|Distribution|Documentaries|Human Interest|

Human Interest Documentaries

If you would like any information on available territories or would like a preview copy, please contact us.


Love Talk

Director: Trudy Sargent
Country: Britain
Runtime: 92'
Language: English
Year: 2009

 

Relationships are wonderful gifts in our lives. They are the foundation for everything we do. They can take us to incredible heights or bring us enormous pain.
We want to experience passion and intimacy, freedom to express what we feel and who we are, a sense of adventure and emotional and intellectual expansion.

LoveTalk inspires you to see a new way of looking at relationships. Take the journey with us.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


It’s No Circus in Cambodia

Director: Jeni Lee
Country: Australia
Runtime: 45'
Language: English
Year: 2007/2008

 

Australia's dodgiest circus attempts to drive from Singapore to Ireland - in a double decker bus... what could possibly go wrong? On route the circus gets waylaid in the south of Cambodia, where they teach circus skills to a very spirited group of street kids.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


About Face

Director: Mary Katzke
Runtime: 52’ & 82’
Country: USA
Year: 2009

 

About Face is the heartrending story of a young Alaskan woman facing down the demons of her past when her mentally distraught mother placed her in a campfire at the age of nine months leaving her physically and emotionally scarred for life. We travel with Gwen across Alaska and the US for five years as she searches for answers, faces her past, tracks down her mother, and moves forward in life to heal and forgive. Beautifully filmed against the stark beauty of Alaska, our compelling heroine reaches deep into our souls.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries

PERPETUAL MOTION MACHINE

Director: Adrin Neatrour
Year of production: 2009
Country: United Kingdom
Duration: 26’
Format: DVcam
Language: English

Perpetual Motion Machine presents the work and inventions of a perpetual motion mind, Dr David Jones. Dr Jones is well known for the entertaining and mischievous weekly column that he wrote for New Scientist Magazine which he signed off under the pen-name of Daedalus. In his own right, an experimental scientist of some repute, Dr Jones has a passionate belief that science can be accessible fun and stimulating.

Dr Jones makes claim on our best attention with devices and demonstrations such as his curious animation machine that conjures up the illusion of movement, the principle of the sewing machine, the aerodynamic properties of jelly moulds and plastic bottles and the strange uses of steam.

Dr Jones in himself embodies the resolve of the scientific mind to engage with the world and all its trials. And his focus is of course the perpetual motion machine itself. A fake, an object lesson for our incredulous attention and a mystery to all, except its maker.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Suddenly Sámi

Director: Ellen-Astri Lundby
Country: Norway
Duration: 50’
Shooting format: HD, DV

Awards

When Ellen-Astri Lundby, a Norwegian filmmaker, finds out that her mother has been hiding her indigenous Sámi heritage from her, she sets out on a journey to northern Norway to find out why. There Ellen meets people, places and connections her mother left behind. But how can you suddenly become Sámi in the midst of your life? Is there possibility for her to enter a Sámi community without any competence of their culture?

Her mother grew up in the arctic part of Norway before the World War II, but in 1944 the Nazis troops torched northern Norway, she was evacuated southwards together with 70.000 other people. Some of them, like Ellen’s mother, never went back to the Arctic. She settled in the suburb of Oslo and left the Sámi heritage behind. But her new life in the city came with a price tag.

One of the few times when Ellen as child asked her mother if their family had any Sami connections; she became furious. Later on she often ridicules the Sami – and the Arctic. Not bringing any pride of her background into the open.

When the revitalization of the Sámi culture started in the early 80’s, it was too late for Ellen's mother to gain acceptance for a background she had repressed for so long. Her energy was spent on forgetting - breaking up lines with people, stories and landscapes of her past. She was hiding - and in this shelter of protection there was loneliness and silent suffering. In the film Ellen try to undo this – to change her own lifeline and bound with her mother.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


The Lost World Of The Crystal Skull

Director: Gabriel Murray 
Country: Ireland
Runtime: 55’
Language: English
Year: 2009

Awards 2008

The Mitchell Hedges Crystal Skull is one of the most mysterious wonders of the world. Discovered by Albert Mitchell Hedges in a lost city in Belize in 1924, it is the artefact which inspired the new movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The English explored found the skull while in search of the lost continent of Atlantis.

This documentary explores this lost world where the skull was linked to Atlantis, the Mayan Prophecies of 2012 and a lost white tribe of Thule.

