Hot Docs: Schooling the World

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. Schooling the World (DVD 10940) questions whether Western-style educational systems are appropriate for the rest of the world. For all the philanthropic efforts to increase the quality of education in impoverished countries, our idea of a good education may not fit with the … Continue reading “Hot Docs: Schooling the World”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

Schooling the World (DVD 10940) questions whether Western-style educational systems are appropriate for the rest of the world. For all the philanthropic efforts to increase the quality of education in impoverished countries, our idea of a good education may not fit with the rest of the world’s needs. This controversial film uses the microcosm of a Buddhist society to examine how modernized education interacts with local cultures.

Official description from the film container:

If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it? You would change the way it educates its children. The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers build schools in traditional societies around the world, convinced that school is the only way to a ‘better’ life for indigenous children. But is this true? What really happens when we replace a traditional culture’s way of learning and understanding the world with our own? Beautifully shot on location in the Buddhist culture of Ladakh in the northern Indian Himalayas, Schooling the World takes a challenging, sometimes funny, ultimately deeply disturbing look at the effects of modern education on the world’s last sustainable indigenous cultures.

Hot Docs: The Witches of Gambaga

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. The Witches of Gambaga (DVD 10635) exposes the town of Gambaga in northern Ghana where women are branded as witches and forced to live in exile. Hundreds of “witches” now live in this town. Their stories are harrowing. This documentary hopes to show … Continue reading “Hot Docs: The Witches of Gambaga”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

The Witches of Gambaga (DVD 10635) exposes the town of Gambaga in northern Ghana where women are branded as witches and forced to live in exile. Hundreds of “witches” now live in this town. Their stories are harrowing. This documentary hopes to show this social atrocity to the world at large and drive this practice to an end.

Official description from the film’s website:

The Witches of Gambaga is the extraordinary story of a community of women condemned to live as witches in Northern Ghana. Made over the course of 5 years, this disturbing expose is the product of a collaboration between members of the 100 strong community of ‘witches’ and women’s movement activists determined to end abusive practises and improve women’s lives in Africa. Painful experience and insight come together to create an intimate portrait of the lives of women ostracised by their communities. Told largely by the women themselves, their incredible stories and struggles are conveyed to a wide range of audiences by the director’s narration.

Hot Docs: abUSed: The Postville Raid

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. abUSed: The Postville Raid (DVD 10615) examines what happens to immigrants after a wave of mass deportations. The city of Postville, Iowa heavily relied on undocumented workers for its well-being; when the federal government arrested those workers, the town’s economy dropped into a … Continue reading “Hot Docs: abUSed: The Postville Raid”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

abUSed: The Postville Raid (DVD 10615) examines what happens to immigrants after a wave of mass deportations. The city of Postville, Iowa heavily relied on undocumented workers for its well-being; when the federal government arrested those workers, the town’s economy dropped into a freefall. This documentary reveals the government’s perceived overreach of power and the aftershocks felt throughout the disintegrating Postville community.

Official description from the film’s website:

Presents the devastating effects of US Enforcement Immigration policies on communities, families and children. The film tells the gripping personal stories of the individuals, the families and the town that survived the most brutal, most expensive and largest immigration raid in the history of the United States and serves as a cautionary tale of government abuses.

Hot Docs: Syria: The Assads’ Twilight

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. Syria: The Assads’ Twilight (DVD 10636) tells the story behind the ongoing crisis and Syria and the end of the legitimacy of the Assad presidency. The situation in Syria is only now becoming a major story in American news media, but the current … Continue reading “Hot Docs: Syria: The Assads’ Twilight”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

Syria: The Assads’ Twilight (DVD 10636) tells the story behind the ongoing crisis and Syria and the end of the legitimacy of the Assad presidency. The situation in Syria is only now becoming a major story in American news media, but the current conditions did not start spontaneously. This documentary recaps four decades of oppression and social unrest that is now exploding into a dangerous, destabilizing war.

