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Weekly New Releases - Documentary & Films

Weekly New Releases - Documentary & Films


By Bert Ehgartner

Aluminum is an integral part of our daily lives, from cooking pans and computers, to soda cans, cosmetics and vaccines. But how much do we know about its impact on human health and the environment?

Based on Bert Ehgartner's groundbreaking book Dirty Little Secret - The Aluminum Files, The Age of Aluminum is the first film to explore the metal's little-known darker side. Through interviews with leading scientists and researchers, along with the personal stories of several individuals, the film reveals how aluminum exposure has triggered serious health consequences and environmental damage. Representatives of the aluminum industry defend its safety record.

Long known as a neurotoxin, many scientists suspect aluminum is linked to such modern scourges as breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, allergies and autism. The documentary looks at how aluminum may be the "universal toxin" underlying the increase in epidemic levels of chronic illness and age-related neurological disorders.

Aluminum mining and manufacturing have also created acute environmental problems in several parts of the world. The film documents the devastating effects of aluminum mining in South America, as well as environmental disasters in Hungary and the UK.

Ultimately, The Age of Aluminum asks, why isn't more research urgently being conducted on aluminum and human health, and what can we do now to avoid its negative impact on our lives?

ADVISORY - Includes scene of a woman with mastectomy

  • "The Age of Aluminum puts us on notice. The evidence is alarming, yet the film's approach,,,, is an even-keeled, determined story line." - Film Threat

  • "Eye-opening and deeply sad, pointing out that we are indeed the architects of our own destruction, seeing convenience and ease, despite the destruction that it causes to ourselves and to the planet as a whole." - Lisa Derrick, Firedoglake.com

  • "This visionary film makes a powerful statement.... From the intelligent narrative and beautiful cinematography to moving profiles of people, who have suffered greatly, Age of Aluminum is an unforgettable wake-up call and a film everyone should see." - Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder & president, National Vaccine Information Center

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2013 / (College - Adult) / 142 minutes

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    Director & Producer: Kelly Nyks & Jared P. Scott

    The math is simple. To avoid climate catastrophe, we have to limit carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere to 350 parts per million or below. The only problem? We're presently at 400 parts per million -- and climbing. In November 2012, bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben and 350.org, the organization he founded, hit the road to raise awareness of this terrifying math and build a movement to challenge the fossil fuel industry.

    Do the Math takes us inside that tour, following McKibben as he delivers an astonishingly clear breakdown of the facts -- and the stakes -- to more than 25,000 people at sold-out shows in 21 cities across the country. The film serves as a much needed correction to industry spin, and shows how an unprecedented global movement is rising up to keep CO2 emissions down.

    Highly recommended for courses that look at climate science, geography, environmental policy, corporate influence, the costs of mass consumerism and consumption, and social change movements.

  • "Watch the film, do the math, sign up for the struggle, and link it to the struggles you are already involved in. Our common future depends on it." - Marc Brodine, People's World

  • "Moving and incredibly motivating." - Taryn Oakley, Instructor of Environmental Science at Portland Community College

  • "Think of Do the Math as a sort of grassroots sequel to An Inconvenient Truth." - Good.Is

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 100 minutes

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    Director, Producer, Writer, Editor: Dylan Mohan Gray

    Fire in the Blood tells the true story of how Western pharmaceutical companies and governments blocked access to low-cost AIDS drugs in Africa and the global south in the 1990s -- leading to the preventable deaths of at least ten million people -- and how a remarkable coalition of people came together to stop them. Shot on four continents and featuring contributions from global figures such as Bill Clinton, Desmond Tutu, and Joseph Stiglitz, the film offers devastating insights into the lethal decisionmaking process that led to this humanitarian catastrophe. And it shows how, if not for the passion and tactical ingenuity of a group of courageous and relentless activists, millions of more people would have died. The result is a gripping look at corporate greed, government collusion, the cutthroat economics of medicine and healthcare, and the power of ordinary people to make meaningful change on a global scale.

