2015 FINALISTS

DOCUMENTARY FEATURES

BORDERS_Still02

BORDERS
Director: Jacqueline van Vugt
2013 | Netherlands
87 min

Border by border, the film follows the route from Nigeria to The Netherlands, a route taken by many immigrants. The subsequent Borders are the protagonists; Nigeria-Niger-Burkina Faso-Mali-Senegal-Mauretania-Morocco-Spain-France-Belgium-The Netherlands. The Borders change; the people, the light, the colors, the temperature, the use of technical instrument, but the influence of power is always present.

CHICAGO GIRL AlaaComputerDay2-production still

#CHICAGOGIRL – THE SOCIAL NETWORK TAKES ON A DICTATOR
Director: Joe Piscatella
2013 | USA | Syria
74 min

From her childhood bedroom in the Chicago suburbs, an American teenage girl uses social media to coordinate the revolution in Syria. Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and camera phones, she helps her social network “on the ground” in Syria to show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator. But just because the world can see the violence doesn’t mean the world can help. As the revolution rages on, everyone in the network must decide what is the most effective way to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s.

FOOD CHAINS

FOOD CHAINS
Director: Sanjay Rawal
2014 | USA
82 mi

There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of the supermarket industry. The narrative of the film focuses on an intrepid and highly lauded group of tomato pickers from Southern Florida – the Coalition of Immokalee Workers or CIW – who are revolutionizing farm labor. Their story is one of hope and promise for the triumph of morality over corporate greed – to ensure a dignified life for farm workers and a more humane, transparent food chain.

I AM HAITI


I AM HAITI

Director: Raúl de la Fuente
2014 | Spain | Haiti
66 min

In Haiti, the ancestors say if something is foretold, it will happen no matter how, and nobody can change that. Artist Celeur is inspired by his Voodoo culture to create his sculptures, a reflection of the complex reality of the Caribbean country. The thoughts of the sculptor are framing the lives of Oriental, a waif youngster and Marah, who had to live by herself as a street kid in Port-au-Prince. This film is a portrait of Haiti, and a vindication of the African roots of the country

I AM KUBA

I AM KUBA
Director: Åse Svenheim Drivenes
2014 | Norway | Poland
55 min

When the family business goes bankrupt, Kuba (12) and Mikołaj’s (8) parents are forced to leave Poland to find work abroad. “I am Kuba” is a coming-of-age film about Kuba, who must take care of his little brother while his parents are away. As times goes by, Kuba becomes a teenager and rejects the big responsibility on his young shoulders. It is estimated that only in Poland, more than 100,000 children are left by parents who are forced to work abroad. “I am Kuba” is an intimate film about children growing up as ‘euro-orphans.’

JUST EAT IT


JUST EAT IT: A FOOD WASTE STORY

Director: Grant Baldwin
2014 | Canada
74 min

We all love food. So how could we be throwing nearly half of it in the trash? Filmmakers and food lovers, Jen and Grant, dive into the issue of food waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of the fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of edibles that are tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping and survive only on discarded food for 6 months. Examining our systemic obsession with expiry dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, “Just Eat It” is both deliciously entertaining and truly shocking.

MALA MALA


MALA MALA

Director: Dan Sickles
2014 | Puerto Rico
89 min

In a celebration of the trans community in Puerto Rico, the fissure between internal and external is an ever-present battle. A unique exploration of self-discovery and activism, featuring a diverse collection of subjects that include LGBTQ advocates, business owners, sex workers, and a boisterous group of drag performers who call themselves The Doll House, “Mala Mala” portrays a fight for personal and community acceptance paved with triumphant highs and devastating lows.

PAY 2 PLAY


PAY 2 PLAY: DEMOCRACY’S HIGH STAKES

Director: John Wellington Ennis
2014 | USA
89 min

Driven to make the world a better place for his newborn daughter, John Ennis looks for ways out of our system of pay-to-play politics. Along the way, he journeys through high drama on the Ohio campaign trail, uncovers the secret history of the game Monopoly, and explores the underworld of L.A. street art on a humorous odyssey that reveals how much of a difference one person can make. PAY 2 PLAY: Democracy’s High Stakes is a fun guidebook to returning the United States government to its People.

