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Media Influences

Media Influences


By Katherine Sender

What do popular television makeover programs like What Not to Wear, The Biggest Loser, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and The Swan tell us about how to look and feel? What do they tell us about what a good life looks like in contemporary America? This new film based on Katherine Sender's book The Makeover explores these questions against the backdrop of American ideals of self-invention and upward mobility. Asking what it means to be an authentic self in an increasingly mediated world -- to be both ordinary and special, to be happy with who we are while always wanting something better -- Brand New You shows how the interventions featured in makeover shows, from weight loss to cosmetic surgery, reproduce conventional norms of physical attractiveness and success. Taking a wider social and cultural view, it also shows how these programs have become models of self-transformation at precisely the same time jobs have become harder to find and keep, and women and men have been forced to remake themselves to compete in a rapidly changing labor marketplace.

Intended for courses in communication, gender studies, critical race theory, history, and sociology.

  • "One of MEF's best, this is a wonderfully expansive video, about media and identity, beauty, class, race, happiness, gender, representation, sexuality, and more. Full of thoughtful analysis, historical context, and critique." - Jonathan Gray, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison | Author of Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts

  • "Brand New You gives makeover shows their very own makeover. Filled with brilliant commentary and lively footage, it explains the origins and workings of 'reality' media across history." - Toby Miller, Professor of Media & Cultural Studies at the University of Cardiff | Author of Makeover Nation: The United States of Reinvention

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2014 / 53 minutes

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    Consumer capitalism dominates our economy, our politics, and our culture, even though a growing body of research suggests it may be well past its sell-by date. In this illustrated presentation based on his latest critically acclaimed book, media scholar Justin Lewis makes a compelling case that consumer capitalism can no longer deliver on its promise of enhancing quality of life, and argues that changing direction will require changing our media system and our cultural environment. After showing how consumer capitalism has become economically and environmentally unsustainable, Lewis explores how our cultural and information industries make it difficult to envision other forms of human progress by limiting critical thinking and keeping us locked in a cycle of consumption. And he argues that change will only be possible if we take culture seriously and transform the very way we organize our media and communications systems.

  • "Justin Lewis is one of the world's most acute observers of contemporary cultural politics. Consumerism & the Limits to Imagination alerts us, in an incisive but always humane way, to the excesses of consumption. This is a video with abiding lessons for us all." - Toby Miller, Professor of Media & Cultural Studies, University of Cardiff

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2014 / 41 minutes

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    Directed by Samantha Grant

    Tells the shocking story of New York Times reporter Jayson Blair, the most infamous plagiarist of our time.

    A FRAGILE TRUST tells the shocking story of Jayson Blair, the most infamous serial plagiarist of our time, and how he unleashed the massive scandal that rocked the New York Times and the entire world of journalism. In 2003 Blair was caught plagiarizing and supplementing his own reporting with fabricated details in dozens of stories published in the Times. The daily operations of the Times newsroom became a public spectacle as every major news outlet picked up the story and ran with it. The fact that Blair is African-American was emphasized again and again as accounts of the 'Blair Affair' served up sordid details in a soap-opera style tale of deception, drug abuse, racism, mental illness, hierarchy, white guilt, and power struggles inside the hallowed halls of the New York Times.

    Through the course of the film, we follow Blair as he slowly unravels in the face of mounting pressures and distractions. Starting with his 'reporting' of the plagiarized article that ultimately lead to his undoing, we trace the rise and fall of this fascinating young reporter as he clings to his career at the Times even as he is losing his mind.

    Featuring exclusive interviews with everyone involved, including former Executive Editor Howell Raines and Blair himself, A FRAGILE TRUST is the first film to tell the whole sordid story of the scandal while exploring deeper themes of power, ethics, and responsibility in the mainstream media.

  • "Great journalism and superb documentary film making." - Carole Di Tosti, BlogCritics

  • "One of the Gray Lady's most embarrassing moments comes to complex life in this tough-minded analysis that explores issues of race, affirmative action and institutional inertia." - Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York

  • "Director Samantha Grant chronicles an ignominious but fascinating chapter in modern journalism in this solid doc." - Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News

    DVD / 2013 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adults) / 75 minutes

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    What is the impact on freedom of speech and the press when a big corporation attempts to suppress criticism and manipulate the media?

    Documentary filmmaker Fredrik Gertten found out when he debuted his previous film, BANANAS!, which portrays the struggle of 12 Nicaraguan plantation workers who brought a lawsuit challenging fruit giant Dole Food's use of a banned pesticide. Shortly after BANANAS! was selected to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, Gertten received an unsettling note that the festival had withdrawn the film from competition. Soonafter, a scathing article about the film appeared in the L.A Business Journal. Within weeks, the filmmaker was embroiled in a major legal and public relations battle with Dole to save their premiere, their film, their reputations, and their freedom of speech.

