Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/rachel-carson/

She set out to save a species … us.

When Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was published in 1962, the book became a phenomenon. A passionate and eloquent warning about the long-term dangers of pesticides, it unleashed an extraordinary national debate and was greeted by vigorous attacks from the chemical industry. But it would also inspire President John F. Kennedy to launch the first-ever investigation into the public-health effects of pesticides – an investigation that would eventually result in new laws governing the regulation of these deadly agents.

Featuring the voice of Mary-Louise Parker as the influential writer and scientist, Rachel Carson is an intimate portrait of the woman whose groundbreaking books revolutionized our relationship to the natural world. Drawn from Carson’s own writings, letters, and recent scholarship, this film illuminates both the public and private life of the woman who launched the modern environmental movement and revolutionized how we understand our relationship with the natural world.

Plastic China

Plastic China

https://www.plasticchina.org/

Newspaper articles on Prince William’s grand wedding is the magic cape for the kids; eye patches from Qantas Airways is the protection mask for the workers; a Dutch SIM card brings in a message of “Welcome to China” once inserted in a cellphone. Welcome to the land of Plastic China. As the world’s biggest plastic waste importer, China receives 10 million tons per year from most of the developed countries around the world. With high external costs impacting the local environment and health, these imports are reborn in these plastic workshops into “recycled” raw materials for the appetite of China – the world factory. This waste is then exported back to where they came from with a new face, such as manufactured clothing or toys.

Plastic China’s main character, Yi-Jie, is an unschooled 11-year-old girl whose family works and lives in a typical plastic-waste household-recycling workshop. As much as her life is poor and distorted, she’s a truly global child who learns about the outside world from the waste workshop that her family lives in and works in – also known as the “United Nations of Plastic Wastes.” She lives her happiness and sorrows amongst the waste, as well. Small packs of discarded instant black powder tells her the bitter taste of “coffee”; the English children’s learning cards teach her words like “summer” and “Father’s Day”; and broken Barbie dolls are her best friends to talk to. This is her world.

Her father promised to send Yi-Jie to school five years ago but not yet delivered on it. Instead, he spends his hard-earned money from the plastic workshop on alcohol. However, Yi-Jie keeps her wish alive of going to school one day, and we see her holding her playful campaign toward learning and schooling. Will she succeed to sit in a classroom and learn? Or will she succeed her parents as an illiterate laborer in the recycling workshop? What is her future?

Kun, the owner of this household-recycling workshop, represents money, power, and the educated class for Yi-Jie. He looks down on Yi-Jie’s family, but also depends on them to do the dirty labor that nobody else wants to do. Often, he teaches Yi-Jie to read and write, when he is in a good mood.

Kun works day and night, and ignores the physical and mental health problems of his own family and himself, just to save for a sedan car like any other factory boss in the region. He’s afraid of being looked down upon, and owning a car is the status symbol of being successful in the world.

Following these families’ daily lives, Plastic China explores how this work of recycling plastic waste with their bare hands takes a toll not only on their health, but also their own dilemma of poverty, disease, pollution, and death. All of this to eke out a daily living.

Plastic China also unveils the true face of China. The current world image of the growing China prosperity is similar to that of plastic surgery – fake and fragile, with uncertain consequences. People lose their mind over this unreal beauty, and their own fates are formed into whatever shape reality requires – just like those plastic products coming out of the mold machine.

Tracing further to the plastic waste imported from around the world, this signals and symbolizes the lives of those on the other side of the world – far away from China’s plastic-recycling workshops. When these symbolic wastes are immersed deeply in this impoverished world of these Chinese workers, we are confronted with the truth that “the world is flat,” and issues don’t go away by changing time and location. At the end of the day, as a global nation, we are all in this together, and we all play a part in this ever-changing world.

Naledi

Naledi

https://www.vulcanproductions.com/our-work/naledi

Naledi tells the incredible, true-life story of a baby elephant who’s born into a rescue camp in the wilderness of Botswana. When she’s only one month old, a fateful twist takes her mother’s life – and it’s suddenly up to the keepers who look after her herd to save her life. Camp scientist Mike Chase knows the stakes. As he launches the most ambitious census ever of African elephants across the continent, he and his team of elephant handlers face an even harder task – helping baby Naledi survive. Now, he must race to defend an entire species while struggling to save a single life.

