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Weekly New Releases - Documentary & Film

Weekly New Releases - Documentary & Film


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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    By Lori Joyce and Candice Orlando

    Narrated by Daryl Hannah

    On every continent, women are taking the lead to protect and restore the natural environment, and are empowering others to respect the earth. Arise presents the stories of a diverse group of 13 women in five countries who have initiated solution-oriented environmental projects in their communities, towns and villages.

    These women are engaged in a variety of innovative efforts profiled in the film: replanting trees in Kenya, conserving biodiversity in India, preserving sacred Native lands, protecting the rainforest in Ecuador, building more sustainable local communities, transforming food through urban agriculture, creating safe outdoor places to play, training women to build and install solar lights, and organizing to combat climate change, among others.

    Arise gives voice to these powerful women, and weaves together their inspiring stories with stunning images, poetry and music by well-known writers and musicians, including Alice Walker and Michael Franti.

    Through these hopeful examples and new models, the women in the film challenge our current way of thinking about the environment, and encourage a shift in values to find a different, healthier way to view our relationship to the earth.

  • Judy Nyguthi Kimamo, Green Belt Movement, Women for Change Initiative, Nyeri, Kenya
  • Maggie Fox, President and CEO, Climate Protection Action Fund, Colorado
  • Majora Carter, President, MCG Consulting, South Bronx, NY
  • Monica Chuji, Amazonian Quechua Human Rights Activist, Ecuador
  • Winona LaDuke, Executive Director, Honor the Earth and White Earth Land Recovery Project, White Earth Reservation, MN
  • Theo Colborn, Founder and President, The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX), Colorado
  • Dr. Bhatt, Co-Director, Navdanya, Dehradun, India
  • Dana Miller, Founder, Grow Local Colorado, Denver, CO
  • Vandana Shiva, Director, Navdanya and Author, Dehradun, India
  • Jessica Posner, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Shining Hope for Communities, Kenya
  • Bata Bhurji, Administrator, Barefoot College, Rajasthan, India
  • Aida Shibli, Palestinian Bedouin Peace Activist, Israel

  • "Thoughtful, beautiful ARISE inspired me to consider how I might contribute to the Earth's health." - Josephine Jones, Colorado Humanities

  • "Exquisite cinematography and music are enhanced by Daryl Hannah's evocative narration." - Martine Joseph, MovieSpirit

  • Winner, Spirit of Activism Award, Colorado Environmental Film Festival
  • Winner, Shift Award, FilmShift Festival

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2013 / (Grades 10-Adult) / 79 minutes

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    Director: Jesse Quinones

  • "An unusually perceptive and sensitive first feature." - Miami New Times

  • "Calloused Hands is kept spinning by the energy and fury of Andre Royo (The Wire), who conveys the desperation and erratic behavior of a man who has failed at life and knows it. Royo's talent is undeniable. Why isn't this actor in more movies?" - Miami Herald

  • "An exceptional and emotional movie from director Jesse Quinones." - Creative Native

    DVD (Color) / 2013 / 97 minutes

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    Director: Bruno Dumont

    In CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915, Juliette Binoche gives a mesmerizing performance as Auguste Rodin's protege (and later mistress), and sister of the Christian/mystic poet Paul Claudel. Inspired by the correspondence between Paul and Camille, writer/director Bruno Dumont (Humanite, La Vie de Jesus) focuses on Camille Claudel's struggle to find understanding and recognition as an artist - and the moments before her brother's visit while she is confined to a mental institution.

    Shot in a real psychiatric asylum, Bruno Dumont brings together a supporting cast comprised of real-life patients and their actual nurses that, alongside Binoche, create an emotionally intense ensemble - and a rare cinematic experience. While the camera rarely ventures outside of her prison's thick walls, the story of Camille Claudel's 29-year confinement is in itself a tale of defiance against social norms - and a testament to the power of creativity and fortitude.