In the last five years new evidence has emerged which proves Mitchell Hedges theory that the edge of Atlantis was indeed off the coast of Cuba and Belize. This is due to the uncovering of a vast complex of pyramids found beneath Cuban waters and the discovery of the lost White City in the Jungles of Honduras. Japanese and European space agencies have recently pinpointed their locations proving Mitchell Hedges discoveries and theories.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries



A Nun’s New Habit

Director: Robyn Hughan 
Country: Australia
Runtime: 56’
Language: English
Year: 2008

A Nun’s New Habit follows the story of Sister Carmel Wauchope, a sister of the Good Samaritans who resides in the outback town of Whyalla, not far from the recently closed Baxter detention centre. Sister Carmel kicked off her habit some 20 years ago. However, her current habit, the plight of refugees who have been detained in the detention centre and the ongoing psychological damage and trauma suffered after their release is arguably just as profound.

Sister Carmel is a gem, and through her we learn the ongoing hardships the refugees face and how important it is to maintain a sense of love, compassion and humanity in today’s world…..a world which often seems to be full of fundamentalism and hatred. For Sister Carmel, religious tolerance is of the utmost importance and her respect for the refugees and their Muslim faith is an inspiration. In return these young men openly adore her.

A Nun’s New Habit is a fascinating profile of an ordinary religious sister with extraordinary compassion for some of the most marginalised people who have arrived on Australian shores today.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


20 Seconds Of Joy

Director: Jens Hoffmann 
Country: Germany
Runtime: 52’ and 60’
Language: English
Year: 2007

Awards 2008

Awards 2007

“I don’t want to die, I want to live. I’m pretty good at running away, and this is my escape!” This is how Karina Hollekim describes her dedication to BASE jumping, one of the few sports in the world where if you make mistakes, you get killed.

Documentary filmmaker Jens Hoffman first met the now 30-year-old Norwegian in 2002. Since then, he has been following her through her dangerous BASE-jumping career. 

20 Seconds of Joy traces the story of Karina, an extreme athlete who is dedicated and obsessed with the most deadly of extreme sports: BASE-jumping. The commitment to such a sport constantly challenges people’s perceptions of mortality and extreme athletes’ motivations. 

20 Seconds of Joy is a rare opportunity to have an insight into the psychology behind those, like Karina, who takes revel her adrenaline rush to the limit by constantly playing with life and death, fear and self control. It is an intimate portrait and a unique documentary of an extreme person whose reality is more captivating than any fictional story.  

Available Territories: The World excluding North America and Europe.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


A Fighting Chance

Duration: 50’
Ratio: 16:9
Language: English
Year of Production: 2008
Director: Mark Andersson

Awards

At age 42, Australian boxing champion Nermin Sabanovic is making a comeback and dreaming of fighting for a world title, despite the concerns of his wife and two daughters.

Once a celebrity and Olympic champion in his former homeland of Bosnia, Nermin believes he still has what it takes to fight for a world boxing title. While he may have the support of the Bosnian community and his friends at the Aboriginal Sobriety Group where he works, his wife Indira and two daughters aren’t so sure. Nermin has been out of the ring for 10 years and his aging body may not be up to it.

Indira refuses to watch his fights and his eldest daughter Tea believes her father’s age makes boxing far too risky. Both of them constantly worry about injury or worse. They want Nermin to focus on his work as a project officer with the Aboriginal Sobriety Group. In nine years patrolling the streets to ensure the safety of Indigenous people, Nermin has come to consider himself as much Aboriginal as he is Bosnian-Australian. For Nermin’s family he is already a hero, a survivor, a pillar of strength and a well-respected leader in his community. So what does Nermin have to prove?

As a high profile sports figure, and a Muslim, Nermin and his family were forced to flee the war in the former Yugoslavia. After arriving in Australia in 1993 as a refugee, Nermin decided to turn professional. His years of international boxing experience put him in a strong position to win the Australian Super Cruiserweight Boxing Title, but a serious road accident a week before the fight forced him into retirement.

Since his extraordinary comeback at age 40 and recent Australian title victory, Nermin has once again become an icon of the fiercely patriotic Bosnian community in Australia and in Bosnia. Nermin’s brother-in-law, Helari, is constantly by his side, spurring him on and reminding him he still has what it takes.

But Nermin’s decision to relive past glory and contest a world title may have some serious consequences. How will Nermin’s aging body hold up against a much younger opponent? Will a lack of sparring partners affect his abilities? How will all this affect his family?

