What comes to mind when you think of British culture? The Royal family perhaps? How about scones, fish n' chips, Wimbledon, or our relentless bad weather? Of course the one thing that looms above all else is our national beverage of choice. No, not tea. I'm talking about alcohol. Brits love to drink... and drink some more. Britain has become famous for its ambivalent drinking culture, and we are showing no signs of slowing down. Documenting anecdotes from all facets of the British booze bottle, from politicians to police; medical specialists to charities; the church through to history and science; addicts and celebrities; with high profile personalities such as Russell Brand and controversial figures such as sacked Government Drugs Advisor Professor David Nutt, A Royal Hangover underscores the why behind our increasing thirst for the booze. Why are things so different in Britain? What sets us apart from our brothers and sisters in Europe, or our cousins across the pond? Are we aware of the extent of our problem? Who or what is responsible for this degenerative culture? Are we too drunk to even care? A Royal Hangover is an increasingly relevant portrait of a nation and its love of the booze. Critically acclaimed independent filmmaker and accomplished non-drinker, Arthur Cauty, serves up a documentary mocktail, in equal parts shocking, hilarious, sympathetic and thought provoking; a film we can all relate to. Bottoms up Brits and cheers to alcohol education. Hopefully one day Britain will wake up without a hangover.
From humble beginnings as a simple food sold by Japanese street vendors, sushi has exploded into an international phenomenon in the past 30 years. SUSHI: THE GLOBAL CATCH is a feature-length documentary shot in five countries exploring the history, problems and future of this popular cuisine. Much of sushi's rich cultural tradition that began in Tokyo is changing as raw fish now appear from cities like Warsaw and New York to small towns worldwide. But what is the cost? Will the worldwide hunger for sushi continue to grow until wild fish vanish, or will new technology like aquaculture keep plates full? Can sustainable sushi restaurants satisfy consumers or will competition for declining resources drive prices so high that only a few can afford raw fish?
More money flows through the family courts, and into the hands of courthouse insiders, than in all other court systems in America combined - over $50 billion a year and growing. Through extensive research and interviews with the nation's top divorce lawyers, mediators, judges, politicians, litigants and journalists, this documentary uncovers how children are torn from their homes, unlicensed custody evaluators extort money, and abusive judges play god with people's lives while enriching their friends. This explosive documentary reveals the family courts as unregulated, extra-constitutional fiefdoms. Rather than assist victims of domestic crimes, these courts often precipitate them. And rather than help parents and children move on, as they are mandated to do, these courts - and their associates - drag out cases for years, sometimes decades, ultimately resulting in a rash of social ills, including home foreclosure, bankruptcy, suicide and violence. Solutions to the crisis are sought out in countries where divorce is handled in a more holistic manner.
A story about greed, politics and the land grab of the century, ZIPPER chronicles the battle over an American cultural icon. Small-time ride operator, Eddie Miranda, proudly operates a carnival contraption called the Zipper in the heart of Coney Island's gritty amusement district. When his rented lot is snatched up by a real estate mogul, Eddie and his ride become casualties of a power struggle between the developer and the City of New York over the future of the world-famous destination. Be it an affront to history or simply the path of progress, the spirit of Coney Island is at stake. In an increasingly corporate landscape, where authenticity is often sacrificed for economic growth, the Zipper may be just the beginning of what is lost.
The documentary "Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer" delves into the tumultuous life and career of Robert Budd Dwyer, a respected Pennsylvania politician who served as the State Treasurer during the 1980s. Known for his charismatic personality and dedication to public service, Dwyer appeared to be an honest and upstanding politician.
However, Dwyer's life took a shocking turn when he was accused of corruption and bribery in a high-profile scandal. As the trial unfolded, the pressure on Dwyer intensified, and he vehemently maintained his innocence. The media circus surrounding the case further fueled the controversy and turned Dwyer into a national spectacle.
The documentary combines archival footage, interviews with Dwyer's family, friends, and colleagues, as well as expert analysis to present a comprehensive and nuanced portrait of the man behind the headlines. It explores Dwyer's rise in Pennsylvania politics, his commitment to public service, and the personal toll the corruption charges took on him and his family.