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 85 minutes

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    Director: Ben Lewis

    In 1937, the science fiction writer H. G. Wells imagined a "World Brain" containing all of the world's knowledge, accessible to all people, that would be "so compact in its material form and so gigantic in its scope and possible influence" that it could transcend even nation states and governments. Seventy years later, Google set about realizing Wells's vision, launching a massive project to scan millions of books from university library collections. But when it was discovered that over half of the first ten million books Google scanned were still in copyright, authors from around the world joined together to wage a fierce legal battle against the Internet giant, culminating in a dramatic courtroom showdown in 2011. In gripping detail, Google & the World Brain tells the fascinating story of this complicated struggle over intellectual property and access to human knowledge, offering crucial insights into broader debates surrounding data-mining and privacy, downloading and copyright, fair use, freedom and surveillance.

  • "A masterful doucmentary." - Julie Fischer, Indiewire

  • "A whip-smart examination." - Kenneth Turan, Critics Notebook, Los Angeles Times

  • "Offers convincing reasons to pay more attention to Google's utopian schemes." - John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 93 minutes

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    By Bill Morrison Music by Bill Frisell

    The Mississippi River Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in American history. In the spring of 1927, the river broke out of its earthen embankments in 145 places and inundated 27,000 square miles. Part of its legacy was the forced exodus of displaced sharecroppers, who left plantation life and migrated to Northern cities, adapting to an industrial society with its own set of challenges.

    Musically, the Great Migration fueled the evolution of acoustic blues to electric blues bands that thrived in cities like Memphis, Detroit and Chicago becoming the wellspring for R&B and rock as well as developing jazz styles.

    THE GREAT FLOOD is a collaboration between filmmaker and multimedia artist Bill Morrison and guitarist and composer Bill Frisell inspired by the 1927 catastrophe.

    In the spring of 2011, as the Mississippi River was again flooding to levels not seen since 1927, Frisell, Morrison, and the band traveled together from New Orleans, through Vicksburg, Clarksdale, Memphis, Davenport, Iowa, St. Louis and on up to Chicago.

    For the film, Morrison scoured film archives, including the Fox Movietone Newsfilm Library and the National archives, for footage of the Mississippi River Flood. All film documenting this catastrophe was shot on volatile nitrate stock, and what footage remains is pock marked and partially deteriorated. The degraded filmstock figures prominently in Morrison's aesthetic with distorted images suggesting different planes of reality in the story-those lived, dreamt, or remembered.

    For the score, Frisell has drawn upon his wide musical palette informed by elements of American roots music, but refracted through his uniquely evocative approach that highlights essential qualities of his thematic focus. Playing guitar, Frisell is joined by Tony Scherr on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums and Ron Miles on trumpet.

    In THE GREAT FLOOD, the bubbles and washes of decaying footage is associated with the destructive force of rising water, the filmstock seeming to have been bathed in the same water as the images depicted on it. These layers of visual information, paired with Frisell's music, become contemporary again. We see the images through a prism of history, but one that dances with the sound of modern music.

  • "A remarkable work!" - The Seattle Times

  • "An extraordinary confluence of talents and subject-matter." - The Telegraph

    DVD (Black & White) / 2013 / 80 minutes

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    With John H. Bracey Jr.

    Distinguished historian John H. Bracey Jr. offers a provocative analysis of the devastating economic, political, and social effects of racism on white Americans. In a departure from analyses of racism that have focused primarily on white power and privilege, Bracey trains his focus on the high price that white people, especially working class whites, have paid for more than two centuries of divisive race-based policies and attitudes. Whether he's discussing the pivotal role slavery played in the war for independence, the two million white Americans who died in a civil war fought over the question of slavery, or how business owners took advantage of the segregation of America's first labor unions and used low-wage, non-unionized black workers to undercut the bargaining power of white workers, Bracey's central point is that failing to acknowledge the centrality of race, and racism, to the American project not only minimizes the suffering of black people, but also blinds us to how white people have been harmed as well.

  • "As the inimitable John Bracey conducts this dazzling tour of the U.S. past, we see more clearly than ever how the underside of the nation's history has always and everywhere reached across the color line to create misery among whites." - David Roediger, Professor of History and African American Studies at University of Illinois, Author of How Race Survived U.S History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 52 minutes

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    Director - Patrick V. Brown

    In A Town This Size introduces an Oklahoma town and its long-ignored tragedy of child sexual abuse by a prominent pediatrician. Covering events in the 1960's and 1970's and into present times, Patrick V. Brown introduces us to his childhood and family friends - none of who spoke directly to one another about the abuse while it occurred and who now share their stories on film. The film illustrates that with determination, support and direct conversation about abuse, those harmed can choose their survival.

