Federal Penal Colony No. 56 is situated in central Russia, in a forest larger than Germany and a seven- hour drive from the nearest city. There are 260 prisoners serving out their sentences, all of them for murder.
Is it love for another person or love for your country which gives us the greatest sense of belonging?
Comrades and lovers Amer and Raghda met in a Syrian prison. 15 years and 4 children later, Award-winning director Sean McAllister follows the family over 5 years, as the Arab Spring sweeps the region.The film charts their incredible odyssey to political freedom, documenting their dreams and despair: for the revolution, their homeland and each other.
Does slavery exist in modern-day Hungary?
Marish has been kept by a family as a domestic slave for 10 years. She has worked as a housekeeper, entirely unpaid, performing back-breaking household duties seven days a week in exchange only for meals, cigarettes and a couch to sleep on. A Women Captured is a raw and intimate portrayal of the psychology behind enslavement.
Does anarchism offer solutions to the brutalities of capitalism and the dishonesties of democracy?
Carne Ross was a career diplomat who believed Western Democracy could save us all; but working inside the system he came to see its failures, deceits and ulterior motives. Carne quits his job and travels to meet the protesters of Occupy Wall Street, an anarchist collective in Spain and Noam Chomsky to find an answer to the question so many people today are asking themselves - isn't there a better way?
What is it like being a nine-year old albino boy in Tanzania?
In Tanzania albino body parts and blood are used in magic potions created by witch doctors and are sold for huge amounts of money. To protect albino children, the government sends them to boarding schools, far away from their families. Following nine-year-old Shida's first year in boarding school, we see the consequences of being hunted and unwanted from a child's perspective.
What impact does the Danish asylum system have on families seeking refugee status?
This Film follows 10-year-old Magomed an asylum seeker from Chechnya, as he adjusts to life in Denmark. But his new life with new friends takes on a dark and heartbreaking turn when the decision about the family’s application for asylum comes with both good and bad news.
How do the mothers of illegitimate children battle social stigma in a country where sex outside of marriage is illegal?
In Morocco, sex outside marriage is illegal and women bear the brunt of society’s disapproval. But what is the fate of the children of those single mothers? They are denied jobs, housing and condemned to a life of discrimination. Bastards is the first film to tell this story from a mother’s point of view.
After the discover of oil, will Ghana manage to avoid becoming the latest resource-cursed African country?
Big Men is an epic adventure of high-stakes capitalism, with shockingly intimate access to company executives, government officials and gun-toting militants. Kosmos Energy, a Dallas-based oil company, discovers Ghana’s first oil. Can they develop the field and maximize profits as everyone involved tries to gain as much as possible?
What does life at the world's biggest Chinese restaurant reveal about the state of modern China?
The proprietress, the bridegroom- to-be and the young waitress. Through the eyes of the staff and guests of the world’s biggest Chinese restaurant, we gain a unique picture of modern China.
Will Coach Zoran unite South Sudan through its first ever national football team?
South Sudan became an independent state in July 2011, following al- most 50 years of civil war. This film follows veteran Serbian coach Zoran Djordjevic as he seeks to forge the first national football team in the new country.
How is the fight against the Taliban contributing to the exploitation of young boys in Afghanistan?
In Southern Afghanistan hundreds of boys as young as 10, living in extreme poverty, are lured off the streets on the promise of a new life away from destitution, unaware their real fate is to be used for entertainment and sex.
What can the stories of people in Detroit tell us about the evolution of American identity?
An owner of a blues bar, a young blogger, an auto union rep, a group of young artists, an opera impresario and a gang of illegal “scrappers” make up an unlikely chorus that illuminates the tale of both a city and a country in a soul-searching mood, desperate for a new identity.
What do you do when your mother suddenly disappears and never comes back?
The powerful story of those killed and then secretly buried by the IRA during the conflict in Northern Ireland.
How do you break the cycle of neglect, violence and exploitation which each year leaves thousands upon thousands of girls and women feeling that prostitution is their only option to survive?
After a violent encounter with a “John”, Brenda Myers-Powell woke up in the hospital and decided to change her life. Today she is a beacon of hope and a pillar of strength for hundreds of women and girls as young as fourteen who want to change their own lives.
A real adventure film – for the 21st century.
On a three-mast schooner packed with artists, scientists and ambitions worthy of Noah or Columbus, we set off for the end of the world: the rapidly melting massifs of North-East Greenland. Curiosity, grand pathos and a liberating dose of humour come together in a superbly orchestrated film where one iconic image after the other seduces us far beyond the historical footnote that is humanity.
