In the last two days, I’ve seen several docs that are all about making a difference in your community.  Here are a few highlights:

image Kim Longinotto’s latest film ROUGH AUNTIES is the incredibly moving and inspiring story behind the people who run “Bobbi Bear”, a non-profit organization in Durban, South Africa that counsels sexually abused children and brings their abusers to justice.  The film follows the staff as they conduct sessions with children and go on raids with authorities to arrest perpetrators.  When the end-credits began to roll, I led the standing ovation.  The Q&A featured two staff members from Bobbi Bear (pictured in photo with Longinotto) who flew all the way from Durban to attend the screening.  At once heartbreaking and inspiring, this film made me want to go out and learn more about this organization.  Here is what I found:
To donate:
To volunteer:
To learn more: or
image THE END OF THE LINE made me want to stop eating fish.  Seriously.  Based on the book by Charles Clover, THE END OF THE LINE explores the devastating effect that overfishing is having on fish stocks and the health of our oceans.  Clover and other scientists predict that unless we make some significant changes, fish will be instinct by 2048.  Accompanying the film was a useful wallet-sized leaflet from Seafood Watch that outlined which fish are okay to consume (e.g. sustainable like farmed rainbow trout) versus which ones are to be avoided at all costs (like blue fin tuna which is endangered with extinction).

image Joe Berlinger’s CRUDE  is a nuanced exploration of a legal battle between Ecuador’s rainforest communities and Chevron.  The Ecuadorean plaintiffs claim that Texaco (now owned by Chevron) left behind an environmental disaster when they pulled out of the country in 1992.  The defendants claim they cleaned up their mess and that any problems are the fault of the national petroleum company that took over.  Berlinger follows this David and Goliath story chronicling how the plaintiffs get media and celebrity support with a full spread in Vanity Fair and Trudy Styler’s participation.
image THE YES MEN FIX THE WORLD is a crowd-pleasing pseudo-documentary classified as a “narrative feature”.  The “Yes Men” are Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno, two troublemakers who masquerade as industry leaders at corporate events and expose corporate greed and irresponsibility.  For any New Yorkers reading this blog entry, they are also the minds behind the fake New York Times newspaper handed out last fall with the unforgettable headline “IRAQ WAR ENDS”