Society, War: FOR SAMA is an intimate feature documentary that takes the form of a letter from Waad al-Kateab, a 26-year-old Syrian mother, to her daughter Sama recorded in the last days of the battle for Aleppo, Syria. Waad lives with Sama’s father, a doctor in the last surviving hospital in rebel-held Aleppo. Surrounded on all sides, bombarded daily by the Syrian regime and Russian air force, Waad fears they may be killed at any moment. So she crafts a filmed message to her one-year old daughter to explain who her parents were, what they were fighting for and why Sama came into this world – a record for the young girl in case they don’t survive. Waad’s story begins in 2012 when she was a student studying marketing at Aleppo University. Protests against the brutal dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad reach the university and Waad is one of the first to join. Her camera captures the joy and optimism of those early days. She meets a young medic in the protests called Hamza and with a group of friends they continue to demand freedom even as the regime resorts to greater and greater violence to crush them, eventually engulfing the city in full-blown war. They lose friends and narrowly escape death themselves at the hand of snipers, airstrikes and barrel bombs, scenes all captured on camera. Then, in the midst of the storm, Hamza proposes marriage. They marry, move into their first home and before long Waad is pregnant, scenes recognisable to any young couple anywhere in the world. The difference is their honeymoon plays out against an increasingly apocalyptic war. When the Russians intervene to save the regime in September 2015, they unleash ferocious violence against the rebels. Yet despite their fear, Waad and Hamza decide not to flee the city as so many have done, but to stay and continue the fight for freedom. She realises that the struggle is no longer only for them, it’s for the future of her daughter. Sama is born on the 1st January 2016, a small ray of hope in the chaos. Sama’s first year of life will see the last year of the battle for the city, a time of almost unimaginable darkness. The regime and its allies resort to every imaginable atrocity to crush the rebels. Hamza’s hospital is bombed. They are besieged and witness attacks by chlorine gas, cluster and barrel bombs, massacres of women and children. Yet amid it all, Waad and Hamza have the joy of parenthood, witnessing the first weeks of their baby daughter’s life, full of fun and laughter. She gives them the strength to endure and inspiration to all of the last band of rebels. Eventually, they are overwhelmed and forced into exile. In the exodus, the family pack their things and with tears in their eyes, bid farewell to the shattered city, the place where their dream of freedom was born and where it died. Yet they carry their daughter with them, an eternal symbol of the love and hope that the violence of tyrants cannot destroy.
Documentary, History, War: Heroism. Horror. World War I’s brutal trenches and terrible new technologies buried romantic notions of combat forever.
Comedy, Documentary, War: With no military experience, knowledge or expertise, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock sets off to do what the CIA, FBI and countless bounty hunters have failed to do: find the world's most wanted man. Why take on such a seemingly impossible mission? Simple--he wants to make the world safe for his soon to be born child. But, before he finds Osama bin Laden, he first needs to learn where he came from, what makes him tick, and most importantly, what exactly created bin Laden to begin with. Following bin Laden's trail through some of the most dangerous places in the world, Spurlock encounters both the rational and the radical faces of the Middle East. He interviews many people who embrace him on the streets and welcome him into their homes, often gaining impressions that sharply contrast with the conventional media images of the region. Spurlock finds they're not that different from American families, sharing the same hopes and fears for their children that he has for his own.
Action, Documentary, History: From his embed with US Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan, photojournalist and filmmaker Danfung Dennis reveals the devastating impact a Taliban machine-gun bullet has on the life of 25-year-old Sergeant Nathan Harris. The film seamlessly transitions from stunning war reportage to an intimate, visceral portrait of one man's personal struggle at home in North Carolina, where Harris confronts the physical and emotional difficulties of re-adjusting to civilian life with the love and support of his wife, Ashley. Masterfully contrasting the intensity of the frontline with the unsettling normalcy of home, HELL AND BACK AGAIN lays bare the true cost of war.
Documentary, History, War: ”The Network” connects both past and present – bouldering, sport, and competition climbing – and this cutting-edge film tangles the viewer inside the spider web of connections that makes up the world of the professional rock climber.
Documentary, War: Oscar nominee Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”) delivers an unflinching story of the Syrian war with his powerful new documentary, The Cave. For besieged civilians, hope and safety lie underground inside the subterranean hospital known as the Cave, where pediatrician and managing physician Dr. Amani Ballour and her colleagues Samaher and Dr. Alaa have claimed their right to work as equals alongside their male counterparts, doing their jobs in a way that would be unthinkable in the oppressively patriarchal culture that exists above. Following the women as they contend with daily bombardments, chronic supply shortages and the ever-present threat of chemical attacks, The Cave paints a stirring portrait of courage, resilience and female solidarity.