The climax of the documentary revolves around the infamous press conference held by Dwyer on January 22, 1987, where he ultimately took his own life in front of a stunned audience and a horde of reporters. The film examines the events leading up to this tragic moment and the ethical dilemmas faced by those who were present.
Through this powerful and thought-provoking documentary, "Honest Man: The Life of R. Budd Dwyer" not only provides a comprehensive look at the life and downfall of a complex figure but also raises important questions about the role of media in shaping public perception, the justice system, and the devastating impact of political corruption. It invites viewers to reflect on the complexities of the human experience and the consequences of the choices we make in our pursuit of power and justice.
"Roadmap to Apartheid" takes viewers on a journey to understand the historical and contemporary aspects of apartheid in South Africa and how they relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film draws on the experiences of South Africans who lived through apartheid, as well as the perspectives of Israelis and Palestinians who continue to grapple with the ongoing conflict.
The documentary delves into the history of apartheid in South Africa, highlighting the systemic racism, segregation, and oppression faced by black South Africans under the apartheid regime. It juxtaposes this history with the current situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, drawing parallels between the policies and practices employed in both contexts.
Through interviews with activists, scholars, and ordinary citizens on all sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, "Roadmap to Apartheid" explores issues such as land confiscation, forced displacement, checkpoints, the separation barrier, and the impact of these policies on Palestinian and Israeli communities.
The film also examines the role of the international community, including governments and organizations, in addressing these conflicts. It raises questions about the effectiveness of international efforts to bring about a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how the lessons learned from the struggle against apartheid in South Africa might be applied to this ongoing struggle for justice and equality.
"Roadmap to Apartheid" offers a compelling and informative perspective on two deeply complex and contentious conflicts. It encourages viewers to critically examine the historical and contemporary issues involved, fostering a dialogue about the quest for peace, justice, and human rights in these regions.
Set against the backdrop of the Cold War and the growing tensions of the early 1950s, "American Coup" provides a detailed account of the CIA's covert involvement in overthrowing Iran's democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. The film unveils the motivations and actions behind this operation, which aimed to protect American and British interests in Iran's vast oil reserves.
As the documentary unfolds, it investigates the enduring consequences of this operation, also known as Operation Ajax. It delves into how the coup destabilized Iran, led to the rise of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and sowed the seeds of distrust and animosity between the United States and Iran.
"American Coup" connects historical dots by exploring the connection between the 1953 coup and the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis, shedding light on how the past actions of the United States contributed to the events that unfolded during the revolution and the subsequent hostage crisis.
The documentary concludes with a contemporary perspective, examining the impact of the 1953 coup on the modern-day relationship between the two nations. It looks at the Iranian presidential election and its significance in the context of this long and complicated history.
Featuring insightful interviews with experts and prominent figures such as Stephen Kinzer, author of "All The Shah's Men," Professor Ervand Abrahamian, Trita Parsi, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Ted Koppel, and Representative Ron Paul of Texas, "American Coup" offers a comprehensive and balanced view of a critical historical event and its far-reaching consequences. With the inclusion of Iranian cinematography by James Longley, the documentary provides a visually compelling and intellectually stimulating exploration of a pivotal chapter in world history.
The documentary delves into the lives and experiences of Ram Dass (formerly known as Dr. Richard Alpert) and Timothy Leary, two Harvard psychologists who played pivotal roles in the exploration of consciousness, psychedelics, and Eastern spirituality during the 1960s and beyond.
The film traces their early collaborations and groundbreaking research into the effects of psychedelics on human consciousness, which ultimately led to their dismissal from Harvard. As they embarked on separate paths, Ram Dass and Leary continued their individual journeys, with Ram Dass delving into Eastern philosophy and spirituality, while Leary advocated for the expansion of human consciousness through the use of psychedelics.
Through candid interviews and personal anecdotes, "Dying to Know" explores the profound impact of their experiences, both individually and as friends. The film chronicles their moments of synergy and divergence, delving into their shared explorations of identity, ego, and the nature of reality.
As the years pass and both men face personal challenges, including illness and aging, the documentary captures their reflections on life, death, and the search for meaning. The film captures their candid conversations as they confront mortality and grapple with the legacies they will leave behind.
