In 2015, the Taliban put a price on the head of Hassan, a filmmaker who was forced to flee Afghanistan with his wife and two young daughters. Using their camera phones, the fugitives show firsthand the many dangers refugees face when seeking asylum in a safe place.
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What we know today about many famous musicians, politicians, and actresses is due to the famous work of photographer Harry Benson. He captured vibrant and intimate photos of the most famous band in history;The Beatles. His extensive portfolio grew to include iconic photos of Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, and Dr. Martin Luther King. His wide-ranging work has appeared in publications including Life, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Benson, now 86, is still taking photos and has no intentions of stopping.
New York designer Stefan Sagmeister lives in the city of his dreams, and creates work for the likes of the Rolling Stones and Jay-Z. Business is good, creative juices are flowing, and yet he suspects there must be more to life. Sagmeister takes on the daunting project of changing his personality by trying to figure out the causes of happiness. On the advice of a trusted psychologist Sagmeister experiments with three different approaches: meditation, therapy, and drugs. The Happy Film follows his pursuit, and all that he encounters along the way: joy, ecstasy, heartbreak, change, love, and death.
This lively documentary explores the rise and fall of physical media from the origin of film all the way through the video store era into digital media, focusing on B-movie and cult films. With icons like Joe Bob Briggs (MonsterVision), Lloyd Kaufman (Toxic Avenger), Greg Sestero (The Room), Debbie Rochon (Return to Nuke ‘Em High), Deborah Reed (Troll 2), Mark Frazer (Samurai Cop), James Nguyen (Birdemic) and many others.
On a remote patch of the Mojave Desert, amidst dusty tumbleweeds and rangy Joshua Trees, sits an anomaly: a high school where educators believe empathy, life skills, and the constancy of a caring adult are the differences that will give at-risk students command of their fates. On any given day, principal Vonda Viland calls kids at the crack of dawn to see if they’ll make it to school. And if they need a ride? Well, she’ll pick them up. Vonda knows each student’s challenges and coaches them tirelessly, never fostering false hopes. Her philosophy combines loving compassion with realism, and given her school’s rising graduation rate, it seems to be working.
Why do 11,000 people die in America each year at the hands of gun violence? Talking heads yelling from every TV camera blame everything from Satan to video games. But are we that much different from many other countries? What sets us apart? How have we become both the master and victim of such enormous amounts of violence? This is not a film about gun control. It is a film about the fearful heart and soul of the United States, and the 280 million Americans lucky enough to have the right to a constitutionally protected Uzi. From a look at the Columbine High School security camera tapes to the home of Oscar-winning NRA President Charlton Heston, from a young man who makes homemade napalm with The Anarchist’s Cookbook to the murder of a six-year-old girl by another six-year-old, Bowling for Columbine is a journey through America, through our past, hoping to discover why our pursuit of happiness is so riddled with violence.