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Rush

Director: Philippe Charluet 
Country: Australia
Runtime: 56’
Language: English
Year: 2007

A Cinema Vérité look at Australia’s obsession with speed, joyriding and car theft, and it implications for three young men's lives, providing a deeper understanding to their motivations and subculture. Rush is a considered and intimate observation of youth today; at the same time it reveals the difficult transition between worlds, from childhood to manhood, capturing the sense of immediacy, of immortality and the fearlessness which characterises this unique phase of life. Our main characters are:

David (The Recidivist), 19, heavily involved in organized car theft since a very young age is currently serving a sentence in a Youth Detention Centre. David is fighting for his release; will he make it as he tries to establish himself into a world he has no experience in? 

Michael (The Speed Fanatic), 22, of Lebanese descent, has never stolen cars. He lives with his girlfriend and baby in the suburbs. His whole life, dreams and most of his money are devoted to his hot car and his need for speed. He drag-races regularly at a nearby Speedway, or spontaneously drags on the streets, and he ultimately has to pay the price for this. 

Raymond (The Thrill Seeker), 18, lives with his pregnant girlfriend, daughter, mother and father in-law as well as his dog, on the 20th floor of their housing commission flats. Ray spent most of his youth institutionalised for a range of car related crimes. Determined to turn his life around, the odds seem against him as his past catches up with him. 

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


More Than Horseplay

Director: Sarah Barton
Country: Australia
Runtime: 27 minutes
Language: English
Year: 2007

In a world first scientific study, straight from the horse's mouth, we explore the benefits of riding horses for children with cerebral palsy. To ensure the innovative study is statistically significant the Riding for the Disabled Association recruited more than 90 children with cerebral palsy and their families, as well as more than 60 volunteers and over 25 horses. None of the children has ever ridden a horse before but by the end of the ten week study the children are visibly riding with confidence.

The audience will witness the sheer joy they experience through the closeness and warmth provided by the horses. Overall the profound impact will enrich all lives, for some the transformation will be physical and for others poignantly emotional but all will share a common dream, to continue horse riding in the future.

This is a film with a wonderful combination of ground breaking world first science, and the visible delight of children learning to ride a horse. This touching subject is filled with energy and vitality and will thrill the audience when simple movement can change people’s physical health.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


7 Days with 7 Dogs

Directed By: Billie Dean
Country: Australia
Runtime: 53 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2007

In an attempt to grant their dog Suki, a border collie/kelpie cross, her last wishes, Billie and Andrew take their seven rescued dogs on the holiday of a doggy lifetime.

With a large growth on her lymph, a bad heart murmur and arthritis, the vet had given Suki only weeks to live. But when Billie, also a psychic animal communicator, asked Suki what she needed, the dog said she wanted more outings.

Determined to make every day a jewel for their beloved old dog and believing in joy as a healing emotion, Billie and Andrew pack up their daughter Tamsin (and practically all her stuffed toys), the seven dogs with all their disparate personalities, and a mountain of supplements to keep everyone healthy, and take off on a seven day adventure in their antique blue van.

Despite her health challenges, Suki loves travelling. And so do all the other dogs. The film traces their journey in Australia from drought-stricken bush to the fabulous Great Ocean Road where the dogs enjoy lots of new experiences. There’s a dog agility course and a waterfall, a ferry ride, camping out and running alongside the huge horses towing Gypsy caravans, and a five star, five paw luxury adventure which includes a photo shoot of the humans for a brochure. 

But what Suki and Tamsin want most of all, is beach time.  As the Great Ocean Road area has lots of National Parks and dogs aren’t allowed in them, this proves difficult.

Along the way we get to know the dogs. There’s Willow, the deaf, epileptic Great Dane cross Mastiff, Tala and Twylah the German Shepherd crosses, Raffi the Blue Heeler stray turned movie star with attitude, Cedar the once-abandoned Red Heeler who is still fear aggressive, and Louie, the German Shorthaired Pointer, once dumped and now perpetually hungry.

Finally, at the end of the journey, the seven dogs and their humans find themselves alone on a beautiful white sand beach. This is dog heaven, exploring, sniffing, digging, playing ball, mooching food, and racing around with complete freedom and abandon. It’s a memory for all the dog family to treasure forever.

Suki lives on – showing us dogs need to smell the roses too.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Afghan Girls Can Kick

Director: Bahareh Hosseini
Length: 50’
Format: HDV
Year of Production: 2008

“Afghan Girls Can Kick” is an intimate fly-on-the-wall documentary portrait of teenage girls breaking the stereotypes set for them by intensely conservative Afghan society, in some cases escaping grinding poverty, gaining self-esteem and confidence as players in Afghanistan’s first ever women’s national football team.