Official description from the publisher’s website:

During the 1970s, Bashar’s father, Hafez al-Assad, turned Syria into one of the world’s most secretive and repressive dictatorships. But Bashar was supposed to be different. A doctor who had lived in London, he vowed to fight corruption and embrace globalization in his inaugural address as president. He was supposed to be a modern, liberal leader.

Just over a decade later, the Assad regime is reeling. It has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of its citizens—protesters no longer willing to accept repression and insisting on the same freedoms that other nations have gained through the revolutions of the 2011 Arab spring.

What happened?

SYRIA: THE ASSADS’ TWILIGHT is a history of the Assad regime, from its origins to its teetering, possibly final days in 2011.

Hot Docs: The Light Bulb Conspiracy

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. The Light Bulb Conspiracy (DVD 10648) is less about conspiracy than a shrewd, deceptive business model. For decades, companies have been manufacturing products with planned obsolescence. That is, they are designed to fail after a time and need replacement. This documentary discusses light … Continue reading “Hot Docs: The Light Bulb Conspiracy”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

The Light Bulb Conspiracy (DVD 10648) is less about conspiracy than a shrewd, deceptive business model. For decades, companies have been manufacturing products with planned obsolescence. That is, they are designed to fail after a time and need replacement. This documentary discusses light bulbs, which can last for hundreds of years of properly designed, but also newer technologies that are designed to be repurchased and that contribute to our growing electronic waste problem.

Official description from the publisher’s website:

The Light Bulb Conspiracy uncovers how planned obsolescence has shaped our lives and economy since the 1920’s, when manufacturers deliberately started shortening the life of consumer products to increase demand. The film also profiles a new generation of consumers, designers and business people who have started challenging planned obsolescence as an unsustainable economic driver.

Hot Docs: The Hungry Tide

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. The Hungry Tide (DVD 10632) makes us think about global climate change from the perspective of those who might be the most affected. We may still be estimating the realistic chances of those coastline projections from An Inconvenient Truth happening, but for the … Continue reading “Hot Docs: The Hungry Tide”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

The Hungry Tide (DVD 10632) makes us think about global climate change from the perspective of those who might be the most affected. We may still be estimating the realistic chances of those coastline projections from An Inconvenient Truth happening, but for the people of Kiribati, the threat of rising coastlines is immediate and frightening. The film uses a personal approach, telling the stories of a few specific people affected by climate change rather than pure science.

Official description from the film’s website:

The central Pacific nation of Kiribati is one of the countries in the world most vulnerable to climate change.  Sea level rise and increasing salinity are threatening the lives of  105,000 people spread over 33 atolls in this remote corner of the Pacific.  It’s the same ocean, which for generations has sustained the country that is now the source of its destruction.

[…]

The latest prognosis for climate change appears grim.  Pledges made by industrialized countries at the Copenhagen and Cancun Climate Change Conferences to cut carbon emissions have fallen far short of their targets.  Scientists currently predict temperature increases of between 3 and 6 degrees, and sea level rises of well over a metre, by the turn of the century. Only decisive global action will save Kiribati and its culture from disappearing.

Hot Docs: The Greenhorns

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. The Greenhorns (DVD 8957) challenges conventional wisdom about agriculture during a time when few are considering careers on farms. The documentary, which was produced as part of an awareness program for agricultural reform, follows the lives of new, young farmers becoming acquainted with … Continue reading “Hot Docs: The Greenhorns”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

The Greenhorns (DVD 8957) challenges conventional wisdom about agriculture during a time when few are considering careers on farms. The documentary, which was produced as part of an awareness program for agricultural reform, follows the lives of new, young farmers becoming acquainted with their chosen… fields. (Sorry, the pun was far too easy to make.)

Official description from the film’s website:

The Greenhorns documentary film, completed after almost 3 years in production, explores the lives of America’s young farming community – its spirit, practices, and needs. It is the filmmaker’s hope that by broadcasting the stories and voices of these young farmers, we can build the case for those considering a career in agriculture – to embolden them, to entice them, and to recruit them into farming.