    Corporate efforts to censor criticism gain startling immediacy as Gertten decides to film the whole confrontation with Dole. Eventually, he takes the offensive, filing a countersuit and organizing a media campaign of his own to challenge Dole's tactics. The resulting film, BIG BOYS GONE BANANAS!, is a dramatic cautionary tale about corporate power and press manipulation, a reminder of the importance of independent film in today's more timid media world, and a case study of how individuals can fight back to protect freedom of speech and encourage a truly free press. The film would be useful in a variety of classes, including journalism, film, law, business, ethics and environmental policy.

  • "A provocative look at what can happen when corporate power takes aim at independent film. Documenting the vigorous strategies employed by the Dole Food Company to block the release of his film Bananas!- the Swedish filmmaker Fredrik Gertten gains traction by taking the high road." - New York Times

  • Big Boys is an eye-opening look at the way the U.S. media fell lockstep behind Dole's claims. The film remains a chilling look at the brave new field of strategic communication, which employs not just marketing experts but covert operatives to protect brands. As one specialist observes, we live in 'an era of extreme reputation anxiety.'" - Los Angeles Times

  • "A David-and Goliath story that delves into corporate scare tactics, legal effrontery, brand protection, media manipulation, online propagandizing and craven behavior" - VARIETY

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2012 / (Grades 10-Adult) / 144 minutes

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    With nearly a billion people all over the world having signed on, Facebook has fundamentally changed the way millions of people connect and communicate - but not without consequences.

    Facebook Follies looks at some of the unexpected results and impact, negative and positive, of people sharing their personal information on social media sites. Our relationships, our thoughts, our pastimes, our memories, our lives and deaths are all now routinely posted online. Social media represents a paradigm shift in the way we communicate, and inevitably, such change is accompanied by mishaps and trouble, as we learn new limits.

    Facebook Follies introduces us to people whose lives were dramatically changed for the worse because of indiscreet or questionable posts, or as the victims of online criminal activity -- they lost their jobs, their marriages, their dignity, or even ended up in jail. The film also profiles positive stories of people?who found love, were able to reconnect with long-lost family members, or used the platform to publicly mourn the memory of the deceased. The film includes some well-known stories, as well as others not very well-known, and commentary from experts in social media and journalism.

    Shot on location in Canada, the US and the UK, Facebook Follies is an engaging journey - and cautionary tale -- through one of today's most pervasive forces of social communication.

  • "Four stars. This is a great documentary... Facebook Follies takes a bold look at the impact of online behaviours. No matter where you live, what you share on social networks can backfire on you at any time." - Examiner.com

  • "Every teenager should see this documentary and have a chance to avoid certain mistakes." - Celine Audette, Literacy Educator, Catholic School Council of Grande Riviers

    DVD (Closed Captioned) / 2012 / (Grades 9-Adult) / 97 minutes

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    Directed by Jean-Philippe Tremblay

    Uses shocking examples of cover-ups and censorship by the US media to show how a few mega corporations exercise control over the content of our news.

    SHADOWS OF LIBERTY examines how the US media are controlled by a handful of corporations exercising extraordinary political, social, and economic power. Having always allowed broadcasting to be controlled by commercial interests, the loosening of media ownership regulations, that began under Reagan and continued under Clinton, has led to the current situation where five mega corporations control the vast majority of the media in the United States. These companies not only don't prioritize investigative journalism, but can and do clamp down on it when their interests are threatened.

    The film begins with three journalists whose careers were destroyed because of the stories they broke: Roberta Baskin, whose scoop about Nike sweatshops didn't sit well with CBS when Nike became a co-sponsor of the Olympics; Kristina Borjesson, another CBS reporter, whose job lasted precisely one week after the network spiked her investigation into the TWA Flight 800 disaster in 1996; and Gary Webb, whose story linking US support for Nicaraguan Contras and the epidemic in crack cocaine was trashed by The New York Times and the Washington Post. (His story was true, but Webb lost his job and eventually killed himself.)

    With the help of interviewees including Daniel Ellsburg, Dan Rather, Julian Assange, Chris Hedges, Dick Gregory, Robert McChesney, John Nichols and Amy Goodman, the film explores in depth the monopolies and vested interests that filter the dissemination of information thus damaging the democratic process. One notorious example, featured in the film, of the anti-democratic nexus between the military-industrial complex and the news media was the latter's unquestioning acceptance of the former's trumped up justification for the Iraq War.

    With profits taking priority over the truth and the powerful being taken at their word rather than taken to task, the film asks whether the Internet can withstand corporate pressure and remain free, or will it too fall into the hands of monopolistic corporations.

    Ultimately has our commercial world caused us to lose one of the most precious commodities of all--unbiased information?

  • "A brilliant, riveting and deeply disturbing insight into corporate control of American media and American public opinion." Geoffrey R. Stone, Professor of Law, University of Chicago

  • "The timing couldn't be better for a theatrical documentary about a corporate media monopoly in American journalism." - Etan Vlessing, Hollywood Reporter

  • "Deals with one of the most critical issues of today...A masterpiece of craftsmanship." - Jakub Patocka, Denik Referebdum

    DVD / 2012 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adults) / 93 minutes

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    By Nordin Lasfar

    In early 2011, people around the world tuned into Al Jazeera to watch the Egyptian revolution in real time. Meanwhile, rival broadcaster Al Arabiya was also offering near continuous coverage, with cameras on a balcony overlooking the 6th October Bridge, where protesters and police clashed.

