A Burning Question

This fascinating and clarifying look at the debate surrounding global warming explores the striking disconnect between the relatively clear-cut concerns of the world's most prominent scientists and the maze of speculation, rhetorical posturing, and outright misinformation that attaches to this issue whenever it's taken up by politicians, PR specialists, and political pundits. Mixing a localized focus on Ireland with insights from scientists and leaders from around the world, the film serves as both a primer on climate science and a penetrating analysis of media framing and the science of perception management. An excellent resource for courses in science, environmental studies, global politics, and media.

Features commentary from former Irish president Mary Robinson, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, paleoclimatologist Jennifer McElwain, and a host of other prominent scientists and commentators.

Filmmaker Paula Kehoe Running Time 53 mins Production Year 2012 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Engaging and informative. Gets to the heart of the politics of climate change, examining the relationship between the science, the vested interests, the media, and the public. Essential viewing."

- Justin Lewis | Head of School, Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, Cardiff University


Pack of Lies

Pack of Lies reveals, with powerful insider information, the deception of tobacco industry claims that they do not seek to addict children to nicotine. It provides important analytical background from which to view the current debate. 

Jean Kilbourne is a nationally recognized researcher and lecturer on media, advertising, and health issues. Rick Pollay teaches advertising and marketing management at the University of British Columbia, and has been an expert witness in trials involving the tobacco industry. They team up to provide important insights on the power of advertising dollars to counter the influence of scientific research, to affect news coverage, and to put private profit ahead of public health. 

Filmmaker Sut Jhally Running Time 35 mins Production Year 1992 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Powerful, persuasive, informative and entertaining. An essential part of any tobacco education program."

- Dr. Black Cody | Chairperson, Massachusetts Coalition for a Healthy Future


#ReGENERATION: The Politics of Apathy & Activism

Ryan Gosling narrates this engrossing film about social activism, the forces that galvanized the Occupy movement, and how a new generation of young people is coming to terms with a rapidly changing world. The film skillfully weaves commentary from some of the country's leading political and social analysts with personal observations from a collective of young musicians, a tight-knit group of suburban high-school students, and a young conservative family, providing a nuanced look at the myriad challenges facing the next generation of Americans. The result is as personal as it is political, as much a portrait of the contemporary political scene as of a generation of young people finding their way in uncertain times.

Filmmaker Phillip Montgomery Running Time 80 mins Production Year 2012 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"A well-rounded documentary. Deconstruct[s] the way that people, and especially teens, absorb information from the media."
                
—Common Sense Media


Rich Media, Poor Democracy

If a key indicator of the health of a democracy is the state of its journalism, the United States is in deep trouble. In Rich Media, Poor Democracy, Robert McChesney lays the blame for this state of affairs squarely at the doors of the corporate boardrooms of big media, which far from delivering on their promises of more choice and more diversity, have organized a system characterized by a lack of competition, homogenization of opinion and formulaic programming. 

Through numerous examples, McChesney, and media scholar, Mark Crispin Miller, demonstrate how journalism has been compromised by the corporate bosses of conglomerates such as Disney, Sony, Viacom, News Corp, and AOL Time Warner to produce a system of news that is high on sensationalism and low on information. They suggest that unless citizen activism can reclaim the commons, this new corporate system will be characterized by a rich media and an ever impoverished, poor democracy.

Filmmakers Loretta Alper & Margo Robb Running Time 30 mins Production Year 2003 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"[Opens] up questions of ownership and conglomeration. Would serve as a solid introduction to any course on media criticism." 

—Michelle Stewart | Transformations


Peace, Propaganda & The Promised Land

This film provides a striking comparison of U.S. and international media coverage of the crisis in the Middle East, zeroing in on how structural distortions in U.S. coverage have reinforced false perceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This pivotal documentary exposes how the foreign policy interests of American political elites--oil, and a need to have a secure military base in the region, among others--work in combination with Israeli public relations strategies to exercise a powerful influence over how news from the region is reported. 

Through the voices of scholars, media critics, peace activists, religious figures, and Middle East experts, Peace, Propaganda & the Promised Land carefully analyzes and explains how--through the use of language, framing and context--the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza remains hidden in the news media, and Israeli colonization of the occupied terrorities appears to be a defensive move rather than an offensive one. The documentary also explores the ways that U.S. journalists, for reasons ranging from intimidation to a lack of thorough investigation, have become complicit in carrying out Israel's PR campaign. At its core, the documentary raises questions about the ethics and role of journalism, and the relationship between media and politics. 

