documentary Archive

  • Two recent documentary films chronicle the struggle of the Huichol or Wixárika People to protect their culture and spiritual connection with the ancestors, through the journey to Wirikuta, where peyote grows, now threatened by mining and development interests.

    Peyote Guardians: The Huichol Struggle of Life and Spirit

    Two recent documentary films chronicle the struggle of the Huichol or Wixárika People to protect their culture and spiritual connection with the ancestors, through the journey to Wirikuta, where peyote grows, now threatened by mining and development interests.

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  • To achieve justice and peace in Israel, its popular portrayal as the victim of Palestinian aggression must be replaced with the state accepting responsibility in its role as a colonial power with all the attendant political, military, and financial hegemony. As an occupying power, they must protect the civilian population, and their actions must be proportional and measured towards perceived injustice, granting rights and self determination to the Palestinian people. Otherwise, war, death, hatred, and instability will continue. Essay by Ajamu Baraka with two films by John Pilger.

    Palestine, War and the Responsibility of Colonial Power

    To achieve justice and peace in Israel, its popular portrayal as the victim of Palestinian aggression must be replaced with the state accepting responsibility in its role as a colonial power with all the attendant political, military, and financial hegemony. As an occupying power, they must protect the civilian population, and their actions must be proportional and measured towards perceived injustice, granting rights and self determination to the Palestinian people. Otherwise, war, death, hatred, and instability will continue. Essay by Ajamu Baraka with two films by John Pilger.

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  • Buckminster Fuller, architect, engineer, geometrician, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, put forth an original form of sustainable living for humanity. He posited that systems thinking helps us understand our connectedness and dependence on our local biome. Watch the 1974 film "The World of R. Buckminster Fuller."

    Buckminster Fuller’s World of Sustainable Design

    Buckminster Fuller, architect, engineer, geometrician, philosopher, futurist, inventor of the famous geodesic dome, put forth an original form of sustainable living for humanity. He posited that systems thinking helps us understand our connectedness and dependence on our local biome. Watch the 1974 film "The World of R. Buckminster Fuller."

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  • "The Great Invisible," the winning documentary at the South By Southwest film festival, tracks how everyone from wealthy oilmen to impoverished fishermen were affected in the Deepwater Horizon aftermath, the Transocean-owned, BP-operated oil drilling rig, that exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010.

    “The Great Invisible” Surveys Deepwater Horizon’s Impacts

    "The Great Invisible," the winning documentary at the South By Southwest film festival, tracks how everyone from wealthy oilmen to impoverished fishermen were affected in the Deepwater Horizon aftermath, the Transocean-owned, BP-operated oil drilling rig, that exploded 50 miles off the Louisiana coast on April 20, 2010.

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  • Carrie Lederer of Carrier Pigeon Films captured the zeitgeist of the March 1st launch of the Great March for Climate Action, heading 3,000 miles to Washington DC over eight months.

    Climate Change: Marching for a Future in Los Angeles

    Carrie Lederer of Carrier Pigeon Films captured the zeitgeist of the March 1st launch of the Great March for Climate Action, heading 3,000 miles to Washington DC over eight months.

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  • Hiding in the back alleys and behind a hoodie, he stencils freehand Gorillas in Pink Masks. An international art sensation makes a film about making a film about a guy who wants to become an international art sensation. The pseudonymous street artist Banksy has turned his well-marketed cultural irreverence into a boom time in the discontent industry.

    Banksy: Satirical Outlaw, Graffiti Bomber, Mockumentarian

    Hiding in the back alleys and behind a hoodie, he stencils freehand Gorillas in Pink Masks. An international art sensation makes a film about making a film about a guy who wants to become an international art sensation. The pseudonymous street artist Banksy has turned his well-marketed cultural irreverence into a boom time in the discontent industry.

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  • Watch the full documentary on the Huichol journey to Wirikuta, where they travel every year to collect peyote. The pilgrimage take place with the intention to return to where life originated and heal oneself and the community.

    Pamparios: A Trip with the Huicholes to Collect Peyote

    Watch the full documentary on the Huichol journey to Wirikuta, where they travel every year to collect peyote. The pilgrimage take place with the intention to return to where life originated and heal oneself and the community.

    Continue Reading...

  • A documentary film, "Dogtown Redemption," delves inside the lives of West Oakland's poor and homeless recyclers. While California must deal with its urban poverty problem, and rogue recyclers steal from recycling funds, overall the state's Bottle Bill has significantly reduced waste.

    Dogtown Redemption: Urban Poor Survive By Recycling

    A documentary film, "Dogtown Redemption," delves inside the lives of West Oakland's poor and homeless recyclers. While California must deal with its urban poverty problem, and rogue recyclers steal from recycling funds, overall the state's Bottle Bill has significantly reduced waste.

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  • The Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LGCA), one of Tanzania’s most well-known Maasai community concessions and wildlife destinations, is in the spotlight as local stakeholders and outside financial interests clash over its natural resources. Watch "Welcome to Loliondo," a documentary on how the Maasai confront the threat of safari tourism taking away their land.

