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World Politics and Social Studies

World Politics and Social Studies


Directors: Heidi Brandenburg & Mathew Orzel

In this tense and immersive Sundance award-winner, audiences are taken directly into the line of fire between powerful, opposing Peruvian leaders who will stop at nothing to keep their respective goals intact. On the one side is President Alan Garcia, who, eager to enter the world stage, begins aggressively extracting oil, minerals, and gas from untouched indigenous Amazonian land. He is quickly met with fierce opposition from indigenous leader Alberto Pizango, whose impassioned speeches against Garcia's destructive actions prove a powerful rallying cry to throngs of his supporters. When Garcia continues to ignore their pleas, a tense war of words erupts into deadly violence.

DVD (Spanish with English subtitles) / 2016 / () / 103 minutes

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Directors: Hemal Trivedi & Mohammed Ali Naqvi

Firebrand cleric Abdul Aziz Ghazi, an ISIS supporter and Taliban ally, is waging jihad against the Pakistani government with the aim of imposing Shariah law. His primary weapon is his expanding network of Islamic seminaries for children as young as four. Among the Believers follows Aziz's personal quest, and charts the lives of two of his teenage students who are pawns in his ideological war.

DVD (English and Urdu with English subtitles) / 2015 / () / 84 minutes

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Director: Ivy Meeropol

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant looms just 35 miles from Times Square. With over 50 million people living in close proximity to the aging facility, its continued operation has the support of the plant's operators and the NRC - Nuclear Regulatory Commission - yet has stoked a great deal of controversy in the surrounding community, including a vocal anti-nuclear contingent concerned that what happened at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant could happen here. In the brewing fight for clean energy and the catastrophic possibilities of government complacency, director Ivy Meeropol presents a balanced argument about the issues surrounding nuclear energy and offers a startling reality check for our uncertain nuclear future.

DVD / 2015 / () / 94 minutes

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Director: Atsushi Funahashi

Nuclear Nation II follows a new group of people exiled from Futaba, the region occupied by the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Since the 1960s, Futaba had been promised prosperity with tax breaks and major subsidies to make up for the presence of the plant... until the townspeople lost their homeland on March 11, 2011.

The film portrays their lives as refugees in an abandoned high school, and in temporary housing. The political fallout from the nuclear disaster results in conflict between residents, and the mayor is forced to resign. Many decide to move back to Fukushima prefecture, just outside the evacuation zone. The town finds itself divided by the arbitrariness of evacuation, radiation levels, and compensation guidelines from the plant's operator. And then, the Japanese government announces a plan to turn Futaba into an official, literal wasteland.

Is it possible to truly compensate the townspeople for what they have lost? Through their agonies and frustrations, the film questions the real cost of nuclear energy and unbridled capitalism. But perhaps more important, this film gives a fully textured, all-access account of governmental bureaucracy's attempt and ultimate incapacity to adequately deal with displaced peoples. This is a problem we continue to face: Hurricane Katrina uprooted over a million people in the Gulf Coast region, more than a million migrants and refugees entered Europe in 2015, and over 11 million unauthorized immigrants seek home in the United States. There are over 60 million refugees worldwide.

Teachers and students looking to understand the depth of challenges facing the fair and efficient administration of human rights in times of crisis will be pleased to find Nuclear Nation II.

DVD (Japanese with English subtitles) / 2015 / () / 114 minutes

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Director: John Junkerman

Okinawa: The Afterburn is the first documentary to provide a comprehensive look at the battle and the ensuing 70-year occupation of Okinawa by the United States military.

On April 1, 1945, American troops landed on Okinawa, beginning a battle that lasted 12 weeks and claimed the lives of some 240,000 people. The film depicts the Battle through the eyes of Japanese and American soldiers who fought each other on the same battlefields, along with Okinawa civilians who were swept up in the fighting, with carefully selected footage from the U.S. National Archives.

The film also conveys the complex postwar fate of Okinawa, an island that has had to live side-by-side with an extensive array of US bases, and the related crimes, accidents, and pollution they have caused, while coexisting, on a personal level, with the occupying soldiers.