  • "This film is more than a documentary; it is a wakeup call, a call for healing and a call for action. I highly recommend it." - Max G. Feirstein, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist/Clinical Faculty, Ph.D. Program at the California School of Professional Psychology

  • "Patrick Brown's documentary account of the quiet horror of child sexual abuse is poignant, evocative and important. Directed with respect and simplicity, it raises awareness of what happens, on a daily basis, to children from ordinary families in ordinary towns. The various interviews are moving, pure, and told without pretense. I recommend it highly." - Steven Isaacman, Psy.D., LMFT, FIPA/Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

  • "In A Town This Size is an exceptionally powerful film and an important tool for advocates seeking justice for victims of child sexual abuse. It is a call to action offered from the hearts and in the voices of survivors about the pain and long term impact of child sexual abuse and its effect on families and communities." - Justine Andronici, Esquire/Attorney and Advocate

    DVD / 2013 / 71 minutes

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    Director, Producer & Editor: Roger Sorkin

    For years, there has been widespread speculation, but very little consensus, about the relationship between violent video games and violence in the real world. Joystick Warriors provides the clearest account yet of the latest research on this issue. Drawing on the insights of media scholars, military analysts, combat veterans, and gamers themselves, the film trains its sights on the wildly popular genre of first-person shooter games, exploring how the immersive experience they offer links up with the larger stories we tell ourselves as a culture about violence, militarism, guns, and manhood. Along the way, it examines the game industry's longstanding working relationship with the US military and the American gun industry, and offers a riveting examination of the games themselves -- showing how they work to sanitize, glamorize, and normalize violence while cultivating dangerously regressive attitudes and ideas about masculinity and militarism.

    Features Leigh Alexander, Craig Anderson, Andrew Bacevich, Nina Huntemann, Sut Jhally, Elizabeth Losh, Matt Payne, Clive Thompson, and others.

  • "Smart, engaging, and thought-provoking, Joystick Warriors delivers the latest research on video games and brings much-needed attention to what happens when people regularly engage in virtual killing. It could not be more timely or important." - Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Professor Emerita at Lesley University, Author of The War Play Dilemma

    "Essential viewing for all. Makes a significant contribution to the urgent discussion about the impact violent entertainment has on society." - Jo Comerford, Executive Director of the National Priorities Project

  • "As a media literacy educator, Joystick Warriors is a necessity for my classroom. Using powerful examples and expert analysis, the movie weaves through a detailed critical analysis of the videogame industry and their products." - Alexis Ladd, MPH, Instructor at Wheelock College, Co-founder of the Massachusetts Media Literacy Consortium

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 60 minutes

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    By Maria Cuomo Cole and Kevin Breslin

    On a snowy April day at Virginia Tech in 2007, 32 students and faculty were shot and killed by a lone gunman, 17 others were wounded, and six more were injured jumping out of windows.

    Through the personal story of survivor Colin Goddard, Living for 32 tells the tragic tale of one of the worst gun massacres in recent American history, along with Goddard's inspirational journey of renewal and hope. The then-21-year-old was shot four times and told he might never walk again. He lives today with three bullets still lodged in his body and a titanium rod in his left leg.

    Goddard revisits his former classroom for the first time in the film, and emotionally recounts the terror of that day. After recovering from his wounds and completing physical therapy, he made it his life's mission to help ensure that a tragedy like the Virginia Tech massacre would never happen again.

    The film couples footage of Goddard at Tech with several trips he made to gun shows across America. With the help of a hidden camera, he documents how easy it is for anyone to purchase a gun, with no ID or Brady background check, and just a handful of cash.

    Living for 32 vividly portrays the reality of the Virginia Tech shootings and raises important questions about the effectiveness of current gun laws and other efforts to curb gun violence in America.