The film follows the team during preparations for their first competitive international matches, concentrating on a number of the players and their journey from growing up under the Taliban, to their life in modern-day Afghanistan and their hopes for the future.

As a child, Roya had to collect waste paper off the filthy, dusty streets of Kabul’s slums in order to find fuel for her family. Found by an Afghan charity helping street children, she received an education and found she had a talent for football. She now plays centre-forward for the national women’s team, but also works teaching and training other children who are still forced to work on the streets to help their families.

Other members of the team recount their problems with the Taliban and how football helped them to see a future in present-day Afghanistan, beset by insecurity and suicide bombings.

The film offers a rare and intimate insight into the lives of young Afghan women, showing them as people individuals striving for a future and not just passive victims.

Available Territories: North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


American Cannibal
The Road To Reality

Directors: Perry Grebin & Michael Nigro
Country: United States
Runtime: 91 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2006

FESTIVALS 2006

American Cannibal pushes beyond Fahrenheit/911 and Supersize Me to break new ground in documentary territory. Filmmakers Perry Grebin & Michael Nigro began American Cannibal in 2004 as a bold social experiment with reality. They set in motion real events that allowed them unlimited access to the results, pushing their cameras deep into the glitter dome of reality-TV production to emerge with an equally bold exposé.

They watched as struggling writers earnestly pitch TV ideas, eventually selling out to the man behind the Paris Hilton sex tape. The sadistic, shameless reality show they churn out is documented from start to finish: from throwaway pitch to manic auditions through train-wreck production. Alongside the drama, the filmmakers interview prominent producers, psychologists, network execs, celebrities and “D-lebrities,” who offer candid insight and scathing judgments on our society.

American Cannibal is a documentary as wild as the story behind it: a shocking, hilarious, bona fide portrait of our celebrity-driven culture and the appalling lengths we’ll go to for entertainment.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries

 


Monster Camp

Director: Cullen Hoback
Country: United States
Runtime: 81 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2007

AWARDS 2007

Monster Camp is a rare and fascinating glimpse into the world of live-action role playing where gamer stereotypes are simultaneously shattered and confirmed.

Monster Camp meticulously examines the lives of die-hard gamers at NERO Seattle, one of 50 franchises worldwide that abides by similar principles, rules and ideologies. At NERO, for 48 consecutive hours, participants immerse themselves in a world completely unlike our own. Software engineers, department store managers, and high school students by day, for one weekend each month these NERO players transform themselves into warriors, sorcerers, dwarves and lizard people.

The races, skills, and classes used in the game by our players are largely typical of the fantasy genre. Some spell names and effects, such as Cure Light Wounds and Magic Missile are borrowed directly from Dungeons and Dragons. NERO is a place where people can be anything, dress any way, and have almost any power.

While the documentary highlights real people engaged in fantasy fun, it emphasizes the value of fantasy life action play as well as tries to humanize the computer-philee. In Monster Camp, NERO players inhabit a world of fantasy, chivalry and imagination, a world of their own creation, if only for one weekend a month.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries

 

 


Millions
A Lottery Story

Director: Paul La Blanc
Country: United States
Runtime: 101 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2006

AWARDS 2007

Regardless where we live in the world, for most people winning the lottery represents the ultimate dream come true. Rags to riches stories and their sordid flip side - tales of millions wasted by undisciplined winners - are common fodder for tabloids and TV news, but the public is rarely allowed more than a superficial glimpse into the world of instant, unexpected wealth.

Millions: A Lottery Story follows the lives of six different big money winners to show in detail just how dramatically a life-changing experience can deeply affect ordinary people, and provides portraits of life in very different Americas. From the farms of the Midwest and the heart of the Bible belt to the hurricane riddled retirement communities of South Florida, Millions documents the true stories of people as rich in personality as they are - or once were - in material wealth, and tells a poignant story of luck, loss and redemption.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Waves of Change
Surviving the Tsunami

Country: Singapore
Runtime: 2x23 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2005

The 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami was an undersea earthquake that occurred on December 26, 2004, with an epicenter off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean killing more than 225,000 people in eleven countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meter. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand were hardest hit.

In our Tsunami special we revisit the affected areas in Meulaboh, Banda Aceh, Phuket, Khao Lak, Chennai and Sri Lanka ’s eastern coast for a look at how the disaster has transformed hundreds of thousands of lives and assess how relief and reconstruction efforts are progressing.