    DVD (Color, French with English subtitles) / 2013 / 97 minutes

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    By Aaron Matthews

    For decades, small town life in the United States has been slowly and quietly eroding. But there are overlooked stories amidst the talk of America's economic decline: the stories of individual men and women in the "Rust Belt" community in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. Once one of the country's largest steel manufacturing centers, Lewistown lost its manufacturing base and industrial might a generation ago and has since become a "ghost town." DOWNTOWN DREAM follows the lives of five dynamic men and women living in Lewistown who refuse to be counted out and instead struggle to reinvent their lives and their dreams in America's chilly economic climate.

    Over the course of two years, in DOWNTOWN DREAM, viewers witness five dynamic personal journeys that also concretize the struggles of the town itself. Jon, a developer, reflects Lewistown's wistful remembrance of nobler days; Bernard, a pastor and one of 150 African Americans in Lewistown, embodies the town's potential resurrection; Pam, a would-be salon owner, reflects the can-do spirit that may be a remedy for Lewistown's business community; Barb, a recovering addict, and Katie, her daughter and an aspiring actress and singer, personify its potential physical rehabilitation. Lyrical and intimate, the film reveals typical Americans in a typical American place grappling with the question on everybody's lips today: How do you make it in America anymore?

    After more than 40 years of decay, Lewistown is now at a crossroads. The town leaders have drawn up a comprehensive redevelopment plan, and it is taking shape. In order to beautify the deserted downtown, streets have been widened, trees have been planted and buildings have been razed. The centerpiece of the plan-spending $250,000 in state funding to install a park in the town's center-is underway.

    The situation in Lewistown mirrors the fate of the nation at this critical point in history. How do Americans make sense of economic and political forces beyond their control? Will they make a go of it and if so, how? In DOWNTOWN DREAM, Jon, Bernard, Pam, Barb and Katie reinvent their dreams in the face of devastation and decay.

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2013 / 45 minutes

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    By Pegi Vail

    Are tourists destroying the planet-or saving it? How do travelers change the remote places they visit, and how are they changed? From the Bolivian jungle to the party beaches of Thailand, and from the deserts of Timbuktu, Mali to the breathtaking beauty of Bhutan, GRINGO TRAILS traces stories over 30 years to show the dramatic long-term impact of tourism on cultures, economies, and the environment.

    Directed by prominent anthropologist Pegi Vail, the Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University and a Fulbright Scholar, GRINGO TRAILS raises urgent questions about one of the most powerful globalizing forces of our time: tourism. Following stories along the well-worn western travelers' route-the 'gringo trail', through South America and beyond to Africa and Asia-the film reveals the complex relationships between colliding cultures: host countries hungry for financial security and the tourists who provide it in their quest for authentic experiences.

    As dramatically as travelers are altered by new landscapes, values and belief systems, they also alter the people and places they visit. A man getting lost in the Amazon jungle in 1981 has had an unexpected effect on future generations. The original inhabitant of an island on the Salt Flats of Bolivia faces the dilemma of trying to preserve its ecosystem while still allowing outsiders to experience its unique magic. A traveler's search for an "unspoiled" island paradise in Thailand has unintended but devastating consequences and poses ethical quandaries for locals in a position to profit from tourism. A woman's romantic fantasies about "the unknown" meet reality in Timbuktu. Locals worldwide express the desire for visitors to better understand how to respectfully walk on their sacred lands, including an indigenous community that has become a model for sustainable tourism in South America.

    GRINGO TRAILS experts include National Geographic Traveler editor Costas Christ; Jungle author Yossi Ghinsberg; travel essayist and novelist Pico Iyer; Bolivian Chalalan Ecolodge's Freddy Limaco and Guido Mamani; Globe Trekker host Holly Morris; Lonely Planet travel writer Anja Mutic; Vagabonding author Rolf Potts; A Map for Saturday's Brook Silva-Braga; National Museum director Kempo Tashi; travel writer Ernest "Fly Brother" White; and Royal Family of Bhutan member Dasho Sangay Wangchuk.

