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Watch now: FRONTLINE | Hunting the Nightmare Bacteria | PBS Video

You can always count on Frontline to exemplify cutting issues through intimate human stories and efficient research reporting. A topic that has long needed to be at the forefront of conversations about today and posterity, not idiocy in Washington. Without public health security, all other debates are philosophical. Before things have really started to take a turn for the worse, drug resistant infections already claim more lives than HIV, and are so much harder to prevent the spread of even in the first world, and there is little hope for treatment. Misuse by overprescription and abuse by livestock farmers have rendered so many antibiotics useless and helped instill drug resistance, and now (as this episode does a great job of illuminating) no pharmaceutical companies research antibiotics because they’re designed to be readily available but prudently used for short regimens, meaning they’re cheap and not a source of perpetual customers.



http://www.pbs.org/pov/onlytheyoung/
I had been following the release of this documentary feature for quite some time, unfortunately Oscilloscope only screened it for a handful of special engagements & I was sick the one time I had the chance to see it nearby. Only the Youngis a disarmingly simple piece of work, it follows three teenage friends through everyday life over the course of a school year. But that logline might make for a simple work of fiction, it’s a different story however when trying to capture that kind of thing authentically and openly in documentary. The filmmakers follow the leads as though they’re not an intrusion at all, and even the ‘talking heads’ aspects come off as natural, near inner-monologue type revelations. A touching look at young adult friendship, the struggles of coming of age, and the dual profundity & naïveté of teenagers. It is also one of the more respectful treatments of modern day Christians in the media, though that angle is teased more than fleshed out (they talk about church plenty, but the most we see of the leadership and participation is a single event for a ‘skateboarding ministry’ which was admittedly eye-opening).

Honest portrayals of everyday issues and triumphs (or as close as we get to ‘triumphant’ in real life) are something I’m very fond of, and hard to come by. I’d love the opportunity to speak with the filmmakers about how they accomplish what they did, especially as this is the first documentary feature for each (the first directing gig altogether for one of them) because it’s what I’d aim for in the projects I’m working on.
Big thanks to PBS’ POV for presenting this to everyone, if you’re at all interested in documentary, coming of age stories, interviewing, American life, etc. you owe it to yourself to check this out while its available. It’ll be streaming on PBS.org until the middle of August.

http://www.pbs.org/pov/onlytheyoung/

I had been following the release of this documentary feature for quite some time, unfortunately Oscilloscope only screened it for a handful of special engagements & I was sick the one time I had the chance to see it nearby. Only the Youngis a disarmingly simple piece of work, it follows three teenage friends through everyday life over the course of a school year. But that logline might make for a simple work of fiction, it’s a different story however when trying to capture that kind of thing authentically and openly in documentary. The filmmakers follow the leads as though they’re not an intrusion at all, and even the ‘talking heads’ aspects come off as natural, near inner-monologue type revelations. A touching look at young adult friendship, the struggles of coming of age, and the dual profundity & naïveté of teenagers. It is also one of the more respectful treatments of modern day Christians in the media, though that angle is teased more than fleshed out (they talk about church plenty, but the most we see of the leadership and participation is a single event for a ‘skateboarding ministry’ which was admittedly eye-opening).

Honest portrayals of everyday issues and triumphs (or as close as we get to ‘triumphant’ in real life) are something I’m very fond of, and hard to come by. I’d love the opportunity to speak with the filmmakers about how they accomplish what they did, especially as this is the first documentary feature for each (the first directing gig altogether for one of them) because it’s what I’d aim for in the projects I’m working on.

Big thanks to PBS’ POV for presenting this to everyone, if you’re at all interested in documentary, coming of age stories, interviewing, American life, etc. you owe it to yourself to check this out while its available. It’ll be streaming on PBS.org until the middle of August.

Tim Hetherington was a real inspiration to me, & Sebastian Junger (author of The Perfect Storm and War, who co-directed the incredible documentary Restrepo with him) made a portrait of the heartbreakingly short life of the fearless photojournalist, coming to HBO on the 18th.

Hetherington died in a mortar strike covering the civil war in Libya in April 2011 at the age of 40. Ajdabiya, a city near where he died renamed its largest public square after him, calling him one of their martyrs.

Cities in the Sky - Forgotten Visions of the Future

rtrftr:

There’s only a few hours left to support this futurist documentary on Kickstarter, get on it! Reblog! Tweet about it! Facebook share, etc!

An inspiring reminder of the power of music to change lives, and evidence that upcycling is more than just a hipster art trend. An upcoming documentary feature about a youth orchestra from a slum in Paraguay that’s surrounded by a landfill, the adults in the community make their living from salvaging materials to sell, the music students build their own instruments to learn & perform on. 