Can two men from Russia become part of the Libyan revolution?
In 2011 two friends abandon their peace of their home country to fight in the Libyan revolution. Driven by their hatred of Muammar Gaddafi and a desire to be a part of history.
How can LGBT people survive in a country where homosexuality is illegal?
The last year in the life of veteran activist David Kato, as he labours to repeal Uganda’s homophobic laws and liberate his fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women, or “kuchus”.
Is it possible to reform the US criminal justice system to realize "justice for all"?
Gideon's Army follows Travis Williams, Brandy Alexander and June Hardwick, three young public defenders who are part of a small group of idealistic lawyers in the Deep South challenging the assumptions that drive a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point. Can these courageous lawyers revolutionize the way America thinks about indigent defence and make “justice for all” a reality?
Is being a girl model as glamorous as it seems?
Girl Model follows two protagonists involved in this industry: Ashley, a deeply ambivalent model scout who scours the Siberian countryside looking for fresh faces to send to the Japanese market, and one of her discoveries, Nadya, a thirteen year-old plucked from the Siberian countryside and dropped into the center of Tokyo with promises of a profitable career.
How is the American Evangelical movement fuelling Uganda's turn towards violent homophobia?
Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams explores the role of the American Evangelical movement in fueling Uganda’s terrifying turn towards biblical law and the proposed death penalty for homosexuality. . Shocking and enlightening, touching and horrifying, God Loves Uganda will leave you questioning just how closely this brand of Christianity resembles the one you think you know.
Can there be justice after genocide, sexual violence and slavery?
This film tells the story of Shirin and Lewiza, two Yazidi women captured by IS, who escape to Germany.
How can a dead man assist in the investigation of his own murder?
In May 2009, Rodrigo Rosenberg, a wealthy, charismatic lawyer went cycling near his home in Guatemala City and was murdered. What was extraordinary is that Rosenberg knew, for certain, he was about to be killed. A brilliant investigation, a journey into Rosenberg’s soul and Guatemala’s hell, that after multiple twists and turns, reached a stunning revelation.
Can these girls save themselves from female genital mutilation and being sold off into a child marriage?
We follow Rhobi Samwelly, a brave local hero who confronts her community and protects the girls in her Safe House in Northern Tanzania. Little by little, Mama Rhobi helps the young runaways find their voice.
Can there be justice in the Philippine judicial system?
A criminal who didn’t commit a crime. A mystery murder without a body. A look at the corrupt Philippine legal system, like a Kafkaesque story, featuring false witnesses, cover-ups and human rights violations.
Why has America’s prison population surged from 330,000 to 2.3 million inmates in the last 30 years?
Director Roger Ross Williams sets out to investigate the explosive web of political, social, and economic forces driving the prison system that has consumed so many of Roger’s friends and family. As he explores the network of companies involved in the prison system, he uncovers an array of financial incentives to keep inmate population high, and sentences long.
What does love look like in Japan after the economic crisis?
When Japan’s economy crashed in the early 1990s Naoki lost everything, ending up divorced and penniless - he was saved from homelessness by his new girlfriend, 29-year-old Yoshie who works at sleazy bar where she is paid to drink and flirt with married men. This films tell the unusual love story of survival in the world’s second richest economy.
How does foreign aid create a system of justice for sale in Congo?
This film follows Claudine, a young and courageous human rights lawyer, in her struggle against injustice and widespread impunity in Congo. Her investigation into the case of a young soldier convicted of rape, opens her up to a world of widespread corruption seemingly instigated by foreign aid.
Is an attempt to make history worth your life?
Andrew McAuley sets out to become the first person to kayak from Australia to New Zealand. After a month at sea, his unshakeable need to conquer the unknown, ultimately costs him his life.
Can photographer Rax capture the unique lifestyle of his friends in the Arctic before it disappears?
This film follows RAX a world renowed photographer based in Iceland. Rax is on a mission: to document the deteriorating lifestyles of the Northern Hemisphere and bring them to the eyes of the world before it‘s too late.
Deep in the Peruvian rainforest a policeman is killed. Who is blamed?
Although no one witnessed the gun being fired, a group of indigenous men are jailed and accused of murder and terrorism. The indigenous are poor and despised, so their chances of winning a courtroom battle are next to none. But a young indigenous leader, Fachin, refuses to give in.
How did three teenage boy escape their polygamist Mormon cult in Utah?