  • "GRINGO TRAILS illuminates our travel footprint [and illustrates some hard truths about mass travel. Whether you're an armchair traveler or you're working through a bucket list of exotic destinations, it's an important and moving film." - Mary Catherine O'Connor, Outside Magazine

  • "If you love to travel, and want to do it responsibly, see this wonderfully nuanced, funny film that shows the joy and horror of travel, and gives you a visa to some possible solutions." - Pamela Yates, documentary filmmaker

  • "In GRINGO TRAILS, Vail travels around the world to show how travelers are affected by the romance of packaged travel stories in the media as well as through word of mouth. Adventure becomes a commodity..How do we reconcile our romantic images of the world with the truth of what our presence in those places means?" - Pam Mandel, Gadling

  • 2013 World Premiere, Margaret Mead Film Festival, American Museum of Natural History, New York
  • Canadian Premiere, Planet in Focus Festival, Toronto

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2013 / 79 minutes

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    Director: George Zuber

    JUST GENDER tackles the all too often misunderstood world of transgender. The film explores the common myths and misunderstandings about transgendered people, as well as the confusion between sexual orientation and gender identity as reflected in the rigid binary view of the world generally held by society. JUST GENDER also touches on the discrimination, hardships and brutality resulting from those misconceptions and prejudices, including the numerous deaths caused by hate each year. Through the stories of transgender individuals and their spouses, friends, and allies, the film explores the confusion, the isolation, and the fear felt by many transgender persons. It also reveals their growing awareness and acceptance, and ultimately their joy in blossoming comfort as transgendered persons.

    DVD (Color) / 2013

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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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    By Nick Bentgen and Lisa Kjerulff

    Set against the backdrop of a town's annual snowmobile race, NORTHERN LIGHT explores the working class experience in a series of captivating personal stories of recession-era America. The lives of three families change profoundly in the north woods of Michigan, where winters are unforgiving, jobs are hard to come by, and the line between living life and simply surviving is razor-thin. This cinematic, observational documentary explores the American working class experience through character-based storytelling. As racers and their families pin their hopes to a 500 mile-long test of endurance, small triumphs and giant sacrifices are made along the way. Dysfunction and hardship permeate the cold, but this harsh setting is simultaneously the site of community and familial intimacy. Filmed over the course of several years spent with the film's protagonists, NORTHERN LIGHT is a fresh and vital contribution to the tradition of contemporary American cinema verite.

  • "Told in short, stolen snippets, it's one beautiful image after another, showing its Michigan subjects trying to win at various competitions. Ups and downs are captured [and] people just keepin' on keepin' on." - Matt Prigge, Metro

  • "A visually sumptuous and stirring observation piece that generates a similar small town despondence surrounding an annual snowmobile race in a northern Michigan community feeling the effects of the economic depression." - Robert Bell, Exclaim

  • "Patient, observant, and deeply generous" - Michael Tully, Hammer to Nail

  • Winner, Most Innovative Feature, 2013 Visions du Reel, Switzerland
  • Winner, Best Cinematography, 2013 New Orleans Film Festival, Louisiana

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2013 / 105 minutes

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    Shaul is a melancholic dreamer, with a tendency to run whenever things go wrong. He returns to Haifa one day for a reckoning with the father he has not seen in 5 years. But getting along with an airy-fairy mother in-law with a penchant for New Age, a daughter on the verge of adolescence, and a father who's been converted to yoga is not easy. After a fateful slip, Shaul will find his place as a son, a father, and more.

    DVD (Hebrew, Color) / 2013

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    Director: Jia Zhangke

    A "brilliant exploration of violence and corruption in contemporary China" (Jon Frosch, The Atlantic), A TOUCH OF SIN was inspired by four shocking (and true) events that forced the world's fastest growing economy into a period of self-examination.

    Written and directed by master filmmaker Jia Zhangke (The World, Still Life), "one of the best and most important directors in the world" (Richard Brody, The New Yorker), this daring, poetic and grand-scale film focuses on four characters, each living in different provinces, who are driven to violent ends.