(Source: vimeo.com)

infoshortage:

Aaron Koblin on applying & experiencing with interactive media technology in storytelling. From the 2012 Future of Storytelling Conference.

“I think it’s really actually what makes life worth living, is having rich stories & living our lives through them. I think actually our lives are really just a series of stories we’re telling ourselves”

Koblin talks about narrative projects he’s worked on where the experience mutates as a result of the viewer’s active participation. He speaks about having viewers richly experience a music video about nostalgia for where you come from by having the video tap into Google’s streetview imagery of the viewer’s hometown.

The biggest interest I take here is the potential for extending a documentary project’s reach by finding ways to make it all the easier for the viewer to relate to the issue being depicted. If you reach them where they stand, they’re much more likely to take action beyond just passively watching your film on Netflix, or blogging/tweeting about it at most.

Another way you could branch off of this is thinking about how to make data visualization for your factual content to be more dynamic, interactive, visually rich & personally compelling to the viewer/user. Infographics have been a fairly useful trend in the past few years, they present data starkly in a way that mass audiences will want to consume/learn & share. But they can be shallow or misleading, & they’re static. Transmedia technology can improve on the idea, & can be a great boon for filmmakers/producers.

This is a great jumping off point to start thinking about how you could design experiences for your documentary & factual projects, whether they be about informing people, connecting people, or even just disruptive means of marketing.

Coming soon to theaters: Orchestra of Exiles

I’ll admit this is one that wasn’t on my radar until this morning, but I’m quite intrigued & can’t wait to see it.

Academy Award nominated director Josh Aronson (Sound and Fury) brings the story of Polish violinist Bronislaw Huberman standing up to fascism & saving the lives of hundreds of Jewish families to theaters with his new feature Orchestra of Exiles. Amongst those he saved were dozens of Jewish musicians with whom he would form the Palestine Philharmonic (which would become the current Israeli Philharmonic).

Aronson describes the narrative thusly: “In the early 1930s Hitler began forcing Jewish musicians out of orchestras across central Europe; never before had so many experienced players been jobless simultaneously. The Nazis unwittingly presented a unique opportunity and with the short window of time still available, Huberman dedicated himself to fulfilling a dream.

The struggle to create the Palestine Symphony is a densely layered story with a range of key characters that could hardly be more diverse. Among them: a high Nazi official, Goebbels; renowned conductors, Furtwangler and Toscanini; a future head of state, Chaim Weizmann; and the families of victimized Jewish musicians who made up the ranks of orchestras across central Europe. Even the most famous Jew in the world played a role; a man who, among other pursuits, was an amateur violinist who liked to read music with Huberman - Albert Einstein.”

The film starts its theatrical release on October 26th, to find out more visit distributor First Run Features. Here’s a list of specific upcoming playdates.

Hear an interview with Aronson about the film conducted by WAMC Northeast Public Radio.

Haiti is very near & dear to my heart (in fact I’ll be there in a few weeks) & is a country made up of resilient people, resilient in the face of so much pain following a burst of promise. But despite that spirit it seems Haiti is always in a position to be kicked harder when it’s already down. It took an earthquake that claimed 100,000 lives to get the world (including the US, its next door neighbor) to pay attention to the island nation & from the outpouring of both care & opportunism careless lead to an epidemic of cholera, a bacterial infection that’s simple to prevent with proper sanitation and to cure with fast hydration, can be quickly lethal in a country without clean water and much of its population living on a flood plain the fans out from the source of the contamination. In October of 2010 Nepalese peacekeepers for the United Nations tasked with relief following the earthquake carelessly let their sewage into the Artibonite River, Nepal had just been through its own terrible cholera epidemic & microbiolgical studies have confirmed the strain in Haiti is identical to the one from Nepal & since then 100’s of thousands have been infected and thousands of people have died. The UN & Nepal refuse to acknowledge respsonsibility for something that could have so easily been prevented & each rain storm brings a new surge in infections almost 2 years later.

It’s hard to convey this to people who are not already wired into the situation, nor should any aid campaign use guilt as a motivator, so that’s why it’s a great blessing that these filmmakers have put together a short documentary (it appeared in April’s Tribeca Film Festival) that conveys the sadness of the scenario and the hope instilled by those fighting for justice through the intimacy of one boy’s story. 

It promotes action that can be taken even by the busiest people, to petition the UN to take responsibility.

Please take some time to watch the film, or at the very least visit www.UNdeny.org

It’s synergistic for me because this film will do a lot to help a cause I care greatly about, and helped reinvigorate my drive to use short form and alternate media documentary to awaken people to issues & work for change with actionable requests.