More than 120 countries have united to form the International Criminal Court (ICC)—the first permanent court created to prosecute perpetrators of crimes against genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The film follows ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo and his team for three years across four continents as he issues arrest warrants for Lord's Resistance Army leaders in Uganda; puts Congolese warlords on trial; shakes up the Colombian justice system; and charges Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir with genocide in Darfur.
When Gwen Bradshaw was just 10 months old her mother threw her into a campfire. She sustained severe burns to her face and body and had a 50 percent chance of survival. Twenty-four years later, Bradshaw—now a talented singer and songwriter—is still battling demons. This film follows Bradshaw's determined search for her mother, whom she doesn't remember. She wants her mother to know that she forgives her and loves her. Filmmaker Mary Katzke was there with her camera to capture many touching moments for Bradshaw, from meeting other burn victims and bonding with a half sister who also had been abandoned to, finally, finding her mother and speaking with her briefly before she departed again on a bus for parts unknown.
In New York City a corner store is commonly referred to as a bodega, and in many low-income neighborhoods this is the only place to buy groceries. With the guidance of teaching artist Jonathan Bogarin, students from New Settlement's Bronx Helpers set out to investigate where all the food in the bodegas comes from. The result is this playful and sweet film, a youth-produced documentary that makes complex issues accessible without dumbing them down. The young filmmakers interview bodega owners, potato chip distributors—even Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.)—to get a broad picture of the New York City food chain. They also question their own habits of eating junk food after school and lobby bodega owners to sell healthier alternatives.
This film documents a year in the life of four high-school students attending a public residential school in Austin, Texas. Their experiences of growing up, fitting in, and preparing for the future are all universal. Chas, a senior, has dreams of hip-hop stardom but life has been increasingly hard since he moved into his own apartment. Meagan, the class valedictorian, is nervous about the new challenges college will bring. Denise, a shy, self-conscious 15-year-old, dreams about her first kiss. And freshman Isaac doesn't easily adapt to his new school. But these kids face all the normal pressures of adolescence, plus one more: they are blind. The Texas School for the Blind granted the filmmakers full access.
Who's on the frontline of delivering health care to many in Los Angeles? Firefighters. Due to budget cuts, the Los Angeles Fire Department started requiring firefighters be trained as paramedics as well, and now 82 percent of the department's work is related to medical emergencies rather than fire. Filmmaker Julie Winokur documents the daily life of firefighters from one of L.A.'s busiest stations. She captures their patience and compassion as they respond to numerous medical calls—for everything from heart attacks to stomach aches—and captures the many hours spent waiting in the halls of hospital emergency rooms just to check patients in.
This film explores the dichotomy of a terminally ill person's right to die and the responsibility of society to preserve life. What started out as a look at Dr. Jack Kevorkian instead became a compelling and deeply personal exploration of four families and their terminally ill loved ones who were forced to confront death under very different circumstances. Through the use of home movies, photographs, personal letters, and media coverage, filmmaker Karen Cantor does an amazing job of painting vibrant portraits. Family and friends also share riveting personal stories about their loved ones and the complicated and emotional decisions that had to be considered.
When Joe Wilson and Dean Hamer got married, they announced their same-sex wedding in the local newspaper of Wilson’s conservative hometown, Oil City, Penn. Soon after, Wilson received a letter from Kathy Springer, a desperate mother whose gay teenage son was being brutally harassed in school. She did not know any other gay person from Oil City that she could turn to for help. A social activist and filmmaker, Wilson picked up his camera and documented his visit back home. In public parks and on city streets, in churches and schools, living rooms and government hearings, Wilson records interactions with those who have publicly denounced and denigrated the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender community. But he also uses the camera to illustrate how simple conversation can transform the lives of individuals, families, and communities.
Most news reports about the education system in America are about how our schools are failing our children. This film offers an optimistic solution for saving our school systems—loving and caring principals—and captures a year in the life of two Illinois principals who refuse to follow the status quo when dealing with a dizzying array of students, teachers, parents, school staff, and school district officials. It's only Tresa Dunbar's second year on the job at Nash Elementary, but if she and her staff don't significantly raise test scores by the end of the year, the school will be closed. Kerry Purcell has been principal of Harvard Park Elementary for six years and has seen tremendous improvement in test scores, behavior, and attendance during her tenure. But her school is still behind the average, and she faces the overwhelming challenge of raising reading and math scores from 65 percent to 95 percent.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are two of the top birth defects in the developing world. This Academy Award winner for best short documentary follows Pankaj, a social worker trained by the Smile Train Foundation, into the poorest regions of India, where she scours train stations, markets, and schools looking for children with cleft lip and palate. She soon meets Pinki, a shy five-year-old girl born with cleft lip. Pankaj then has to convince family members to take Pinki on the arduous journey to a hospital for the free, corrective surgery that will help her live a normal life.
Since September 11, 2001, authorities have arrested and detained over 1,200 people in connection with terrorism. But these detainees linger in a state of limbo, as the charges against them are rarely ever revealed and their whereabouts are often withheld. The first dramatic feature that has screened as part of the Council on Foundations Film and Video Festival, this film offers an intimate and troubling glimpse into the U.S. immigration detention system. Walter, a widowed college professor, returns to his long-unused pied-á-terre in New York City to find Tarek and his girlfriend, Zainab, living there. Walter reluctantly agrees to let them stay for a few additional nights, and a friendship is born. Then a subway turnstile misunderstanding gets Tarek arrested and sent to an immigrant detention center on the outskirts of the city. Walter becomes Tarek's only hope and, as he finds himself getting more deeply entrenched in the complicated world of immigration law, he learns his unconditional support is not enough to free his friend.
This is a documentary about the power of African art forms, including music and dance, to transform the lives of everyday people. It documents two cultural organizations that occupied the same building at different times—former occupant Ile Ife, the House of Love, founded by famed dancer/choreographer Arthur Hall; and the current tenants, The Village of Arts and Humanities, a multi-cultural arts organization.
This video documents the history of Greenbelt Knoll, Philadelphia's first planned integrated community. Through the recollections of lifelong residents, it captures the past and present character of Greenbelt Knoll and those who live there, revealing how the vision of developer and civil rights proponent Morris Milgrim continues to unfold from the neighborhood's 19 homes.
This is the story of a Philadelphia-based organization that teaches youths to repair and recycle old bikes while they improve their bike-riding skills. The video, intended for recruitment, has had the additional reward of boosting the self-esteem of the youth who made it, according to Neighborhood Bike Works Executive Director Andy Dyson.