We will also track down survivors profiled in the immediate aftermath of the tsunami to find out how they are coping, one year on. Five broad areas will be covered in the two episodes: shelter and resettlement, livelihood recovery, families - especially women and children, political impact - with special focus on Indonesia and Sri Lanka, and disaster preparedness and mitigation.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries

 

 


The Mummy Thief of Toraja (HD)

Country: Indonesia
Runtime: 52 Mins
Language: Indonesian with English subtitles
Year of Production: 2005

For tens of thousands of years, human communities around the world have honored their dead and prepared them for the afterlife. From Egyptian mummies to Indonesian cliff burials, cultures around the world have engaged in community celebrations to acknowledge their continuing relationships with those who have passed on.

In Tana Toraja, a mountainous region in the northern part of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, the Torajan people lay their dead to rest in elaborate ceremonies that often last for many days. Dancing and the sacrificing of animals precede the burials, which take place high above the villages in coffins placed within tombs which are chiseled out of steep cliffs.

Yet, all this respect for the dead disappears with the frequency of mummy theft in Toraja. Ironically, Rambu Solo, an expensive funeral rite, held for ancestors regardless of the expense, has become an absurdity, when people desecrate their ancestors’ burial grounds. This is because the descendants are now in great poverty due to this expensive funeral rite.

This surprising documentary features a villager who turns into a mummy thief when he becomes trapped in the vicious cycle of debts after his family throws an expensive funeral for an ancestor.

Available Territories: Australia, New Zealand and Latin America

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


The Monk on Horseback (HD)

Country: Thailand
Runtime: 52 Mins
Language: Thai with English subtitles
Year of Production: 2008

Phra Khru Ba is known as the ‘Tiger Monk’. He travels the border region between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar notoriously known as the Golden Triangle. A former Muay Thai Boxer, the monk now saves children from falling prey to drug activities and violence.

Drug traffickers from ethnic and government groups move vast amounts of opium and heroin, and more recently, methamphetamine, into Thailand for local and world distribution. For generations they have torn through villages, murdering adults and forcibly recruiting children into their militias. Drug use in the area further damages and destabilizes families and lives through drug illnesses, kidnapping, prostitution, and land control.

Kru Ba orphaned hill tribe boys and ordained the boys as men (novice monks). Many of them had seen their families murdered by drug guerillas. Kru Ba teaches these boys spiritual discipline and Muay Thai martial arts. His monastery acts as an orphanage and a ranch, and he teaches these novices Muay Thai so they can protect themselves in this hostile region. His own life has been threatened many times, from the drug lords he opposes.

This is a beautiful story that uncovers tales of destruction and loss in an area that paints a picture of calm and tranquility.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Asia's Wonderkids

Country: Malaysia
Runtime: 8x23’ Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2006

They are prodigies, children who display a mastery of a field that’s the domain of an adult before the age of 10. Can a prodigy be nurtured? Are there environmental or social factors that account for these prodigies? Do these prodigies succeed into adulthood? Why do they mainly excel in music, arts and mathematics rather than the humanities?

Super kids and prodigy experts from Asia share heir views.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Superman of Malegaon (HD)

Country: India
Runtime: 52 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2006

The documentary is about the making of the movie “Malegaon ka Superman’. It’s a fascinating story of a motley crew of Malegaon for whom their filmmaking is a labor of love and not an enterprise in commercial interests.

Juxtaposing the frenzied production activities against a stark socio-economic backdrop of Malegaon, the documentary reveals the cathartic and spellbinding importance of the ‘magic of movies’ on the people. Ironically, all this is not a sustained effort to rise above their exploitative milieu but merely a temporary escape into the fantastical world of films.

Available Territories: Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Tears for Sale (HD)

Runtime: 50 Mins
Language: Chinese and English
Year of Production: 2008
Country: Singapore

It’s a unique culture, much practiced in Asia a long time ago. It’s an act of filial piety, a tribute to the dead of how much he or she is being missed with the passing. The more tears are shed at the funeral, the better. So enter a unique group of people, the professional mourners whose tears are for sale.

Shot in China, Taiwan and India, this documentary enters the lives of these professional mourners as they try to keep the tradition alive and their arduous journey walking down the valley of death.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Thaipusam (HD)
Transcendence and Mystical Piercing

Country: Malaysia
Runtime: 52 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2007

Thaipusam is a stunning Hindu festival that transcends the physical and the spiritual. One of the largest celebrations takes place at the temple at Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, attracting over one million devotees who spear their bare flesh with iron rods and pierce their naked backs with sharp hooks.

This documentary tells the story of Thaipusam through the eyes of two devotees from different worlds on their pilgrimage to Batu Caves. We meet Dr. Carl Vadivella Belle, a Caucasian Australian who lives in Adelaide and converted to Hinduism, and Guna, an Indian Hindu resident of Kuala Lumpur.