To succeed, Naledi’s makeshift band of human mothers will shelter her, nurse her, and show her the importance of family – of both two legs and four. Her unforgettable caretakers come to her rescue: delighting in her antics when she’s well, working frantically to keep her alive when she’s on the brink. Never before has a story of humans and elephants been captured with such closeness and tenderness. Naledi’s story mirrors her species’ fight for survival. Across the African continent, Chase’s team will struggle against the impossible – from poachers’ poisoned arrows to the unrelenting wave of human development that puts elephants under constant pressure.

Throughout, this one elephant’s story remains both intimate and epic, a journey of tragedy and triumph that inspires laughter and tears, and that reveals the remarkable inner life of an animal as complex as any human, and as iconic as Africa itself.

Open Heart [Short]

Open Heart [Short]

http://kiefdavidson.com/home/films/open-heart/

Eight Rwandan children leave their families behind to embark on a life-or-death journey seeking high-risk heart surgery in Sudan. Their hearts ravaged by a treatable disease from childhood strep throat, they have only months to live. Open Heart reveals the intertwined endeavors of Dr. Emmanuel, Rwanda’s lone government cardiologist, as he fights to save the lives of his young patients; and Italian Dr. Gino Strada, the Salam Center’s head surgeon, who must also fight to save his hospital, Africa’s only link to life-saving free cardiac surgery for the millions who need it.

This film was made with the support of The Sundance Institute, Skoll Foundation, and Tribeca Gucci Foundation. An HBO documentary film. In co-production with ARTE Germany and France.

Money & Life

Money & Life

https://moneyandlifemovie.com/

Money & Life is a passionate and inspirational essay-style documentary that that asks a provocative question: Can we see the economic crisis not as a disaster, but as a tremendous opportunity? This cinematic odyssey connects the dots on our current economic pains and offers a new story of money based on an emerging paradigm of planetary well-being that understands all of life as profoundly interconnected.

The film takes us on a journey, from the origins of money to connecting the systemic dots on the current global financial crisis and how we got here. Most important, Money & Life says that we owe it to ourselves to understand the fundamentals of this technology called money in order to be effective participants in the economic transformation that is happening around us, a shift more rapid and as profound as the Industrial Revolution.

The film is a tapestry of beautifully shot expert interviews woven with compelling vignettes of individuals and businesses consciously transforming their relationship with money. Together with dynamic animation, an original music score, and an elegant voice of narration, the film tells a new story of money, but more broadly it tells a new story of humanity. Money & Life aspires to be a part of bringing a new consciousness to our understanding and practices in the world of money, bringing a touch of humor and a lot of heart to a matter that concerns us all.

An optimistic film steeped in appreciation for human ingenuity, Money & Life does not dictate answers. It is a respectful invitation to consider questions critical to all our well-being: How can we move beyond being merely consumers, debtors, and creditors, and put money in service to what we really care about as citizens, as human beings? Can we design a monetary circulation system that fosters democratic equality? What responsibilities should a corporate charter convey? What does it really mean to make a living? The film itself demonstrates how to approach these questions with both clarity and compassion. Money & Life empowers each of us to respond to the fundamental issues of our time and participate in the emerging new economy.

Donate: https://moneyandlifemovie.com/donate

Misery Loves Comedy

Misery Loves Comedy

http://newaleypictures.com

Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow, Larry David, and Jon Favreau are among over 60 famous funny people featured in this hilarious twist on the age-old truth: misery loves company. In-depth, candid interviews with some of the most revered comedy greats who each share their unique path and a life devoted to making strangers laugh. With arresting anecdotes and insights from the comedy underbelly that reveal a performer’s deep desire to connect with audiences, Kevin Pollak’s Misery Loves Comedy is the definitive master class on the art of humor that details a comedian’s rare ability to help us understand life as only they can. (Rovi)

Long Gone Wild

Long Gone Wild

https://www.longgonewild.com

Long Gone Wild focuses on the plight of captive orcas, picking up where the acclaimed documentary Blackfish left off, while telling a uniquely new and different story…

The film centers on five primary areas: (1) The Blackfish Effect: what it did and didn’t accomplish (i.e., SeaWorld took a major hit to its bottom line, but the 20 orcas are still there); (2) The case against captivity (orcas are forced to live in barren concrete tanks); (3) Orcas as sentient animals (their great capacity to think, feel, communicate, and empathize); (4) The Whale Sanctuary Project and its model seaside sanctuary for retired orcas – providing a safe, permanent home in their natural habitat; and (5) The ominous threat to orcas posed by Russia and China, triggered by the explosive growth of mega-aquariums in China.