As they struggle to come to terms with life in the real world, we learn about the extraordinary lives they used to live - in houses with many mothers, where their sisters may be married off at 14 and no one can wear red in case it offends the Second Coming. A powerfully emotional and compelling insight to an unimaginable community.
Will Bolivian president Evo Morales ever be able to deliver on his promise of a Guevara-style revolution?
Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous President struggles to empower the poor and end systemic corruption. Comparatively Jiovana Naivis, a corrupt politician witnesses the social change from her prison cell.
Can an employment system hide a reality of torture and humiliation?
Harassment, abuse, rape and 18-hour work days are a commonplace reality for domestic helpers who have traveled to the Middle East to find employment. Trapped in the Kafala system, domestic workers have their passports confiscated and are bound to their employer.
Budhia Singh, the six year old Indian running phenomenon and the web of intrigue around him. An Indian boy from the slums with an unbelievable talent for running becomes the cause of a political battle between his coach and child welfare.
Can miners on strike in South Africa achieve their aim of better wages?
In August 2012, mineworkers in one of South Africa’s biggest platinum mines began a wildcat strike for better wages. Six days later, the police used live ammunition to brutally suppress the strike, killing 34 and injuring many more. The documentary follows the strike from day one, showing the courageous but isolated fight waged by a group of low paid workers.
Can plans to build a new suspension bridge ease Mumbai's llife or death traffic tensions?
In the Indian city of Mumbai, 13 people die on public transportation every day. The solution: a massive suspension bridge to be built off the coast, linking the north of the city to the south.
What can Nagieb learn about his roots on a trip to Afghanistan?
Nagieb Khaja, a young Danish journalist of Afghani origin, travels to Lashkar Gah in Afghanistan. Assisted by 30 locals he captures a rare glimpse of everyday life in a war-torn existence.
Is it possible to recover from childhood sexual abuse?
Failure, violence and sexual abuse were everyday life in Lisbeth Zornig Andersen’s upbringing. She begins an uncertain journey to uncover how these terrible events could take place.
Will two young Syrian refugees be able to reunite with their families in Europe?
The moving story of two young boys as they attempt to escape the civil war in Syria. The film follows them as they desperately try to become reunited with their families in Europe.
How can the human spirit defy the confines of imprisonment?
Thakhar Prison. 40 women. 34 children. Four cells. No burqas… Their stories are deeply compelling and are a testament to the strength and dignity of the human will in the face of obscene conditions.
How does North Korea fund its regime?
Shrouded in secrecy and notoriously cash-strapped the North Korean regime has resorted to running one of the world’s largest slaving operations - exploiting the profits to fulfill their own agenda. These bonded laborers can be found in Russia, China and dozens of other countries around the world - including EU member states.
Will the Afghan cricket team be able to qualify for the World Cup?
We follow the team from refugee camps in Pakistan - where many of the players learned the game as boys - to practice sessions in Kabul and on to qualifying tournaments overseas. Finally they reach the World Cup qualifier in South Africa where they’ll face their greatest test...
Can sex offenders reintegrate into society?
In Florida sex offenders are not allowed to live within 1000 feet of places frequented by children. Because of this, many sex offenders live under bridges or in woods - or in the trailer park Florida Justice Transitions - also known as "Pervert Park". The film follows the everyday lives of the sex offenders in the park as they struggle to reintegrate into society.
"A girl’s life is cruel...A woman’s life is very cruel,” notes Sampat Pal, one of Northern India's vigilantes in pink.
Sampat should know – like many others she was married as a young girl into a family that made her work hard and beat her often. But unusually, she fought back. The film tells the story of Sampat and other beleaguered women throughout Uttar Pradesh.
What can eight-year-olds teach us about democracy?
A primary school class in Wuhan, China has their first encounter with democracy when they hold an election to select a Class Monitor. Eight-year-olds compete against each other for the coveted position, abetted and egged on by teachers and doting parents. Weijun Chen’s film reflects on the nature of representative democracy and the future of democracy in China where elections only take place within the Communist Party.
An American sets out with his motorbike to find both adventure and his sense of manhood, leading him on an extraordinary journey he could not have imagined, including fighting in the Libyan Revolution.
Would you risk your life to flip a switch?
In Kanpur, India, putting oneself in harm’s way to deliver electrical power is all too common. Powerless illuminates the political power struggles taking place across Kapur through the lens of the city's electrical supply.
Will 10 year old Yula be able to realize her dream to escape life on the largest garbage dump in Europe?