Witness their holy passage in the month leading up to Thaipusam as Carl and Guna immerse themselves in meditation and prayers and abstain from earthly pleasures. It’s an event that will challenge our understanding of the real and the unreal, and captivate viewers with mesmerizing visuals and sounds.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Our Bush Wedding

Country: Australia
Runtime: 52 Mins
Language: English
Year of Production: 2007

Gordon Syron, an Australian Aborigine, killed a man in defence of his family’s land. While in the slammer, Gordon learnt to paint. When he was released in the early 70’s, Elaine Pelot, an American photographer, showed up on assignment to photograph his overtly political paintings. They became good friends, and eventually Elaine became Gordon’s agent.

Both married with children, their friendship deepened when Elaine’s husband asked Gordon to accompany her on her photography sessions. Co-teaching workshops for disadvantaged indigenous kids followed soon after. During one of the workshops, late at night in a motel room, after sharing a bottle of Bacardi, Elaine let it slip that she was sexually attracted to him.

Now in their early 60's, Gordon has finally proposed, and they’ve decided to elope and get married without their kids, but first they have to agree on what kind of marriage whether Christian, Jewish or a Dreamtime Aboriginal ceremony. With only weeks to go and no celebrant in sight Gordon gets deathly ill and it looks like the marriage plans will be put on permanent hold.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Kiran over Mongolia

Directed By: Joseph Spaid
Country: United States
Runtime: 52 and 80 Mins
Language: Kazakh (English subtitles)  

Kiran Over Mongolia is a visually stunning documentary that tells an almost mythic tale. Kuma, a young Kazakh from Ulaanbaatar travels hundreds of miles to Mongolia’s wild western mountains. There, he seeks a master who will help him pursue his unlikely dream: to catch and train a hunting eagle, the way his people have done for millennia.

The Kazakhs, an ancient Turkic speaking people who live in Mongolia may preserve the “purest” Kazakh culture. More eagle hunters live in this small area than in all the expanse of Kazakhstan.

Kuma, inspired by his octogenarian grandfather’s tales of being  a former “eagler”, invites his father for a drive west through the daunting spaces of central Mongolia. They grind endlessly over stony plains and through bare hills, raising plumes of dust from the rutted dirt roads, staying at crude rest stops and hospitable yurts. 

The travelers arrive in Bayaan Olgii just in time for the Eagle Hunters’ Festival. Hundreds of eaglers display their birds and compete in games of skill and craft. The sudden sight of a horde of horsemen trotting straight at you, heads topped with caps of fox fur and lynx fur, red silk and owl plumes, hooded eagles on their heavy gloves, transports you instantly to the time of Kublai or Genghis Khan.

After making inquiries of several eaglers, Kuma is accepted by Khairatkhan, an amiable middle-aged Kazakh with a stern, fiercely weathered face that is as likely to crack into a sudden grin as an eagle- like frown. Kuma learns to feed eagles without giving them too much, despite their rapacious tendency to gobble and grab. In a memorable sequence, he calls the eagle to him from a distance, and stands without ducking when the flying dragon hits his arm and nearly knocks him down. Their training culminates in the bird’s killing a fox, a scene done skillfully and cleanly, with neither flinching nor horror.

The film's visuals are unique. The vivid black- and- golden eagles and their capped and booted handlers glow in the brilliant light against a lunar background of bare mountains shaped like frozen waves, plains like a sea of rippling stone. To most urban humans, they inhabit a world as far from any modern time and space as another planet.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries

 

 


The Bridge At Midnight Trembles

A Film by Richard Moir and Esben Storm
Country: Australia
Runtime: 52 Mins
Language: English

What has Richard Moir got in common with Terry Thomas, Michael J Fox, Katherine Hepburn, Jim Backus, US Attorney General - Janet Reno, Pope John Paul II, Salvador Dali, Muhammad Ali, Pierre Trudeau, Mao Tse Tung, Johnny Cash, Billy Graham, President Harry Truman, General Macarthur and Adolf Hitler... They all had or have Parkinson's Disease.

In 1990 Richard Moir was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Richard is an actor but as the freezes and shakes became more evident his career faded. Then his marriage crumbled. The physical despair of this incurable illness is obvious but the weight of constant depression is no less debilitating.