This compelling story is told via arresting visuals, a memorable sound track, and interviews with the leading experts in the field: Dr. Naomi Rose (Animal Welfare Institute); Dr. Lori Marino and Charles Vinick (The Whale Sanctuary Project); Dr. Ingrid Visser (internationally renowned orca expert); Carol Ray and Jeffrey Ventre (former SeaWorld Trainers); Jeffrey Foster (a NOAA Environmental Hero of the Year) and conservationist Katy Laveck Foster; authors David Kirby (Death at SeaWorld) and David Neiwert (Of Orcas and Men); Steven Wise (president, Nonhuman Rights Project, and star of the Emmy-nominated documentary Unlocking the Cage); Dr. Terry Kupers (forensic psychiatrist / expert on solitary confinement); OSHA attorney Joe Woodward; Rachel Carbary (founder, “Empty the Tanks”) and Carly Ferguson (president, Ontario Captive Animal Watch); Assemblyman Richard Bloom (author of the landmark California Orca Protection Act) and Florida State Rep. Jared Moskowitz (pushing his own orca protection bill); Stephen Wells (executive director, Animal Legal Defense Fund); and Ric O’Barry (founder, Dolphin Project, and star of the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove).

Life, Animated

Life, Animated

http://www.lifeanimateddoc.com/

Academy Award Nominee

Based on the best-selling book by Ron Suskind. From Academy Award®–winning director Roger Ross Williams, Life, Animated is the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a unique way to communicate by immersing themselves in the world of classic Disney animated films. This emotional coming-of-age story follows Owen as he graduates to adulthood and takes his first steps toward independence. The subject of his father Ron Suskind’s New York Times bestseller, Owen was a thriving 3-year-old who suddenly and inexplicably went silent – and for years after, remained unable to connect with other people or to convey his thoughts, feelings, or desires.

Over time, through repeated viewings of Disney classics like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King, Owen found useful tools to help him to understand complex social cues and to reconnect with the world around him.

Life, Animated evocatively interweaves classic Disney sequences with verite scenes from Owen’s life in order to explore how his identification and empathy for characters like Simba, Jafar, and Ariel gave him a means to understand his feelings and allowed him to interpret reality. Beautiful, original animations offer rich insights into Owen’s fruitful dialogue with the Disney oeuvre as he imagines himself heroically facing adversity as a member in a tribe of sidekicks.
Owen’s story is a moving testament to the many ways in which stories can serve as a means of persevering through the dark times, leading us all toward the light.

Life According to Sam

Life According to Sam

http://lifeaccordingtosam.com/#/home/

What is aging in Sam Berns, is aging in all of us. But in Sam’s body, the process is rapidly accelerated. When Sam was diagnosed with progeria at age two, his parents, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns, refused to accept that they would lose their son by age 13, the average age of death of a child with this disease. Eleven years later, Sam is 13, and his parents’ incredible race to save their son has led to testing the first experimental drug that might prolong the lives of Sam and 28 other children from around the world who share this disease. Their discoveries may one day shed light on unlocking the aging process in us all. Life According to Sam is an inspiring film about the power of family and how we make the most of our lives in the time we are given.

Get Involved: http://lifeaccordingtosam.com/#/get-involved/

Journey from Zanskar

Journey from Zanskar

https://www.warriorfilms.org/journey-from-zanskar/

Zanskar is one of the last remaining original Tibetan Buddhist societies with a continuous untainted lineage dating back thousands of years. In nearby Tibet and Ladakh, in Sikkim, Bhutan, and Nepal, traditional Tibetan Buddhist culture is either dead already or dying. Tibetan monks and Tibetan refugees struggle to survive. The Tibetan genocide, by Chinese government design, is being matched by the destruction of global economics elsewhere. Zanskar, ringed by high Himalayan mountains in northwest India, one of the most remote places on the planet, has been safe until now. But that’s changing.

In three to five years, a road connecting Padum, the heart of Zanskar, with Leh, the heart of neighboring Ladakh, will be finished. The route which previously took up to two days by car will take only four to five hours. As economic growth descends on Zanskar, it will bring with it an end to this unbroken Buddhist social tradition. Will the native language, culture, and religious practice be able to survive? Watch Journey from Zanskar to discover how two humble monks, far from their Buddhist temple, honor their vows by supporting these remote village children to get a great Buddhist education.