    Welcome to Loliondo: Maasai Struggle Against Game Hunters for Land Rights

    The Loliondo Game Controlled Area (LGCA), one of Tanzania’s most well-known Maasai community concessions and wildlife destinations, is in the spotlight as local stakeholders and outside financial interests clash over its natural resources. Watch "Welcome to Loliondo," a documentary on how the Maasai confront the threat of safari tourism taking away their land.

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  • Documentary film on indigenous communities in Chubut province in Patagonia, Argentina, their struggle over land rights and the threats from mining its mineral wealth, cutting its trees and development by other multinational interests.

    Argentina: The Second Conquest of Patagonia’s Indigenous

    Documentary film on indigenous communities in Chubut province in Patagonia, Argentina, their struggle over land rights and the threats from mining its mineral wealth, cutting its trees and development by other multinational interests.

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  • Film and music of shimmering yet jarring beauty play together on a South Seas beach in "Legong: Dance of the Virgins." It's a rarely screened 1935 silent movie, shot entirely in Bali with a Balinese cast, mixed with a new score by Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Presented in a crude but rich two-strip early Technicolor process, one of the last silent films made by Hollywood, it depicts Bali as Westerners idealized it at the time.

    Legong Film: Balinese Dream Dance of Nymphs in Heaven

    Film and music of shimmering yet jarring beauty play together on a South Seas beach in "Legong: Dance of the Virgins." It's a rarely screened 1935 silent movie, shot entirely in Bali with a Balinese cast, mixed with a new score by Club Foot Orchestra and Gamelan Sekar Jaya. Presented in a crude but rich two-strip early Technicolor process, one of the last silent films made by Hollywood, it depicts Bali as Westerners idealized it at the time.

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  • Every day, more and more tourists arrive in Iquitos, Peru, seeking spiritual enlightenment or a psychedelic experience first made popular by William Burroughs and the Beatniks in the 1960s. Unfortunately, some well-paid "shamans" lack the experience or understanding of the powerful and sacred botanical brews used for thousands of years for healing and divination. And the gringos-on-holiday often get over their heads in the wilds of the Amazon.

    Ayahuasca: Fake Shamans and The Divine Vine of Immortality

    Every day, more and more tourists arrive in Iquitos, Peru, seeking spiritual enlightenment or a psychedelic experience first made popular by William Burroughs and the Beatniks in the 1960s. Unfortunately, some well-paid "shamans" lack the experience or understanding of the powerful and sacred botanical brews used for thousands of years for healing and divination. And the gringos-on-holiday often get over their heads in the wilds of the Amazon.

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  • Rob Stewart's beautifully shot documentary "Sharkwater," set in the Galapagos and Isla del Coco of the Pacific Ocean, refutes those who vilify the shark as a killer of humans, insisting they do not wish to eat us. He also films Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson's attack on the Costa Rican shark fin poachers, which has led to international charges for the famous defender of the sea.

    Sharkwater: Sea Shepherd Battles Shark-fin Poachers in the Pacific

    Rob Stewart's beautifully shot documentary "Sharkwater," set in the Galapagos and Isla del Coco of the Pacific Ocean, refutes those who vilify the shark as a killer of humans, insisting they do not wish to eat us. He also films Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson's attack on the Costa Rican shark fin poachers, which has led to international charges for the famous defender of the sea.

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  • It's been 42 years since the troubled US photographer took her own life, but her images continue to reveal the camera's predatory nature. Watch a documentary made in 1972 that examines her photography and her methods.

    Diane Arbus: A Privileged Voyeur of Life on the Margins

    It's been 42 years since the troubled US photographer took her own life, but her images continue to reveal the camera's predatory nature. Watch a documentary made in 1972 that examines her photography and her methods.

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  • In 1934, Henry Miller, then aged forty-two and living in Paris, published his first book. In 1961, finally distributed in his native land the book promptly became a best-seller and a cause célèbre. By now, the "controversies" dominate his legacy, including issues of censorship, obscenity, misogyny and anti-Semitism, clouding the import of Henry Miller's words. "Tropic of Cancer" broke literary ground, mixing novelistic forms with autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, and surrealist free association.

    Henry Miller’s Free Association into the Surreal

    In 1934, Henry Miller, then aged forty-two and living in Paris, published his first book. In 1961, finally distributed in his native land the book promptly became a best-seller and a cause célèbre. By now, the "controversies" dominate his legacy, including issues of censorship, obscenity, misogyny and anti-Semitism, clouding the import of Henry Miller's words. "Tropic of Cancer" broke literary ground, mixing novelistic forms with autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, and surrealist free association.

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  • Like several West African religions, Vodouisants believe in a supreme being called Bondyè, from bon "good" + dyè "God." Because Bondyè is unreachable, Vodouisants aim their prayers to lesser entities, the spirits known as Lwa (Loa), contacted and served through possession. In turn, the Lwa confer material blessings, physical well-being, protection, abundance.