Hot Docs: Cape Spin!

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. Cape Spin! (DVD 10647) covers the ongoing battle over the installation of wind turbines off the coast of Cape Cod. The issue resulted in one of the oddest political battles in recent memory, dividing political coalitions and forming alliances between unlikely partners. Cape … Continue reading “Hot Docs: Cape Spin!”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

Cape Spin! (DVD 10647) covers the ongoing battle over the installation of wind turbines off the coast of Cape Cod. The issue resulted in one of the oddest political battles in recent memory, dividing political coalitions and forming alliances between unlikely partners. Cape Spin has no qualms about its roots as an environmental film but does justice to this most unusual situation.

Official description from the film’s website:

Cape Spin! An American Power Struggle tells the surreal, fascinating, tragicomic story of the battle over America’s most controversial clean energy project. Cape Wind would be the U.S.’s first offshore windfarm…But strange alliances formed for and against: Kennedys, Kochs, and everyday folks do battle with the developer and green groups over the future of American power.

With full access to both sides, a commitment to impartial storytelling and fueled by a satiric ‘revolutionary’ soundtrack, Cape Spin!  is “a gripping and entertaining study of eco-capitalism and grassroots democracy”. “It proves that environmental films can be crowd pleasers, and not at all just about the environment.”

Hot Docs: Call of Life

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. Call of Life (DVD 10345) tackles the hot subject of declining biodiversity. Across the world, thousands of species are going extinct as a result of human global development. This documentary examines not only why so many creatures are disappearing but the effect they … Continue reading “Hot Docs: Call of Life”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

Call of Life (DVD 10345) tackles the hot subject of declining biodiversity. Across the world, thousands of species are going extinct as a result of human global development. This documentary examines not only why so many creatures are disappearing but the effect they may are having on physical, cultural, and psychological levels.

Official description from the film’s website:

All over the world species are becoming extinct at an astonishing rate, from 1000 to 10,000 times faster than normal. The loss of biodiversity has become so severe that scientists are calling it a mass extinction event.

Call of Life: Facing the Mass Extinction is the first feature documentary to investigate the growing threat to Earth’s life support systems from this unprecedented loss of biodiversity. Through interviews with leading scientists, psychologists, anthropologists, philosophers, and indigenous and religious leaders, the film explores the causes, the scope, and the potential effects of the mass extinction, but also looks beyond the immediate causes of the crisis to consider how our cultural and economic systems, along with deep-seated psychological and behavioral patterns, have allowed this situation to develop, continue to reinforce it, and even determine our response to it.

Call of Life tells the story of a crisis not only in nature, but also in human nature, a crisis more threatening than anything human beings have ever faced before.

Hot Docs: Default: The Student Loan Documentary

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection. Default: The Student Loan Documentary (DVD 10634) needs little introduction for American University students. Massive student loans, paralyzing debt, and the risk of defaulting or sliding into bankruptcy are real fears. Default tells the stories of students saddled with this financial burden and … Continue reading “Hot Docs: Default: The Student Loan Documentary”

Hot Docs highlights interesting new documentaries we’ve recently added to our collection.

Default: The Student Loan Documentary (DVD 10634) needs little introduction for American University students. Massive student loans, paralyzing debt, and the risk of defaulting or sliding into bankruptcy are real fears. Default tells the stories of students saddled with this financial burden and how they are trying to change the system.

Official description from the film’s website:

The film chronicles the stories of borrowers from different backgrounds affected by the student lending industry and their struggles to change the system. No matter when their loans were taken, many borrowers find themselves in a paralyzing predicament of repaying two, three or multiple times the original amount borrowed, with no bankruptcy protection, no cap on fees and penalties and no recourse to the law. The consequences are dire, with stories of borrowers in financial and emotional ruin.