    How was the content of those broadcasts - and the networks' subsequent coverage - influenced by their political allegiances?

    Featuring interviews with current and former journalists from both networks, and analysis from independent pundits, The Battle for the Arab Viewer highlights the philosophical differences between the two pan-Arab networks.

    Al Jazeera was created by the Emir of Qatar after he deposed his father in a coup. The station typically champions the poor and social movements - such as the Muslim Brotherhood - that are hostile to the Saudi regime. The station has grown highly influential. In the film, a passerby stops Al Jazeera's chief Cairo correspondent on the street to thank him and the government of Qatar for supporting the anti-Mubarak forces, saying the network is "90%" responsible for the revolution.

    With Al Jazeera supporting elements hostile to Saudi Arabia, the Saudis set up their own network as a counterpoint: the more conservative Al Arabiya, owned by a close friend of the royal family.

    While The Battle for the Arab Viewer offers insight and analysis, it also shows how the battle between the two networks plays out on the ground in Cairo. We go behind the scenes with Al Arabiya journalist Randa Abul Azm and Al Jazeera's Abdelfattah Fayed as they follow stories, break news, and cover events such as Hosni Mubarak's trial. (Azm is allowed into the courtroom, but Fayed is not.)

    Azm and Fayed each mirror their networks' respective demographics. Al Arabiya appeals to well-off, middle-class viewers who value security and stability. Enter Amz, who lives in a building built by her engineer father, on a street named for her grandfather. Fayed, representing the network that purports to stand for the downtrodden, shows us a photo of his father, who worked in agriculture.

    Both deny that their work is influenced by the political agendas of their networks' owners. But former employees of both networks tell a different story. Particularly striking is the case of Hafez al Mirazi, who was taken off Al Arabiya's airwaves after promising to put Saudi Arabia under the microscope on his show.

    Media bias is nothing new - as Mirazi says, viewers of Fox News and MSNBC each know what they are going to get. What is different in the Arab world is that the networks are directly owned by states. He says, "They keep shifting according to the countries they are sponsored by, and that affects the stories their citizens get on a daily basis."

    Ultimately, the problem may resolve itself. As democracy spreads through the region, will truly independent media follow?

    DVD (Color) / 2011 / 48 minutes

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    By Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun

    Latinos are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and among the most diverse -- accounting for one-sixth of all Americans and tracing their origins to more than 20 countries. Yet across the media landscape, from the broadcast airwaves to cable television and Hollywood film, the reality and richness of the Latino experience is virtually nowhere to be found.

    In this ground-breaking new film, filmmakers Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun examine how American media portray -- and do not portray -- Latinos. Drawing on the insights of Latino scholars, community leaders, actors, directors, and producers, they uncover simultaneous patterns of gross misrepresentation and gross under-representation -- revealing a world in which Latinos appear, if at all, as murderers and Mexican bandits, harlots and hookers, gang bangers and welfare-leeching illegals. In the end, the film shows us why media representations matter, pointing to the tragic consequences that result when a narrow range of distorted images are allowed to stand in for an entire population. Featuring Chon Noriega, Isabel Molina, Alex Nogales, Moctesuma Esparza, Luis Ramos, Luis Vidal, and others.

  • "Something all Latino students should see. It will shift the paradigm for non-Latino students struggling to understand the issues." - El Prez

    DVD (With English, Spanish Subtitles) / 2011

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    Directed by Georgia Sugimura Archer

    A David & Goliath tale of one man's fight against restrictions by Internet service providers and governments on consumers' access to the internet.

    Robb Topolski is an unlikely crusader for free speech -- on the surface; he seems to be a mild-mannered geek with a fondness for a capella music. However, when Topolski tried to upload some rare recordings of barbershop quartets to a peer-to-peer file sharing website in 2007, he found that his broadband Internet connection slowed down to a tiny fraction of its usual speed.

    Topolski, who worked as a computer network engineer, ran some tests to find out what was happening and made a surprising discovery -- his internet service provider was monitoring the web use of its customers and using software to slow connections for certain activities and certain websites. Topolski took his ISP to court and has become a passionate spokesman for net neutrality, believing that ISP's have no right to interfere with what their customers are doing and should not be watching their activities on line.

    This case is one of the key inspirations behind the documentary BARBERSHOP PUNK, which explores how a small number of powerful corporations have the power to control the World Wide Web, and what ordinary people can do to promote the free exchange of information in cyberspace.

    Featuring interviews with Ian MacKaye, Janeane Garofalo, Damian Kulash of OK Go, Henry Rollins, Mike McCurry, John Perry Barlow, Jonathan Adelstein and many more.