In Okinawa, the legacy of the war translates into a deeply rooted aversion to military force. This has been expressed in recent years by the island-wide rejection of the plan to build a new US base at Henoko, a source of controversy to this day. Okinawa: The Afterburn explores the roots of this resistance and Okinawa's vision for the future.


PART 1: The Battle of Okinawa depicts the ferocious battle through the testimony of Japanese and American soldiers who faced off in the conflict.

PART 2: Occupation reveals how military occupation policies were implemented.

PART 3: The Afterburn confronts the history of sexual violence that has accompanied the American military presence on Okinawa.

PART 4: To the Future explores the Japanese government's decision to build a new base in Henoko.

DVD (English and Japanese with English subtitles) / 2015 / () / 121 minutes

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What really happened behind the scenes of the historic 2008 presidential election? The Bigger Hammer tracks the message wars of the Obama-McCain race with the leading strategists and spinners, uncovering how politics, thirty second TV ads, and history shaped the race for the White House. Hear from insiders how the key political decisions were made -- and how celebrities, golf carts, Corinthian gardens, seven houses, preachers, hairstyles, and a plumber shaped one of the most important and entertaining elections in recent history.

DVD / 2014 / (Senior High, College) / 101 minutes

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The 2012 Presidential election was the most costly ever in the U.S. history.More than $6 billion have been spent by the campaigns and independent groups to get their candidate elected. But for what purpose?

MONEYOCRACY focuses on the rise of Super PACs and their affiliated secret organizations ¡V the 501(c)(4)s - and documents how these organizations influenced the political debate and American voters during the 2012 presidential campaign and beyond through political advertising.

DVD / 2014 / (Senior High, College) / 54 minutes

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Director: Nicolas Rossier

One man made the end of apartheid possible: in February 1990, President F.W. de Klerk lifted the ban on the African National Congress and ordered the release of Nelson Mandela. As the world celebrated, Mandela would go on to become South Africa's first democratically elected president - with de Klerk as his Vice President. Many films have been made about Nelson Mandela and the history of apartheid; few have taken on the challenge of bringing his predecessor - F.W. de Klerk to the screen, keeping him in the shadow of his exploits.

But de Klerk's history is complicated. Before becoming president, de Klerk had been a virulent defender of white Africans and their privileges, and his own term as president was marred by political violence - often at the hands of his own security forces. What pushed this man to reverse his beliefs and jumpstart the process of making South Africa a more equal and just nation?

Featuring in-depth interviews with F.W. de Klerk, former South African president Thabo Mbeki (1999-2008), anti-apartheid activists Father Michael Lapsley and Mathews Phosa, Yasmin Sooka of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Richard Goldstone (who headed the Goldstone Commission investigations into political violence) and many others. Nations mired in conflict and recovering from civil war will benefit from better understanding this flawed, yet ultimately successful political leader that managed to bridge two opposing worlds. Ultimately, The Other Man explores the trajectory of this unique nation and reflects on how the end of apartheid will continue to shape South Africans and the world for years to come.

DVD / 2014 / () / 75 minutes

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Director: Zaza Urushadze

A story of awakening humanity in the midst of violence, told with intimacy and elegance by writer/director Zaza Urushadze, Tangerines is the spare, yet haunting tale of an older Estonian man who cares for two wounded soldiers from opposite sides of the 1990s-era war in Georgia. The film reveals compassion to be the ultimate response to centuries of political, cultural and ethnic conflict, a compelling and relevant message for contemporary audiences.

DVD (Estonian, Russian and Georgian, with English subtitles) / 2014 / () / 87 minutes

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In the 80s, Central America was in crisis. Wracked by brutal civil wars, death squads and militia backed by the warring Superpowers of the Cold War. Yet one man at the center of this conflict decided to take action against the chaos. 'The Price of Kings: Oscar Arias' explores the legacy of this man: the former President of Costa Rica and lone leader without an army who had the courage to forge peace with his neighbors against the will of US President, at risk to his own life and the impoverishment of his people. Arias' diplomacy and leadership brought an end to the bloodshed, for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize and the adoration of his people. Now his contraversial policy choices leave his reputation destroyed. Arias' pursuit of peace and prosperity for his people came at a significant personal cost, and his story reveals that even the best intentions can be held against you.

