Behind the Labels: Garment Workers on U.S. Saipan

Behind the Labels exposes the harsh conditions of the garment industry in Saipan, a U.S. territory in the Northern Mariana Islands of the Pacific. Although the island flies the American flag, it is not subject to U.S. immigration laws, and in 1976 was exempted from federal minimum wage regulations to attract business to the island. Chinese and Filipino women, attracted by the idea of working in "America," pay high recruitment fees to attain contracts to work in Saipan. The result is years of debt. Fees are sometimes as much as $2,000, while women only earn about $350 a year after room, board and fees are subtracted.
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Laotian boy with cluster bomb

During the Vietnam War the U.S. Air Force dropped an estimated 90 million cluster bombs in neighboring Laos. Often called "the secret war," the bombing took place without congressional approval and violated the Geneva Accords of 1962, which prohibited attacking Laos. Bombies tells the story of these attacks and their legacy.
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Books Not Bars

A sign for the “Books Not Bars” campaign

This short documentary focuses on the growth of the prison industrial complex in the U.S. through the eyes of the youth who are working to reverse the trend. The title refers to the claim that adolescents are four to five times more likely to go to prison than be educated. A great film for high school classroom use, Book Not Bars provides concrete examples of the positive results of activism.
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Calling the Ghosts: a Story About Rape, War and Women

Courtesy of Women Make Movies

Calling the Ghosts examines the devastating impact of the war in Bosnia on women through the stories of Jadranka Cigelj and Nasreta Sival. Both professional Muslim women living in the Bosnian town of Priejdor when Serbs seized power in 1992, they were taken to the Omarska Detention Camp. They describe the systematic rape that was used as a means of humiliation and annihilation. While the physical violations take place mostly at night, "mental rape" occured 24 hours a day.
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Every Mother's Son

Doris Busch Boskey (L), Kadiatou Diallo and Iris Baez (R), featured in Every Mother's Son, by Tami Gold and Kelly Anderson

This powerful documentary explores the involvement of the New York Police Department in the high profile slayings of three men, and the mothers working for their cases to be brought to justice. The circumstances surrounding the deaths of Anthony Baez, Amadou Diallo and Gideon Busch brought into question the conduct of police officers while on duty, and were hallmarks of a time in which many American cities adopted aggressive law enforcement strategies to fight crime.
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Going to School

Richard Martinez first included student to graduates seventh grade at his chool

Before congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975, millions of children received inadequate special education services, and at least one million children were prevented from attending public schools altogether. Going to School details the effort of the Los Angeles Unified School District to include students with disabilities in the curriculum and provide them with the same educational opportunities as other students.
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Justice and the Generals

General Eugenio Vides Casanova, General Jose Guillermo Garcia, and their lawyer Kurt Klaus entering court in 2000. Photo: La Prensa Graffica.

In December of 1980, the bodies of four American missionary women working in El Salvador were discovered in a crude grave. The women were working in this particularly volatile country at a time of enormous upheaval. Justice and the Generals chronicles the fight of Bill Ford, the brother of one of the victims, and other family members to bring those responsible for the murders to justice.
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Life and Debt

Life and Debt explores the effect of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) policies on developing countries through Jamaica's experience with the organization. In order to receive loans from the IMF, the country entered into a tricky agreement with its lenders. The terms of the loan stipulated that Jamaica had to agree to reduce trade barriers by withdrawing its local import restrictions, and thus enter the world market. The local economy became flooded with foreign goods, which were cheaper than those produced locally, resulting in a loss of jobs and economic self-reliance.
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Long Night's Journey into Day: South Africa's Search for Truth & Reconciliation

Cynthia Ngewu (one of the Guguletu 7 mothers) testifying at the TRC hearing. Photo: IRIS FILMS

From 1948 to 1994, South Africa was subject to a brutal system of racial classification and discrimination. When apartheid collapsed, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was formed to review amnesty applications by those who had been involved in crimes relating to the apartheid system, whether by trying to uphold it or bring it down. Long Night's Journey into Day focuses on four cases, revealing that the system that imposed racial separation was anything but clear-cut.
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Lost Boys of Sudan

Santino Majok Chuor looks for his name on the flight list posted in Kakuma Refugee camp. August, 2001. Photo: Jon Shenk

Lost Boys of Sudan is a feature-length documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America. Orphaned as young boys in one of Africa's cruelest civil wars, Peter Dut and Santino Chuor survived lion attacks and militia gunfire to reach a refugee camp in Kenya along with thousands of other children. From there, remarkably, they were chosen to come to America. Safe at last from physical danger and hunger, a world away from home, they find themselves confronted with the abundance and alienation of contemporary American suburbia.
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The 3rd Annual Media that Matters Film Festival DVD

Fifteen short films and new media pieces on globalization, criminal justice, civil liberties and other topics make up the third annual Media That Matters Film Festival DVD. These short films present vibrant personal stories that have the potential to greatly impact diverse communities.
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Yarko and Faraj. Photo: Meagan Shapiro

Through the stories of seven children living in diverse areas of Israel/Palestine, the filmmakers interweave the complex political and geographic history of this region of the Middle East. The film was shot between 1997-2000, a time of relative peace, but the statements and feelings of the children are perhaps more poignant in the light of the current situation.
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State of Denial

After Chipho has gone on treatment, she has gained weight and is back at school.

State of Denial chronicles the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, which has 4.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS - the largest such population in any one country worldwide. Through personal portrayals of people living with AIDS, and those fighting to curb the epidemic, this documentary effectively addresses a global problem that can only perilously be ignored.
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Well-Founded Fear

Asylum Officer Gerald. Photo: Michael Camerini

This documentary, produced for the PBS POV television series, provides a rare glimpse of the U.S. asylum granting process through the perspective of the Immigration and Naturalization (INS) asylum officers responsible for reviewing asylum applications. Well Founded Fear is a riveting documentary on U.S immigration policy, and will appeal to a wide audience due to the multiplicity of ethnicities, religions and nationalities that are represented by those seeking asylum.
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