POVERTY INC


POVERTY, INC.

Director: Michael Matheson Miller
2014 | USA (shot in 20 countries)
90 min

The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry. Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change. Drawing from over 200 interviews filmed in 20 countries, “Poverty, Inc.” unearths an uncomfortable side of charity we can no longer ignore. From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?

SLINGSHOT


SLINGSHOT

Director: Paul Lazarus
2014 | USA | Ghana | Paraguay
93 min

SlingShot focuses on Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his work to solve the world’s water crisis. Kamen lives in a house with secret passages, a closet full of denim, and a helicopter garage. His latest passion: the SlingShot water purification system created to obliterate half of human illness on the planet. An eccentric genius, Kamen’s inventions help people in need and ease suffering. SlingShot is about an indomitable man who just might have enough innovative thinking to create a solution for a crisis affecting billions.

STARFISH THROWERS


THE STARFISH THROWERS

Director: Jesse Roesler
2014 | USA | India
83 min

Worlds apart, a five-star chef, a twelve year-old girl, and a retired school teacher discover how their individual efforts to feed the poor ignite a movement in the fight against hunger. This documentary tells tales of these remarkable individuals and the unexpected challenges they face. Despite being constantly reminded that hunger is far too big for one person to solve, they persevere and see their impact ripple further than their individual actions.

VESSEL


VESSEL

Director: Diana Whitten
2014 | USA | Netherlands
88 min

Rebecca Gomperts sails a ship around the world, providing abortions at sea for women with no legal alternative. Her idea begins as flawed spectacle, faced with governmental, religious, and military blockade. But with each setback comes a refined mission, until Rebecca realizes she can use technology to bypass law – and train women to give themselves abortions using WHO-researched pills. From there she creates an underground network of emboldened activists who trust women to handle abortion themselves. Vessel is Rebecca’s story: of a woman who hears and answers a calling, and transforms a wildly improbable idea into a global movement.

DAYANI CRISTAL


WHO IS DAYANI CRISTAL?

Director: Marc Silver
2013 | UK | Mexico
85 min

The body of an unidentified immigrant is found in the Arizona Desert. In an attempt to retrace his path and discover his story, director Marc Silver and Gael Garcia Bernal embed themselves among migrant travelers on their own mission to cross the border, providing rare insight into the human stories which are so often ignored in the immigration debate.

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS

A SACRIFICE


A SACRIFICE

Director: Theo Hessing
2013 | UK | India
25 min

Lhamo Kyab, a Tibetan nomad, escapes into exile in India, only to return secretly to Tibet on a symbolic journey to highlight his people’s suffering. Meanwhile, 130 Tibetans set themselves on fire inside Tibet. “A Sacrifice” considers the implications of the sacrifices being committed by Tibetans in the name of freedom.

BAREFOOT


BAREFOOT

Director: Mariana Rodriguez
2014 | USA | Mexico
40 min

Descalzos (Barefoot) is a documentary about a group of indigenous children from Mexico who have been gaining popularity because of their skills on the basketball court. The region that the children come from faces extreme poverty and political turmoil and the kids have found hope through their sport. They have a hunger to thrive and triumph, and they demonstrate this in the passion with which they play. The ‘barefoot champions’, as they have been called, participate in tournaments without shoes because they are so used to living and training without them. The film follows them on a journey from their remote village in Mexico to participate in their first international basketball tournament in Orlando, Florida.