DVD / 2013 / (Senior High, College) / 62 minutes

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Yasser Arafat's political legacy is one marred by controversy. To some, he was a heroic revolutionary who fought for the freedom of Palestine and the rights of his people; to others he was a terrorist and leader of a corrupt state. Yet regardless of the dichotomy, Yasser Arafat's position at the heart of the Middle East conflict for over forty years makes him a character of incredible significance. With groundbreaking access to the people who knew Yasser Arafat best; his wife, Suha Arafat, his political allies and his adversaries, the film delves into Yasser Arafat's history, the personal struggles he faced and sacrifices he made seeking to establish peace with Israel, whilst at the same time trying to build a Palestinian nation for his people.

DVD / 2013 / (Senior High, College) / 62 minutes

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Director: Kathrin Seelmann-Eggebert

In January 1961, a new generation in the guise of John F. Kennedy moved into the White House. All of a sudden politics was youthful, dynamic and sexy.

With reminiscences by Robert Kennedy Jr., JFK's friend Harry Belafonte, his closest adviser Ted Sorensen, and Sergei Khrushchev, the son of the former Russian leader, interwoven with rare footage from the private Kennedy archives, JFK: The Private President is an intimate view of life inside 'Camelot' with the legendary First Family.

DVD / 2012 / () / 53 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.

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

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Directors: David J. Burke, Dave Hagen

This electrifying film documents the efforts of Vincent Bugliosi, one of our nation's foremost prosecutors, as he presents his case that former president George W. Bush should be prosecuted for the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq because he deliberately took our nation to war under false pretenses.

Based on Bugliosi's New York Times bestseller, the movie discloses shocking hidden details of how Bush and his people systematically lied to Congress and the country. He shows incontrovertible evidence that Bush, Cheney, Rice, et al committed a monumental crime under our constitution and the laws of this land. He leads us through a legal understanding of what is needed to bring a formal prosecution, setting the stage for what would be the biggest and most important trial in U.S. history.

DVD / 2012 / () / 100 minutes

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Director: Michael Kloft

"Even the pyramids," Hitler told his protege, architect Albert Speer, "will be dwarfed by the stone and concrete masses I plan to erect."

By early in the twentieth century Nuremberg was regarded as the most anti-Semitic city in Europe. By 1929 Hitler had decided to make Nuremberg the "City of the Party Rallies" and a symbol representing the greatness of the German Empire in medieval times.

Up to 1.5 million people converged on Nuremberg in the course of a party rally, which lasted eight days, forming an indispensable platform for the Nazis once a year - with a gigantic propaganda machine, brochures and books, recordings, radio and films - all brilliantly captured by Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will."

Even today it is possible to see signs in Nuremberg of the megalomaniac proportions that the system was to assume. In such arenas, the individual was worthless and nothing more than a minute ornament. According to experts, this state and party rally architecture was also a symbol of Hitler's determination achieve world domination.

Rare footage of the construction work was used for this documentary. A previously unknown amateur film even shows the land in color in 1936. Witnesses report on the atmosphere during the party rallies, of fanatical anti-Semitism and the unprecedented "Fuhrer" cult.

DVD (English narration, German with English subtitles) / 2011 / () / 52 minutes

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Directors: Diane Kolyer & Michael Sporn

What would it be like to grow up and become president of the United States?

In I Can Be President: A Kid's Eye View, a diverse group of children candidly share their thoughts on the subject, affirming the importance of having dreams at any age.

I Can Be President features interviews with elementary schoolers whose hopes and dreams - both hilarious and touching - come to life in animated sequences created by the award-winning animator Michael Sporn.

A young person's view of civics and ethics, I Can Be President offers simple yet profound observations on subjects like diversity, war, being a leader and becoming an adult. All in all, a promising vision of the nation's future.