"Dying to Know" also examines the broader cultural context of the 1960s counterculture, offering insights into the societal shifts and debates that surrounded Ram Dass and Leary's work. It sheds light on their complex relationship with the government, their influence on the broader cultural conversation, and the ongoing debates about the potential benefits and risks of psychedelic substances.
With its blend of personal narratives, philosophical reflections, and historical context, "Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary" paints a comprehensive and empathetic portrait of two individuals who shaped the consciousness of an era. The film invites viewers to reflect on the human quest for understanding, connection, and the mysteries of existence as it follows the intertwining paths of these two iconic figures.
"Food, Inc." offers an investigative and thought-provoking look into the American food industry, exploring the ways in which food production has been transformed into a mass-scale, profit-driven enterprise.
The film examines the dominance of a few major corporations that control much of the food supply chain, from the production of seeds and animal feed to the processing and distribution of meat and processed food products. It highlights the practices of large-scale industrial farming, including factory farming of livestock, which often leads to animal cruelty, environmental degradation, and potential health risks.
"Food, Inc." also examines the consequences of the widespread use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in crops and the impact of these practices on biodiversity and the future of agriculture.
Throughout the documentary, interviews with farmers and agricultural workers provide insight into the challenges they face in a system that prioritizes efficiency and profit over sustainability and ethical considerations. The film also sheds light on the exploitation and mistreatment of laborers, many of whom work in unsafe and underpaid conditions.
In addition to these pressing issues, "Food, Inc." discusses the influence of powerful lobbying efforts by the food industry on government policies and regulations, which can have significant implications for food safety and consumer rights.
The documentary also examines the impact of the modern food system on public health, including the rise of obesity, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. It encourages viewers to question the quality and nutritional value of processed and fast foods, as well as the long-term effects of consuming foods laden with preservatives and additives.
"Food, Inc." concludes by presenting alternative approaches to food production and consumption, advocating for a more sustainable, transparent, and humane food system. It challenges viewers to be informed consumers and advocates for positive change in the food industry.
Overall, "Food, Inc." is a compelling and urgent documentary that raises important questions about the state of our food system and encourages viewers to be conscious of the choices they make as consumers, with the potential to drive positive change for the future of food production and agriculture.
The film follows Scahill as he investigates U.S. military involvement in countries such as Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Through interviews with government officials, military personnel, and local civilians, Scahill uncovers the devastating impact of the U.S.'s "War on Terror" on the people living in these countries.
The film highlights the use of drone strikes and night raids by U.S. forces, which have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, including women and children. The film also explores the connections between U.S. military operations and the rise of extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Through its powerful storytelling and vivid imagery, "Dirty Wars" exposes the hidden realities of the U.S.'s global military interventions. The film raises important questions about the role of the U.S. in global conflicts and the ethical implications of military action.
Overall, "Dirty Wars" is a thought-provoking and important documentary that sheds light on the devastating consequences of covert military operations. The film challenges viewers to consider the long-term impact of U.S. foreign policy and to question the legitimacy of military interventions that often have unintended and tragic consequences.
'Even though I live in South Korea, my heart is in North Korea. The North Koreans are not strangers, but my brethren'. These words spoken by Mr. Lee, the film's main character, reveal an internal conflict in the national psyche of the Korean people. Shot over the course of three years, Unfortunate Brothers: Korea's Reunification Dilemma seeks to explore reunification issues by following Mr. Lee, a North Korean defector trying to adjust to life in his newly adopted South Korean homeland. Through Mr. Lee's intensely personal account of his journey from North Korea, as well as expert interviews, the film tries to unravel the riddle of Korean unification and promote deeper understanding of two countries many of us know little about.—Anonymous
The Drop Box tells the story of South Korean pastor Lee Jong-rak and his heroic efforts to embrace and protect the most vulnerable members of society. It is an exploration of the physical, emotional and financial toll associated with providing refuge to orphans that would otherwise be abandoned on the streets. The movie is also a story of hope - a reminder that every human life is sacred and worthy of love.—From Drop Box Film website