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WHY STORIES is a series of thought-provoking and inspiring documentary films about the world we live in.

“All people should see these films, because you don’t know how the world is, until you have.” 
Mary Wilkinson, Head of BBC World News...

Based on the premise that all people everywhere have the right to free and accurate information, WHY STORIES brings critically acclaimed documentaries to communities around the world on a sliding-fee scale. To ensure we reach people in the world's most undeserved communities WHY STORIES are donated to underfunded broadcasters and dubbed into local languages.

WHY STORIES is a series of thought-provoking and inspiring documentary films about the world we live in.

“All people should see these films, because you don’t know how the world is, until you have.” 
Mary Wilkinson, Head of BBC World News...

Based on the premise that all people everywhere have the right to free and accurate information, WHY STORIES brings critically acclaimed documentaries to communities around the world on a sliding-fee scale. To ensure we reach people in the world's most undeserved communities WHY STORIES are donated to underfunded broadcasters and dubbed into local languages.

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Our preeminent documentary strand is curated annually and distributed through BBC World News and to over 70 local broadcast partners. These films are not available to watch online, but you can read more about each of the films in our series here:

Biggest Chinese Restaurant in the World

Weijun Chen

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.

Dissapeared by the IRA

Alison Millar

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.

First to Fall

Rachel Beth Anderson & Timothy Grucza

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.

Gay in Uganda: Call me Kuchu

Malika Zouhali-Worrall & Kathrine Fairfax Wright

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”.

Innocent on Death Row

Michael Collins & Marty Syjuco

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.

Kayak Man

David Michod & Jennifer Peedom

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.

Leaving the Cult

Tyler Meason & Jennilyn Merten

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.

Looking for the Revolution

Rodrigo Vazquez Year

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.

Mumbai Disconnected

Camilla Nielsson & Frederik Jacobi

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.

My Afghanistan

Nagieb Khaja

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.

My Childhood in Hell

Mette Korsgaard

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.

Putin's Kiss

Lise Birk Pedersen

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.

Red Chapel

Mads Brügger

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.

Reluctant Revolutionary

Sean McAllister

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.

Russia's Toughest Prison

Nick Read & Mark Franchetti

What's life like for inmates in this notorious prison?

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.

Soldier Woman: To see if I'm smiling

Tamar Yarom

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.

Soldiers Who Rape

Ilse van Velzen & Femke van Velzen

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.

The Good Son: Sexchange in Israel

Shirly Berkovitz

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.

The Journalist and the Mass Murderer

Rob Lemkin & Thet Sambath

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.

The Undocumented

Marco Williams

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.

Albino Boy in Africa

Camilla Magid

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.


Deborah Perkin

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.

Big Men

Rachel Boynton

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?

Expedition to the End of the World

Daniel Dencik

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.

I will be Murdered

Justin Webster

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.

Japan: A Story of Love and Hate

Sean McAllister

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.

Justice for Sale

Femke & Ilse van Velzen

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.

Last Days of the Arctic

Magnús Viðar Sigurðsson

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.

Miners Shot Down

Rehad Desai

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.

No Burqa's Behind Bars

Nima Sarvestani

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.

Out of the Ashes

Timothy Albone, Lucy Martens, Leslie Knott

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...

Pink Saris

Kim Longinotto

"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.

Rough Aunties

Kim Longinotto

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.


Berit Madsen

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.

Sisters in Law

Kim Longinotto

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.

Storm Makers

Guillaume Suon

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.

The English Surgeon

Geoffrey Smith

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.

The Vasectomist

Jonathan Stack

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.

The World Before Her

Nisha Pahuja

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.

We Were Rebels

Katharina von Schroeder & Florian Schewe

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.

A Syrian Love Story

Sean McAllister

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.

At Home in the World

Andreas Koefoed

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.

Coach Zoran & His African Tigers

Sam Benstead

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.

Dancing Boys of Afghanistan

Najibullah Quraishi

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.


Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady

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.

Gideon's Army

Dawn Porter


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?

Girl Model

David Redmon & A. Sabin

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.

God Loves Uganda

Roger Ross Williams

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.

My Escape

Firas Fayyad & Henrik Grunnet

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.

Pervert Park

Frida Barkfors & Lasse Barkfors

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.

Please Vote for Me

Weijun Chen

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.

Point and Shoot

Marshall Curry

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.


Deepti Kakkar & Fahad Mustafa

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.

Putin's Forgotten Children

Hanna Polak

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.

Rocking Cambodia: Rise of a Pop Diva

Marc Eberle

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.

Samurai and Idiots

Hyoe Yamamoto

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.

School Time for Miss Roma

Vesna Cudic

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.

Steam of Life

Joonas Berghäll

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.

The Confession

Ashish Ghadiali & James Rogan

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.

When I Walk

Jason DaSilva

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.

A Woman Captured

Bernadett Tuza-Ritter

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.

Accidental Anarchist

John Archer & Clara Glynn

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?


Kim Longinotto

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.

I Was a Yazidi Slave

David Evans

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.

In the Name of Your Daughter

Giselle Portenier

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.

Law of the Jungle

Michael Christoffersen & Hans la Cour

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.

