where people from California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico have flipped their switches in complete ignorance of the devastating consequences of their choices. The list of staggering impacts from coal-fired electricity is long, and includes cancers, heart and lung disease and rampant asthma. This is especially true among the elderly and young. Rising levels of dangerous smog also impact visibility, and negatively affect traditional ceremonies and agriculture. These impacts from coal impose unacceptable costs. Navajo communities are moving to new sources of energy including solar power that can displace coal and uranium, create new jobs and build enduring pathways out of poverty.