  • "A superb and powerful introduction to the main struggle over the battle for the control of the Internet--network neutrality." - Robert W. McChesney, Professor of Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • "Barbershop Punk...is as timely as a documentary gets." - South by Southwest Film Festival Program

  • "Worth singing about. An important topic." - Express from the Washington Post

  • Grand Jury Award/Best Picture, Sacramento International Film Festival
  • Silver Chris Award, Columbus International Film + Video Festival
  • Best Feature Documentary, Big Apple Film Festival
  • Special Programmers Award, Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
  • Best Documentary, ION Film Festival

    DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 77 minutes

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    Directed By: Sut Jhally

    In this new, highly anticipated update of her pioneering Killing Us Softly series, the first in more than a decade, Jean Kilbourne takes a fresh look at how advertising traffics in distorted and destructive ideals of femininity. The film marshals a range of new print and television advertisements to lay bare a stunning pattern of damaging gender stereotypes -- images and messages that too often reinforce unrealistic, and unhealthy, perceptions of beauty, perfection, and sexuality. By bringing Kilbourne's groundbreaking analysis up to date, Killing Us Softly 4 stands to challenge a new generation of students to take advertising seriously, and to think critically about popular culture and its relationship to sexism, eating disorders, and gender violence.

  • "Jean Kilbourne's work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture -- advertising. We owe her a great debt." - Susan Faludi, Author, Backlash and Stiffed

  • "As timely and important as ever... A must for everyone who cares about media literacy and gender equity." - Susan Douglas, Author, Where the Girls Are: Growing Up With the Mass Media

  • "Jean Kilbourne's work is profoundly important. She's one of those people who makes a difference in how we see the world." - Arlie Hochschild, Director of the Center for Working Families | University of California, Berkeley

  • Academy for Eating Disorders, Special Recognition Award, 2002
  • Action Coalition for Media Education Media Activist National Award, 2006
  • Womanspace, Barbara Boggs Sigmund Award, 2008
  • Myra Sadker Equity Award, 2005
  • Germaine Lawrence, Inc., Woman of Excellence Award, 2005

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2010 / 45 minutes

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    Written & Directed by Jeremy Earp

    A new film based on the late George Gerbner's groundbreaking analysis of media influence and media violence.

    Featuring George Gerbner and Michael Morgan

    For years, debates have raged among scholars, politicians, and concerned parents about the effects of media violence on viewers. Too often these debates have descended into simplistic battles between those who claim that media messages directly cause violence and those who argue that activists exaggerate the impact of media exposure altogether. The Mean World Syndrome, based on the groundbreaking work of media scholar George Gerbner, urges us to think about media effects in more nuanced ways. Ranging from Hollywood movies and prime-time dramas to reality programming and the local news, the film examines how media violence forms a pervasive cultural environment that cultivates in heavy viewers, especially, a heightened state of insecurity, exaggerated perceptions of risk and danger, and a fear-driven propensity for hard-line political solutions to social problems. A provocative and accessible introduction to cultivation analysis, media effects research, and the subject of media influence and media violence more generally.

  • "A superb update of MEF's earlier films with George Gerbner. Students in my classes respond very well to The Mean World Syndrome. This film effectively places cultivation analysis into the context of earlier media effects research, addresses television's contribution to our perceptions of race, and emphasizes the crucial political implications of Gerbner's ideas. The Mean World Syndrome is powerful and emotionally moving and I will be using it in my courses." - Bill Yousman, Ph.D., Author of Prime Time Prisons on U.S. TV: Representation of Incarceration

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2010 / 51 minutes

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    Directed by John Pilger

    John Pilger's powerful and timely investigation into the media's role in war.

    John Pilger's new film is a powerful and timely investigation into the media's role in war. The War You Don't See traces the history of `embedded' and independent reporting from the carnage of World War I to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan. As weapons and propaganda are ever more sophisticated, the very nature of war has developed into an `electronic battlefield'. But who is the real enemy today?

  • "A masterful job of laying out the often willing collusion of the journalists with the governments' ever-expanding spin empires." - Dr. John Jenks, Communication Arts and Sciences Dominican University

  • "Timely, potent...disturbing." - Total Film

  • "Wonderfully researched and outraged...This is another intrepid and important film." - Time Out London

    DVD / 2010 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 96 minutes

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    By Thomas Keith

    Despite the achievements of the women's movement over the past four decades, misogyny remains a persistent force in American culture. In this important documentary, Thomas Keith, professor of philosophy at California State University-Long Beach, looks specifically at misogyny and sexism in mainstream American media, exploring how negative definitions of femininity and hateful attitudes toward women get constructed and perpetuated at the very heart of our popular culture.

    The film tracks the destructive dynamics of misogyny across a broad and disturbing range of media phenomena: including the hyper-sexualization of commercial products aimed at girls, the explosion of violence in video games aimed at boys, the near-hysterical sexist rants of hip-hop artists and talk radio shock jocks, and the harsh, patronizing caricatures of femininity and feminism that reverberate throughout the mainstream of American popular culture.

