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Anthropology and Development


Directed by Matthew Eddy, Michael Dreiling

Almost 70 years ago Costa Rica abolished its army and committed itself to fostering a peaceful society. It has been reaping the benefits ever since.

In his famous "Cross of Iron" speech in 1953, President Eisenhower critiqued the military-industrial complex while asking, "Is there no other way the world may live?" In Costa Rica today, we glimpse another way to live.

In 1948, Costa Rica dismantled their military establishment and intentionally cultivated security relationships with other nations through treaties, international laws, and international organizations. Free of the burden of military spending, they used the financial savings to invest in their people, creating strong public institutions including public higher education and universal health care. In short, Costa Ricans created a society committed to peace, solidarity, and international law. They have survived with safety and relative prosperity for nearly 70 years without a standing army.

A BOLD PEACE details the events which shook the country to its foundations, culminating in the 1948 civil war and the decision to abolish the military. Over the decades, the Costa Rican model has survived several serious crises, but the current threats may be the most formidable of all.

DVD / 2017 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 89 minutes

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Directed by Deborah Kaufman, Alan Snitow

A grassroots movement challenges Citizens United, corporate power, and moguls of the "sharing economy" to stop gentrification and wrest back control of San Francisco's future.

The once free-spirited city of San Francisco is now a "Company Town," a playground for tech moguls of the "sharing economy." Airbnb is the biggest hotel, Uber privatizes transit. And now these companies want political power as well.

Meanwhile, middle class and ethnic communities are driven out by gentrification, skyrocketing rents and evictions, sparking a grassroots backlash. Can an insurgent electoral campaign overcome corporate power and billionaires' megabucks to change a city's course?

COMPANY TOWN shows how a grassroots coalition of unions, tenants, neighborhoods of color, activists and artists can come together to win.

DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 77 minutes

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Directed by Stephen Apkon, Andrew Young

A film about people born into conflict, sworn to be enemies, Palestinians and Israelis, who challenged their fate and joined together to say "enough."

In a world torn by conflict--in a place where the idea of peace has been abandoned--an energy of determined optimism emerges. When someone is willing to disturb the status quo and stand for the dream of a free and secure world, who will stand with them?

DISTURBING THE PEACE is a story of the human potential unleashed when we stop participating in a story that no longer serves us and, with the power of our convictions, take action to create new possibilities. DISTURBING THE PEACE follows former enemy combatants--Israeli soldiers from elite units and Palestinian fighters, many of whom served years in prison--who have joined together to challenge the status quo and say "enough."

The film reveals their transformational journeys from soldiers committed to armed battle to nonviolent peace activists, leading to the creation of Combatants for Peace. While based in the Middle East, DISTURBING THE PEACE evokes universal themes relevant to us all and inspires us to become active participants in the creation of our world.

DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, College Adults) / 86 minutes

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HUMAN is a collection of stories and images of our world, offering an immersion to the core of what it means to be human. Through these stories full of love and happiness, as well as hatred and violence, HUMAN brings us face to face with the Other, making us reflect on our lives. From stories of everyday experiences to accounts of the most unbelievable lives, these poignant encounters share a rare sincerity and underline who we are - our darker side, but also what is most noble in us, and what is universal. Our Earth is shown at its most sublime through never-before-seen aerial images accompanied by soaring music, resulting in an ode to the beauty of the world, providing a moment to draw breath and for introspection.

DVD (Region 1, Color, Closed Captioned) / 2016 / 143 minutes

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By Bill Behrenbruch

This compelling program documents Bill Behrenbruch's month-long, near-disastrous odyssey through Mexico's Sierra Madre Mountains, recounting his adventures with stunning images of the great canyons, river systems, cave dwellings and people of the Sierra Madre.

DVD / 2016 / 75 minutes

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Directed by Kelly Duane de la Vega, Katie Galloway

After California's "Three Strikes" law was amended, thousands of lifers were suddenly freed, but re-entry presented problems for the lifers, their families and their communities.

In 2012, California amended its "Three Strikes" law--one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. The passage of Prop. 36 marked the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. Within days the reintegration of thousands of "lifers" was underway.

THE RETURN examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines--prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions, and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law. At a moment of reckoning on mass incarceration, what can California's experiment teach the nation?

DVD / 2016 / (Grades 9-12, Adults) / 84 minutes

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Directed by Steve Bradshaw

Examines whether human impact has tipped the planet into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, with all of its political, social and behavioral implications.

A Working Group of international scientists is deciding whether to declare a new geological epoch - the Anthropocene - a planet shaped more by mankind than nature. Its members tell the story of the Anthropocene and argue whether it's a tragedy, a comedy, or something more surreal. With archival footage, award-winning stills and interviews, ANTHROPOCENE proposes a common secular narrative for mankind but leaves viewers to decide how we should write the ending. The film has the blessing of Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, who coined the term, and is the first feature film about the Anthropocene. It is now our turn to decide--in this decade--how the Anthropocene will end.

Interviewees include Will Steffen, Erle Ellis, Jan Zalasiewicz, Andrew Revkin, John McNeil, Monica Berger Gonzalez, Eric Odada, Davor Vidas.

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adults) / 97 minutes

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Directed by Laura Pacheco, Jackie Mow

Jose Anzaldo is an excellent student with a bright future except that he is undocumented, the child of migrant farm laborers in California's Salinas Valley.

EAST OF SALINAS begins with 3rd grader Jose Anzaldo telling us what he wants to be when he grows up. His parents work from sun up to sun down in the heart of California's "Steinbeck Country," the Salinas Valley. With little support available at home, Jose often turns to his teacher, Oscar Ramos, once a migrant farm kid himself. In fourth grade his teacher told him if he worked hard he could have a different life. Oscar won a scholarship to the University of California, Berkeley. The day he earned his degree, he bought a car and drove home to the fields. He's been teaching ever since.