    An angry miner, enraged by widespread corruption in his village, decides to take justice into his own hands. A rootless migrant discovers the infinite possibilities of owning a firearm. A young receptionist, who dates a married man and works at a local sauna, is pushed beyond her limits by an abusive client. And a young factory worker goes from one discouraging job to the next, only to face increasingly degrading circumstances.

    DVD (Color, Mandarin with English subtitles) / 2013 / 125 minutes

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    Far more boating takes place on inland waterways than offshore waters. Some of the best cruising is found on networks of inland lakes and rivers and interconnecting waterways. In the United States, there are more than 30,000 miles of inland navigable waterways. In addition, there are numerous isolated rivers and thousands of lakes suitable for small boat recreation. Covers: Pilot Rules for Inland Waters, river boating, state boating laws, planning the cruise, aids to navigation, river piloting, lake boating, avoiding fog, lake piloting, river seamanship, canal boating, avoiding shoals & rocks.

    DVD / 2004 / 50 minutes

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    Directed by Martin Scorsese

    One of the most acclaimed directos of our time, Academy Award nominee Martin Scorsese (Gangs of New York, 2002; Good Fellas, 1990; The Last Temptation Of Christ, 1988; Raging Bull, 1980), directs and narrates this remarkable in-depth look at the careers of great Italian filmmakers and their profound influence on him. With My Voyage To Italy, Scorsese takes the viewer on a fascinating journey highlighting the classics of Italian cinema, from the neorealism of postwar Italy through its transition into opulent period drama and surrealist fantasy. Illuminatd by insightful movie clips and his own impassioned commentary, Scorsese's deeply personal observations offer not only an absorbing lesson in the history of Italian film, but its idrect connection to the best in contemporary filmmaking as well. As inspiriring as it is richly detailed you'll never look at movies the same way again once you've experienced this landmark documentary!

    2 DVDs (Region 1) / 2004 / 246 minutes

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    A look at the Kawelka tribe of Papua New Guinea, this documentary traces native leader Ongka's efforts to gather valuable items and then give them all away in a traditional moka ceremony, which he hopes will improve his status in the community. Although his efforts will help all the members of his tribe, Ongka faces strong resistance and even violence from individuals unwilling to go along with his plans.

    DVD / 2003 / 19 minutes

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    Director: Aleksandr Sokurov

    Russian filmmaker Alexander Sokurov (THE SUN) broke boundaries with his dreamlike vision of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russian Ark. It's the first feature-length narrative film shot in a single take (on digital video, using a specially designed disc instead of tape). Russian Ark is shot from the point-of-view of an unseen narrator, as he explores the museum and travels through Russian history. The audience sees through his eyes as he witnesses Peter the Great (Maksim Sergeyev) abusing one of his generals; Catherine the Great (Maria Kuznetsova) desperately searching for a bathroom; and, in the grand finale, the sumptuous Great Royal Ball of 1913. The narrator is eventually joined by a sarcastic and eccentric 19th century French Marquis (Sergey Dreiden), who travels with him throughout the huge grounds, encountering various historical figures and viewing the legendary artworks on display. While the narrator only interacts with the Marquis (he seems to be invisible to all the other inhabitants), the Marquis occasionally interacts with visitors and former residents of the museum. The film was obviously shot in one day, but the cast and crew rehearsed for months to time their movements precisely with the flow of the camera while capturing the complex narrative, with elaborate costumes from different periods, and several trips out to the exterior of the museum. Tilman Buttner, the director of photography, was responsible for capturing it all in one single Steadicam shot. In Russian with English subtitles.

    DVD (Color, Russian with english subtitles) / 2002 / 95 minutes

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    DVD (Region 1, Color, Black & White / 2001 / 115 minutes

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    Future by Design shares the life and far-reaching vision of Jacque Fresco, considered by many to be a modern day Da Vinci.

