Hiphopistan: Representing Locally in a Global City

This documentary film examines the impact of Hip-Hop culture on Istanbul youth and reveals how young Turkish rappers, DJs, break-dancers, and graffiti artists creatively blend popular influences with their local cultural values and traditions. In a world that is becoming increasingly exposed to global media, much has been debated as to whether or not societies and individuals can adopt influences from music, television, cinema, internet and fashion in a positive and constructive way without losing their own cultural identities and heritage. The dichotomy terms of “East” and “West” have unfortunately regularly coincided with “tradition” and “modernity” and “local” and “global” making it seem as though they are polarized opposites. 

While providing a glimpse into the lives of innovative youth in a predominantly Muslim and rapidly globalizing city, HIPHOPISTAN presents examples of how globalization can provide opportunities for creative changes rather than simply erasing local culture. Creative artists provide solutions that allow tradition and change to peacefully co-exist. By displaying how communities are created through the use of lyrics, beats, rhymes, dance, and graffiti art, HIPHOPISTAN emphasizes how the universality of music and expression blurs all cultural, ethnic, religious, and linguistic boundaries and barriers and thus raises awareness of the many similarities of youth culture worldwide. 

Filmmaker Cigdem Akbay Running Time 25 mins Production Year 2007 Language Turkish with English Subtitles


"Illustrates how hip hop and rap have entered Turkish culture and become distinctly Turkish - and spawned the same cultural debates in that country as in the United States. HIPHOPISTAN is a valuable short film that could be used profitably in introductory classes to illustrate modern global cultural processes, as well as in advanced courses in globalization and ethnomusicology. Students will appreciate the focus on a contemporary musical style that most enjoy and all recognize. Suitable for high school and college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of music/ethnomusicology, anthropology of globalization, and Turkish studies, as well as general audiences."
—Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database

Follow Your Heart: China's New Youth Movement

A revealing documentary on the work and life of successful and independent Chinese Hip-Hop artists and their cultural influence in a society rapidly changing from communism to consumerism. Clashing with both traditional Chinese values and new modern ones, these artists believe that Hip-Hop allows for the expression of freedom and being true to oneself. Furthermore, the film describes the high optimism and convictions of this new generation that will inherit a political and economic superpower.

Filmmaker Duncan Jepson Production Running Time 89 mins Production Year 2007 Language Mandarin/English with English Subtitles


"This documentary film looks at a graffiti artist and several independent Hip Hop artists who embrace a genuine meaning that they have found in the true tradition of these art forms. Intolerant of commercialization or stereotypical expectations, these artists seek to express their freedom, emotions, beliefs, and experiences with other Chinese youth through music, dance and graffiti... Generational differences and traditional values and culture are at odds with the lifestyle that these artists have chosen as evidenced by parental views, but there is also an understanding and appreciation for the freedom and opportunities that continue to open up to the young people of China along with concerns for their future and ability to transition to adult responsibilities. No one is quite sure where all of this is heading but they are full of hope and they are enjoying the ride... The young people are articulate and provided interesting perspectives and thought provoking opinions and attitudes about the new youth movement in China and questions about the future. This is a well done, energetic and colorful documentary that would provide students and teachers with many jumping off points for discussion on youth culture, consumerism, China, hip hop, and more."
—Karen Coronado, Educational Media Reviews Online

#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


"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


"[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


"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


"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


"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

Diamonds in the Rough: A Ugandan Hip Hop Revolution

From the ashes of four decades of war, AIDS and corruption in Uganda, The Bataka Squad artists, Babaluku and Saba Saba, rise to forge a revolutionary path using music. They are on a mission to empower the forgotten youth of Africa from within, while spreading their message of hope around the globe. Narrated by Spearhead singer Michael Franti, follow the Bataka movement to amplify the spirit of the next generation in this musical journey. 

Diamonds in the Rough offers a raw glimpse of urban Africa through the eyes of four emerging Hip Hop artists in the Ugandan capitol of Kampala. They teach us how to struggle with a smile, how to make the best of life against insufferable odds, how to create our own opportunities and flourish through positivity, presenting a refreshing contrast to the commercialized bling bling gangster rap here in America. These artists are the voice of the new generation, the heroes of their community and a group of active, enthusiastic and energetic young people more concerned with global change then how much change they have in their pockets.  

Filmmaker Brett Mazurek Running Time 53 mins Production Year 2009 Language Ugandan / US Subtitles


"Many forms of music, themselves with roots in many cultures, have diffused from the West to impact non-Western societies. Currently, some of the most powerful effects are coming from hip hop, which is the subject of the wonderful DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH, documenting the hip hop revolution in Uganda, the African continent, and the global community. This documentary is an important and appealing contribution to the discovery of the social power of music and of the arts more generally. Suitable for high school classes and college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of music, anthropology of development/community activism, and African studies, as well as for the general audiences.”    

—Jack David Eller, Anthropology Review Database

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


"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