So, having tried many treatments, Richard decided in late 2003 to have the procedure known as Deep Brain Stimulation. Essentially two electrodes are embedded deep in the brain to stimulate the subthalamic nucleus with a mild electrical current. The operation lasts about five hours and the patient has to be totally awake throughout the whole procedure. The bravery of the patient, the skill of the surgeons and the technology are quite awe inspiring.

In the film we accompany Richard through the tense months leading up to the operation. Through stills and clips from his movies, we see someone ageing and then we see the first signs of Parkinson's. We go to the hospital with him as he takes on the greatest challenge of his life. We watch him recover, see the scars heal and the hair grow back.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries

 

 

 


Ayen's Cooking School For African Men

Directed By: Sieh Mchawala
Country: Australia
Runtime: 52 Mins
Language: English

In Sudan it is taboo for a man to cook. As young Sudanese refugee, Alier, puts it very plainly, “cooking, cleaning, washing the dishes, it’s the duty of your sister.”

What happens when a Sudanese woman starts a cooking school for the refugee men and asks them to prepare a feast for their biggest critics – the elders’ women?

The women of Sudan do not allow their men into the kitchen because, (amongst other reasons) they believe their penises might burn over the cooking fires. But when a group of refugee Sudanese men in Adelaide, Australia are found starving because they don’t know what to do with a fridge full of groceries, something has to change. Ayen Kuol, a Sudanese health worker decides to challenge a million years of custom and culture and start a cooking school for African men.

The generations battle it out for their right to be in the kitchen and Ayen eventually throws down the gauntlet. The boys should cook a feast for the elder women.

Will the boys show up?

Will the elder women come?

Will there be anything worth eating?

Return to Human Interest Documentaries

 


Rat Ribbons

Directed By: Chrissie Hall
Country: Australia
Runtime: 27 Mins
Language: English

"Winning Respect for the Rat"

'Rat Ribbons' will dispel the centuries of defamation and bad press rats have received worldwide. It shows that rats are not just sewer dwelling animals that live to bite you, but are adorable little pets with personality.

“They are cleaner than cats, smarter than dogs and they fit inside your top pocket." If you have ever been to a dog show, cat show or a horse show, and you thought they were bitchy...you haven't been to a rat show.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Every Dog Has Its Day

Country: Singapore
Runtime: 8x23mins
Language: Chinese and English
Year of Production: 2006

This series give viewers a fresh perspective on the relationship between dogs and their masters from six Asian countries.

Each episode takes on country-specific approach to allow the stories to be woven into the country’s socio-economic and political fabric. The stories are narrated against varied historical and social backdrops that ultimately flash out the unique bond each country holds with its canine friends.

Return to Wildlife Documentaries


Song of Life

DOCUMENTARY
A film by Ran Brenner & Yosi Leon

‘Song of Life’ follows the Israeli Philharmonia Singers choir on a tour to Poland where they perform at the ceremony commemorating 60 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

During the rehearsal in Tel Aviv, they sing the famous requiem by Verdi. 

76 year-old Great Klinsberg, who has just joined the choir, sang this requiem 62 years before, as a child in the ghetto of Terezienstadt.  Then she was sent to Auschwitz with her sister, who was murdered there.

Greta’s story is gradually revealed in the films, which includes rare black & white footage shot in the ghetto.

Illustrated by the choir’s heavenly singing, this is a film about music and the power it can bestow.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Chiefs

Director: Daniel Junge
Runtime: 54 or 87 min
Country: USA
Language: English

It’s been seven years since the Wyoming Indian High School Chiefs have won a state championship in basketball. For most schools, this is a rather unremarkable statistic. But for the inhabitants of the Wind River Indian Reservation, who have experienced a century and a half of injustice, basketball is a form of empowerment, self-expression, and access to the world outside “the rez." By using basketball as a vehicle, the film explores what it means to grow up Native American at the turn of the 21st century.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Inferno

Producer: Greg Grainger
Runtime: 52 min
Country: Australia
Language: English

INFERNO is a fast-paced one-hour docu-drama about a team of fire fighters and their many fires and rescues. Exclusive access means the camera team follow the fire fighters into the midst of major emergencies, resulting in a very real and dramatic coverage at the heart of the crisis.

Producer/Narrator Greg Grainger follows the team from C Platoon Blacktown for several months through the most extreme fires, recruit training and risky rescues.

The program starts at an oil refinery in Port Kembla, where a malfunction has triggered a raging inferno in a 14 million liter storage tank, filled with ethanol. Foam dumps from the giant Ericson Air Crane are unsuccessful, with the crew from Blacktown called in - along with 150 other fire fighters - to try to quell the blaze.