CAN'T HIDE ME


CAN’T HIDE ME

Director: Madhuri Mohindar
2014 | India
26 min

Women and girls are often put down, silently, subtly. Bound by invisible chains in their homes, on the streets, in schools and public spaces. Always maintaining a low profile, always crushing their dreams. Is it possible for them to fight back? And what happens when they find the courage to do so? Parvati, Mallika and Heena haven’t met each other but they share more in common than you would think. For they are amongst those women who are taking extraordinary steps to reclaim the spaces that are rightfully theirs, fighting the often invisible barriers that keep women from freedom.

CAST IN INDIA


CAST IN INDIA

Director: Natasha Raheja
2014 | USA | India
26 min

Iconic and ubiquitous, thousands of manhole covers dot the streets of New York City. Enlivening the everyday objects around us, this short film is a glimpse of the working lives of the men behind the manhole covers in New York City.

FORCED


FORCED: CHILD LABOUR AND EXPLOITATION 

Director: Pep Bonet
2014 | Bangladesh | Spain
24 min

FORCED sets out to capture the complexity and prolific occurrence of child labour and exploitation in Bangladesh. This film takes you into the streets of Dhaka, where children form part of the visual landscape: an integrated part of the work force, they work because society accepts their fate and survival dictates their limited choices. In the underworld of the brothels, behind closed doors, girls share their testimonies of having to work as sex slaves, bought and sold by brokers, shamed by society, with no escape.

FROM GANGS TO GARDENS


FROM GANGS TO GARDENS

Director: JLove Calderon
2014 | USA
14 min

Organic gardener and vegan chef DJ CAVEM is an award-winning international recording artist and activist who uses Hip-Hop culture to inspire young people to connect to the earth by teaching them how to grow food, and cultivate healthy eating habits. Through his lyrics and gardens, DJ CAVEM is planting the seeds of the food movement extending from his hometown of Denver Colorado to across the globe.

FROM THE SAME SOIL


FROM THE SAME SOIL

Director: Nicky Newman
2014 | South Africa
28 min

The film portrays the lives of two gay men and one transgender woman who left their home countries because of discrimination and persecution. Now in South Africa, they applied for refugee status on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite the fact that in South Africa both national laws and international human rights laws protect lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals against any form of discrimination, Flavina, Mussa and Junior have encountered several challenges in their new communities. The film is an emotional, personal journey that shows how stigmatisation, persecution and violence have turned the protagonists into human rights activists.

NOISE RUNS


NOISE RUNS

Directors: Ashley Panzera and Kim Borba
2014 | Haiti | USA
18 min

In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, failed reconstruction has pushed social unrest to the breaking point. Protests erupt in the streets and armed UN soldiers stalk the angry crowds. But a group of young Haitians, driven by their passion for a new Haiti, is sparking social change. To democratize information and offer hope to the population, they produce a radical newspaper, Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye (Noise Travels, News Spreads).

NOT ANYMORE_A STORY OF REVOLUTION


NOT ANYMORE: A STORY OF REVOLUTION

Director: Matthew VanDyke
2013 | USA | Syria
14 min

The story of the Syrian revolution as told through the experiences of two young Syrians, a male rebel fighter and a female journalist, as they fight an oppressive regime for the freedom of their people.

SILENT RIVER


SILENT RIVER

Directors: Jason Jaacks and Steve Fisher
2014 | Mexico
25 min

The Santiago River flows along the outskirts of Guadalajara, Mexico. For forty years, waste from one of Mexico’s largest manufacturing corridors has been dumped into the Santiago. 80% of the companies in the corridor – brands like IBM, HP, Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Honda and Nestlé – are American and Japanese. The river has been transformed into a sewer with over 1000 known chemicals, including dangerously high levels of arsenic, chrome and lead. Silent River follows a young woman and her family as they defy death threats to try and save the one of the most polluted rivers in Mexico.

IMPACT VIDEOS

SOLAR TURTLE


CLIMATE SOLVER 2014 – SOLAR TURTLE

Directors: Yvette and Michael Lambrecht
2014 | South Africa
3 min

A SolarTurtle is a small or micro for-profit business operating close or inside a poor or rural community to provide the same services as a standard utility provider. Unlike standard utilities, SolarTurtles rely on renewable energy (RE) to generate the electricity sold to their customers. The Solar Turtle was one of the 2014 Climate Solver South Africa winners. This video was commissioned by WWF South Africa and produced by Substance Films.