    Along the way, Generation M forces us to confront the dangerous real-life consequences of misogyny in all its forms - making a compelling case that when we devalue more than half the population based on gender, we harm boys and men as well as women and girls.

    DVD (With English Subtitles) / 2008 / 54 minutes

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    By Cindy Lont and Susan Kehoe
    With George Gerbner

    George Gerbner, communication scholar, theorist, teacher, poet, and the founder of cultivation theory, discusses his work which influenced four decades of research on violence and television.

    DVD / 2008 / 25 minutes

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    By Bernadette Wegenstein & Geoffrey Alan Rhodes

    In the age of surgically enhanced beauty and reality television, how do we perceive body image? MADE OVER IN AMERICA combines the style of reality television with experimental film to weave together the voices of producers and consumers, surgeons and their patients, clinical psychologists, media theorists, and youth who are coming of age in a culture where bodies seem to be customizable. Together they form a picture of how the desire for a better self operates within consumer culture and how this desire is fed by media, the makeover industry and culture at large.

    Among those in the film are Cindy, a San Diego housewife who felt ugly all her life until she was made over in the first season of FOX's show The Swan, a plastic surgery makeover show; The Swan producer Nely Galan, who says she invented the show to empower women; Cathy, a 21-year-old college student who dreams of carving her own belly into a six pack and her roommate's nose and bottom down to average size; Beverly Hills celebrity cosmetic surgeon and artist Dr. Randal Hayworth, who uses the metaphor of Michelangelo carving beauty from marble to describe his instinctual approach to surgery; and maxillo-facial surgeon and beauty expert Dr. Stephen Marquardt, who has become famous for analyzing beauty according to a mathematically proportionate grid to which all beautiful faces conform.

    MADE OVER IN AMERICA includes archival material on child development, actual plastic surgery procedures, art video and collage montages showing popular imagery, combined with powerful stories of how far Americans will go to fit in, showing the power of media in shaping ideas of beauty.

  • "MADE OVER IN AMERICA is the type of experience that does not allow for the customary distinction between aesthetic fascination and provocation of thought. As the sequence of puzzling and beautiful images progressively conquers your attention, you are drawn into a whirlpool of complex philosophical questions - questions that immediately concern our present and future. It must have been decades ago that I last felt intellectually intoxicated with similar intensity." - Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Albert Guerard Professor in Literature, Stanford University

  • "Looks at the wide range of plastic surgery options, while also exploring how the practice has become a major element in popular culture... a collage of images and observations in a variety of visual forms and narrative tones that range from darkly humorous to deadly serious." -F. Swietek, Video Librarian

  • "Suitable for high school and college library collections... Appropriate for women's studies programs." -Gloria Maxwell, Educational Media Reviews Online

  • Bronze Award, 2008 Health and Science Communications Association Media Festival

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2007 / 65 minutes

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    Today's media is often criticised for projecting an unrealistic notion of beauty and that the example set by magazines and television can hinder the development of a positive self esteem in many young people. In this program we examine how we develop our own identity, what influences the development of our identity and the key factors in the development of positive and negative self esteem. A fantastic program that empowers and educates students in the face of a powerful and influential cultural force.

    Please contact us for primary and secondary schools pricing.

    Note : The above titles may have some territorial restrictions. Please feel free to send us an enquiry.

    DVD / 2007 / (Junior Secondary - Middle Secondary) / 27 minutes

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    Based on the forthcoming book by Pepi Leistyna, Class Dismissed navigates the steady stream of narrow working class representations from American television's beginnings to today's sitcoms, reality shows, police dramas, and daytime talk shows. This documentary breaks important new ground in exploring the ways in which race, gender, and sexuality intersect with class, offering a complex reading of television's often one-dimensional representations. Featuring interviews with Stanley Aronowitz, Barbara Ehrenreich, Herman Gray, Robin Kelley, Pepi Leistyna, Michael Zweig, Arlene Davila, Susan Douglas, Bambi Haggins, Lisa Henderson, Andrea Press, and others.

  • "Fast paced, hard hitting, and timely, Class Dismissed employs sophisticated theory to critically analyze the way media shapes how people understand and misunderstand class in American society." - LEE D. BAKER, Editor, Life in America: Identity and Everyday Experience

  • "Essential viewing for students and researchers who are interested in the political economy of media, media and social change, media portrayals of social groups and issues, and media influence." - MARY BETH OLIVER, Professor of Communication, Penn State University

  • "Revelatory. Brings to light the political and economic forces that imperil workers, but rarely appear in sitcoms: the loss of millions of industrial jobs, depressed wages, and declining union membership, all at a time of drastic cutbacks in governmental expenditures on health, welfare and education." - STEPHEN STEINBERG, Author, Turning Back: The Retreat from Racial Justice in American Thought and Policy

    DVD (With English & Spanish Subtitles) / 2006 / 62 minutes

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    By Calvin Skaggs

    If, as the saying goes, information is power, then journalists can be seen as watchdogs of our government leaders and custodians of the public good, providing truthful information to help citizens build or preserve democratic societies. DEMOCRACY ON DEADLINE is a comprehensive look at journalists worldwide, working in different media and various languages, as they attempt to speak truth to power.

