Category Archives: Documentaries

Psywar

This film explores the evolution of propaganda and public relations in the United States, with an emphasis on the elitist theory of democracy and the relationship between war, propaganda and class.

Includes original interviews with a number of dissident scholars including Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michael Parenti, Peter Phillips (Project Censored), John Stauber (PR Watch), Christopher Simpson (The Science of Coercion) and others.

A deep, richly illustrated study of the nature and history of propaganda, featuring some of the world’s most insightful critics, Psywar exposes the propaganda system, providing crucial background and insight into the control of information and thought.

Fromhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSh6qtoQkmU

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Catastroika

It was at the beginning of 1989 when the French academic Jacques Rupnik sat at his desk, in order to prepare a report on the state of the economic reforms in Mikhail Gorbatsov’s Soviet Union. The term that he used in describing the death rattle of the empire was “Catastroika”. In Yeltsin’s time, when Russia instituted maybe the biggest and least successful privatization experiment in the history of humanity, a group of Guardian reports assigned a different meaning to Rupnik’s term. “Catastroika” became synonym of the country’s complete destruction by market forces; the sell off of public property; and the steep deterioration of citizens’ living standards. Now, Catastroika’s unit of measurement was unemployment, social impoverishment, declining life expectancy, as well as the creation of a new cast of oligarchs, who took over the country’s reins. A few years later, a similar effort to massively privatize public property in unified Germany (which is presented as a model for Greece) created millions of unemployed and some of the biggest scandals in European history.

It is this “Catastroika” that is coming soon to Greece; to “Europe’s last Soviet Republic” as the MPs and the ministers of its former “socialist” government liked to call it. Catastroika is the logical aftermath and continuation of “Debtocracy”. Therefore, the logical sequence of our
first documentary, which examined the causes of the debt crisis in Greece and the European periphery as a whole.
Nevertheless, Catastroika is a virus that attacks not only the countries that radically change their economic system (like Russia) or countries under financial occupation. In fact, maybe the most unsuccessful privatization examples occur in financial superpowers that theoretically have the financial strength to control their negative consequences.
Catastroika can be spotted in post-Thatcherite Britain, where citizens were killed in accidents at the privatized rail network. It can be detected in the Dutch privatized and liberalized postal sector, where thousands of jobs have been cut and mail arrives at one’s door two to
three times per day. It can be detected even in California, which left her citizens in the dark when it deregulated the energy market.
However, its consequences are the gravest and most frightening at countries which fell in the trap of foreign lenders and are obliged to proceed to mass privatization. The public property sell-off which takes place in Greece has been tried several times in similar circumstances. The same people, who undertook the selling of public utilities in Latin American countries, now have moved their office in countries of the European periphery –and the most competent among them have been travelling to Athens during the last months.
The procedure always follows exactly the same steps: In the beginning, the government, in collaboration with mass media, starts a forceful attack against public servants, who are presented as responsible for all the country’s financial woes. The myth of the overextended public sector is often based on manipulated data from organizations supported and supporting the government of the time. Concurrently, specific public organizations are deliberately left unsupported, exasperating citizens due to their inefficiency. The process is completed by the sell-off of even the most profitable public organizations at a fraction of their real value.
Catastroika’s team is already travelling in many countries, collecting images, information and material on deregulation and privatization programs that have been implemented at the so-called “developed” world. The final result of the research is never black or white. The divide between the “social character” of the public sector vis-à-vis the inhumane face of the free market is equally simplistic as the theories of Milton Freedman that professed the need to privatize even the air that we breathe. The Greek case however supersedes the simple theoretical discussion on the role of the country in the economy.
Once more, the documentary will be distributed online under creative commons licence. The free circulation of Catastroika is not just an “obligation” to our co-producers. It is our deeper and, if you prefer, philosophical belief that each product of intellectual creation should be freely available to all. The current financial system, while based all the more on the production and management of information, is incapable by its nature to find a way to secure the remuneration of information creators. This is probably one of many dead-ends in the development of the economy’s productive forces, which may soon threaten the bases of the current financial system. Because, as it is well known, every system that stopped the development of the productive forces fell apart – and you can ask the feudalists about that…

War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death

In real time, officials have explained and justified these military operations to the American people by withholding crucial information about the actual reasons and potential costs of military action again and again, choosing to present an easier version of war’s reality; a steady and remarkably consistent storyline designed not to inform, but to generate and maintain support and enthusiasm for war. War Made Easy reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose a 50-year pattern of government deception and media spin that has dragged the United States into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. Narrated by actor and activist Sean Penn, the film exhumes remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, revealing in stunning detail how the American news media have uncritically disseminated the pro-war messages of successive presidential administrations.

From: http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/war-made-easy/

Black Block

A documentary film by Carlo A. Bachschmidt

Short Synopsis

Genoa 2001: As the G8 Summit drew to a close and the press and politicians had departed, 300 riot police stormed the Diaz School looking for members of the infamous Black Block. They found instead young activists, mostly students, teenagers and journalists from around Europe preparing to bunk down on the school’s floors. Undeterred, they unleashed a calculated frenzy of violence, beating both young and old, male and female indiscriminately.

