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Back You are here: Home Reviews DVDs Recommended Viewing: December 2010 and January 2011

Recommended Viewing: December 2010 and January 2011

DVDgenericCheck out this month's selection of DVDs for creative thinkers.

The Witness
Director: Jenny Stein
Tribe of Heart

WitnessHow does a construction contractor from a tough Brooklyn neighborhood become an impassioned animal advocate?

In the award-winning documentary The Witness, Eddie Lama explains how he feared and avoided animals for most of his life, until the love of a kitten opened his heart, inspiring him to rescue abandoned animals and bring his message of compassion to the streets of New York.

With humor and sincerity, Eddie tells the story of his remarkable change in consciousness. (2008).


The Carbon Connection
Producers: Fenceline Films and Carbon Trade Watch
Green Planet Films

carbonconnectionTwo communities affected by one new global market – the trade in carbon dioxide. In Scotland a town has been polluted by oil and chemical companies since the 1940s. In Brazil local people's water and land is being swallowed up by destructive monoculture eucalyptus tree plantations.

Both communities now share a new threat. As part of the deal to reduce greenhouse gases that cause dangerous climate change, major polluters can now buy carbon credits that allow them to pay someone else to reduce emissions instead of cutting their own pollution.

What this means for those living next to the oil industry in Scotland is the continuation of pollution caused by their toxic neighbours. Meanwhile in Brazil the schemes that generate carbon credits gives an injection of cash for more planting of the damaging eucalyptus tree.

The two communities are now connected by bearing the brunt of the new trade in carbon dioxide. The Carbon Connection follows the story of two groups of people from each community who learned to use video cameras and made their own films about living with the impacts of the trade in carbon.

From mental health issues in Scotland to the loss of medicinal plants in Brazil, the communities discover the connections they have with each other and the film follows them on this journey. (2007).



Dancing Across Borders
Director: Anne Bass
Available from Dancing Across Borders

Dancing_Across_BordersOn a trip to Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia in January 2000, filmmaker Anne Bass came across a sixteen-year-old boy who moved her immensely with his amazing natural charm and grace as a dancer.

A longtime devotee of the world of dance, Bass felt compelled to give this young boy the opportunity to leave his home and follow a dream that he could not yet have fully imagined.

From the serene countryside of Southeast Asia to the halls of New York’s School of American Ballet to the stage of the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Dancing Across Borders peeks behind the scenes into the world of dance and chronicles the intimate and triumphant story of a boy who was discovered, and who only much later discovered all that he had in himself.

Dancing Across Borders is a feature-length documentary about change, growth and the powerful interaction of many talented people. (2010).


The Chances of the World Changing
Director: Eric Daniel Metzgar
Green Planet Films

TurtlesWith a reasonable inheritance, Richard was able to build an ark, literally rescuing hundreds of endangered species of turtles. Eventually, Richard was sharing his giant penthouse in lower Manhattan with over 1,200 turtles and tortoises.

When his collection was discovered (due to complaints from his neighbors), Richard’s story made headlines around the country, from The New York Times to CNN. But the weight of Richard’s ark soon began to crush him. His passionate pastime had evolved into a colossal enterprise.

To save himself and his turtles, he made a fascinating and daring decision— to create the country’s largest turtle conservation institute.

The Chances of the World Changing is an extraordinary documentary about one man’s unbelievable mission to save hundreds of species of turtles and tortoises from extinction – an epic story of conservation, perseverance, and hope in the face of a global crisis. (2006).


A Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism
Director: Fridrik Thor Fridriksson
First Run Features

A_Mothers_CourageA Mother’s Courage: Talking Back to Autism (a.k.a The Sunshine Boy), a documentary by Fridrik Thor Fridriksson, tells the story of Margret, a mother who has done everything in her power to help her son.

Keli is 11 years old and is severely autistic - his mother doesn‘t even know if he understands Icelandic, let alone other languages. Even if Margret holds no unrealistic expectations on behalf of Keli, she has the quenchless thirst for knowledge about the mysterious and complex condition that autism undeniably is.

Along they way, Margret meets other families and hears their unique stories about how they too have been touched by autism.

On a course set to include the United States and Europe, she meets with scientists in the field of autism and autism therapies and the parents of autistic children who share her passion: to break down the wall between the children and the surrounding world.

This journey becomes lengthier and more dramatic than she envisioned at the start. During the trip, she catches a glimpse of hope that her son can be helped to a larger degree than previously assumed.

Perhaps it is possible to break down the wall of autism and get to know the individual behind it?


Eco Rap: Voices from the Hood
Director: Lynn Feinerman
Green Planet Films

EcorapUsing what's called an 'Ecology in Your Face' approach, the ECO-RAP artists profiled in this documentary, hail from San Francisco, Oakland, and elsewhere in the Bay area.

This video by Lynn Feinerman presents ecological issues from the viewpoint of a multiethnic group of young people as they learn about local environmental hazards and express their views using rap music.

Rap music, contemporary graphics and first-hand information combine in an eco-rap concert at the San Francisco Civic Center. Features rappers A. K. Black, Young Lou, T-Stone, She She, Watusi and others.

This is an entertaining way to stimulate interest in ecological issues in urban and minority communities. Eco-Rap also serves as a model for encouraging young people to look into environmental hazards in their neighborhoods. (2005).




DVDs selected by Katrina Fox, Editor-in Chief.

For details of where to send review copies, click on the Contact menu.


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