EnemiesToAllies-Amina-03


ENEMIES TO ALLIES

Director: Julie Winokur
2014 | USA | Kenya
14 min

Sometimes, innovative solutions to social challenges are born in the most unlikely places. In Kisumu, Kenya, a surprising approach to HIV prevention relies on building bonds between two unlikely groups: police officers and sex workers. In Kisumu, extortion and abuse were commonplace, and sex workers’ rights were violated. This resulted in sex workers not receiving essential health services and police officers contributing to the spread of HIV. Through a novel approach, a local NGO called Keeping Alive Societies’ Hope (KASH) has fought to reverse that trend by building relationships between these former adversaries.

gold_of_agriculture_still1


GOLD OF AGRICULTURE

Directors: David Aguacheiro and Tina Krüger
2013 | Mozambique
15 min

Gold of Agriculture is a documentary shot in the suburbs of Mozambique´s capital city, Maputo. In the film, several beneficiaries of WaterAid´s project, Kubabasisa Muganga, share their experiences. Covering all aspects of these experiences, the film starts off with stories of how they first perceived the project up until the implementation of the gold on their farms. We follow stories that tell us about challenges, but above all, about the huge advantages the project brought to the farmers in the suburbs of Luis Cabral, Inhagoia A, Inhagoia B and Costa do Sol.

HANYS STORY


HANY’S STORY

Director: Zahra Mackaoui
2014 | Lebanon | Switzerland
3 min

Hany is a 20-year-old Syrian refugee from Homs who lives with his family in a small-tented settlement in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon. Back in Syria, Hany was at university studying to be a communications engineer, but he was unable to complete his studies. In Lebanon, he doesn’t have the fees to study, a painful realization for a boy who loves to learn. Hany taught himself English by listening to music and watching films.

YOUR STORY OUR STORY


OUR STORY YOUR STORY

Director: Yvette Lambrecht
2014 | South Africa
6 min

Clowns Without Borders South Africa (www.cwbsa.org) presents OUR STORY YOUR STORY – an intergenerational project connecting elders and youth through autobiographical storytelling. Storytelling has immense power to build connections between individuals, between generations, and between the past and the future. OUR STORY YOUR STORY engages participants in an interactive storytelling workshop process. Seniors and youth are guided to identify personal narratives from their lives, craft them into stories, and share them with each other. It provides healing from trauma, safe activities for at-risk youth, and a sense of common humanity.

PERMACULT Josephs Mother copy


PERMANENT CULTURE

Director: Levi Stroud
2014 | Kenya
9 min

Permanent Culture documents the journey of Joseph, a man who once worked in exploitative sugarcane fields but then found work at Palos Farm. At this permaculture farm, Joseph has not only found more fulfilling work, but also acquired leadership and ecological knowledge that allows him to now be a pillar of support for his family and community. Through his journey, the film explores the benefits of sustainable farming for both the environment and workers.

ScalingTheMountain-Parenting


SCALING THE MOUNTAIN: PROTECTING FORESTS FOR FAMILIES IN NEPAL

Director: Michael T. Miller
2014 | Nepal | USA
10 min

In the foothills of Nepal, extreme deforestation has pushed many rural communities onto marginal lands. In “Scaling the Mountain,” villagers in Jogimara and Naubise find that combining conservation efforts with reproductive health services helps them support their families and their communities more sustainably.