Those seriously injured were rushed to the hospital in ambulances, though soon after they were forced to join those who had been arrested and driven to a detention centre where they were subjected to further abuse and degradation.

Amnesty International called the result of the subsequent trials of the police officers involved “The most serious suspension of human rights in western country since the second world war.”

Interviewees
ULRICH REICHEL (MULI)
NIELS MARTENSEN
MINA ZAPATERO
MICHAEL GIESER
LENA ZUHLKE
DANIEL MC QUILLAN
CHABI NOGUERAS

The documentary will be released in a boxed set (book + DVD) on 15 September

Synopsis

Repression is part and parcel of democracy – a power system that, along with legitimacy and consensus, needs to be controlled when a population or political group test the limits of their freedom. Genoa ’s G8 Summit in 2001 demonstrated this in the fiercest of ways.

As the G8 Summit drew to a close and the press and politicians had departed, 300 riot police stormed the Diaz School looking for members of the infamous Black Block. They found instead young activists, mostly students, teenagers and journalists from around Europe preparing to bunk down in the school gym. Undeterred, they unleashed a calculated frenzy of violence, beating both young and old, male and female indiscriminately. Those seriously injured were rushed to the hospital in ambulances, though soon after they were forced to join those who had been arrested and driven to the Bolzaneto detention centre where they were subjected to further abuse and degradation.
Through the testimonies of Lena and Niels (Hamburg), Chabi (Zaragoza), Mina (Paris), Dan (London), Michael (Nice), and Muli (Berlin), Black Block renders a firsthand account of those who experienced for themselves the violence in the raid on the Diaz school and their subsequent torture.
Several of them chose to return to Genoa for the trials of the police officers involved. Amnesty International called the results trials “The most serious suspension of human rights in western country since the second world war.”

The Interviewees

ULRICH REICHEL (MULI): After the traumatic events of 2001, Ulrich began his training as an alternative therapist. Father of a daughter just a year old, he lives in an occupied house in Berlin with his Italian girlfriend, and wishes to enrol in university to do a degree in psychology.

NIELS MARTENSEN: A vegan, since before 2001 he has been active in defending the environment and trees in particular. Today, Niels is a professional arboriculturist and has founded and directs, along with Lena, the Arborartist Cooperative, which has 15 employees. He lives in Hamburg in a Wagenplatz.

MINA ZAPATERO: Upon completing her Arabic studies, she moved to Beirut in 2002. She now lives in Paris, where she is active in the world of independent media with the “Regarde à vue” collective.

MICHAEL GIESER: A businessman, he is continuing his activity as multilingual facilitator in creative learning methods. He lives in southern France with his two children, who are 3 and 5 years old.

LENA ZUHLKE: A student of Indology at the University of Hamburg in 2001, Lena is writing a doctoral thesis and working alongside Neils as an arboriculturist. She lives in a commune of 30 people, and is committed to the ecology movement, and especially to the struggle against nuclear power.

DANIEL MCQUILLAN: In 2001, after founding Multikulti, the multilingual website for asylum applicants and refugees, he met and married Njomeza, a refugee from Kosovo. The father of two children 3 and 7 years old, he is now a university instructor. He organizes international “hack days” to create innovations using digital technologies.

CHABI NOGUERAS: Lives in Zaragoza and, a conscientious objector, he has been in the Antimilitary Alternative since before the G8. He now works at Pantera Rossa, an independent social centre. In a few months, his daughter will be born, and he dreams of returning to Genoa with her.

Director’s Notes

In Genoa in 2001, politics delegated to law enforcement the task of stopping a social movement that was exploding around the world. Black Block came about with the purpose of showing how repression by law enforcement controlled the lives, desires, and passions of those who have experienced the movement’s history during the past ten years, from the movement’s birth in Seattle, to the large numbers present in Genoa.
I wanted to cover the movement’s life through seven interviews with plaintiffs in the Diaz and Bolzaneto trial, who experienced the most violent episode ever committed by the Italian police – the raid at the Diaz School – and to depict the participation of the many demonstrators who came to Genoa during the G8 Summit, and who in various ways still bear open wounds to this day.
The shock was as sudden as it was devastating, leaving its mark deep in their soul. To recover the meaning of their lives, some of the protestors who had been in Diaz had to start all over again. Their trauma required them to find answers, and the trials presented an opportunity for rebirth.
All the interviewees except Muli returned to Genoa to film their story. interview room is the “abstract” place that best represents the mood of each protestor – a set-design element to recall the seven different stories.
Exterior shooting gave them another Genoa, because something has stayed in this city. Their return, the trials, and their friends have allowed them to re-conquer the streets, and their faith in themselves – another reason to go on with the struggle.
The only exception is Muli, the documentary’s protagonist, who was filmed in Berlin, where he lives. I chose Muli as he bears the most affinity with my own viewpoint. In Muli, I searched for what his political motivations were, and how he experienced being in Genoa first with a huge swell of demonstrators and protestors, through the long hours of physical and mental repression, and how he overcame the trauma through his return for the trials.

