13th (2017)

13thFilmmaker Ava DuVernay, best known for the critically-acclaimed film Selma about the equal voting rights movement led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., brings another thought-provoking medium to audiences in the form of the Oscar-nominated Netflix Original Documentary entitled 13th.

13th is an exploration of the history of racial inequality in America, with a focus on the 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution that outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude "except as a punishment for crime." The documentary examines how the 13th amendment criminal clause has resulted in a modern day form of slavery through mass incarceration that disproportionately impacts people of color, particularly African American men in America.

Source: Sandra Mathews-Sims, Huntington Post, January 30, 2017

Official director's site: http://www.avaduvernay.com/13th/

The documentary was nominated for Best Feature Documentary honors in the 2017 Academy Awards (Oscars).

Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

inconvenient sequelA decade after An Inconvenient Truth brought the climate crisis into the heart of popular culture, comes the riveting and rousing follow-up that shows just how close we are to a real energy revolution. Former Vice President Al Gore continues his tireless fight, traveling around the world training an army ofclimate champions and influencing international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes - in moments both private and public, funny and poignant--as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

Source: Official film site. http://www.aninconvenientsequel.com/

The assist surely wasn't intentional, but Donald Trump has provided Al Gore with a heck of an ending for An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, adding a sense of urgency to this dutiful follow-up to the documentary that officially wedded Gore, Hollywood and environmental activism, An Inconvenient Truth.

It's hardly a spoiler that the hopeful notes that Gore sounds during this decade-later sequel about climate action--including his efforts to smooth the way for the Paris Climate Accords-- are delivered a conspicuous setback by Trump's decision to pull out of the agreement. In terms of rallying the faithful, it's hard to think of anything that would do more to call attention to the film and Gore's 25-year crusade. Source: Brian Lowry, CNN, July 27, 2017

Constructing the Terrorist Threat

constructing the terrorist threat movieDeepa Kumar, one of the nation's foremost scholars on Islamophobia, looks at how Muslims have become the predominant face of terror in U.S. news and entertainment media-- even though terror attacks by white extremists have far outnumbered attacks by Muslim Americans since 9/11.

Arguing that racialized threats have long been used to induce moral panics and advance anti-democratic policies, Kumar explores how ruling elites have been raising the specter of Arab and Islamic terror since the 1970s to justify militarism, war, and curbs on civil liberties. From the Iran-Hostage Crisis in 1979 to the "war on terror" after 9/11 to the rise of ISIS today, she argues that Americans have been taught to fear Muslims out of all proportion to reality, presenting a wealth of eye-opening data about the actual threat level posed by Muslim terrorists in the United States.

Constructing the Terrorist Threat offers a clear-headed assessment of terrorism that couldn't be more timely and urgent given the politics of fear that now dominate our political landscape.

Source: https://shop.mediaed.org/constructing-the-terrorist-threat-p707.aspx

Human Flow

Human FlowOver 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Captured over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries, the film follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey.

Human Flow is a witness to its subjects and their desperate search for safety, shelter and justice: from teeming refugee camps to perilous ocean crossings to barbed-wire borders; from dislocation and disillusionment to courage, endurance and adaptation; from the haunting lure of lives left behind to the unknown potential of the future. Human Flow comes at a crucial time when tolerance, compassion and trust are needed more than ever. This visceral work of cinema is a testament to the unassailable human spirit and poses one of the questions that will define this century: Will our global society emerge from fear, isolation, and self-interest and choose a path of openness, freedom, and respect for humanity?

Source: Official film site: www.humanflow.com