Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ann Arbor Docu Fest

free documentary films every Monday ~ 7pm
Cafe Ambrosia, 326 Maynard Street, Ann Arbor
behind Nickels Arcade


Monday, February 7 - GasLand

This film may become to the dangers of natural gas drilling what Silent Spring was to DDT. A rare example of cinema art that is also an organizing tool, the pic has a level of research and gutsiness. " of the most effective and expressive environmental flims of recent years." - Variety.
Prizes: Sundance, Sarasota, Yale Environmental, Big Sky, Thin Line Film Festivals. "On the want-to-see scale, GasLand tops the list" - Washington Post.
"GasLand just might be the best film of the year." - Huffington Post. "Over the past 8 days I viewed 40 films...The most important film was examination of air quality and drinking water under attack from NYC to Ft. Worth was eye opening." - USA Today. GasLand is "well done. It holds peoples' attention. And it could block our industry." - President of the Natural Gas Supply Ass'n.

Monday, February 14 - (Astro) Turf Wars

"Astroturfing" is the practice of manufacturing citizen groups for the purpose of delivering corporate messages. Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham went undercover to investigate groups like the Tea Party; what he found was astroturfing on a scale greater than he could have imagined, threatening not only the health of American democracy, but that of its citizens and the planet.
This is a powerful investigative documentary exposing "astroturf," a fake grassroots movement backed by billionaires. Oldham's undercover work documents how Tea Party goers are being recruited into this libertarian fight for 'freedom' seemingly without any understanding of who is bankrolling the campaign. "Brilliant," George Monbiot, The Guardian. "Essential viewing," David Suzuki, author, Environmentalist.

Monday, February 21 - Tulia, Texas

“This is a story of how our idea of justice gets corrupted when we declare war on something.” -Jeff Blackburn, criminal defense attorney

On July 23, 1999, undercover narcotics agent Thomas Coleman carried out one of the biggest Texas drug stings in history, putting dozens of residents in the farming town of Tulia behind bars. Thirty-nine of the 46 people accused of selling drugs to Coleman were African-American. But disturbing evidence about the undercover investigation and Coleman’s past soon began to surface.

Tulia, Texas shows how America’s war on drugs and its over-zealous law enforcement, combined with racial divisions, have exposed stark injustices. This story undoubtedly happens to one degree or another in towns across the country. This film deserves a wide audience and should be used in classrooms everywhere. Filmmakers Cassandra Herman and Kelly Whalen chronicle the path towards the pardon of the 46 and revel in a great victory for justice. Ultimately, this documentary asks if the presumption of innocence extends to everyone - or is it based on race or a badge?

(Recent use of DNA testing proves innocent people do sometimes end up in jail for crimes committed by other people. Nationally, the Innocence Project has exonerated 161 people since 2000.)

Monday, February 28 - Pyramids of Waste

Planned Obsolescence, the deliberate shortening of product life spans to guarantee consumer demand, is the basis of modern economy. The film combines investigative research and rare archive footage to trace the untold story of Planned Obsolescence, from its beginnings in the 1920s with a secret cartel, set up expressly to limit the life span of light bulbs, to present-day stories involving cutting edge electronics (such as the iPod) and the growing spirit of resistance amongst ordinary consumers. Film travels to France, Germany, Spain and the US...brings back disquieting pictures from Africa where discarded electronics are piling up in huge cemeteries for electronic waste...thought-provoking analysis by thinkers working on ways of saving both the economy and the environment, and presents hands-on stories showing entrepreneurs putting new business models into practice.

Cafe Ambrosia ~ (734) 929-9979
sponsored by a group of concerned citizens

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