Jose is Oscar's most gifted student. But how do you teach students like Jose who have no place to do their homework? How do you teach a kid who moves every few months? This is what Oscar is up against every day. Oscar not only teaches his students reading, math and science, he gives them access to a world beyond their reach.

But Jose was born in Mexico--and he's on the cusp of understanding the implications of that. As we watch this play out over three years, we begin to understand the cruelty of circumstance--for Jose and the many millions of undocumented kids like him.

EAST OF SALINAS asks, What is lost when kids like Jose are denied opportunities?

DVD / 2015 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adults) / 53 minutes

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Discovering one's ancestral roots can be a challenging task, especially for Native Americans who left North America and settled in Europe. Patrick Bensen travels across the European continent to assist Catherine Masset and Wamblee La_Tanka, both descendants of Lakota Sioux ancestry, who have been struggling to discover and preserve their Native heritage in multicultural Europe.

DVD / 2015 / 60 minutes

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This biography tells the story of amateur boxer Jackie Beard, who lost his chance to win an Olympic Gold Medaldue to the US decision to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics. Featured are exclusive interviewswith Peter Ueberroth, Dwight Stones, and Emanuel Steward.

DVD / 2015 / 30 minutes

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This stirring documentary celebrates the multicultural diversity of spiritual life in Los Angeles,California, exploring the varied ways different communities engage their sacred texts or scriptures, whether in worship, prayer, song, dance, performance, art, storytelling or ministry; the ultimateaim - to foster understanding and respect for people's beliefs.

DVD / 2014 / 120 minutes

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By Laurie Schapira

A troubled CEO visits a tarot card reader in a desperate attempt to avert his fate. Suddenly the two are transported to another time and place. In a parallel world Odin, the father of the Viking gods, has sought out a Wise Woman to hear her knowledge. He wants to know if there is something he can do to avoid Ragnarok - the destruction of the world. Based on a thousand-year-old Norse saga called Voluspa, this program reminds us our modern world has much to learn from the ancient Seeress, which begs the question, can we heed her dire warnings?

DVD / 2014 / 40 minutes

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Directed by Debra Granik

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Debra Granik ("Winter's Bone") returns to SW Missouri for her first documentary, looking at the life of Vietnam vet, Ron "Stray Dog" Hall, and shattering some stereotypes.

Ron "Stray Dog" Hall lives in Southern Missouri where he owns and operates the At Ease RV Park. After years of living alone with his dogs, he is adjusting to life with his wife, Alicia, who is newly arrived from Mexico. Anchored by his small dogs and big bikes, Stray Dog seeks to strike a balance between his commitment to his family, neighbors, biker brotherhood, and fellow veterans. As part of the legacy of fighting in the Vietnam War, he wrestles with the everlasting puzzle of conscience, remorse, and forgiveness.

With Stray Dog as our guide, we experience the restlessness of ex-warriors as he tries to make peace with what he can't change and weathers the incomprehension of those who have never been to war. Stray Dog navigates the pressures of everyday life including the economic survival of his grandchildren and the increasing poverty of his community. The arrival of Alicia's twin sons from Mexico throws into harsh relief the current state of opportunity that newcomers seek and that America can or cannot offer.

Stray Dog continues to tally the cost of war, bearing witness to the soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan: both the dead and the living. The questions of contemporary American life loom larger and thornier, leaving us to wonder what is next for Stray Dog and his blended, multi-ethnic family.

DVD / 2014 / (Grades 8-12, College, Adults) / 102 minutes

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Slavisa Pajkic, aka Electric Biba, is physically capable of conducting electricity and can consciously control its power while discharging it. This is the story of this extraordinary person's journey to discover what exactly happens in his body, which leads us to ask, is he an illusionist or a real superhero?

DVD / 2013 / 60 minutes

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Directed by Cary McClelland, Imran Babur (Co-Director)

Six bold Pakistanis from very different walks of life attempt to build a new future while struggling with their country's current crisis.

Six bold people navigate the dangerous waters of Pakistan's current crisis to discover a new tomorrow: a cricket star starts a progressive political party, a female journalist goes behind Taliban lines, an ex-mujahid seeks redemption, a trucker crosses dangerous territory to feed his family, a supermodel pushes feminism through fashion, and a subversive Sufi rocker uses music to heal.

Filmed by a team of Americans and Pakistanis over two years, WITHOUT SHEPHERDS cuts through alarmist media depictions of the country to celebrate the bravery of its people.

DVD / 2013 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 145 minutes

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Directed by Anne Makepeace

Tells the amazing story of the return of the Wampanoag language, a language that was silenced for more than a century.

Celebrated every Thanksgiving as the Indians who saved the Pilgrims from starvation, and then largely forgotten, the Wampanoag Tribes of Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard are now saying loud and clear, and in their Native tongue, "As Nutayunean," - We Still Live Here.

The Wampanoag's ancestors ensured the survival of the English settlers known as the Pilgrims, and lived to regret it. Now a cultural revival is taking place. Spurred on by their celebrated linguist, Jessie Little Doe Baird, recent winner of a MacArthur `genius' award, the Wampanoag are bringing their language home.

Like many Native American stories, this one begins with a vision. Years ago, Jessie began having recurring dreams: familiar-looking people from another time speaking in an incomprehensible language. These visions sent her on an odyssey that would uncover hundreds of documents written in Wampanoag, lead her to a Masters in Linguistics at MIT, and result in an unprecedented feat of language reclamation by her people. Jessie's daughter Mae is the first Native speaker of Wampanoag in a century.

DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 56 minutes

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