For 14 years, Oscar-nominated director Hanna Polak follows Yula as she grows up in the forbidden territory of Svalka, the largest garbage dump in Europe and 13 miles from the Kremlin in Putin’s Russia. A dramatic cinema story about coming of age, and maturing to the point of taking destiny into one’s own hands, Putin's Forgotten Children offers a universal message of hope, courage, and life.
Why are young people drawn to nationalist movements? Why do they leave them?
Masha Drokova has been a dedicated member of Nashi since the age of 15. However, everything changes when Drokova becomes acquainted with a group of liberal journalists, including popular anti-Putin reporter Oleg Kashin. When Kashin is brutally beaten by "unknown perpetrators," her worldview is challenged and she decides to take a stand.
Looking for a laugh in North Korea?
Comics Jacob Simon, together with Mads Brügger, who poses as their manager, gets permission to put on a vaudeville act in Pyong Yang, North Korea.
What will the Yemen revolution mean for the young men in the country?
As Yemen moves toward an important turning point in the 2011 revolution, documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister follows his guide Kais, a young father who prefers to look on at the tumult from a distance.
How do refugees remember the home they were expelled from?
Remember Baghdad is an unmissable insight into how Iraq developed through the eyes of the Jews, Iraq's first wave of refugees. From picnics on the Tigris and royal balls, to hangings, imprisonment and escape, moving individual stories take us from past to present unfolding onto the wider story of the Middle East.
Can money buy affection and social standing?
Ryuichi runs a small company called I Want To Cheer You Up Ltd, which rents out family members, spouses and friends to clients who are desperate to keep up a correct social facade. But Ryuichi has a secret of his own: His wife and his two sons are completely unaware of his profession.
Will fame and success will change the life of Cambodia's newest Pop Diva for the better?
When an Australian musician meets a poor Cambodian woman in a Karaoke bar, their tempestuous cross-cultural romance results in the birth of The Cambodian Space Project, a thrilling musical explosion that wows audiences world- wide with sounds from the 1960s and ‘70s golden age of Cambodian rock.
How does South Africa treats its most vulnerable people?
Fearless, feisty and resolute, the “Rough Aunties” are a remarkable group of women unwavering in their stand to protect and care for the abused, neglected and forgotten children of Durban, South Africa.
Does the collision of cultural values offer fresh insights into the 2011 Olympus Scandal?
This film explores the fallout from the Olympus Corporation scandal in 2011, when the multi-billion dollar Japanese optical company, suddenly dismissed its president and CEO. British-born Michael Woodford was dismissed 6 months into his tenure for blowing the whistle on the 1.7 billion dollar fraud that the company had been keeping secret for more than 20 years.
Will young Roma women get the opportunity to pursue their life aspirations?
Every summer, a few brave Roma girls will enter a beauty pageant in the bid to be called Miss Roma. But what if their dream is not a marriage proposal, but to go to high school and get a diploma? With extraordinary access and seldom-seen intimacy, we follow three young women on their journey of high stakes and self-discovery.
Is poverty raising a generation of children for sale?
In India, the world’s largest democracy, millions of vulnerable children are bought and sold, given only what they need to survive another day. In this film, we follow the lives of children who have been denied a childhood and an education to work in mica mines, pick tea leaves at plantations, work as domestic helpers and be sold as brides.
Will a young girl from Iran be able to defy familial and social expectations to become an Astronaut?
This documentary follows Sepideh from her evenings spent explorig the universe, to her teaming up with the world's first female space tourist Anousheh Ansari - all in pursuit of her ambition to become an astronaut.
Can sexist attitudes and societal norms be overcome in a courtroom?
The film follows a state prosecutor and a judge - both women - as they fight sexist attitudes and societal norms with a keen knowledge of the law and an acute desire for justice. The film delicately weaves together courtroom drama and small-town life in Cameroon, West Africa.
What can we learn about the Israel-Palestinian conflict from the stories of women in the IDF?
A unique look at the tense relationship between Israel and the Palestinian population, through the perspective of women drafted into Israel’s military service.
How is rape used as a weapon of war?
In Democratic Republic of the Congo the mass rape of women by soldiers, is an accepted weapon of war. Here a number of soldiers tell their stories in an effort to acknowledge the atrocities they have committed.
How do saunas encourage men in Finland to reveal their sensitive sides?
