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1.

Place Without People

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A Place Without People: Tanzania tells the story of the eviction of the indigenous people from their lands in Tanzania, to make way for the creation of the world's most famous nature reserves. In Tanzania, one of the poorest nations in the world, the government, the tourist industry and conservation organizations have advanced the idea that Africans are intruders into what was once a pristine Garden of Eden. The film describes how before World War II the land of the Maasai was seized by British colonialists to set aside for their own sport -- hunting. But as game grew scarce, the British realized they should preserve it and the Serengeti was turned into a vast national park in the 1950's and '60's. This land, possibly the longest-inhabited place on earth, was labelled a 'primordial w [...]
Online
2009
2.

False Promises: The Lost Land of the Wenatchi

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Our Wenatchi Reservation was taken from us in 1894. Our hunting and fishing rights were also taken at that time, against our wishes. Many of our tribesmen are scattered in various parts of the State of Washington where the land is poor ... We, the Wenatchi Indians, wish to have our fishing and hunting rights restored to us in the Wenatchee Valley and forests." (Chief John Harmelt, 1933) This film makes an impassioned plea for the return of the land that was taken from the Wanatchi Indians of Washington State. For generations they lived and fished on their land. In 1855, they were offered a reservation under the terms of the Yakama Treaty. The U.S. failed to honor that treaty as well as others which were made with the tribe. Historian E. Richard Hart has been working in Indian affairs [...]
Online
2002
3.

Flatly Stacked

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This smart, sexy and funny film reveals how a flat-chested woman can find happiness and fulfillment in a world obsessed with big breasts. The film relates the personal journeys of two women: one young, one middle-aged, both of whom are considering breast augmentation. They attempt to answer the ultimate question: is bigger always better? Amusing animations, bra advertisements and sex education films enhance the witty presentation. Flatly Stacked presents the notion that flat-chested women are a subculture, a class of women who, by mere virtue of their cup size, are socially marginalized. Some rise above the emotional traumas and confusion of adolescent pressures, while others suffer emotional scarring that affects them all their lives. As one woman says: "Every girl developed breasts [...]
Online
2004
4.

Fire Eyes: Female Circumcision

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This powerful and important film is the first to present an African viewpoint on a culturally explosive issue. Somali filmmaker Soraya Mire knows firsthand about the traditional African practice of female genital mutilation. At thirteen she was subjected to it and spent the next twenty years recovering physically and emotionally from its cruel legacy. Fire Eyes explores the socio-economic, psychological, and medical consequences of this ancient custom which affects more than 80 million women worldwide. In this film several women who have been subject to this "rite of passage" voice varying points of view on perpetuating the practice. While a few courageous women would spare their daughters this suffering, others fear their daughters would be unmarriageable. The troubling fact is that [...]
Online
1995
5.

Flowers for Guadalupe / Flores Para Guadalupe

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Flowers for Guadalupe/Flores para Guadalupe explores the importance of the Virgin of Guadalupe as a liberating symbol for Mexican women today. In the course of this richly textured treatment of an evolving symbol, twenty-three women speak out, in traditional testimonio format. This unusual "contata" of women s voices representing urban, small-town, and rural communities, is intercut with scenes of daily women's work and celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe in various contexts, including festivities organized by the Comite Guadalupano in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, N.Y. Women have been silenced for centuries in Mexico. By focusing on various feminine forms of devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe as Mexican women's "role model," an entire world of consciousness unfolds. It i [...]
Online
1996
6.

Flying on One Engine: The Slumdog Surgeon

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This is the story of the inspiring work of 76-year-old Dr. Sharadkumar Dicksheet who continues his commitment to the Indian children on whom he operates every year. He performs free reconstructive facial surgery in marathon-like sessions, correcting up to 700 children who have cleft lips and other facial deformities. Without the operations, these children would be not be able to develop normally and would be treated as outcasts. The eight-time Nobel Prize nominee is treated like a living god from the moment he arrives in India, with a reverence bordering on worship in the communities where he works. Watching the people who organize Dr. Dicksheet s surgery camps and those who help him perform the surgery, particularly his tough-as-nails nurse, viewers get an extremely up-close picture [...]
Online
2009
7.