  • "The passion, charisma, and optimism of Colin Goddard, a survivor of the tragic massacre on the Virginia Tech campus in 2007, shape this inspirational story." - Sundance Film Festival

  • "Living for 32 is a powerful film. Colin Goddard, like many heroic Americans, knows that we have a Virginia Tech every day with more than 32 Americans dying daily due to gun violence. This film teaches, touches and challenges us to act." - Mayor Cory Booker, Newark, NJ

  • "Like my husband, Jim Brady, Colin Goddard wouldn't sit down when life tried to force him to. He stood up to the challenge of his injury, and is now standing tall for all victims of gun violence. Maria Cuomo Cole and director Kevin Breslin have captured his story magnificently in Living for 32." - Sarah Brady

  • Academy Award Documentary Shortlist
  • World Premiere, Sundance Film Festival

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2013 / (Grades 9 - Adult) / 40 minutes

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    Director - Jillian Schlesinger

    14-year-old Laura Dekker sets out -- camera in hand -- on a two-year voyage in pursuit of her dream to be the youngest person ever to sail around the world alone. In the wake of a year-long battle with Dutch authorities that sparked a global storm of media scrutiny, Laura now finds herself far from land, family and unwanted attention, exploring the world in search of freedom, adventure, and distant dreams of her early youth at sea. Jillian Schlesinger's debut feature amplifies Laura's brave, defiant voice through a mix of Laura's own video and voice recordings at sea and intimate verite footage from locations including the Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Australia, and South Africa.

  • "A compelling portrait of an extraordinary human being...a celebration of the incredible promise of youth." - TwitchFilm

  • Winner of the SXSW Audience Award 2013

    DVD / 2013 / 82 minutes

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    When Paul Bowles moved to Tangiers, Morocco in 1949, it was a city divided into zones, a sanctuary for artists, writers and the wealthy to do as they pleased without fear of prosecution. Soon, Paul's friends and peers from America began visiting: Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, William Burroughs and many others. The Neo-Lost Generation, the Beats, the Hippies all searched him out, lured by the mysterious and magical world he depicted in his books. But that was only one side of the story.

    Though Bowles never hid his homosexuality, he was married to the lesbian writer Jane Bowles. What attracted them despite their extremely different personalities was a shared worldview: that one must travel to the point of no return in order to find salvation.

    Based on an exclusive series of interviews with Bowles shortly before his death and anecdotes provided by his friends and collaborators, Paul Bowles: The Cage Door is Always Open tells of a daring and visionary life and a relationship shaped by a co-dependency that went way beyond sexuality. Among the participants are Gore Vidal, Bernardo Bertolucci, John Waters, Ruth Fainlight, Edmund White, William Burroughs, Francis Bacon and many others.

  • "Lively...thoroughly researched. Fascinating and evocative." - Hollywood Reporter

    DVD / 2013 / 87 minutes

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    Director - Simon Brook

    For the very first time in 40 years, Peter Brook, one of the foremost directors of contemporary theatre, has agreed to raise the curtain and allow his son Simon Brook to film behind the scenes and to reveal the secrets of his revolutionary training techniques. This unique and personal film takes us beyond the intimacy of a workshop, into a philosophical experience, on a tightrope...

    Filmed in total immersion, with five hidden cameras, The Tightrope plunges the audience into the intimate aspects of Peter Brook's work, as well as that of his acting troupe, to illuminate the collaborative creative processes that have shaped Peter Brook's philosophy of art and made his work a monumental critical success.

    DVD / 2013 / 86 minutes

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    By Michael T. Klare

    Renowned energy expert Michael T. Klare provides an invaluable account of the new and increasingly dangerous competition for the world's dwindling natural resources. Arguing that the world is facing an unprecedented crisis of resource depletion -- one that goes beyond "peak oil" to encompass shortages of coal and uranium, copper and lithium, water, and arable land -- Klare shows how the desperate hunt for raw materials is forcing governments and corporations to stake their claim in ever more dangerous and remote areas that present grave political and environmental risks. Citing mounting tensions between the U.S. and China over control of resources in the Asia-Pacific region, volatile local border disputes that raise the likelihood of military confrontation, and the destructive environmental consequences of tar sands oil extraction and fracking, Klare argues that we need to radically alter our consumption patterns and build alternative energy systems before it's too late.

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 40 minutes

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    Cultural historian and Nation magazine writer Dave Zirin, whose influential blog and bestselling books have offered searing insights into the politics of American sports, turns his attention to race in this fascinating conversation with MEF executive director Sut Jhally. Jhally, a Communication scholar whose own work has sought to clarify how popular culture conditions racial attitudes, engages Zirin in a penetrating discussion about how sports have served as a key site of struggle over racial meaning and racial equality. Focusing on how sports culture has both reproduced, and contested, the wider culture's dominant ideas about race and racial difference, Zirin and Jhally give special attention to how the visibility and success of athletes of color have affected traditional notions of whiteness, white male authority, and cultural ideals of masculinity.