SECOND CYCLES


SECOND CYCLES

Director: Gwendolyn Hamilton
2013 | Nicaragua
9 min

Bicimaximo is a social enterprise with a heart of a non-profit organization. With a passion for bicycles, Baker Nicholaou – the director and co-founder of Bicicmaximo – traveled from the United States to Nicaragua to open up a business in hopes of providing better quality bikes while training locals as bike mechanics in order to provide sustainable jobs for people in need. This documentary film takes a look at what is the ultimate goal of this social enterprise and how it could significantly impact the residents of Granada. Explore the potential impact this program could have through one man’s personal journey, a man who understands what it takes to rebuild one’s life. “Second Cycles” gives us a glimpse into what a second chance can mean to a person in need.

SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP


SUPPORTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP THROUGH THE YOUTH TO YOUTH FUND IN KENYA

Director: Tim Mwaura
2014 | Kenya
12 min

The Youth to Youth Fund (Y2YF) component of the International Labor Organization- Youth Entrepreneurship Facility (ILO-YEF) gives youth a voice to design and implement innovative solutions to employment challenges. It is a competitive grant scheme, which offers local youth-led organizations the most innovative project ideas a grant and complementary capacity building to help them implement their projects and test the viability of their ideas. In Kenya, the Y2YF is implemented by the ILO and an in-country partner organization, Ustadi Foundation. It has thus far provided support to 39 grantee organizations and a collective 2,058 beneficiaries across Kenya.

Africa's Silicon Valley-1


THE SILICON VALLEY OF AFRICA

Director: Alex Stapleton
2014 | Rwanda | USA
25 min

Rwanda experienced a violent civil war between its two main ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi, that killed around 1 million citizens in 1994. Militant Hutu left the country in a state of poverty after using machetes to maim, rape, and murder civilians. Twenty years later, survivors of the genocide are using technology to improve life in Rwanda. TakePart World producer, Alex Stapleton, visited open-innovation space K-Lab, which offers free education and an environment in which citizens can share tech ideas. Alex traveled with Aphrodice Mutangana, creator of Incike, to meet Stephanie, a woman who lost her entire family and home in the genocide. Thanks to the Incike app, Stephanie now has a house with a kitchen and access to essentials such as food and clothing.

UNDERMINED


UNDERMINED: AN EPIDEMIC IN SOUTH AFRICA’S GOLD MINES

Director: Mo Scarpelli
2014 | South Africa | USA
9 min

There’s a crisis underground. From the mines of Southern Africa, a river of one of humanity’s oldest diseases is flowing out across the world. Mine workers in sub-Saharan Africa have the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world, with more than 760,000 new cases per year connected to the mining industry. UNDERMINED explores how TB affects the world and the economy, but most importantly, the humans who bear the burden of the disease first-hand.

VitalVoices_ManalYaishZraiq_2


VITAL VOICES: MANAL YAISH ZRAIQ

Director: Aaron Kisner
2013 | Palestine
3 min

Manal Yaish Zraiq wears many hats: businesswoman, manager, mentor, networker, and key force in one of the world’s most intriguing real estate developments. Manal is a key figure in the Rawabi project, the first planned city in Palestine and the largest private sector undertaking in Palestinian history. Here, she illuminates the importance of Rawabi and her mission as a Palestinian woman.

TEP VANNY NEW STILL


VITAL VOICES: TEP VANNY

Director: Aaron Kisner
2013 | Cambodia
3 min

Anyone who has worked in a developing country in the last decade will have heard a similar story. Developers seize a valuable piece of land, throw the existing community out, and after protests ebb away, a new development arises: apartments, a mall, restaurants and stores for the newly wealthy. The people of Boeung Kak Lake, Cambodia have tried to rewrite the script. With Tep Vanny, a dedicated and energetic young woman as one of their spokespeople, they challenged the developer and the Cambodian government, and they have refused to go quietly.

Wolf Dog Workshop Still 1 copy


WOLF DOG WORKSHOP

Directors: Bernadine Santistevan and Hamid Shams
2014 | USA
7 min

This film highlights the social impact that the Wolf Dog Workshop educational curriculum – through its innovative use of storytelling and media, such as animation, film, music, and art – is having among at-risk elementary students across the U.S, bringing them hope while connecting them to themselves, their communities and the environment.