Forbidden Wedding

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Hedir Antonio de Brito, a paraplegic from the age of fifteen, wanted simply to marry Elzimar Serafim, who was the love of his life. He had sent out wedding invitations and applied for a marriage certificate from the Roman Catholic Church. But forty days before the wedding, Hedir got an unexpected letter from the Catholic Church of Patrocinio, Brazil. His marriage application was denied on the grounds that as a paraplegic he could not copulate. This decision was based on the Vatican's Canon Law 1084. The filmmaker talked to the couple, their families, the local priests as well as people in their small Brazilian town. Many were afraid to speak their minds in the shadow of the Catholic Church, but they eventually expressed their outrage at a situation that put love and faith on opposite [...]
Online
2002
8.

Frontline [electronic resource]: An Eyewitness Account of the Vietnam War

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This Academy Award- nominee is a must for all courses dealing with the Vietnam War and its divisive effect on the American people. Its focus is Neil Davis, a news cameraman whose famous combat footage was shown all over the world. As an Australian, he perceived the war from a different perspective than any American journalist. Davis formed a deep attachment to the Vietnamese troops and was even allowed to cross enemy lines. He was the only Western journalist to film the fall of Saigon. His insights into the many ironies of this war will allow younger audiences to understand its complexities and its horrors.
Online
1980
9.

Get the Fire! Young Mormon Missionaries Abroad

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Each year some 60,000 young Mormons are sent around the world to seek converts to their religion in an obligatory rite of passage. Get the Fire! follows three young Mormons from the time they get their "calls to serve" in Utah to serve in southern Germany, until their return 22 months later. The nature of the program is revealed in their indoctrination at the Missionary Training Center and in the field where they are permitted no first names and must remain in eyesight and hearing of a same-sex companion 24/7. They are exhorted to read the Missionary Handbook aloud to each other and frequently give testimony about their belief. They are not allowed to doubt. These earnest young men struggle with a foreign language and the unfamiliar customs of the host country. One former missionary [...]
Online
2003
10.

Gift of a Girl

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This powerful and moving film explores the complexity of female infanticide in southern India and shows steps that are being taken to eradicate the practice. Every year in India thousands of baby girls are killed. Partly this is because of the dowry system which makes a daughter a liability to a family. In a country where being a woman means living a life of hardship, the murder of female infants may be seen by the mothers as being a humane solution. There is even the widespread belief that if a baby girl is killed, then the next baby will be a boy. URISE, a non-governmental agency, is working in the villages to promote the idea among women that female children are equal in the eyes of the law and can be an asset in the family. They have set up associations called sanghams to support [...]
Online
1998
11.

Girls in White Dresses

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It is startling in this day and age to find teenage girls willing to come out as debutantes. Yet, as we see in this delightful film, young middle-class African-American women in Oxnard, California (as in 150 other communities) happily participate in this ritual from another era. The debutante ball is a highlight of the social season. As we follow the preparations for the event we learn of the history of the tradition in this African-American community. One might wonder whether this is still a valid "rite of passage."? Organized by the older women in the Onyx Club, the balls uphold their ideals of proper etiquette and conduct for middle-class young ladies -- sometimes conflicting with the opinions of the teenage girls. The debs must learn proper table manners and how to formally prese [...]
Online
2010
12.

Guguletu Ballet

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In 1992, a white South African ballet dancer ventured into a township and began teaching classes in an empty schoolroom. Within a few years, hundreds of township children took up ballet, and a program called Dance For All was born. Guguletu Ballet profiles some of the extraordinary people behind Dance For All s success -- from prima ballerinas who left the international stage to teach in the townships, to students who are overcoming great odds. Their stories offer a glimpse at the harsh realities of township life ... and proof that ballet dancers can come from the most unlikely places.
Online
2003
13.

Harmonica Breakdown

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Part documentary, part dance performance, this film was inspired by the music of Blues harmonica player Sonny Terry. His Harmonica Breakdown, as choreographed by Jane Dudley, is a timeless statement of the hardship and courage of ordinary people. Harmonica Breakdown is deeply rooted in its social and historical context, which is vividly depicted by Dorothea Lange's black and white photographs of the sharecroppers in the deep south during the Depression.
Online
1997
14.

