10 of Our Favorite Docs for Earth Day

Environmental documentaries

The first Earth Day was April 22nd, 1970 and the ensuing 45 years have seen people from all around the world push for the passage of groundbreaking environmental laws and more consciousness about how our lifestyles affect the world we live in. These environmentally conscious documentaries are some of our favorite films that remind us why we all need to take care of our planet – including the human beings who inhabit it.

1.  Food Chains (2015)

Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food chains and supermarkets.

Click here for where can you see the film

2. Virunga (2014)

In this Academy Award® nominated film, a team of brave individuals risk their lives to protect the last mountain gorillas in eastern Congo’s Virunga National Park from armed militia, poachers, and the dark forces struggling to control Congo’s rich natural resources.

You can see the film on Netflix or check out this list of screenings for one near you.

3. Blackfish (2013)

A mesmerising psychological thriller with a killer whale at its centre, Blackfish is the first film since Grizzly Man to show how nature can get revenge on man when pushed to its limits.

Click here to find out where you can see this film

4. The Cove (2009)

In Taiji, Japan, local fishermen hide a gruesome secret: the capture and slaughter of dolphins. Activist Ric O’Barry, who trained dolphins for the “Flipper” TV series, joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society to expose the brutal practice, risking life and limb in the process.

Click here to find out where you can see this film

5. If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Movement (2011)

This Academy Award® nominated documentary film by Marshall Curry, follows the remarkable story of the rise and fall of the Earth Liberation Front as told through the transformation and radicalization of one of its members, Daniel McGowan.

Click here to find out where you can see this film

6. An Inconvenient Truth (2006)

From director Davis Guggenheim, this film looks at former Vice President Al Gore’s fervent crusade to halt global warming’s deadly progress by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it.

Available on DVD and iTunes

7. Food, Inc. (2008)

Authors Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan offer insight into the food industry in America, including how food is produced.

Watch it or buy it on Amazon.com

8. Gasland (2010)

Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Sundance, Gasland is the controversial, acclaimed expose of “fracking,” the technology used in the largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history, and the trail of secrets, lies and contamination in its wake.

Watch it or buy it on Amazon.com

9. Waste Land (2010)

Academy Award®  nominee Waste Land follows renowned artist Vik Muniz as he journeys from his home base in Brooklyn to his native Brazil to photograph “catadores”: self-designated pickers of recyclable materials in the world’s largest garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.

Buy the DVD on Amazon or watch on iTunes

10. Planet Earth – The Complete BBC Series (2006)

Filmed by 71 camera operators in 62 countries, “Planet Earth” exposes the natural wonders of each continent, from jungles to caves to mountains to plains. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the 11-part series took five years to film, and won four Primetime Emmy Awards after it debuted in 2006.

As of today (just in time for Earth Day!), you can stream the original BBC version on Netflix

(and if you haven’t seen our film The Harvest (La Cosecha) about child migrant farmworkers in the US- we hope you’ll add that to your list too!)

Notes From Susan: Inspirational, homeless teen Johileny Alamonte aims to be valedictorian

Johileny AlamonteBy Susan MacLaury

In 2012 Shine Global was privileged to complete a short documentary, Inocente, about a remarkable 15-year-old, homeless, undocumented artist by the same name. Just now, I read about another inspirational, homeless teenager in the NY Daily News.

Her name is Johileny Alamonte. A sufferer of cerebral palsy, she came to the US from the Dominican Republic in 2008 for an operation to increase her mobility. It failed and she stayed in the states for ongoing treatment. Tragically, her mother died of cancer in 2010. She now lives in a NYC shelter with her 67-year old grandmother and her 16-year old brother.

It’s hard to imagine how one so young, suffering so many hardships, maintains any sense of optimism, let alone the determination it takes to become valedictorian of one’s high school class, but Johileny is on track to be named top student in her graduating class at Juan Morel Compos Secondary School. She’s been accepted at two local colleges and is one of 12 students who will be recognized by the Garden of Dreams charity at Madison Square Garden. She will receive $10,000 over four years but she needs more help. If you want to help her build her college fund the non-profit Roads to Success has created a fund for Johileny: Donate here

Watch this short documentary about Johileny to learn more:

Everybody’s Different from Josh A. Kapusinski on Vimeo.

If YOU know of any children or teens who you feel deserve special acknowledgment, please contact me at susan (at) shineglobal (dot) org

Waiting for Mamu available online and inspiring donations to build a new home for prison children in Nepal

The ECDC Butterfly Home under construction in Nepal.

The ECDC Butterfly Home under construction in Nepal.

Demonstrating the power of film to transform children’s lives, Waiting For Mamu, the short documentary directed by Thomas Morgan and produced in association with Shine Global, has successfully raised enough funds for the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) to begin construction on a new home for the children featured in the film.  If they are able to raise $227,000 more, the home will be finished in October!

The film tells the story of Pushpa Basnet as she rescues children from the floors of Nepal’s prisons where they’ve been sentenced with their parents when she is surprised by worldwide recognition as the 2012 CNN Hero of the year.  The stigma of having parents in prison has made it difficult to find permanent housing for all of the children so the “Butterfly Home” is a long awaited solution.  For the first 60 days the film was available online at mgo.com/mamu, all proceeds went to the construction of the home and going forward, all the filmmakers’ proceeds will be donated, so check out the beautiful story and know that you are also helping construct a home for these children in need.

Waiting for Mamu is now available to watch online on: