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We work closely with the Video Project to make films on critical social and global issues available for our reviewers. If you would like to review a film that is not listed here or on the Video Project’s website, please get in touch.

Angel of Alabama

Brenda Hampton, a seasoned investigator, uncovers decades of pollution within her hometown and snaps into action. Angel of Alabama is a call to action for the fight against “forever chemicals”, which are growing into one of the biggest pollution crises in world history.

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UNSPOKEN explores the racial divide in America, through the experiences of one small southern town. Monroe, Georgia resident and filmmaker Stephanie Calabrese offers an insider’s perspective and an intimate journey that digs deep into the roots of this divide entrenched by the 1946 Moores Ford Lynching, the last mass lynching in the U.S., and its ongoing impact on the community. The film uncovers buried truths and sheds light on the secrecy that still surrounds this tragic event and the continued pursuit of justice, as well as the ongoing impact of segregation and the integration of schools and society in Monroe, Georgia.

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From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock  

In 1973, rookie NPR reporter Kevin McKiernan became the only journalist to defy and FBI-imposed media blackout and embed himself with the members of the American Indian Movement who had taken over the historic village of Wounded Knee, South Dakota. From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock tells the story of that 71-day armed occupation through the voices of both the AIM members and FBI agents who lived it and shows how this event continues to reverberate through Native American-US government relations, up through the movement at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Featuring cinematography from seminal director of photography Haskell Wexler, the film details situates the past 50 years of US policy towards tribes within the greater history of the genocide of indigenous people throughout North America and broken treaties. Shining renewed light on such events as the inception of the American Indian Movement, the FBI’s COINTELPRO program, and the arrest and continued incarceration of of Leonard Peltier, From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock is a critical document of modern Native American history, told by those who made it happen.

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Be My Voice

Journalist and activist Masih Alinejad is the voice of millions of Iranian women who are rebelling against the official state policy of compulsory hijab. Leading one of the largest acts of civil disobedience in Iran today from exile in the U.S., Masih uses her wide platform to prevent protest from being stifled in her home country.

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The Wisdom of Trauma

One in five Americans are diagnosed with mental illness in any given year. In the US, death by suicide is the second most common cause of death for those aged 15-24, killing over 48,000. Annually, drug overdose kill 81,000 in the US. The autoimmunity epidemic affects 24 million people in the US. What is going on? The interconnected epidemics of anxiety, chronic illness, and substance abuse are, according to Dr. Gabor Maté, normal. But not in the way you might think.
In The Wisdom of Trauma, we travel alongside physician, bestselling author, and Order of Canada recipient Dr. Gabor Maté to explore the root causes of the myriad health epidemics faced by Western countries. This is a journey with a man who has dedicated his life to understanding the connection between illness, addiction, trauma, and society.
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Hiding in the Walls

Millions of people in America today are living with lead poisoning or complications from chronic lead exposure. Lead-based products — especially paint — are commonplace in houses built before the 1970s, and prolonged exposure can have detrimental effects on health, brain development, and cognitive functioning. A child with lead poisoning is more likely than their peers to struggle academically, experience behavioral issues, and even have interactions with the criminal justice system. Yet despite its known risks, the use of lead-based paint in American homes persisted for more than 50 years after it was banned by the League of Nations in 1922.

In cities like Baltimore, Maryland, where the history of lead paint coincides with a history of racially discriminatory housing policies, the ongoing epidemic of lead poisoning has had a lopsided effect on black communities and neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. The growing awareness of lead’s developmental impacts have created a harmful stigma for lead poisoning survivors, and a destructive financial industry has emerged to prey on those who have been awarded legal settlements.

Hiding in the Walls offers a look inside the unseen landscape of lead poisoning in America, re-contextualizing the issue as not merely a symptom but a root cause of many cyclical issues experienced by impoverished communities. It unwinds the fraught history of lead’s government-mandated use in low-income housing, how lead poisoning became an acceptable norm in urban America, and follows the adult survivors who are on a mission to reclaim the narrative.