    Filmed in the United States and countries throughout Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe and the Middle East, DEMOCRACY ON DEADLINE profiles international journalists as they cover local and international events, and in the process enables them to discuss their sense of vocation, the need to defend journalistic principles against commercial pressures, how they deal with censorship or government constraints, as well as dangerous and even life-threatening conditions.

    Among the many journalists featured are those at Radio SKY in Sierra Leone as they cover an election in a country where more people listen to radio than read newspapers; Moscow journalists (including Anna Politkovskaya, assassinated in October 2006) who discuss government control of the media and covering the Chechen War; the publisher, editors and journalists at the Israeli newspaper Haaretz who explain why they feel it is important, especially for a readership too often concerned only with its own agony, to document the violence directed against Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank; and several U.S. journalists who discuss how the press failed in its reporting of the Bush Administration's misuse of intelligence on the lead-up to the Iraq War.

    In an era when mainstream journalism, especially in the U.S., is being steadily eroded by political manipulation, commercial constraints, and circulation and ratings pressures, DEMOCRACY ON DEADLINE is an important reminder of the crucial political value of an independent news media in any democratic society.

  • (Three and a half stars) "Inspiring...Highly recommended!"-Video Librarian

  • "An outstanding resource for most high school or college curricula... a 'must see' for students of journalism and the social sciences. Highly recommended."-Educational Media Reviews Online

  • "Illuminates the absolutely crucial role of independent journalists in safeguarding democracy. No film has ever shown more clearly how painstaking, dangerous, and unpopular their work can be."-Ann Cooper, Broadcast Director, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

  • "Traveling to places where journalism, the oxygen of freedom, is being suffocated, this documentary captures the struggle of independent journalists risking everything to give voice to the voiceless."-Emmy Award Winner Joan Konner, Dean Emerita, Columbia University School of Journalism

  • "A bracing reminder of why journalism matters-and the sometimes harrowing consequences of practicing journalism that matters."-Editor and Publisher Journal

  • "Searing! Uses [the journalist's] dangerous work from around the world to forcefully illustrate the importance of freedom of the press in preserving democracy not only abroad, but also at home."-Toronto Globe & Mail

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2006 / 114 minutes

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    Focuses on the human cost of the Iraq War to contrast corporate-controlled media coverage with independent media.

    Independent Intervention is an award-winning documentary about United States media coverage of the conflict in Iraq. Focusing on the human costs of war, it contrasts corporate-controlled media coverage of the invasion of Iraq with independent media reports of the brutal realities on the ground.

    Through discussions with media experts including Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky, Dahr Jamail, Danny Schechter, David Barsamian, Kalle Lasn, Norman Solomon, and James Zogby, the film investigates important issues and systems that govern today's information flow, and shows how these systems of control reveal themselves during times of political turmoil and war.

    Independent Intervention also includes commentary by Howard Zinn, Arundhati Roy, Bill Moyers, Michael Moore, and Jeremy Scahill.

    WARNING: This film shows images from war.

  • "It shows the absolutely critical importance of the independent media, which, in a culture dominated by corporate wealth, gives us hope for democracy." - Howard Zinn, Professor Emeritus of History, Boston University

  • "A damning critique of the mainstream news media's gung-ho coverage of the Iraq invasion." - Joseph Gelmis, Film Critic Emeritus, Newsday

  • "Tonje Hessen Schei's documentary Independent Intervention is the single most staggering doc yet made about the unholy matrimony of the military-industrial complex and the media. Using corporate newsreels, interviews with journalists, and footage from unembedded correspondents, the film relentlessly stabs its audience with egregious facts about the war in Iraq that have been avoided by mainstream reports. It offers us the sort of unsanitized news that the corporate media have worked so hard to ensure we'd rather ignore. Both painful and empowering, this is a film everyone needs to see." - Sara Schieron, United Nations Association Film Festival

  • "This taut, well-paced documentary, edited by David Bee, explores how the corporate-controlled mass media in our country censor information, at the cost of the democratic process...Schei advances an impassioned clarion call for truth in media about the Iraq Invasion...INDEPENDENT INTERVENTION is a valiant and tenacious treatise by a talented filmmaker in the tradition of Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald. When people see it, it may well contribute to turning the tide and stopping the slaughter in Iraq." - Joan Widdifield, Movie Magazine International

  • "A well crafted expose of the effects of media conglomeration on the style, topicality and quality of news...Independent Intervention explores how the merger of showbiz and "newsbiz" has had a damning impact on the way news is covered...its wider message-that of the need for an independent media-would be of interest to both liberals and conservatives." - Blogcritics Magazine