  • "With Zirin no topic is sacred, no argument is ever evaded, no search for real truth is ever suppressed." - Kevin Powell, Author of Someday We'll All Be Free

  • "Dave Zirin shows us not only that sports can be a window through which we can examine the complex workings of race and class in this twisted, commercialized culture, but that it can also be a site of resistance." - Peter Rachleff, Author of Hard-Pressed in the Heartland

  • "Dave Zirin is the thinking man's sports fan and the sports fan's thinking man." - Mickey Z., Author of The Seven Deadly Spins

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 67 minutes

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    Director - Allan Miller

    Robert Mann has been a vital force in the world of music for more than seventy years. As founder and first violinist of the Julliard String Quartet, and as a soloist, composer, teacher, and conductor, Mann has brought a refreshing sense of adventure and discovery to chamber music performance, master classes, and orchestral performances worldwide.

    In Speak the Music, the 93-year-old Mann shares personal anecdotes from his childhood and musical training, archival performance footage, candid interviews and glimpses into his private lessons with today's most promising violinists. A living legend, Robert Mann is in turn, funny, angry, tactful, persistent, and always searching for the most human expression he finds inside the music. Speak the Music pulls no punches: Mann describes the dark side of quartet life, including often intense differences with colleagues.

    Featuring rare rehearsal and dazzling performance excerpts from Mann's 50 years with the Juilliard String Quartet, Speak the Music is at once an exciting insight into the art and personality of a monumental chamber musician, and the story of the growing importance of chamber music in the second half of the 20th century.

    Featuring: Elliott Carter, Stephen Hough, pianist; Joel Krosnick, cellist; Maestro Seiji Ozawa; violinist, Itzhak Perlman; Nicholas Mann, Lisa Mann Matos, Lucy Rowan Mann; Dean Robert Yekovich, Rice Institute of Music; Peter Winograd, violinist; David Geber, cellist; Maria Lambros, violist.

    DVD / 2013 / 56 minutes

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    Director - Hilan Warshaw

    Richard Wagner was notoriously anti-Semitic, and his writings on the Jews were later embraced by Hitler and the Nazis. But many of Wagner's closest associates were Jews-- young musicians who became personally devoted to him, and provided crucial help to his career. Even as Wagner called for the elimination of the Jews from German life, many of his most active supporters were Jewish, as he himself noted with surprise.

    They included piano prodigy Carl Tausig; Hermann Levi, a rabbi's son who conducted the premiere of Wagner's 'Parsifal'; Angelo Neumann, who produced Wagner's works throughout Europe; and Joseph Rubinstein, a pianist who lived with the Wagner family for years and committed suicide when Wagner died.

    Filmed on location in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, Wagner's Jews interweaves archival sources, visual re-enactments, interviews, and performances by Wagner's Jewish colleagues -- the first such performances on film. Parallel to the historical narrative, the film explores the ongoing controversy over performing Wagner's music in Israel. In a different form, the questions dividing Wagner's Jewish acquaintances still resonate today: is it possible to separate artworks from the hatreds of their creator? Can art transcend prejudice and bigotry, and the weight of history?

    Featuring Zubin Mehta, Music Director, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra; Yossi Beilin, Israeli politician and negotiator of the Oslo peace accords; Leon Botstein, President of Bard College, Conductor Laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra; Uri Hanoch, Deputy Chairman, Central Organization of Holocaust Survivors in Israel; Jonathan Livny, President, Israel Wagner Society; Dina Porat, Chief Historian, Yad Vashem; Professor, Tel Aviv University; and many others.

  • "This film brings to light new insights into this topic, and manages to be -- for all its laconic brevity -- incredibly complex. Hilan Warshaw is a musician, a violinist. [The film works] virtually polyphonically, pursuing many different voices and balancing contradictions ... " - Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

    DVD / 2013 / 55 minutes

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    By Abdallah Omeish

    The War Around Us tells the absorbing true story of the only two international journalists on the ground in Gaza during Israel's bombardment and invasion of the troubled Palestinian territory over a three-week period in 2008-9.

