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Ten Documentaries That Suggest New Year's Resolutions

A List of Issue Oriented Documentaries That Encourage Activism

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In issue oriented documentaries, when the movie is over, the issue continues and can continue for years. Most documentary filmmakers and distributors encourage their audiences to become involved in helping to resolve the issued illuminated in their films. If you find a film's subject -- and issue -- compelling, join the community that's trying to do something about it. You'll find information on the film's Website. Here's a list of films that may move you to take action, and make New Year's resolutions to help make a difference.

A Walk To Beautiful (2008)

Engel Entertainment
In Ethiopia and other nations in Africa and elsewhere around the globe, young women face social ostracism and physical misery because they suffer from obstetric fistula, a medical condition that often occurs in women whose bodies are too small and underdeveloped--due to their young age or malnutrition--for them to be able to successfully deliver a healthy child. The film follows five women who seek the aid of volunteer doctors who run a free clinic to provide relatively easy medical procedures that can cure them. You can help by raising funds for the clinic, and raising awareness about the situation and the social ills that cause it.

The Cove (2009)

Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions
Flaunting humantarian concerns about animal welfare and the international laws prohibiting the killing of whales, a small band of local fisherman in Taiji, Japan, entrap and slaughter thousands of dolphins every year. Filmmaker Louie Psihoyos and activist Richrd O'Barry go undercover, risking arrest or worse, to expose the inhumane and illegal behavior of the aggressive band who are determined to keep their whaling industry afloat. The scenes of slaughter are hard to watch, and will certainly convince you to take action against the killing.

Crude (2009)

First Run Features
As a result of oil extraction, the tribal people of the Amazon rain forest have been left without fresh water and have been exposed to toxic wastes that are killing them. Director Joe Berlinger follows the lawsuit that activists have filed to seek remediation of the land and compensation for the people who've suffered the consequences of oil greed. Check the Website to see what you can do to help.

Disarm. (2009)

IndiePix
This in depth study and status report about landmine and their devastating effect on innocent people long after wars have ended will convince you to become active in the efforts to totally ban the manufacture, trade, stockpiling and deployment of all landmines, and the removal and destruction of all landmines that are still buried in fields and forests around the globe.

FLOW: For Love of Water (2008)

Oscilloscope Pictures
We're facing a global crisis as Earth's fresh water supply constantly diminishes. The film presents top experts and advocates to show us that every aspect of human life is effected by pollution, wastefulness, privatization and corporate greed as it relates to a natural resource that's more valuable than oil. The film shows in no uncertain terms that if we continue to abuse our water supply, our planet will become uninhabitable and humankind will become extinct. Find out who the worst culprits are, and take a stand against them.

Food, Inc. (2009)

Participant Media
Food, Inc. exposes the way food is produced and distributed in the United States. Interviewing investigators, journalists and farmers, filmmaker Robert Kenner shows how almost everything we eat is produced and distributed by a very few huge multinational corporations, such as Monsanto and Tyson, and that quality of nutrition is secondary to production cost and corporate profits. This film will make you want to explore alternative sources of nutrition -- such as organic farming and home growing, where that's possible.

Pressure Cooker (2008)

Participant Media
In Pressure Cooker, Wilma Stephenson, the tough-minded and tender-hearted culinary arts teacher at inner city Philadelphia's Frankford High School, stirs students to strive to better their lives. The film shows how inspiring (and demanding) teachers can make a difference in students' habits and the choices they make, and can lead them to successful, productive careers. Similar programs can be started in other schools, and you can help to make it happen.

Under Our Skin (2008)

Open Door Productions
This gripping documentary primer about Lyme disease will inform you about how widespread and underdiagnosed this devastating bacterial affliction is throughout America, and how difficult it is to find effective treatment. Under Our Skin will encourage you to help fight the disease by raising public awareness about it and raising funds for medical research, hopefully leading to a cure.

We Are Together (2006)

We Are Together introduces us to South African children who've lost their parents to HIV and whose home, the Agape Orphanage in Natal, burns down. With the inspiring guidance of their guardians, especially their school's choirmaster, they sing their way to success, eventually coming to the US for a concert that enables them to raise money to rebuild their home. The orphange still struggles to provide lodging, food, clothing and an education for the many orphans in need. Hear these children sing, feel their spirit, and you will resolve to help them.

Which Way Home (2009)

Rebecca Cammisa's documentary follows undocumented Latin American children who journey to America and brave the US immigration system as they try to reunite with their parents or find work to support their impoverished families back home in Honduras and other countries south of the border. It's impossible not to be moved by these children and want find ways to change their living conditions and to contribute to their support.

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