DVD / 2011 / () / 22 minutes

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Director: Jon Shenk

President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives is confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced - the survival of his country and everyone in it. Nasheed, who brought democracy to the Maldives after decades of despotic rule, now faces an even greater challenge: as one of the most low-lying countries in the world, a rise of three feet in sea level would submerge the 1200 islands of the Maldives and make them uninhabitable. A classic David and Goliath tale, The Island President captures Nasheed's battle to stop global warming - and save his country.

DVD-R / 2011 / () / 101 minutes

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Director: Carl Colby

A son's riveting look at a father whose life seemed straight out of a spy thriller, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search Of My Father, Cia Spymaster William Colby uncovers the secret world of a legendary CIA spymaster. Told by William Colby's son Carl, the story is at once a probing history of the CIA, a personal memoir of a family living in clandestine shadows, and an inquiry into the hard costs of a nation's most cloaked actions.

From the beginning of his career as an OSS officer parachuting into Nazi-occupied Europe, William Colby rose through the ranks of "The Company," and soon was involved in covert operations in hot spots around the globe. He swayed elections against the Communists in Italy, oversaw the coup against President Diem in Saigon, and ran the controversial Phoenix Program in Vietnam, which sparked today's legacy of counter-insurgency. But after decades of obediently taking on the White House's toughest and dirtiest assignments, and rising to become Director of CIA, Colby defied the President. Braving intense controversy, he opened up to Congress some of the agency's darkest, most tightly held secrets and extra-legal operations.

Now, his son asks a series of powerful and relevant questions about the father who was a ghost-like presence in the family home - and the intelligence officer who became a major force in American history, paving the way for today's provocative questions about security and secrecy vs. liberty and morality. The film forges a fascinating mix of rare archival footage, never-before-seen photos, and interviews with the "who's who" of American intelligence, including former National Security Advisers Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense and Director of CIA James Schlesinger, as well Pulitzer Prize journalists Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh and Tim Weiner. Through it all, Carl Colby searches for an authentic portrait of the man who remained masked even to those who loved him most.

DVD-R / 2011 / () / 104 minutes

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Four documentaries about Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich

This box set features the following four riveting documentaries about Adolf Hitler and the rise and fall of the Third Reich:

The Architecture of Doom
Featuring never-before-seen film footage of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime, this spectacular film shows the inner workings of the Third Reich and illuminates the Nazi aesthetic in art, architecture and popular culture.

Dear Uncle Adolf
More than any other documents, it is the personal private letters written by the German people to Adolf Hitler that provide the most intimate details of the Third Reich. A treasure of more than 100,000 such letters was recently found, hidden in a secret Russian archive. The uncensored letters, which include declarations of loyalty, love letters and the occasional words of protest, reveal the true feelings of the German people - their hopes, longings and fears.

Hitler: A Career
How did a rabble-rouser from Austria rise to become Germany's messianic Fuhrer? Why did Germans from all walks of life embrace the Nazi philosophy and willingly follow Hitler into a titanic conflict and utter destruction? This stunning film dissects the Third Reich with a keen analytical blade, charting Hitler's improbable rise, his mastery of imagery and crowd psychology, and his consummate skill in exploiting the weaknesses in others.

The Top Secret Trial of the Third Reich
Through authentic footage of the 1944 trial of the men who conspired to assassinate the Fuhrer in the Valkyrie Conspiracy, this astonishing film details the various attempts to assassinate Hitler and sheds light on the anti-Nazi resistance - from the bomb in Munich's Burgerbraukeller to Claus von Stauffenberg's explosive attack on the Wolfsschanze.

4 DVDs (English and German with English subtitles) / 2010 / () / 410 minutes

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Director: Simone Duarte

When Kofi Annan asked Sergio Vieira de Mello to be his top envoy in Baghdad following the US-led invasion of Iraq, he knew that his request was highly unprecedented. There was no doubt de Mello was the most skilled mediator at the UN, perhaps the only one who could balance the delicate intricacies that the situation presented. Yet he was also the person that the UN - and the world - could least afford to lose.

On August 19th, 2003, a bomb exploded outside the UN headquarters in Baghdad. Among the 22 killed was Sergio Vieira de Mello. Years later, the shadow of uncertainty continues to loom heavily over Iraq.