    Award-winning filmmaker Abdallah Omeish (Occupation 101) chronicles the experiences of Al Jazeera's Cairo-born, Arab-American Ayman Mohyeldin and Arab-British Sherine Tadros as they report from Gaza City throughout the devastating assault. With never-before-seen footage and gripping personal testimonies, the film bears witness to Israel's ongoing siege of Gaza in the wake of its withdrawal in 2005, and pays tribute to the power of journalism - and friendship - under conditions of enormous conflict and stress. The result is a deeply human glimpse into wartime reporting and life in one of the most besieged places on earth.

    Essential viewing for courses in journalism, media, and communication.

  • "Gripping. Deeply moving. By far, the finest, most accomplished record of one of the most heinous massacres of the 21st century." - Joseph Fahim | Variety Arabia

  • "One of the hardest hitting documentaries I've seen in years, Abdallah Omeish's The War Around Us deserves not only distribution so audiences can see it, but also an Oscar nomination." - Ed Rampell | Jesther Entertainment

  • "Powerful. Deeply moving." - Sarah Irving | The Electronic Intifada

  • Winner, Best Documentary Feature, Newport Beach Film Festival, 2012

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 67 minutes

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    Directed by Scott Morris

    White Like Me, based on the work of acclaimed anti-racist educator and author Tim Wise, explores race and racism in the US through the lens of whiteness and white privilege. In a stunning reassessment of the American ideal of meritocracy and claims that we've entered a post-racial society, Wise offers a fascinating look back at the race-based white entitlement programs that built the American middle class, and argues that our failure as a society to come to terms with this legacy of white privilege continues to perpetuate racial inequality and race-driven political resentments today. For years, Tim Wise's bestselling books and spellbinding lectures have challenged some of our most basic assumptions about race in America. White Like Me is the first film to bring the full range of his work to the screen -- to show how white privilege continues to shape individual attitudes, electoral politics, and government policy in ways too many white people never stop to think about.

    Features Tim Wise, Michelle Alexander, Charles Ogletree, Imani Perry, Martin Gilens, John H. Bracey, Jr. and Nilanjana Dasgupta.

  • "White Like Me is a phenomenal educational tool in the struggle against racism. Weaving personal narratives and social scientific data, Tim Wise cogently shows whites receive systemic privilege and forcefully challenges the nonsense that by being color-blind, Americans can get beyond the nation's racial hump." - Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Ph.D, Author Racism Without Racists

  • "Hard and clear lessons on persisting white racism presented accurately, graphically, and unforgettably. Constantly raises the crucial question: Can the US truly become the land of 'liberty and justice for all'?" - Joe Feagin, Former president of the American Sociological Association, Author, Racist America

  • "White Like Me is an excellent tool for people at all stages of understanding the reality of institutionalized white supremacy and how it shapes the lived experiences of people of color and white people. This film is terrific!" - Frances E. Kendall, Author, Diversity in the Classroom and Understanding White Privilege

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2013 / 66 minutes

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    Director - Mike Dorsey

    In 1959, a working-class government employee named Richard Oyler, living in the tiny desert town of Lone Pine, California, asked world-famous modern architect Richard Neutra to design his modest family home. To Oyler's surprise, Neutra agreed. Thus began an unlikely friendship that would last for the rest of Neutra's life.

    Considered the "father of California Modern Architecture," Time Magazine put Richard Neutra on their cover in 1949, ranking him second only to Frank Lloyd Wright among America's greatest architects. The Oyler House: Richard Neutra's Desert Retreat explores how a man of his stature came to befriend this modest, small-town family, and his love for the home's stunning desert setting, which Neutra compared to the grandness of the mystical Gobi Desert.

    Now owned by the actress Kelly Lynch (Road House, Drugstore Cowboy) and her writer-producer husband Mitch Glazer (Scrooged, Magic City), the post & beam-style home and its exotic surroundings shine through beautiful 5K digital cinematography, and the story comes to life through interviews with Richard Oyler, Kelly Lynch, Neutra's two sons, including modern architect Dion Neutra, and well-known Los Angeles real estate agent Crosby Doe, who has represented homes by some of history's greatest modern architects.

    DVD / 2012 / 46 minutes

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    Director - Aaron Yeger

    A People Uncounted tells the little-known story of the Roma, who have long been both romanticized and vilified in popular culture, politics, and the arts-- from Cher and Shakira to Bizet's Carmen. But the Roma persevere, even as they have been singled out for intolerance and persecution throughout Europe. Seen as outsiders, and lacking the kind of social hierarchy and political power that could otherwise advocate collectively for their rights and tell their history, the Roma struggle with chronic poverty and disenfranchisement.

