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Five Must See Docs for Earth Day

Over the past 27 years, we’ve been proud to feature many award-winning documentaries and thought-provoking discussions on urgent environmental issues. This year we’re marking Earth Day with a look back at five documentaries we’ve screened to audiences in Ottawa within the last decade. Check them out, learn more, get inspired, and take action on the issues they bring to light. Many of the films’ website provide avenues to raise your awareness and get involved.

Happy Earth Day!

Vanishing of the Bees
Screened at the 2010 One World Film Festival
Directed by George Langworthy & Maryam Henein | U.K./U.S. | 2009 | 86 min
Honeybees have been mysteriously disappearing across the planet, literally vanishing from their hives. Known as Colony Collapse Disorder, this phenomenon has brought beekeepers to crisis in an industry responsible for producing crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables. Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as the two friends plead their case on Capitol Hill and travel across the Pacific Ocean in the quest to protect their honeybees. Filming across the US, in Europe, Australia and Asia, this documentary examines the alarming disappearance of honeybees and the greater meaning it holds about the relationship between mankind and mother earth.

Vanishing of the Bees – Trailer from Bee The Change on Vimeo.
Available on Netflix, iTunes, Google Play.

Bhopali
Screened at the 2011 One World Film Festival
Directed by Max Carlson| U.S. | 2011 | 89 min
Bhopali documents the experience of second generation children affected by the Union Carbide gas disaster of 1984, the worst industrial disaster in history, and subsequent contamination of groundwater by Union Carbide Corporation (an American company now owned by Dow Chemical, the second largest chemical company in the world). It follows several children as they and their families cope with the ongoing medical and social disaster, as well as their memories of that traumatizing night that shocked the world and changed Bhopal forever. Set against the backdrop of vehement protests for the 25th anniversary of the disaster, the Bhopalis continue to fight for justice, proving to be anything but victims.

Available on iTunes.

Silence is Gold
Screened at the 2013 One World Film Festival
Directed by Julien Fréchette | Canada | 2012 | 78 min
Silence is Gold chronicles the complex legal proceedings that followed the 2008 publication of Alain Deneault’s Noir Canada, an exposé of the troubling practices of Canadian mining companies in Africa. Presented in this film that is as much a political thriller as it is a documentary is a story of political intrigue when two of these companies sue Deneault and his publisher for defamation, leading to years of legal and psychological tension.

Silence Is Gold by Julien Fréchette, National Film Board of Canada Available on the NFB.

Above All Else
Screened at the 2014 One World Film Festival
Directed by John Fiege | U.S. | 2014 | 95 min
Above All Else is an intimate portrait of a group of landowners and activists in East Texas who tried to stop construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a $7 billion dollar project slated to carry tar sands oil from Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast. They risk financial ruin, personal safety, and the security of their families as they attempt to protect their land and defend their rights. The film is both an exploration of the human spirit and a window into how social change happens in America.

ABOVE ALL ELSE Trailer from John Fiege on Vimeo.
Available on iTunes, Google Play.

Virunga
Screened at the 2014 One World Film Festival
Directed by Orlando von Eisiedel | U.K. | 2014 | 90 min
Africa’s oldest national park, Virunga is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the last natural habitat for the endangered mountain gorilla. None of that will stop the business interests and rebel insurgencies lurking at the park’s doorstep. Orlando von Einsiedel pairs gorgeous natural scenes from Virunga with riveting footage of the Congolese crisis, raising an ardent call for conservation as a vital human enterprise. Along the way, he spotlights the incredibly dangerous work that is often required to safeguard the environment.

Virunga – Official Trailer 2014 from Grain Media on Vimeo.
Available on Netflix.