    Peer to Einstein and Buckminster Fuller, Jacque is a self-taught futurist who describes himself most often as a generalist or multi-disciplinarian - a student of many inter-related fields.
    He is a prolific inventor, having spent his entire life (he is now 90 years old) conceiving of and devising inventions on various scales which entail the use of innovative technology.

    As a futurist, Jacque is not only a conceptualist and a theoretician, but he is also an engineer and a designer.

    DVD / /

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    Born into slavery and reared during the Reconstruction years in the South, George Washington Carver struggled through poor health, poverty and prejudice..to become a great benefactor, not only to his people..but to his country as well. Carver is known in history books as the ˇ§peanut manˇ¨ - for his research into and promotion of alternative crops to cotton. As one of the world's foremost experts in agriculture and horticulture, Carver, through his research and teaching at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama practically reinvented land management in the South. He is said to have compiled a list of over 300 uses for and by-products of peanuts such as cosmetics, dyes and paints, plastics, gasoline and nitroglycerin.

    DVD / 29 minutes

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    In this moving portrait of a vanishing way of life, documentary filmmaker James Spione explores the century-long struggle of his mother's family to maintain a small dairy farm near Cooperstown, New York. Drawing on remarkably intimate interviews with three generations of Ames family members, Spione chronicles the backbreaking work, agricultural innovation and determination in the face of tragedy that led to the success of the operation. At the same time, American Farm reveals the profound shifts in attitude that have created the current crisis: no one in the next generation is willing to take over the farm. As he approaches seventy years of age, the director's cousin Langdon is now faced with selling a property that has been the center of family life for 150 years. Narrated entirely by the people that grew up there, American Farm is both powerful tribute to, and sober demystification of, one of America's most hallowed and least understood institutions.


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    Directors: Akira Kurosawa
    Actors: Toshiro Mifune, Fumiko Homma, Daisuke Kato, Machiko Kyo, Minoru Chiaki


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    DVD / 52 minutes

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    From 1980 to 1988, a war between Iran and Iraq raged threatening the stability of the Persian Gulf region. Greed, religion fanaticism, and chemical warfare combined to create horrors similar to those evidenced in World War II. This DVD covers the highlights of this bitter conflict from the iraqi attack on seven Iranian cities to "The Fountain of Blood" where nerve agents and mustard gas were used to murder thousands. This DVD also covers the Afganistan war against the late Soviet Union and their internal civil war.

    DVD (Color) / 80 minutes

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    Director: Giddens Ko
    Artist Name(s): Michelle Chen, Ko Chen Tung, Steven Hao

    In school, there's always that one girl that everyone falls in love with. Some will choose to pursue her, while others will stand idly by, waiting for the chance that will never come. Popular Taiwanese novelist Giddens took a third route and chose to write a novel about her. Now, he brings that popular autobiographical novel to the big screen with You Are the Apple of My Eye. Both a hilariously crude schoolyard comedy and a bittersweet romance, the novelist's directorial debut follows the misadventures of a horny high school student, his equally horny friends, and the one girl he'll never forget.
    With a universal story about schoolyard mischief and the joys of first love, You Are the Apple of My Eye identified with audiences who saw their own teenage years played out on screen. In addition to being one of the highest-grossing Taiwanese films in history, it also set new box office records in Singapore, Mainland China and Hong Kong. From a mild teen romance to a love story that is connecting with an entire generation, You Are the Apple of My Eye is truly the Asian pop culture sensation of 2011.

    Ko Ching Teng (Ko Chen Tung) is a mischievous high school student only interested in messing around with his equally mischievous friends. After getting into trouble for a crude classroom prank, Ching Teng is ordered to be supervised by classmate Shen Chia Yi (Michelle Chen), one of the prettiest, smartest girls in class. Over time, the two end up becoming good friends, even though their friendship continues to remain platonic. With their high school days coming to an end and an uncertain future ahead, will Chia Yi and Ching Teng finally take their relationship to the next level?

    DVD (Region 3, Mandarin, With CD)

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