    Touring 11 countries and interviewing dozens of Roma-- including Holocaust Survivors, artists, historians, musicians, and intellectuals-- A People Uncounted documents the culturally rich but often difficult lives of the Roma taking us back through history to the little-known story of Roma genocide at the hands of Nazis during World War II. The Roma and their history come to life through the interplay of their poetry and music, along with compelling true stories told by the survivors of concentration camps. As intolerance is on the rise in European politics, A People Uncounted reminds us through the story of the Roma that ethnic minorities all too often fall prey to racism and genocide.

  • "! Profoundly moving! A powerful documentary on the plight of the Roma people through history... an expansive essay on prejudice and the resilience of the human spirit." - Montreal Gazette

  • "Needed no star power to keep me glued to the screen...one-of-a-kind find...a virtually unknown piece of history... a fascinating, hyperbole-free inquiry into what one recent study determined is the most discriminated-against group in all of Europe." - Filmmaker Magazine

  • "Illuminating! A vivid mix of visual evidence, historical commentary and survivor testimonies."- Variety

    DVD (English, German, Romanian, Hungarian, Russian, Czech with English Subtitles) / 2012 / 99 minutes

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    Directed by Bill Roller

    Philip Zimbardo and Daniel Ellsberg discuss why some people are willing to take courageous nonviolent action in defense of ethical principles.

    Philip Zimbardo is professor emeritus of psychology at Stanford University and creator of the renowned Stanford Prison Experiment. Daniel Ellsberg served in the Pentagon under Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and is best known as the whistleblower who released documents known as the Pentagon Papers to the public which detailed the secrets and lies that shaped three decades of American foreign policy in Vietnam.

    These two icons of progressive thought in America met for the first time to discuss a salient question for our times: Why are some people willing to take courageous nonviolent action in defense of ethical principles, even at personal risk to themselves?

    This video captures their conversation and calls for a new era of truth-telling by citizens privy to crucial and often classified information that the public deserves to know. They call for a new ethic of accountability by those leaders who govern the United States, its judiciary and its military. They challenge ordinary people to take calculated risks in the service of their conscience and their fellow citizens.

    This defines the New Heroism.

  • "One of the finest films I've seen." - Oliver Stone, filmmaker

  • "Psychology and the New Heroism is an engrossing film, touching on a subject that is rarely assessed: heroism. I found the insights of Daniel Ellsberg and Philip Zimbardo penetrating. Bill Roller is to be congratulated for having the vision to put them together. In a time when personal courage is more necessary than ever before, this film comes at exactly the right moment." - Robert W. McChesney, Professor of Communications, University of Illinois, co-founder of FREE PRESS, co-author of Dollarocracy: How the Money-and-Media Election Complex is Destroying America

    DVD / 2012 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 87 minutes

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    By David Van Taylor


    Government propaganda is often said to reflect a society's dominant values. But it can also reveal what officials feel they need to convince a skeptical public of. In the first major war to unfold on celluloid, documentarians around the globe were enlisted to make some tough sells.

    How would you convince Germans, for example, that "the Jewish problem" requires a "Final Solution"? Or bring class-bound Britons together as equal partners to endure and combat an unprecedented Blitz? And what would galvanize traditional isolationist Americans to go defend a patch of land thousands of miles from home?

    In Germany, Leni Riefenstahl's Triumph of the Will not only promoted the Nazi ideals but was also posed to become a landmark of propaganda filmmaking. In England, as film historian Brian Winston explains, an argument erupted between the new English documentary newsreel and traditional documentarians.

    Last into the war, the US launched perhaps the biggest and most sophisticated campaign. A mix of seasoned documentarians and Hollywood heavy-hitters, such as Frank Capra, discovered how to use Nazi propaganda against itself, in an effort that became known as the "Strategy of Truth."

    But even when the cause is just, it can be a tall order making the truth fulfill the mission. On one particularly thorny assignment-a film designed to reconcile African-Americans to strict military segregation-the collision of strategy and truth yielded some surprising and momentous results.