  • "Independent Intervention: Breaking Silence proves effective revealing the large corporate interests of agenda setting through the news media. The documentary demonstrates how the mainstream media: tends to sanitize war; celebrates military prowess; downplays the cost of collateral damage; and fashions stories rich with eye numbing graphics and hard pulsing sound tracks. This so-called 'militainment' displays how a story is 'showcased' is as important as the story itself...This feature calls for a re-democratized press, one that is truly fair and balanced-essential responsibilities journalists have a duty to uphold and the people have a right to demand." - Steve Shlisky, Professor of Media Studies, Laney College

  • "The main charge here is that the corporate-controlled media 'sanitized' the war, using flashy graphics and music to sell the war in its early days. Presenting several examples, particularly from Fox News, the documentary contends that the mainstream media acted more like the administration's cheerleader squad than sober journalists reporting a war...Independent Intervention raises important issues." - Video Librarian

  • "The chapter describing the intimidation of independent journalists by American forces is particularly interesting...The footage of suffering and death is disturbing and it provokes questions about whether this is a senseless war and, ultimately, what responsibility mainstream American media has had in its promotion...I recommend the film as it quite convincingly conveys that there is another story to the second Iraq war and that independent media has a role to play." K. Johan Oberg, University of Minnesota, Educational Media Reviews Online

  • Roy W. Dean Finishing Award
  • Bronze Audience Award, Amnesty International Canada Traveling Film Festival
  • Through Women's Eyes, UNIFEM's International Film Festival
  • United Nations Association Film Festival
  • Moondance International Film Festival
  • EuroDoc2007
  • Amnesty International Film Festival, Sweden
  • Global Peace Film Festival
  • Longbaugh Film Festival
  • Hearts & Minds Film Festival
  • Argus Human Rights Festival
  • World Community Film Festival
  • Mid Valley Film Festival, Salem, OR
  • Global Justice Film Festival

    DVD (Color) / 2006 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 75 minutes

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    This program focuses on those who work as media professionals whether they are public relations specialists, journalists, photojournalists, advertising executives, newspaper editors or camera operators. In the media it's not just about what we say but what we show and how we show it. Visuals, whether they are video, photos, or how we put together photos and words, often have more impact and more credibility than words alone. This program includes interviews with journalists from the Washington Post and USA Today.com who talk about ethical standards at both print and on-line newspapers.

    DVD / 2004 / 31 minutes

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    This program discusses the effects of the ever present media in teen's lives. Teens talk about the positive and negative effects of media. The program looks at many problems faced by teenagers dealing with the impact and influence of media, from movies and television to magazines to music. Hear Real Teens being upfront about how media affects them.

    Subjects covered include:
  • Music.
  • Television.
  • Movies.
  • Positive & Negative effects of the media.
  • Self - Esteem.
  • Getting advice and help.

    DVD / 2003 / (Grades 8-12) / 20 minutes

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    Indian journalist reminds us of the meaning of responsible journalism.

    At a time when government propaganda and corporate spin are increasingly presented as fact, and a handful of corporations control the news, A TRIBE OF HIS OWN: THE JOURNALISM OF P. SAINATH reminds us what news media can be.

    In India, nearly 400 million people live in poverty. Believing that responsible journalism can help to change things for the better, Palagummi Sainath wrote a series of 70 newspaper articles for The Times of India chronicling the living conditions in the ten poorest districts of the country. For two years Sainath lived in the communities he wrote about; he traveled across India, often on foot, in hill areas, drought-prone areas, and tribal areas to put the issue of poverty back on the national agenda.

    After nearly a decade of work and dozens of awards, Sainath remains as passionately committed as ever. According to Sainath the shift from hard-hitting, truth-seeking journalism to innocuous, promotional stenography goes hand in hand with the increase of globalization. This, he believes, has also contributed to the 1990s becoming "the time of the most gross social inequality since the Second World War."

    A TRIBE OF HIS OWN follows Sainath to the Indian villages he writes about and explores his contention that "journalism is for people, not shareholders."

  • "Mesmerizing...In less than 60 minutes, this little film about an Indian reporter delivers powerful insights into the enduring story of human suffering and its shining corollary, imperishable hope. Equally interesting is the way it turns a cold analytical eye on mainstream journalists like me and challenges us to do more with the privilege of free expression bestowed upon us by democracy." - Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun

  • "In the age of media convergence and indistinguishable pack coverage of staged events, news conferences and celebrity capers, Sainath's passionate pursuit of individual truth to illuminate society is a clarion call for more thoughtful journalism. All journalists, veterans or newcomers, would benefit enormously from learning his methods." - Lionel Lumb, Acting Director, Carleton University School of Journalism & Communication

  • "Through his writing, photography, and teaching of young journalists, he has become a powerful and passionate voice for the people...The film itself is a solid piece of journalism...Recommended for academic and public libraries." - Library Journal

  • "An intriguing educational tool, useful for both journalism students and veterans of the business...outstanding film documentary." - Library Bookwatch

  • The Chris Award, Columbus International Film & Video Festival
  • Silver Plaque, Chicago International Television Awards
  • Inspiration Award, Global Visions Film Festival
  • First Place in Category, Earthvision Film Festival
  • World Community Film Festival
  • Vermont International Film Festival
  • Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival
  • Conscientious Projector Film Festival
  • Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival
  • Guelph International Film Festival
  • East Lansing Film Festival

    DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2001 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adult) / 50 minutes

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    One of the biggest factors infl uencing our youth is the media. This program explores:
  • how stereotypes of youth and beauty are promoted,and how they influence our self esteem
  • the three myths the'thin', the 'youth'and the 'relationship' myth

    The importance of personal identity and self acceptance,becoming independent and accepting yourself,and factors infl uencing self acceptance are stressed in The program, as are values and consistency between values and behaviour.