The program also follows a new recruit as she joins the Blacktown team. Former flight attendant Sandy Warner goes through an intensive training course, including high speed exercises in a 15-tonne fire ruck on a skid pan course, extinguishing a raging car fire and rescuing victims trapped inside a burning building.

Next drama involves a house burning out of control. A small child has been burned with the family's belongings destroyed. The Blacktown team arrive within minutes to save what¹s left of the building.

Once recruit Sandy Warner graduates and joins the team at Blacktown, she's called on to help extinguish a car fire which is blocking traffic during peak hour.

Another overnight drama involves an out-of-control semi-trailer which has crashed into a suburban house. The residents have survived, even though the truck has demolished the front of the building and come ever so close to their beds. When they arrive, the firemen find the truck is unstable with a risk that part of the house could collapse. The crew work through the night making sure everyone and everything is fine.

INFERNO climaxes with 2 major fires... one in a factory fire at Yennora where two workers have been reported missing. The fire is out of control and 8 units have been called to the site. The Blacktown platoon arrive in lightning speed, and are positioned at the heart of the attack, working for hours until the fire is out.

The other major blaze they¹re involved in is the annual summer bushfires that threaten Sydney. This year, the Ku-ring-gai National park is engulfed by flames, with homes and residents threatened. The Blacktown team are called on to help out residents in threatened homes.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


The Bare Footed Women
who Make Light Work

Duration: 1 x 52'
English subtitles.

Chennamma and Yelamma were stone-crushers. Kalavati and Zayda were house-maids. Illiterate and born into poverty, it didn;t seem that there could be light at the end of their tunnel. So they decided to make their own light. This is a powerful story about the empowerment of women by women. Called India's barefooted solar engineers, these women taught themselves how to make, install and maintain solar lamps in villages thathave no street lighting. Watch how they get to this point where they break the cycle of poverty and take destiny into their own hands.

Available for Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Poojah & Budhia

Duration: 1 X 52 minutes
English subtitles.

All of 4 years old and he has already run marathon races of up to 60km in about 6 and a half hours. She was only 3 when she swam one km in the Arabian Sea in less than six hours. Budhia and Pooja are India's child prodigies in the athletic world but with fame also comes controversy of child exploitation and mismanagement of their lives. This documentary looks critically at these issues.

Available for Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Tribal Sex and Marriage:
Tribe before Self

Duration: 1 x 52'
English subtitles.

We have often heard of young girls being married off before they reach puberty but in this continuing story on unusual marriage customs, older women are married to boys as young as ten years old. Once a girl turns 18, she selects a male partner that is usually younger by 6 years. She then undertakes to support her husband during the first half of her life and in return, he has to take of her in her old age. Can this custom save the tribe?

Available for Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Tribal Sex and Marriage:
All for the Family

Duration: 1 x 52'
English subtitles.

A woman ca have sex with as many men as she likes; if she conceives, the baby belongs to her and her household. The man has no involvement in the raising of the chils. A couple gets married but lives apart for three years. How are relationships forged to try to keep the tribe alive? Where is the line drawn between promiscuity and fidelity?

Available for Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Tribal Sex and Marriage:
Pure Love, Pure Sex?

Duration: 1 x 52'
English subtitles.

He has two fathers and three mothers. She has two husbands who are brothers. They mary to keep the tribal identities together. Stories about all the polys-gandry, -gyny and gamy. Are humans polyandrous by nature?

Available for Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Tribal Sex and Marriage:
The Woman Rules

Duration: 1 x 52'
English subtitles.

Is it possible to have a marriage and familial system where the woman rules above all matters? How is peace and harmony achieved in such matrilineal community? can modern society learn anything from the tribes of the Khasis, Garos and Jaintias?

Available for Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


The Untouchables

Duration: 1 x 52'
English subtitles.

They live in ghettoes and do menial jobs, They live in constant fear of being publicly humiliated, paraded naked, beaten and raped, They are not allowed to drink from the same wells as the upper castas or drink from the same cups at tea stalls, 138 million of them live like this everyday, They are the Dallts or the Untouchables of India. Untouchability was outlawed in 1955 but It still exists as a social Institution In Indian society. This Is a powerful documentary about one Dalit woman's crusade against the atrocities to fellow human beings who are entrapped within their own caste. Meet Ruth Manorama. winner of the Right to Livelihood Award or the Alternate Nobel Peace Prize, and watch her story from Inside the ghettoes of the untouchables.

Available for Australia, New Zealand and Latin America only.

Return to Human Interest Documentaries


Top

 


page last revised : Fri, July 23, 2010