Category: Activism Documentaries

Peace Officer

Peace Officer explores the ‘militarization’ of police forces in the U.S. The documentary takes you through a few cases where S.W.A.T. were used in situations that didn’t require them, with outcomes that involved death or near-death.
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The Internet’s Own Boy

Opening Hot Docs 2014 was The Internet’s Own Boy, a documentary about the life of internet pioneer Aaron Swartz. It takes you through the life of Aaron (as an incredibly smart kid, the creation of RSS, the creation and sale of Reddit, etc.) and, in that, Aaron’s development as a person dedicated to making information available to everyone — i.e. allow everyone to gain knowledge free online.

It was during this process to make information available to everyone, that he was caught downloading information from JSTOR (an online holding of academic journals and such) via MIT’s connection, however the end intention of that information wasn’t actually known. Some surmised that he was going to study the data and find a corruption link between study donors and the journal findings.
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The Kill Team

You’re out fighting in Afghanistan. Your new superior is all about killing innocent civilians for no reason – and covering it up. The rest of your platoon buys-in. If you don’t play along, you could be dead. What do you do.

The Kill Team documentary is about such a case — a young American soldier faced with such a predicament and ends up discharging his weapon when the rest of the group are ‘setting up’ a kill of an innocent Afghan. It’s unknown whether his bullet was the one that killed the man, but he’s charged with murder regardless.
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The Yes Men Fix the World

Ahhhhhhh… Amazing what you can pull off w/ a fake web site pretending to be a major multinational corporation. That’s how The Yes Men start – and get invited to many events —- intended for someone else. Can they become a Dow Chemical representative on BBC? Yep…. and more. The Yes Men Fix the World is an entertaining look at two guys who basically ‘represent’ companies and groups in a manner how they wish those companies/groups would actually behave. Thus, fixing the world.
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How To Make Money Selling Drugs

Last night I took in the documentary “How To Make Money Selling Drugs” as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. The topic of drug dealing is definitely presented in an entertaining manner.

It’s also very smart how the documentary unfolds: Start with flash of the “How”, interviewing many-a-past-drug-dealer (characters indeed) and then, near the end, hit them with the real message — Things would be better if we legalized drugs — even hard drugs. The intriguing title and production gets people listening — then sell them the serious message further on in the doc. I don’t think anyone can say the “War On Drugs” is working (hello Mexico?), so is this alternative worth trying? One briefly cited example is Portugal (where personal possession was decriminalized).
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An Unreasonable Man

Yeeeeeeeears after it being released, I finally watched the Ralph Nader documentary (“An Unreasonable Man“). I didn’t really know too much about Nader other than him running for election and the fact that he’s “pro-consumer” (for lack of a better description). An Unreasonable Man takes you back to Nader’s first point of activism — namely, car safety — the introduction of seat belts and air bags. It finishes with the Al Gore election loss to Bush – and many of Nader’s supporters eventually turning on him.
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