    Haitian Vodou: Summoning the Spirits

    Like several West African religions, Vodouisants believe in a supreme being called Bondyè, from bon "good" + dyè "God." Because Bondyè is unreachable, Vodouisants aim their prayers to lesser entities, the spirits known as Lwa (Loa), contacted and served through possession. In turn, the Lwa confer material blessings, physical well-being, protection, abundance.

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  • Ikland recounts a quest to re-connect with the Ik people. For producer Cevin Soling, they represented the last outpost of imagination in a world devoid of myth. Soling and his crew risked their lives by traveling through war-ravaged northern Uganda to reach them. Their experience was alien and surreal in ways only Jonathan Swift might have imagined...

    Overcoming Cultural Colonialism: Journey to Understand “Ikland”

    Ikland recounts a quest to re-connect with the Ik people. For producer Cevin Soling, they represented the last outpost of imagination in a world devoid of myth. Soling and his crew risked their lives by traveling through war-ravaged northern Uganda to reach them. Their experience was alien and surreal in ways only Jonathan Swift might have imagined...

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  • Oscar-entry documentary chronicles the unsolved mystery of the car bombing of Old-Growth Forests Activists and their later arrest by the FBI for their own injuries. The film also illustrates the Redwood Summer movement to save the Headwaters Forest of Northern California and Judi Bari's victorious 1st Amendment lawsuit.

    Who Bombed Earth First! Organizer Judi Bari?

    Oscar-entry documentary chronicles the unsolved mystery of the car bombing of Old-Growth Forests Activists and their later arrest by the FBI for their own injuries. The film also illustrates the Redwood Summer movement to save the Headwaters Forest of Northern California and Judi Bari's victorious 1st Amendment lawsuit.

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  • A forthcoming documentary follows artist Chris Jordan to investigate the thousands of albatrosses dying from ingestion of plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. The Albatross journey across the sea takes them over the world’s largest dump: slowly rotating masses of partially-submerged trash between San Francisco and Hawai’i.

    Midway Atoll: The Plastic Plight of the Albatross – By Jack Eidt

    A forthcoming documentary follows artist Chris Jordan to investigate the thousands of albatrosses dying from ingestion of plastic from the Pacific Garbage Patch. The Albatross journey across the sea takes them over the world’s largest dump: slowly rotating masses of partially-submerged trash between San Francisco and Hawai’i.

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  • The Monkey Wrench Gang is the wish-fulfilment dream of eco-Luddites everywhere. Civilisation violates the land, so Hayduke ("a good, healthy psychopath") and his pals violate civilization.

    Edward Abbey: A Solitary Voice in the Wilderness

    The Monkey Wrench Gang is the wish-fulfilment dream of eco-Luddites everywhere. Civilisation violates the land, so Hayduke ("a good, healthy psychopath") and his pals violate civilization.

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  • Fellini in the 1969 experimental documentary on US television opines on his Felliniesque creative process: "I think almost exclusively in images, which explains why an actor's face and body are more important to me than plot structure . . . . The key word to understanding my kind of cinema is vitality. What I seek is to live the expression itself."

    Federico Fellini: Intuitive Visual Art

    Fellini in the 1969 experimental documentary on US television opines on his Felliniesque creative process: "I think almost exclusively in images, which explains why an actor's face and body are more important to me than plot structure . . . . The key word to understanding my kind of cinema is vitality. What I seek is to live the expression itself."

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  • You are what you eat...but what if you don't know what you are eating? This November, Californians will vote on "the right to know" what is being eaten. As well, "The World According to Monsanto" looks at the risks of biotechnology to our environment and food supply.

    California’s Proposition 37: Labeling Monsanto’s War on Life

    You are what you eat...but what if you don't know what you are eating? This November, Californians will vote on "the right to know" what is being eaten. As well, "The World According to Monsanto" looks at the risks of biotechnology to our environment and food supply.

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  • Caroline Libresco: DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance.

    Detropia: Detroit as Utopia or Dystopia?

    Caroline Libresco: DETROPIA sculpts a dreamlike collage of a grand city teetering on the brink of dissolution. These soulful pragmatists and stalwart philosophers strive to make ends meet and make sense of it all, refusing to abandon hope or resistance.

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  • The documentary "Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth" presents an alternative worldview to industrial capitalism consuming the earth, following six young Maya into their daily and ceremonial life, revealing their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment.

    Stories of a Maya Rebirth: Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth

    The documentary "Heart of Sky, Heart of Earth" presents an alternative worldview to industrial capitalism consuming the earth, following six young Maya into their daily and ceremonial life, revealing their determination to resist the destruction of their culture and environment.

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  • I go outside - and all up and down the street - the green armies shoot color - like an everlasting 4th of July, - and I too seem to swell inside, - a kind of unknown bursting, - a feeling, perhaps, that there isn't any - enemy - anywhere

    Dirty Realism: The Anti-Social Satire of Charles Bukowski

    I go outside - and all up and down the street - the green armies shoot color - like an everlasting 4th of July, - and I too seem to swell inside, - a kind of unknown bursting, - a feeling, perhaps, that there isn't any - enemy - anywhere

    Continue Reading...