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Our Story

Over 90 percent of the available lands in the Greater Chaco region of the Southwest have already been leased for oil and gas extraction. Our Story documents the ongoing Indigenous-led work to protect the remaining lands that are untouched by oil and gas, as well as the health and well being of communities surrounded by these extractive industries.
Diné and Pueblo people directly impacted by oil and gas extraction in the Greater Chaco region have been organizing for generations. But rarely is this story of extraction and land defense told from their perspectives. Over the course of three years, Navajo and Pueblo grassroots leaders collaborated to tell their stories about the struggle to protect their living cultural traditions, the public health of their communities, the climate, and the integrity of this landscape (including the World Heritage Site Chaco National Historical Park) from fracking.
Our Story emerges from a long-standing collaboration between local Diné leaders in the Greater Chaco region, Pueblo organizers, and a small team of community-engaged media makers to share the story of the Indigenous-led fight to protect this sacred landscape.
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Now Return Us to Normal

At 16-years-old, Leslie Koren was struck by severe clinical depression and seemingly overnight, transformed from a socially active and healthy teenager to someone who was unable to function. Overwhelmed and leery of institutional options, Koren’s parents sent her to Oakley School, an isolated free form boarding program for “problem youth” near Park City, Utah. While she went to Oakley voluntarily, most of her fellow classmates were there against their wishes.

Twelve years after graduating from Oakley, Koren experiences a post-traumatic attack as buried memories flood to the surface. Pressing ahead to alleviate her crippling PTSD and shame about her time at a behavior modification boarding school, she starts asking questions for which there most likely will be no answers, attempting to connect the dots of her disjointed memories. Speaking with her parents, former classmates, and school staff, who all have their own varied memories, she questions how such treatment of youth could be justified, let alone within a supposedly educational setting.

Reuniting with alumni for the first time in over a decade, Koren intends to piece together their perspectives and weave them into a tapestry that communicates the difficulty of assimilating this experience into their adult lives. Through this process, like many with PTSD, she wonders if she will ever be a reliable narrator of her own story and if not, how much does that matter?

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A New Color: The Art of Being Edythe Boone

A NEW COLOR joyfully profiles the life and work of celebrated artist Edythe Boone whose colorful murals portray some of the major events of our time and illustrate the transformative power of art. Long before Black Lives Matter became a rallying cry, septuagenarian Boone embodied that truth as an accomplished artist and educator. From humble Harlem roots, the indefatigable Boone pursued her love of art and her dream of someday creating a new color – “a color that no one had ever seen before.” Filmed over five years, A NEW COLOR illuminates how the passionate, heart-felt work of one resilient woman can reverberate throughout a community and inspire both art and a more powerful chorus for justice. 

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Easy Like Water

Easy Like Water profiles a resourceful quest to fight the effects of climate change in the 8th most populous nation in the world, Bangladesh, through the power of “design for good” – a growing global movement to encourage design-driven social change as a community-based response to the challenges brought on by the new climate reality. The film also provides an in depth look at the impact of climate change in Bangladesh, a country with 160 million people in an area the size of Iowa, where water poses a relentless and growing threat to millions of people.

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The Babushkas of Chernobyl

The Babushkas of Chernobyl journeys into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone several decades after the world’s worst nuclear disaster in April 1986. The tightly regulated 1000 square mile Dead Zone remains one of the most radioactively contaminated places on Earth, complete with military border guards. Surprisingly, a defiant, spirited group of elderly women scratches out an existence in this lethal landscape. The resilient babushkas are the last survivors of a small community who refused to leave their ancestral homes after the Chernobyl disaster. The film follows the women for over a year, capturing their unusual lives in the Dead Zone, as well as other extraordinary scenes — from radiation spikes just a few feet from the nuclear reactor, to a group of thrill-seekers called “Stalkers” who sneak into the Zone illegally to pursue post-apocalyptic video game-inspired fantasies.

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Bipolarized: Rethinking Mental Illness

Millions of Americans every year are diagnosed with a serious mental illness and prescribed drugs as the standard treatment. But are these diagnoses always correct? And are drugs the only or best way to treat their symptoms? Diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Ross McKenzie’s psychiatrist told him he would have to take lithium to control his symptoms for the rest of his life. But the daily dose of the drug felt like a chemical lobotomy to Ross, leaving him in a foggy haze. BIPOLARIZED follows Ross’ troubled personal journey, while telling a larger story about mental illness and conventional drug treatments. The film questions whether many people are incorrectly diagnosed, and challenges whether toxic psychotropic drugs are the only way to treat mental illness.