Maid in Hell

Søren Klovborg

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.

Marathon Boy

Gemma Atwal & Adam Barth

What is the cost of stardom in a country impregnated by great social misery?

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.

North Korea's Secret Slaves: Dollar Heroes

Carl Gierstorfer & Sebastian Weis

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.

Remember Baghdad

Fiona Murphy

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.

Rent a Family

Kaspar Astrup Schröder

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.

Selling Children

Pankaj Johar

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.

Solar Mamas

Mona Eldaief & Jehane Noujaim


How can solar engineering be a route out of poverty for women?

Rafea is the second wife of a Bedouin husband. She is selected to attend the Barefoot College in India that takes uneducated middle-aged women from poor communities and trains them to become solar engineers. The college’s 6-month programme brings together women from all over the world. Learning about electrical components and soldering without being able to read, write or understand English is the easy part. Witness Rafea’s heroic efforts to pull herself and her family out of poverty.

The Ambulance

Mohamed Jabaly

Where do you find hope in the darkest hours of Gaza?

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.

The Chinese Mayor

Zhou Hao

How do you play with the power structuref of the chinese CPC?

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.

The End of the Game

David Graham Scott

Can a liberal vegan filmmaker and a colonial conservative hunter understand each other’s worlds?

The End of the Game is a compelling character study of a bizarre eccentric undertaking his last big game hunt in Africa. A committed vegan, David follows 73-year-old colonial relic Guy Wallace to South Africa as he fulfills a lifelong ambition to bag a cape buffalo. It’s Guy’s last chance to relive his glory days and finally lay down his guns.The oddball relationship between David and Guy is the central drive of the film, as the director explores the ethics of big game hunting and questions his own animal rights stance when lured in by the thrill of the hunt.

The Road

Zhang Zanbo


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.

There will be Water

Per Liebeck

When a great idea and technological viability is not enough, how do you overcome political and economic interests?

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.

Those Who Said No

Nima Sarvestani

Can justice be attained after 30 years of silence?

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.

Warriors From The North

Nasib Farah & Søren Steen Jespersen

Why leave your safe life in Denmark to risk it as Al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia?

Young Somali-Scandinavian men leave their comfortable everyday life in Scandinavia to become fighters - even suicide bombers - in Somalia.


Using the power of strong storytelling as the foundation of the campaign, six compelling and informative documentary films will uncover the lives of men, women and children living as slaves in all corners of the world. Whether it is the deeply flawed Kafala System in the Middle East or the prolific number of children bought and sold in India, the WHY SLAVERY? series will shine a light on the millions of lives lived in the shadow of enslavement.Following the unprecedented success of Why Democracy? and Why Poverty? THE WHY is creating a ground-breaking new cross-media project that asks why slavery remains so endemic in the 21st Century.We aim to create the largest ever public media campaign about modern slavery reaching an unprecedented number of people through broadcast partners, online engagement, and in public spaces like schools, libraries, museums factories, and even football stadiums.

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WHY STORIES was launched in an effort to give the many tremendous, thought-provoking and touching documentary films a longer life and a broader audience. In recognition that most people – including those who cannot read and write – still watch TV, The Why set up WHY STORIES, to distribute 20 documentary films every year to public broadcasters, targeting specifically broadcasters in low and middle income countries.

Reach new audiences

An estimated 600 million people have seen our WHY STORIES series, from Palestine to India, Nicaragua to the Philippines. By creating dubbed language versions of our films we ensure they are broadly accessible to diverse audiences around the world.

Support social justice campaigns

WHY STORIES films put important human rights issues, from LGBT rights in Uganda, corruption in Congo and Indigenous rights in Peru, in the spotlight.

Strengthen public media

By donating high-quality journalism to countries without the tradition or budget for factual film-viewing WHY STORIES supports public media providers around the world; from Colombia to Mongolia.

To find out more about our impact download the individual impact reports under materials


Are you interested in becoming part of WHY STORIES?
Join us

As a Broadcaster

Show WHY STORIES? and become part of a global network of broadcasters. We operate with sliding-scale fees dependent on ability to pay. We donate WHY STORIES free of charge to most broadcasters in low and middle-income countries. 

As a Filmmaker

Tell your story to a global audience: we are constantly on the lookout for good films. If you have film you think could be part of WHY STORIES? let us know. WHY STORIES films are paid a standard license fee to cover worldwide distribution.

As a Supporter

Support us to extend access to independent factual films about the key global issues facing the world today. We work with a wide range of partners to extend access to independent factual films to audiences around the world.


In addition to the broadcast of Why Slavery? films we are working with schools, universities, non-profit organizations and film festivals around the world to ensure the films reach a broad and diverse audience.

upcoming Events







Chimes of a New Moment – Revisioning Just Communities Festival Screening of 'Stealing Africa'

As part of the 'Chimes of a New Moment' Festival, Bangalore Film Society will screen our WHY POVERTY? film 'Stealing Africa' for the first time.

Go to event


Bangalore, India

Want to be part of the WHY SLAVERY? campaign & put on your own event?



Are you interested in taking part in the ASK WHY? FILM CLUB?
Join us

As a School

As a Student

As a Partner