    Please contact us for primary and secondary schools pricing.

    Note : The above titles may have some territorial restrictions. Please feel free to send us an enquiry.

    DVD / 1999 / (Middle Secondary - Senior Secondary) / 16 minutes

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    In this innovative and lively program we present a range of views on the advertising of food to teenagers, as we ask some fundamental questions, including: Why is there so much food advertising during kids' shows? How effective is it? Should food producers have the right to advertise to such a vulnerable group? We hear views from a leading dietician, the Deputy Director of the Australian Food Council, a spokesperson for Youth Media Australia and a leading academic commentator, John Schwartz, from the Media Department of Swinburne University. John analyses the food ads and tells us why they're effective or not effective.

    Please contact us for primary and secondary schools pricing.

    Note : The above titles may have some territorial restrictions. Please feel free to send us an enquiry.

    DVD / 1998 / (Middle Secondary - Professional) / 25 minutes

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    Using 'The Age' as a case study of how to analyse the non-print text of newspaper images, it examines the production of photography, cartoons and graphic design, the process of choice and editorial decision making, how to critically analyse the meaning of these images and what shapes that meaning. In the process the program informs students about the way media images are generated and deepens their appreciation of the necessarily selective way the world is represented through newspapers.

    Please contact us for primary and secondary schools pricing.

    Note : The above titles may have some territorial restrictions. Please feel free to send us an enquiry.

    DVD / 1997 / (Senior Secondary - Professional) / 30 minutes

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    To what degree do the mass media affect public discussion and thought about things that matter? Are there factors inherent in today's media system that make a rational discussion of politics virtually impossible? In this presentation, Professor Dorman discusses some of the problems he sees with the mass media and contemporary public discourse, particularly in terms of how issues are portrayed. The context for this analysis is the 1992 presidential campaign. Emphasis is on the need for teaching critical thinking skills about media and politics. A session from the 12th International Conference on Critical Thinking & Educational Reform.

    DVD / 42 minutes

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    Many teens are more interested in the news now than they ever were before 9-11, but too many others are turning off the news due to information overload, cynicism and fears. This program explores how news coverage on TV, on the Internet and in print affects the way teens are coping with their changed world. It also helps them understand how to select, compare and interpret what they see and read in the news. In their search for answers, In the Mix teen reporters interview FOX News' Bill O'Reilly; ABC's Peter Jennings; Barry Gross, chief copy editor of the New York Post; CNN's and MTV's young reporter, Serena Altschul; Janine Jackson, the program coordinator of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting).

  • Winner of the CINE Golden Eagle Award

    DVD (With Discussion Guide) / / (Grades 6-12, College) / 30 minutes

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    By the time the average student graduates from high school he or she will have watched 15,000 hours of television and been hit by approximately 70,000 marketing messages a day. In the Mix reveals the tricks and techniques used by the media to manipulate audiences. Viewers get a behind-the-scenes look at how news stories are chosen and covered along with some personal insights from veteran newsman Peter Jennings. Then we focus a keen eye on the powerful images used in advertising and music videos to learn ways to analyze and evaluate what you see on TV and whether or not to believe it.

  • "... In the Mix takes a look at how television distorts, manipulates, and ultimately 'creates' its own version of truth, while alerting viewers that what passes for 'truth' on TV is often no more than 'image'... A good reminder to teens to be vigilant, not passive, receivers of media, this is recommended."-Video Librarian

  • Winner of Partnership for Media Education's 2000 Award.

    DVD (With Discussion Guide) / (Grades 6-12, College) / 30 minutes

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    What is "the perfect body", and why does everyone want it? This program digs deep into the American obsession with body image, taking a zoom lens to the images we see on television and billboards, in films, and magazines. Young men and women speak their minds about how waif-thin models and macho-men make them feel about themselves. We also hear from young people who survived eating disorders and steroid abuse, as well as from teens who are getting help on the road to healthy self-esteem. Model agency head Katie Ford and magazine editor Lesley Seymour offer valuable insights and advice, raising an awareness of what's real and what's fantasy in the media. With the help of the publisher, teens will learn how to "tune-out" media images and listen to who they really are.

  • "... lively hosts, suggestions on getting help, and dynamic audio and photographic techniques make a winning mix that will grab the audience's attention and lead to discussion about these issues." - School Library Journal

    DVD (With Discussion Guide, English Subtitles) / (Grades 6-12, College) / 30 minutes

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