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The Wikipedia Promise

Can the world’s most widely accessed collection of information be trusted? And if not, is it possible to change it for the better? In 2001, Jimmy Wales created the first entry on Wikipedia: “Hello world”. 20 years later, Wikipedia contains more than 50 million articles with English Wikipedia alone getting more than 300 million clicks per day, and has the professed goal of being free, democratic, and neutral. But is it reliable as a source of factual record? As the largest encyclopedia of all time, The Wikipedia Promise looks at the inner life of the website and deals with issues of perspective, representation, and Western-centrism. The film thoroughly traces the origins of the platform as well as its rapid ascent among internet users, as well as the history of knowledge collections. Twenty years after its founding, has The Wikipedia Promise been kept? Is today’s Wikipedia conservative or radical? Is it an online re-launch of Eurocentric knowledge production or can it become a truly global project? 
To read more about this film, click here.

Lights of Baltimore

Lights of Baltimore illuminates the milieu in which Freddie Gray died, documenting the prolonged impact of his death on his city and his country, and examining the social, political, and historical contexts that gave rise to the events which ended his life. In 2015, an unarmed Black man named Freddie Gray died in police custody in Baltimore. The video of his arrest immediately circulated on social media and news networks, and the brutality displayed sparked a protest movement on the streets of Baltimore — variously referred to by different interests as “the uprising”, “the unrest”, or “the riots”. Governor Larry Hogan called in the National Guard and declared a state of emergency, and Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore State’s Attorney, charged six police officers in connection with Freddie Gray’s death. But in the end, despite sufficient evidence to justify an indictment, juries returned no guilty verdicts.
Over the past decades, new technologies have democratized citizens’ ability to record events on smartphones and upload to social media. But new tech has also facilitated mass surveillance through CCTV cameras in cities like Baltimore, and FBI drones deployed across the nation. A rich literature on race, policing, and social justice continues to pour forth. And yet deaths like Freddie Gray’s and George Floyd’s keep happening with alarming regularity, as the nation seeks to reckon with — or hide from — the legacy of racism and police brutality that continues to haunt our communities. With immersive detail and frank talk from community members, activists, academics, and police, Lights of Baltimore explores discriminatory social policies, implicit bias, and mass surveillance, while celebrating the resilience of the people who knew Gray and the determined activism of the communities in which he shared. Far from being an isolated incident, Freddy Gray’s murder was rooted in a long history of racialized policing in Baltimore and the U.S. This film documents that history and lends an ear to Baltimore citizens’ search for a new way forward.

Zero Position

An experiential journey through the war in Eastern Ukraine along the ideological borderland between East and West, Zero Position explores the intricate layers of hidden powers that shape the conflict before the 2022 Russian invasion. Introducing civilians and combatants on both sides, who are numbed and shattered by the ongoing conflict, the film explores stark realities and sheds light on a country with dueling identities, wherein loyalty to one ideology or the other can result in either survival or demise. 

Zero Position reveals the reality of desperation, institutional decay, personal trauma, and slave-like working conditions often hidden from the West by a patchwork of legacy Cold War controls related to state security and an inability for most journalists to report there and reach Western audiences.

Fighting Indians

Fighting Indians situates the debate over team mascots within the historical context of the indigenous subjugation in the United States going back to Columbus. In doing so, it offers a potent snapshot of the state of public discourse in post-Trump America.
The film lays out the historical abuses that indigenous populations have suffered in North America from Christopher Columbus to the trail of tears to forced boarding school attendance to the present day. Fighting Indians also contextualizes the larger national debate over Natives as sports mascots by presenting the cases made against the NFL’s Washington team and the MLB’s Cleveland team. And in showcasing impassioned school board meetings and documenting the fight as it spills out into social media, the documentary encapsulates the tenor of contemporary political and cultural discourse. Emphasizing the local bloody history of Skowhegan, Fighting Indians highlights the generational pain that is continually reignited by this ongoing debate.