Two of the 21st century’s most powerful social forces; Hip-Hop and geek culture collide head-on in the feature-length documentary, Nerdcore For Life. Born on the Internet, Nerdcore Hip-Hop is rap music made by geeks, for geeks and covers such traditionally nerdy topics as comic books, video games, sci-fi, anime and technology. This new and fascinating genre is founded on “Do It Yourself” ethics and most Nerdcore rappers create their music on home PCs and disseminate their work for free on the Internet. Though it has existed on-line for almost a decade, only recently has Nerdcore gone from being an Internet fad to an underground cultural phenomenon. Filmed over the course of two years, Nerdcore For Life profiles the top names in the genre as they celebrate “geek Life” and their passion for hip hop to the fullest, fight anti-nerd stereotypes, and attempt to overcome the common obstacles that block musicians of all types from fulfilling their dreams. The documentary follows these dedicated artists as they go from recording rhymes in their mother’s basement to performing live for thousands of cheering fans. From their first song to their first MTV appearance, Nerdcore For Life chronicles the amazing transformation of a group of unknown nerds into Internet celebrities and rising hip-hop stars.
There is a centuries-old seawall in the ancient port of Akka, located on Israel’s northern coast. Today, Akka is a modern city inhabited by Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Baha’i, but its history goes all the way back to rule of the Egyptian Pharaohs. Young people dare to stand atop the 40′ one-meter thick block structure and risk their fate by jumping into the roiling sea. This perilous tradition has continued for many generations, and has become a rite of passage for the children of Akka. “It’s Better to Jump” is about the ancient walled city of Akka as it undergoes harsh economic pressures and vast social change. The film focuses on the aspirations and concerns of the Palestinian inhabitants who call the Old City home.
Stolen Seas presents a chilling exploration of the Somali pirate phenomenon and forces you to rethink everything you thought you knew about pirates. It’s November 8th, 2008 and the CEC Future, a Danish-owned merchant ship, is on high alert. Sailing inside the pirate-infested swath of sea between Somalia and Yemen, the ship’s captain blinks hard at the radar screen where a light begins to flash. This is it, Nozhkin thinks, and he’s right. Machine guns sound on the boat’s hull and for two months this 13-man crew will be held at the mercy of Somali pirates, helpless as hostage negotiations threaten their lives and cameras capture every move.
The Silent World / Le monde du silence (1956) Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Louis Malle, Frédéric Dumas, Albert Falco, Documentary
Witness the birth of a new kind of documentary, as legendary diver, conservationist and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau takes you deep beneath the waves to explore a wealth of life that was previously hidden from view. As much of the technology for shooting film underwater was developed by Cousteau’s team, this was the first time such amazing sights could be captured on film. The result, a Technicolor 1950s masterpiece, succeeds both in revealing an untouched world of beauty, life and drama, as well as evoking a sense of adventure, freedom and boundless possibility. Set on board and below the good ship Calypso during an exploratory expedition, this feature-length documentary was co-directed by Cousteau and Louis Malle, whose first film this was (Cousteau selected Malle for this assignment immediately upon the latter’s graduation from film school). Highlights include a shark attack on the carcass of a whale, and the discovery of a wrecked, sunken vessel. A window into the world beneath the sea as well as the colourful and nostalgic world of the 1950s, The Silent World was the start of an entire movement, and is now available on DVD as a vital part of any collection. This classic film is one of few to have won both the Academy Award (Best Documentary Feature) as well as the Palme D’Or in 1956.
In their final year at Muncie’s Southside High School, a group of seniors hurtles toward maturity with a combination of joy, despair, and an aggravated sense of urgency. They are also learning a great deal about life, both in and out of school, and not what school officials think they are teaching.
Once Upon A Forest / Il était une forêt (2013) Luc Jacquet, Francis Hallé, Michel Papineschi, Documentary
From the creators of March of the Penguins and The Fox and the Child. Written and directed by Luc Jaquet, Once Upon a Forest invites the spectator into a never-before-seen world of natural wonder and staggering beauty. For the first time, we will be able to watch a rainforest growing before our eyes. Drawing on a vast fund of research and knowledge, Once Upon a Forest will lead viewers on a journey into the depths of the tropical jungle, into the very heart of life on earth. For years, Luc Jacquet has spellbound audiences worldwide with his intimate yet spectacular stories of the natural world. His encounter with pioneering botanist and ecologist Francis Hallé was to give birth to this extraordinary exploration of the prehistoric rainforests, the great green lungs of our planet. Once Upon a Forest offers this unique voyage into a completely untamed universe, a world of perfect balance in which each living thing – from the smallest to the largest – plays an essential role. The film will deliver a complete sensory immersion in the primeval splendour of one of nature’s richest mysteries, inviting the audience to enter, discover and marvel at a universe of untold treasures while joining its voice to the ever growing awareness of the need to preserve our world.
Pug, a wisecracking 13 year old living on a dangerous Westside block, has one goal in mind: to join The Twelve O’Clock Boys; the notorious urban dirt-bike gang of Baltimore. Converging from all parts of the inner city, they invade the streets and clash with police, who are forbidden to chase the bikes for fear of endangering the public. When Pug’s older brother dies suddenly, he looks to the pack for mentorship, spurred by their dangerous lifestyle. Pug’s story is coupled with unprecedented, action-packed coverage of the riders in their element. The film presents the pivotal years of change in a boy’s life growing up in one of the most dangerous and economically depressed cities in the US.
The True Glory (1945) Garson Kanin, Carol Reed, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Fallon, Robert Harris, Documentary, War
British filmmaker Carol Reed and American playwright Garson Kanin team up to direct the war documentary The True Glory. The movie was assembled from actual footage of the WWII allied invasion of Europe, captured by thousands of different camera operators. Starting with D-Day, the documentary covers the major battles all the way to the fall of Berlin, along with personal vignettes. The prologue is read by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, with Robert Harris and Peter Ustinov providing narration. The True Glory won an Academy award for Best Documentary in 1945.
Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004) Ken Burns, Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Documentary, Biography, Sport
The story of Jack Johnson is huge. The first black Heavyweight Champion of the World, 1908 to 1915, he was rowdy, smart, rebellious, and proud. He was also resilient in the face of unrelenting racism. And, as Stanley Crouch observes in Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, “There is nobody like Jack Johnson, because, first thing, when Jack Johnson was fighting, he could have been killed at any of his major fights. There were people out in the audience who were probably willing to murder him. He knew it, they knew it, everybody in the world knew it.”
Talented and world-famous as a young man, as well as essentially unbeatable, Johnson was champion when (official, as opposed to underground) boxing was a wholly white province, when the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Jack London, all editorialized as to natural orders, in which African Americans were humble and inferior, and Caucasians were honorable, strong, and always right. And yet, as courageous and frankly brilliant as Jack Johnson was, his story is frequently forgotten in the wake of more recent flashy sports and other celebrities.
One of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet. An inside look at the infamous $27 billion “Amazon Chernobyl” case, CRUDE is a real-life high stakes legal drama set against a backdrop of the environmental movement, global politics, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, the media, multinational corporate power, and rapidly-disappearing indigenous cultures. Presenting a complex situation from multiple viewpoints, the film examines a complicated situation from several angles while bringing a story of environmental peril and human suffering into focus.