One of the most tireless and effective advocates for peace and stability the world has ever known, the Brazilian born diplomat traversed the globe using his uncommon diplomatic skills to accomplish the impossible. Travelling to four continents and featuring the stories and reminiscences of colleagues and luminaries whose lives he touched, this award-winning documentary is "a testament to the power of diplomacy and the proven impact of an insouciant, simple charm that reaches people on a human level" (Sun Sentinel, Florida).

DVD / 2010 / () / 56 minutes

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Hidden China takes an in-depth look into this country's meteoric rise to economic superpower in this behind the scenes show. Through access to exclusive interviews and on-camera visits to areas forbidden to journalists, discover how China has rapidly changed from a state run disaster to the world's powerful economy.

China is attempting to do in one generation, what other countries have needed three to accomplish. From one of the world's largest gaming industries, to global corporations, China is now most certainly on the world's stage.

In the 1970's, thanks to Supreme Leader Deng Xiaoping's pragmatism, China moved from a classic Soviet style command economy to a consumer economy virtually from scratch. This meant China needed to commercially reconnect with the rest of the world breaking away from centuries of tradition.

Learn how the inner battle between tradition and modernization continues to rage on as the world's most powerful economy continues to grow. With economic growth at over Ten percent a year, tradition is giving way.

DVD / 2009 / (Senior High, College) / 45 minues

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Director: Weijun Chen

Two males and a female vie for office, indulging in low blows and spin, character assassination and gestures of goodwill, all the while gauging their standing with voters. The setting is not the Democratic presidential campaign trail but a third-grade class at an elementary school in the city of Wuhan in central China.

Please Vote for Me, which made the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' documentary feature shortlist, packs its fleet hour with keen observations. Chronicling a public school's first open elections at stake is the position of class monitor filmmaker Weijun Chen has crafted a witty, engaging macro-lens view of human nature, China's one-child policy and the democratic electoral process as the ultimate exercise in marketing. (Excerpted from Sheri Linden's review in The Hollywood Reporter)

DVD (Mandarin with English subtitles) / 2007 / () / 58 minutes

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Director: Michael Skolnik

The film tells an astonishing story of Africa's last absolute monarchy, the Kingdom of Swaziland. King Mswati III, a distant figure out of touch with his home and country, rules by decree and lives a life of luxury together with his 12 wives, while his subjects suffer from crushing poverty and the world's highest HIV infection rate. With unprecedented access, we meet headstrong first wife Queen LaMbikiza, eldest child and teen rapper, Princess Sikhanyiso, King Mswati himself, as well as many Swazi citizens who are plotting his downfall. Filmmaker Michael Skolnik captures the birth of a nation's revolution, and the dawning awareness of a young Swazi princess as she realizes the contrast between her impoverished country and her lavish lifestyle.

~ Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival

DVD / 2007 / () / 84 minutes

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We know that democracy has to change, as does Nature herself by evolution. Who in years to come is to exercise control over the air, forests and water? The international agreement known as Agenda 21 was the first democratic resolution designed to ensure the survival of our planet. As for democracy at large, all mankind must continue to work for it, now and for all eternity.

DVD / 2001 / (Senior High, College) / 28 minutes

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In the wake of the strong growth of mass media and communications the world over, revolution is fife. The twentieth century saw two major revolutions in Easter Europe alone. The power of one-party states in Europe collapsed along with the Wall, and the eyes of She world have turned to the Far East, to China. Interest is now focused on Chinas ambitious Agenda 21 plans, plans which to succeed are dependent on the Chinese people having a say in their own affairs.

DVD / 2001 / (Senior High, College) / 28 minutes

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The Meaning of Democracy Nowadays, the world is changing at unprecedented speed. The European Union (EU) is but one example. The nation on which it is modeled, the United States of America, was formed as early as the eighteenth century and evolved into a democratic and great power. Many people still regard the USA as the flagship of democracy, while others have their doubts.

DVD / 2001 / (Senior High, College) / 28 minutes

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