Monthly Archives: April 2013

The Climate Change Denial Machine

index  “The Koch Brothers & Their Amazing Climate Change Denial Machine” is short, three-and-a-half minute-long film made by the Australian filmmaker Taki Oldham. The footage used is part of his longer, 55 minute long documentary “The Billionaires’ Tea Party” (2011).
A good example of visually effective use of animation techniques, this short film details the effort of Charles and David Koch, oil barons that spent millions to influence American public opinion, undermining the belief in global warming and trying to prevent any legislation targeting climate change that could result in a threat to their profits.
By financing bogus scientific studies and funding complacent Think Tanks and Front Groups (including but not limited to Women groups and Senior Groups), the public is lead to believe that global warming and the threats it entails are only a theory and not a fact. The truth is that those that argue against climate change are a small minority, but their coordination and funding are such that they have been able to influence opinion and legislation, thus safeguarding the interests of influential but largely anonymous energy oligarchs.
Produced by Larrikin films, the director’s own Production Company, whose name refers to irreverence toward authority and disregard for the norms of propriety”, the film was mainly distributed through the web.
In my opinion, this documentary does a very effective job of portraying the dangerous sides of corporate takeover of democracy, as well as warning the public against the content of mainstream, often interest-group-funded, media.
Some useful links to watch the film and learn more:

Guest Speaker: Justin P. Moore -April 11, 2013.

The Kickstarter Economy: How to Use the Power of Crowdfunding and Social Media to Turn Your Creative Project Ideas Into a Reality
Speaker: Justin P. Moore
Thursday April 11, 2013 at 6:45 PM
AUR’s Arianna Auditorium

jpm_eire2010_1618_700Based in Berlin since 2001, American artist, designer, world traveler, and food-lover Justin P. Moore will share his secrets of crowd-funding success via Kickstarter with the AUR community. In 2013 he successfully funded, published, and produced his highly-acclaimed vegan cookbook, “The Lotus and the Artichoke -Vegan Recipes from World Adventures.” His successful online campaign reached 220% of its initial fundraising goal, was a featured project on Kickstarter’s home page, and was represented in Time Magazine’s recent October 2012 article, “The Kickstarter Economy.” Visit his project page here.

Justin’s creation, “The Lotus and the Artichoke” features over 100 vegan recipes inspired by his travels and culinary adventures around the world. The cookbook focuses on the fusion of culinary styles from East and West and celebrates global traditions as well as new kitchen creativity beyond all borders. The lecture will delve into the topics of crowd-funding basics, which projects are good candidates for crowd-funding, how to create a successful campaign, using social media, finding a target audience, expectations and obligations, and more. Rumor also has it that vegan treats will be available for the audience to sample afterwards.

Fast Food Baby (Noemi Miyahara)

fast food                Junk food addiction is increasing at an alarming rate with the youth and has reared a new generation of fast food babies. Fast Food Baby is an hour long BBC documentary first aired in the UK in 2011.  This BBC documentary follows three British families with children that have a fast food addiction. The addicts are two 19-month old babies and a 3 year old toddler, whose families are desperately seeking help to stop their baby’s unhealthy habits. These families meet with child-feeding experts, dieticians, doctors, and dentists to learn of the side effects of fast-food and how to overcome their eating habits. In addition parents attend classes on how to cook and deal with their children’s refusal in eating healthy.

The documentary was directed and produced by Vicki Cooper and broadcasted by BBC. BBC is a public service broadcaster and is funded by an annual television license fee that charges British households receiving live TV broadcasts. Though the budget of the documentary is unclear, the film was supported by their broadcaster, BBC. The film was aired on TV and can also be watched on YouTube.

The documentary, Fast Food Babies, addresses a growing problem that is often ignored by the public. About one in five babies in the United Kingdom are overweight, FFB brings awareness along with a solution to this problem. The film shows that with the help of professionals, families can overcome their obstacles and live a healthier lifestyle.

For further information or a preview of the film can be viewed on their website: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00h0kxv

Guest Speaker: Christine Pawlata -Journalist, Documentarian (April 3, 2013)

Christine Pawlata is an Austrian freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker. Based in Rome, she works mainly for Dutch media as well for the American press agency The Associated Press. She is currently working on a series of short documentaries about Roma camps in Italy for Amnesty International.

 

The High Price of Materialism ( Veronica Crociani )

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The High Price of Materialism is a short five minute stop-motion animation film that highlights the social disadvantages of a modern materialistic world. In this short animation, psychologist Tim Kasser talks about how American culture of cusumerism, (and this can appeal to many cultures living in a developed country), weakens the social well being of an individual.  The animation argues both the pros and the cons of living in a materialistic society.  Continue reading

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In 2004, a documentary “Super Size Me” was released and changed the food world for the better. The star, Morgan Spurlock, suffers this thirty-day challenge of constant McDonald’s consumption. He must eat everything McDonald’s for thirty straight days for breakfast, … Continue reading

Here’s How We’re Going To End Factory Farming (Anna Cheffy)

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In just two minutes and ten seconds a story, a message, and a solution can be powerfully received. “Here’s How We’re Going to End Factory Farming” is an animated short film devoted to ending animal cruelty involved in factory farming. Animals Australia’s initiative, Make It Possible, strives to create a kinder world. In order to do so, they must educate. Knowledge is the greatest threat to factory farming. By exposing the harsh realities and truth, people will hopefully decrease their demand for meat. This solution is dependent upon us. By refusing to eat factory farmed meats, eating fewer animal products, or becoming entirely meat free, ending factory farming can be achieved.
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“Affluenza”: The True “Common Cold” Among the World’s Most Affluent (Samantha Lucci)

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In the 1997 PBS documentary film Affluenza, producer John de Graaf comments on the current state of the United States’ consumer culture, focusing on shopping malls as the center of society’s materialism. From the film’s perspective, our communities’ excessive rates of consumption signify a growing epidemic–a contagious and inflammatory disease called “affluenza.” The film approaches the discussion of the epidemic using both comedy and drama to emphasize the absurd nature of our current consumer habits. It points out that Americans alone account for nearly half of the world’s hazardous waste while using up almost a third of its resources, alone. Americans make up only about five percent of the world population.  Continue reading

The Hungry Tide (Haley Hughes)

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This documentary is about the Central Pacific nation of Karibati, which is expected to be one of the first countries to disappear due to climate change. The issue is the sea levels are dangerously rising and will eventually, sweep out the entire country. A technique the documentary uses is focusing on one individual by the name of Maria Tiimon. She is an advocate for the rights of pacific islanders and plays a predominate role in helping her people. There are about 105,000 residents in the area who’s homes and lives are at risk because of the climate. The documentary stresses the idea that these people can not afford to go anywhere else, and are not sure of their fate.

Although the documentary does not explain how it is funded, I feel that it does a successful job getting the point across because it frequently shows children, without clothing, in the water. They also show how the majority of the island is under water, which makes it impossible for one to survive for long.

Broken On All Sides (Betty Mattei)

Broken On All Sides is a sixty-eight minute long documentary directed and produced by Michele Pillischer, released in 2012. This documentary began as a profile on the overcrowded Philadelphia County jail, but grew to encompass a much larger audience and impact when Pillischer realized it was not a problem specific to Philadelphia, but all urban areas.

Broken_On_All_Sides_3dcase_388X657_grande Broken On All Sides recounts  the current mass incarceration of African-Americans in the USA; with only 5% of the world’s population, the USA makes up 25% of all the worlds prisoners. Continue reading