Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers is one of the five Oscar nominated entries for Best Documentary Feature. Telling the story of Israel’s domestic secret service agency, Shin Bet, six former heads of this secretive organisation candidly discuss their roles and their thoughts and reflect on the effect their decisions had on the peace effort.
The British Superbike Championship (BSB) is the domestic two wheel equivalent of Formula 1 racing and is enjoyed by a huge number of spectators every season both live and on TV. In writer, producer and director Mark Sloper’s new documentary the 2012 season are showcased and the race to crown the latest champion chronicled.
Kirby Dick tackles the subject of rape in the US military in this Oscar nominated documentary which is both startling and tough to stomach. The cold hard facts of the US military are that there is a greater chance of being raped by a colleague than killed by enemy fire and with only an estimated 14% of all cases actually being reported the extent of the problem is not even truly known. If that were not shocking enough, the deficient internal hierarchy and legal system within the forces leads to a conviction rate of only 8% with many (alleged) perpetrators going free and continuing to offend.
These days HIV/AIDS, while still a serious condition, isn’t (at least in the developed world) the death sentence it once was. Combination therapy means that it can be effectively managed for many years, so it’s easy to be complacent and forget how terrifying the epidemic was in the 80s and early 90s when millions died from a disease that seemed almost untreatable – a genuine modern plague.
In 2005, Emad Burnat’s fourth son, Gibreel was born in the village of Bil’in on the West Bank. In the same year, Isreal began building a separation fence between Israeli and Palestinian areas. The villagers of Bil’in realised that the fence would cut through their agricultural land, confiscating around half of it – land they relied on for their livelihoods and to feed their families.
For those outside of the US the story of the ‘West Memphis Three’ may be a new one but for anyone who has tuned in to the national news since 1993 it would have been hard to escape hearing about it at some point. Following the triple murder of three school boys in small town Arkansas, three teenagers were convicted and sentenced to life in prison on the back of a trial lead by incompetence and the public’s anger driven desire to see someone behind bars.
The US school system is in trouble. For at least two entire generations results have been static at best and high school drop out rates are high. With many public schools seen as ‘academic sinkholes’ basic proficiency in Maths, English and Science in many areas of the country is staggeringly low. With powerful unions providing tenure to teachers effectively giving them immunity to underperform, the profession is in a dire and seemingly hopeless situation.
The fourth feature from Pixar marked the second departure from the Toy Story franchise and the first time that John Lasseter had relinquished the director’s chair. Despite having the biggest budget to date for Pixar, Monsters, Inc. was another huge commercial success proving once again that the kings of animation were not a one trick pony and paving the way for more unique features in the proceeding years.
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Cutler, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, Barry Bonds and Marion Jones. What do these superstar athletes all have in common? The use of steroids to reach the top. To most this will not come as any surprise and with endless doping scandals having rocked most sports at one time or another, the 2008 documentary feature Bigger Stronger Faster explores the world of steroids from both sides of the fence.
The New York Times crossword is an American institution and is completed by millions of players every day. To most, it is just an easy way to pass some free time and how well they do is not important. To others however, the speed of completion and how this compares to others is incredibly important – enough in fact to have spawned the sport of competitive crosswording. While the idea of competitive crosswording may be new to most, as Patrick Creadon’s excellent 2006 documentary feature Wordplay explains, it has been around for many years and shows no sign of stopping.