Filmmakers Sut Jhally & Bathsheba Ratzkoff Running Time 80 mins Production Year 2003 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"While I have always understood that the war here is over words and images, as much as it is over land and bones there, the film really enlightened me about the complexity and profundity of this form of colonization of the mind...[it] will clearly be pivotal in this movement and a priceless educational tool."
                                
—Cecilie Surasky, Jewish Voice for Peace


War Made Easy (Based on the book by Norman Solomon and narrated by Sean Penn)

This film brings to the screen Norman Solomon's insightful analysis of the strategies used by administrations, both Democratic and Republican, to promote their agendas for war from Vietnam to Iraq. By familiarizing viewers with the techniques of war propaganda, War Made Easy encourages viewers to think critically about the messages put out by today's spin doctors - messages which are designed to promote and prolong a policy of militarism under the guise of the "war on terror." Based on the book by the same title. 

Filmmakers Loretta Alper & Jeremy Earp Running Time 72 mins Production Year 2007 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"A superb visual form of investigative journalism. It chillingly exposes government officials who have used deception to send our young men and women into the hell of war, and who have condemned innocent families in the Middle East to death. But more, it investigates journalism itself, documenting the collusion of the national media with the warmakers, and thus alerting us to the betrayal of democracy.”
                    
—Howard Zinn, Author, A People's History of the United States


Promised Land

Though apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994, economic injustices between blacks and whites remain unresolved. As revealed in Yoruba Richen’s incisive film, the most potentially explosive issue is land. The film follows two black communities as they struggle to reclaim land from white owners, some of whom who have lived there for generations. Amid rising tensions and wavering government policies, the land issue remains South Africa’s “ticking time bomb,” with far-reaching consequences for all sides. Promised Land captures multiple perspectives of citizens struggling to create just solutions. 

Filmmaker Yoruba Richen Running Time 57 mins Production Year 2010 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"Yoruba Richen began filming PROMISED LAND in 2004 and, thus, has captured longitudinally the (lack of) progress in land reform. The film will appeal to and educate high school, college, and general audiences. With tolerance and compassion, it focuses on the individual faces behind South Africa’s prolonged striving to become a moral society."

—David McDermott Hughes, Transition Magazine


The Overspent American

In this powerful new video, Juliet Schor scrutinizes what she calls "the new consumerism"--a national phenomenon of upscale spending that is shaped and reinforced by a commercially-driven media system. She argues that "keeping up with the Joneses" is no longer enough for middle and upper-middle class Americans, many of whom become burdened with debilitating debt as they seek to emulate materialistic TV lifestyles. 

Drawing on her academic research, Schor explains the cultural forces that cause Americans to work longer hours and spend more than they can afford in order to participate in a consumption competition with others. The video illustrates with numerous examples how more and more products are being used as social communicators to demonstrate material success. The Overspent American challenges the inevitability of the consumer lifestyle by proposing alternatives to the work and spend cycle that has so many Americans feeling trapped and unfulfilled. The video draws attention to--and ultimately raises serious questions about--the costs (both financial and societal) of relentlessly searching for happiness and identity through consumption. 

Filmmaker Sut Jhally, Loretta Alper Running Time 33 mins Production Year 2004 Language English with Spanish Subtitles

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"A careful and lively dissection of disturbing social trends. The video challenges viewers to rethink the meaning and value of consumption in a society dangerously dependent on overconsumption."

- Lawrence Glickman | Author, A Living Wage: American Workers and the Making of Consumer Society


Its's Not Just a Game: Power, Politics & American Sports

We've been told again and again that sports and politics don't mix, that games are just games and athletes should just "shut up and play." But according to Nation magazine sports editor Dave Zirin, this notion is just flat-out wrong. In Not Just a Game, the powerful new documentary based on his bestselling book The People's History of Sports in the United States, Zirin argues that far from providing merely escapist entertainment, American sports have long been at the center of some of the major political debates and struggles of our time. 

In a fascinating tour of the good, the bad, and the ugly of American sports culture, Zirin first traces how American sports have glamorized militarism, racism, sexism, and homophobia, then excavates a largely forgotten history of rebel athletes who stood up to power and fought for social justice beyond the field of play. The result is as deeply moving as it is exhilarating: nothing less than an alternative history of political struggle in the United States as seen through the games its people have played.  

Filmmakers Dave Zirin, Jeremy Earp & Chris Boulton Running Time 62 mins Production Year 2010 Language English

PRAISE FOR THE FILM

"By turns moving, maddening, touching, enlightening, hilarious, and sad. I can not think of a better way to teach my students about such a wide array of issues than having them watch this film."
    
—Ellen R. Hansen, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Social Sciences, Emporia State University