Crime, Documentary, Drama: Investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill stumbles upon a U.S. night raid gone badly wrong in a remote corner of Afghanistan. An Afghani witness swears he saw American soldiers digging bullets out of the dead women and Scahill's investigation leads him to the secret maneuvers of the shadowy and powerful Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Our reporter is pulled into a world of covert operations unknown to the public and carried out across the globe by men who do not exist on paper and will never appear before Congress. In military jargon, JSOC teams "find, fix, and finish" their targets, who are selected through a secret process. No target is off limits for Obama's "kill list," including U.S. citizens. From Afghanistan to Yemen and Somalia, as well as back home in New York where he tries to piece the puzzle together, Scahill meets with CIA agents, Special Forces operators, military generals and U.S.-backed warlords who go on camera and on the record-some for the first time. He tracks down the survivors of night raids and drone strikes, including the family of the first American citizen marked for death and being hunted by his own government. With a strong cinematic style and thriller structure, Dirty Wars takes viewers to remote corners of the globe to see first-hand wars fought in their name and offers a behind-the-scenes look at a high-stakes investigation. Dirty Wars is also a book by Jeremy Scahill on the same topic, exhaustively researched and footnoted and available on request.
Documentary, War: Restrepo is a feature-length documentary that chronicles the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley. The movie focuses on a remote 15-man outpost, "Restrepo," named after a platoon medic who was killed in action. It was considered one of the most dangerous postings in the U.S. military. This is an entirely experiential film: the cameras never leave the valley; there are no interviews with generals or diplomats. The only goal is to make viewers feel as if they have just been through a 90- minute deployment. This is war, full stop. The conclusions are up to you.
Documentary, History, War: Ghosts of Abu Ghraib is a 2007 documentary film, directed by Rory Kennedy, that examines the events of the 2004 Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. The film premiered January 19, 2007 at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. The film aired on HBO on February 22, 2007. It was also shown at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival on March 23, 2007 and at the Cleveland International Film Festival on March 25, 2007. Working Films coordinated the US national community engagement campaign with Ghosts of Abu Ghraib. It brought together the National Religious Campaign Against Torture, the American Civil Liberties Union, faith groups, and others to end US policy sanctioning torture.
Biography, Documentary, History: My Father's Vietnam personifies the connections made and unmade by the Vietnam War. Featuring never-before-seen photographs and 8mm footage of the era, My Father's Vietnam is the story of three soldiers, only one of whom returned home alive.
Documentary, War: City of Ghosts follows the journey of “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” - a handful of anonymous activists who banded together after their homeland was taken over by ISIS in 2014.
Documentary, War: This documentary evokes the destruction of the Nazi war machine with a particular emphasis on air power. The most significant events are recounted as the Normandy landings, the battle of Paris, the last German offensive with the historical siege of Bastogne and the landing on the island of Elba. Also shown are the bombing of German industrial centers, and the liberation of concentration camps.
Biography, Documentary, History: Academy Award®-winner for Best Documentary Feature, THE FOG OF WAR is the story of America as seen through the eyes of the former Secretary of Defense, under President Kennedy and President Johnson, Robert S. McNamara. McNamara was one of the most controversial and influential political figures of the 20th century. Now - for the first time ever - he sits down one on one with award-winning director Errol Morris (The Thin Blue Line) to offer a candid and intimate journey through some of the most seminal events in contemporary American history. As leader of the world's most powerful military force during this nation's most volatile period in recent years, McNamara offers new and often surprising insights into the 1945 bombing of Tokyo, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the effects of the Vietnam War. Featuring newly released Oval Office recorded conversations with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, THE FOG OF WAR received critical acclaim for its up-close and personal insider perspective. See the film that Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times) hailed as "a masterpiece!"
News, War: Seen through the lens of filmmaker Brian Oakes, Foley's close childhood friend, Jim takes us from small-town New England to the adrenaline-fueled front lines of Libya and Syria, where Foley pushed the limits of danger to report on the plight of civilians impacted by war. On Thanksgiving Day 2012, Jim Foley was kidnapped in Syria and went missing for two years. Thrown into a world of false leads and misinformation, the Foley family was threatened with prosecution by the U.S. government if they paid a ransom. In Oakes' gut-wrenching film, Foley's family, friends and fellow journalists tell Jim's story, while his fellow hostages reveal the details of captivity with chilling immediacy. Brilliantly constructed with unparalleled access, Jim: The James Foley Story is a harrowing chronicle of bravery, compassion and pain at the dawn of World War ISIS. 2016 Kunhardt Films, Dogwoof.