Harry Hopkins [electronic resource]: At FDR's Side

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During the turbulent times of the Great Depression and World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt presided over great changes in America and the world - changes that would have been impossible without the efforts of one extraordinary man - FDR s friend and advisor, Harry Hopkins. The son of a harness maker from Iowa, and, for 20 years, a social worker in New York, Hopkins was invited by Roosevelt to head the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Great Depression. Within four weeks, he had put four million people to work. He went on to help Roosevelt establish numerous federal programs that live on today. Despite failing health, he made his greatest impact during World War II. He was Roosevelt s personal envoy to Winston Churchill, executing the Lend-Lease program and helping the co [...]
Online
1992
15.

Healing From Childhood Sexual Abuse

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In this moving documentary three women and one man recall emotionally the childhood sexual traumas that destroyed their youth. They speak candidly about the recovery process which released them from symptoms that had plagued their lives - lack of self esteem, depression, suicidal thoughts and disassociative behavior. Carole, a drama teacher, thought that allowing painful memories from childhood to surface would kill her. Instead, it helped her to like herself for the first time and to stand up for what she believes in. Alan at 12 was regularly molested by his scoutmaster. As an adult he could not sustain sexual relationships. Through therapy he was able to deal with the anger that had been suppressed. His faith helped him as well. Alicia, who was molested by many members of her large [...]
Online
1996
16.

The Double Dutch Divas!

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Women with names like Smooth, Heart, Sassy, and Lady Di are the core of the Double Dutch Divas, a team that has mastered the art of jumping and dancing double Dutch during their twenty years together. They are a real life example of sisterhood at its best. Giving show stopping performances in the US and abroad, they bring fitness and fun to a multitude of people of all ethnicities. The game of double Dutch is an urban game where two ropes turn simultaneously in egg-beater fashion and one or more persons jump in the middle. Practiced and performed by both women and men, it is still a game where women shine. Age doesn't stop a Double Dutch Diva. The oldest jumper is forty-nine. They're married, they're single, they're mothers, they're stress-ridden career people - nothing keeps them fr [...]
Online
2001
17.

A Bridge of Books

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In 1939, Yiddish was the spoken language of three-quarters of the world's Jews. But when leading Jewish scholars convened in 1980, they estimated that only 70,000 Yiddish books remained in the world. This engaging, often funny documentary film chronicles the adventures of an enterprising 23-year-old named Aaron Lansky, who rallied together an international network of volunteers and set out to rescue the world s Yiddish books. Twenty year later, the National Yiddish Book Center had collected 1.5 million Yiddish books and helped save a rich, diverse, and surprisingly modern literature from oblivion. With rare archival images, and a lyrical portrayal of the National Yiddish Book Center's warehouse and cultural complex, A Bridge of Books celebrates a pursuit that has become a powerful ve [...]
Online
2006
18.

A Bridge to Mars

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A Bridge to Mars closes the gap between science fiction and the reality that one day we will land humans on Mars. On their first mission to Mars, astronauts will travel to dangerous and uncharted territory some 100 million miles away and will live and work there for two years. In preparation for this groundbreaking journey, leading scientists from many disciplines come together in the Canadian High Arctic to study and plan. Shot in hi-definition on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic as well as the NASA Ames Research Center in California and the University of New Brunswick, the film focuses on three remarkable scientists. They have become regulars at the Haughton-Mars base camp on Devon Island, designated by NASA as the most Mars-like place on Earth. Every summer, Darlene Lim, Gordon [...]
Online
2003
19.

A Brooklyn Family Tale

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This powerful documentary follows two generations of the Santiago family of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Twenty years ago at about the same time that "Cisco" and "Stingray" Santiago became leaders of the notorious Assassinaters gang, Sister Mary Paul and Sister Geraldine, started a unique social service agency called The Center for Family Life. These unusual nuns had the radical yet simple idea that they could strengthen this troubled community by supporting families like the Santiagos. Slowly, many gang leaders, like Stingray and Cisco Santiago, turned to the Center as an alternative to the streets. Twenty years later, Sister Geraldine is still working with the same Santiago family that terrorized the neighborhood two decades ago. The film opens with sixteen-year-old Luis and his gang bre [...]
Online
1992
20.

A Family in France

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This is a portrait of a country family living in a small village, Cassaniouze, in the Auvergne province. Their story typifies how the solid traditions and time honored ways are slowly fading away in the face of modern life. The village of 700 people has a zero birth rate and most of its inhabitants are retired. A Family in France exemplifies the disintegration of rural areas in industrialized nations.
Online
1993