  • "An ambitious series covering the history, real world effects ,and epistemological quandaries of the genre." -The Brooklyn Rail

    DVD (Color / Black & White, Closed Captioned) / 2012 / 56 minutes

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    By Calvin Skaggs


    To expose the worst effects of the Great Depression, documentarians developed a new form, the social documentary. The left-leaning Film and Photo League sounded the alarm on economic conditions, at a time when mainstream media were still insisting prosperity was just around the corner. Police night-stick blows often added shakiness to their footage as they captured evictions, breadlines, and mass protests.

    After FDR's election, Pare Lorentz convinced the New Deal administration to pay for a film about the Dust Bowl. Working-and arguing-with veterans of the Film and Photo League, he crafted the classic Plow That Broke the Plains. Lorentz's films had it both ways, parlaying a strong (and government-funded) social critique into a box-office hit.

    English pioneer John Grierson likewise found backing from the government, and produced enduring and original portraits of the working class. In keeping with his Tory sponsor's agenda, though, these films all showed a well-oiled, highly-functional social machine-fulfilling Grierson's aim as a Social Democrat to unite British society.

    Back in the US, documentarians formed Frontier Films, the first independent, non-profit film production company in the U.S. Their mission was to investigate some of the major American labor struggles of the 1930s-until Pearl Harbor changed everyone's focus.

  • "An ambitious series covering the history, real world effects ,and epistemological quandaries of the genre." -The Brooklyn Rail

    DVD (Color / Black & White, Closed Captioned) / 2012 / 56 minutes

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    Directed by Susan Saladoff

    Tells the truth about the McDonald's hot coffee case and exposes the influence of corporate America on our civil justice system.

    Seinfeld mocked it. Letterman put it on one of his Top Ten lists. More than 15 years later, the McDonald's coffee case continues to be cited as a prime example of how citizens use "frivolous" lawsuits to take unfair advantage of America's legal system.

    But is that an accurate portrayal of the facts? First-time filmmaker and former public interest lawyer Susan Saladoff uses the infamous legal battle that began with a spilled cup of coffee to investigate what's behind America's zeal for tort reform. By following four people whose lives were devastated by the attacks on our courts, this thought-provoking documentary challenges the assumptions Americans hold about "jackpot justice."

  • "This movie should be part of everyone's education." - Richard M. Alderman, Director, Consumer Law Center, University of Houston

  • "Hot Coffee is a provocative exploration of Big Business' campaign to weaken the civil justice system. Those who believe the nation is suffering from frivolous lawsuits may discover that they were led to that view -- not by facts -- but by clever propaganda." - Carl T. Bogus, Professor of Law, Roger Williams University, Author, Why Lawsuits Are Good for America

  • "Hot Coffee serves as a wake-up call for Americans to question changes in the judicial process under the guise of tort reform before those changes destroy our system of access to justice." - Reuben A. Guttman, Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Law, Center for Advocacy and Dispute Resolution, Emory University

  • HotDocs, Canadian International Documentary Film Festival
  • Grand Jury Prize, Best Documentary Seattle International Film Festival
  • Grand Jury Award, Best Documentary Feature, Gasparilla International Film Festival

    DVD / 2011 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adults) / 86 minutes

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    By Sufyan Omeish and Abdallah Omeish

    The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is widely viewed in the US as one of the most complicated geopolitical disputes in the world. But there are also signs that Americans are unfamiliar with one of the core flashpoints of the conflict: the exact nature of Israel's ongoing military occupation of Palestinian land.

    Occupation 101 lays out the basic facts of the occupation in vivid and heart-wrenching detail, offering a crystal-clear and myth-shattering history of Israel's systematic dispossession of Palestinians from their land. Features Middle East scholars, journalists, religious leaders, and humanitarian workers.

  • "A Visual Revolution is Born!" - Infocus

  • "One of the best documentaries" - Los Angeles Journal

  • Winner, Golden Palm Award: Beverly Hills Film Festival
  • Winner, Best Editing: Beverly Hills Film Festival
  • Winner, Best Film: Artivist Film Festival 2007
  • Winner, Audience Choice Best Film: East Lansing Film Festival 2006
  • Winner, Best Feature: River's Edge Film Festival 2006
  • Winner, Best Documentary: deadCenter Film Festival 2006
  • Winner: Best Film: New Orleans International Human Rights Film Festival
  • Winner: John Michaels Memorial Award: Big Muddy Film Festival 2006

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2006 / 90 minutes

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