Documentary, History, War: More than a decade after the turbulent disintegration of the Yugoslavian Republic, its former citizens are beginning to question not only the reasons behind the bloody conflicts of the 1990s, but also the true motives behind US and NATO intervention during the civil wars. Seeing an opportunity in the death of Yugoslavian political hero Josip Tito in 1980, the US embarked upon a sustained program of ‘predatory capitalism’ in the region. By first bankrupting the country, and then inciting its composite republics to declare independence in exchange for wads of US cash, the fervent nationalism and ethnic cleansing that ensued were inevitable. However, in the years leading up to the 1990, such inter-ethnic hatred was almost unheard of. In previously unseen footage, Serbian and Muslim neighbours who lived alongside each other harmoniously for years are forced to part ways as new US-implemented divisions of Bosnia take effect. Indeed, the sustained dismantling of Yugoslavian society in conjunction with the destruction of its infrastructure ensured that, when peace was finally declared in 1999, American and NATO forces were able to implement economic and ideological colonialism under the guise of valiant human rights intervention.
Documentary, History, War: During the final days of the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese forces closed in on Saigon as South Vietnamese resistance crumbled. An unlikely group of heroes emerged as Americans and South Vietnamese took matters into their own hands.
Documentary, War: 2018 ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE FOR BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE. Winner of the Grand Jury Documentary prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Syrian filmmaker Feras Fayyad’s breathtaking work – a searing example of boots-on-the-ground reportage – follows the efforts of the internationally recognized White Helmets, an organization comprised of ordinary citizens who are the first to rush towards military strikes and attacks in the hope of saving lives. Incorporating moments of both heart-pounding suspense and improbable beauty, the documentary draws us into the lives of three of its founders – Khalid, Subhi and Mahmoud – as they grapple with the chaos around them and struggle with an ever-present dilemma: do they flee or stay and fight for their country.
Drama, History, Romance: There is drastically more than meets the eye to curating a successful awards ceremony. The Academy Awards, widely known as one of the most sophisticated and historic of these institutions, is no exception.
Documentary, War: To Adolf Hitler in 1940, Britain was no more than an irritant on his periphery to his rapidly expanding Third Reich. He was correct in his assumption that Britain had been almost fatally weakened by the fight of Dunkirk. If Britain were to be subdued, there seemed to be no more auspicious time than 1940. The Luftwaffe had proven themselves invincible, which filled them with pride and enthusiasm.
Documentary, History, War: It has been called “the most audacious, difficult, complicated, rescue mission ever attempted.” Desert One uniquely blends emotion and bravado to tell the incredible tale of America’s secret mission to free the hostages of the 1979 Iranian revolution. Filmmaker Barbara Kopple discovers a wealth of unearthed archival sources and receives unprecedented access, engaging in intimate conversations with many of the soldiers closest to the story, some for the first time, as well as President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale and TV newsman Ted Koppel. Evocative new animation brings audiences closer than anyone has ever gotten to being on the inside for this history-making operation.
Crime, Documentary, Drama: Incarcerated for murder and armed robbery, New York criminals learn to love again by raising puppies behind bars. In this inspirational tale, three selected prisoners battle self-doubt, anger and regret in their attempt to transform dependent pups into service dogs for injured US veterans.
Documentary, War: "A touching story of friendship, struggle and triumph, the film follows the journey of two Somali national soccer team friends chasing their dreams in the face of impossible odds. After surviving two decades of war, Saadiq,17, and Sa’ad,19, the team’s most promising stars, enter the only televised match of the year hoping scouts will be watching. With passports of no value on the world stage, soccer may be their only shot to escape a growing terror threat, persecution and poverty.Against the backdrop of fear and shared sacrifice, they embark on separate but equally improbable journeys. In the opportunity of a lifetime, Saadiq sets off for America with dreams of an education and a soccer career. Sa’ad continues his career in Mogadishu with the hopes of someday being reunited with his friend. Their biggest dream is shared – to be symbols of hope to generations who have only known war."
Documentary, Drama, War: In the most provocative film of the year, Academy Award(r)-winner Michael Moore (2002, Best Documentary, Bowling for Columbine) presents a searing examination of the role played by money and oil in thewake of the tragic events of 9/11. Moore blends captivating and thought-provoking footage with revealing interviews, while balancing it all with his own brand of humor and satire.
Comedy, Documentary, Drama: Take five wounded veterans and four top comedians. The result... laughter and the healing power of humor. Featuring Bob Saget, Zach Galifianakis, Lewis Black, B.J. Novak and more.