Fat men, thin men, old men, men who dress as Santa, vagrants: all of them go to the Finnish sauna. If they don’t have a sauna nearby, they build one. Naked and sweaty, surrounded by steam, the Fins reveal their sensitive sides. In this film, personal, moving stories are interspersed with footage of the beautiful Finnish landscape.
How does human trafficking tear apart communities in Cambodia?
This film intimately captures the stories of three Cambodians: two human traffickers and a victim. It highlights the consequences of the trafficking business on their individual fates and shows how their humanity ends up trapped by this invisible plague.
A raw, first-person account of the last war in Gaza in the summer of 2014. Mohamed Jabaly, a young man from Gaza City, joins an ambulance crew as war approaches, looking for his place in a country under siege, where at times there seems to be no foreseeable future. While thousands of things are published on the recurring violence in Gaza, the stories behind them remain hidden. Not this one.
A daring insight into how power works in the Chinese Communist Party, focused through the mission of one local mayor who is determined to transform the coal-mining center of Datong into a tourism haven (showcasing clean energy). In order to revitalize the city, he must first destroy it. With remarkable access, the film follows him out and about facing battles on the street, mostly from within the Communist party itself.
Moazzam Begg has been detained under suspicion of terrorism in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Cuba and Britain. In 2002, whilst detained in Bagram, he gave a forced confession that incriminated him as being a member of Al Qaeda. Since his release, Begg has never been convicted of any crime, or even brought to trial. This film is his first-hand account of the circumstances under which that confession was made, a chronicle of terror, torture and rendition.
What is it like to try and save a life, and failing?
When British Brain Surgeon Henry Marsh first visited the KGB Hospital in Kiev in the early 1990s, patients were dying from simple brain tumors left untreated. This documentary follows Marsh as he openly confronts the dilemmas of the doctor-patient relationship on his latest mission to the Ukraine.
Will Or be accepted by their community after gender reassignment surgery?
The incredible story of Or, a 22-year-old Israeli person secretly saving up for reassignment surgery in Thailand. A tale about fear, self-doubt, willpower, the importance of family and being able to be who you are.
Can Pol Pot's right hand man face up to the reality of the genocidal violence he inflicted?
Over a three-year period Thet Sambath talks with Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s deputy, about all phases of his political career except the years of the Khmer Rouge regime. Then he makes his first admission.
How can the construction of a new road alter the fabric of a remote community in China?
This documentary follows the dramatic changes that take place in Hunan, a province in central China, after the construction of a major new road is announced. As people from across the country flock here with the hope of finding work on the road, local villagers are forced to adapt.
Why are migrants going missing in the USA?
The Undocumented tells the stories of migrants who have died in the Arizona desert, and follows them on their long journey home. While others simply disappear never to be heard from again.
Are vasectomies a viable solution to the environmental issues caused by overpopulation?
The Vasectomist follows Dr Doug Stein, an urologist from small town Florida on a mission to save the planet by “spreading the gospel of vasectomy”. It is a journey through difficult and divisive issues, crossing cultural, religious and political taboos, which ultimately provokes a new conversation about over-population, over-consumption and the planet’s environmental tipping point.
How do parent's attitude's affect young women's aspirations in India?
Two young women follow completely divergent paths in the new, modernizing India-one wants to become Miss India, the other is a fierce Hindu Nationalist prepared to kill and die for her beliefs.
Engineer Bill Watts has a quest; to create a saltwater infrastructure in the desert and make greenhouses in the driest part of the planet, thus being able to supply fresh water, food, energy and jobs to a region desperate for all new working solutions. The idea is simple – bring saltwater into the desert – evaporate it by means of the sun and create fresh water, food and energy in desert. But it is 50 degrees in the sun and it seems that every drop of fresh water requires a drop of sweat.
After decades of silence survivors and relatives of the victims of Iranian state terror establish a People’s Court investigating mass executions of political prisoners in Iran in the 1980s. A survivor follows the Tribunal. He dreams of confronting the perpetrators with their crimes.
How can a former child soldier recover from a childhood mared by violence?
The film tells the story of Agel, a former child soldier who returns to South Sudan to help build up his country. The film accompanies him over a period of two years – from South Sudan gaining its independence in 2011 to the renewed outbreak of civil war in December 2013.
Jason was on vacation at the beach with family when, suddenly, he fell down. He couldn't get back up. His legs had stopped working.
Just a few months earlier doctors had told him that he had multiple sclerosis, which could lead to many complications, including loss of vision and muscle control. After his fall, Jason picked up the camera, turned it on his declining body, and set out on a worldwide journey in search of healing, self-discovery, and love.