Carlo A. Bachschmidt

Carlo A. Bachschmidt was born in Genoa and studied architecture. Following work experience at the “Renzo Piano Building Workshop”, he began organizing cultural events at Palazzo Ducale.
In 1994, he specialized in social communications and in 1998 he was involved in public awareness and information campaigns aimed towards young people through the “Planning Communications Events” group. While working through the web, he acquired skills in member active processes, in particular in the constitution of local and/or national organizations.
In 2001, he participated in the organization of the Genoa Social Forum, the organization against the G8/Genoa, and then became the consulting technician for the Genoa Legal Forum responsible for analyzing and filing all of the video and photographic material from those days in July 2001. He presented 6 technical consultations (video) acquired during the G8 trials and he was the creator of the website http://www.processing8.org.
Since 2003, he has been involved in the production of independent videos and collaborates with the national media researching and analyzing documentations relative to the G8/Genoa.
In 2004, he specialized in “Architecture for the Entertainment Industry” and the next year in “Events Planning and Communication” at the faculty of Architecture of the University of Genoa.
In 2010 he completed his short film “Janua”, chosen as one of the finalists of the OBIETTIVO LIGURIA Competition in the 14th Genoa Film Festival 2011.

BLACK BLOCK (DVD+Book boxed set)

BLACK BLOCK (documentary, duration: 77 minutes) + EXTRA (the documentary, La Provvista – duration: 47 minutes – a reconstruction of the raid on the two Diaz schools, and the most important phases in the trial) + BOOK (176 pages – La costruzione del nemico) edited by Carlo A. Bachschmidt. With texts written by Carlo A. Bachschmidt, Donatella Della Porta, Laura Fazio, Chabi Nogueras, Salvatore Palidda, and Mina Zapatero).

The leaders in the “consultation”, well aware that the Molotov cocktails were not coming from inside the school, decided that these explosives could be used as […] a decisive element in allowing them to proceed to arrest everyone there, on the charge of association for the purpose of mayhem and looting”.

From: http://www.gipfelsoli.org/Repression/8879.html

The New American Century

From: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-ONhpNeWQA

The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century

This documentary film goes in detail through the untold history of The Project for the New American Century with tons of archival footage and connects it right into the present.

It exposes how every major war in US history was based on a complete fraud with video of insiders themselves admitting it. This film shows how the first film theaters in the US were used over a hundred years ago to broadcast propaganda to rile the American people into the Spanish-American War.

This film shows the white papers of the oil company Unocal which called for the creation of a pipeline through Afghanistan and how their exact needs were fulfilled through the US invasion of Afghanistan.

This documentary shows how Halliburton under their “cost plus” exclusive contract with the US Government went on a mad dash spending spree akin to something out of the movie Brewster’s Millions, yet instead of blowing $30 million they blew through BILLIONS by literally burning millions of dollars worth of hundred thousand dollar cars and trucks if they had so much as a flat tire.
Produced by Massimo Mazzucco.

“A stunning film. It should be seen as widely as possible, in cinemas, bars, clubs, at meetings and, of course, through the internet. I’m sure the film will continue to be a source of debate and political education for many years. Maybe until the war criminals have been brought to trial.” – Ken Loach While Massimo Mazzucco’s first political documentary, GLOBAL DECEIT (2006), focused on the long list of inconsistencies in the official version of the 9/11 attacks, THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY explores the historical, philosophical and economic background that suggests a matrix for such events that is much closer to home than the so-called “Islamic terrorism”. The film provides solid evidence for the true reasons behind the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, whose unfolding is described in chilling detail in a document called “Project for the New American Century”, published in the year 2000, that seems to have served as the actual blueprint for such dramatic events.

Hot Coffee

Hot Coffee is a 2011 documentary film that analyzes and discusses the impact of tort reform on the United States judicial system. It is directed by Susan Saladoff who was a medical malpractice attorney of 26 years. The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2011 and later aired on HBO on June 27, 2011 as a part of HBO films documentary summer series. The title is derived from the Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants lawsuit in which the plaintiff Liebeck was severely burned by hot coffee purchased from a McDonald’s.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_Coffee_%28film%29

Food Matters

Food Matters is a 2008 documentary film about nutrition, exploring malnutrition and cancer causes.[1] The film is presented in the style of a documentary, containing interviews, animations, and footage of various therapies and practices. The film presents the thesis that a selective diet can play a key role in treating a range of health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and depression,[2] often without the need of medical treatment. Furthermore, it tends to label the medical industry as a “sickness industry” profiting from sickness as opposed to health, and goes up to the point of accusing the medical and pharmaceutical industries of a conspiracy to perpetuate poor health, and thus, maximise their profit.

The film promotes vitamins and a raw food diet; other claims are depression treated with vitamin B3 (niacin) and cancer cured with vitamin C.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_Matters

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