China's Lost Girls: New Changes to the One-Child Policy
by Meghan Summerson
National Geographic’s 2004 documentary following American families and their journey to China to adopt an abandoned baby girl is sure to tug at your heartstrings. Many of us are aware of the Chinese policy limiting families to just one child. Implemented in 1979, the Family Planning Policy called for all couples to have just one child. The only exceptions were for ethnic minorities and for rural couples whose first child is a girl. Over the decades, China has seen the effects of such a measure, some of which include forced abortions, abandoned babies, and an impending demographic disaster.
China is now a rapidly aging nation with an increasingly smaller work force to support it. In the documentary, Lisa Ling spends time examining some of these consequences. She points out that in many Chinese schools, the vast majority of children are boys. One problem foreseen in the film was the likely competition between these boys in finding wives. There are currently 118 boys for every 100 Chinese girls. Ling also spoke with women who had aborted babies and those who paid the extremely high social compensation fee in order to keep their second child.
But in November 2013, China took a major step to relax this brutal policy, allowing for couples to have two children if one of them is an only child themselves. Maybe soon there will be a Chinese generation who will again know the joy of siblings.
Know what today is? It’s the day after Cyber Monday, five days after Thanksgiving, and the day before hump day. But it’s also… [insert Final Jeopardy theme] #GivingTuesday. Also known as #GT, Giving Tuesday is a movement to kick of the season of giving with a day focused on sacrifice, volunteerism, and giving. Today marks the second annual #GivingTuesday. And the best part about it is: anyone can get involved.
Want to learn more about #GivingTuesday? Click here.
Get in the mood with some films that focus on activism and giving back on our Filmanthropy Channel. Who knows? They might help spark the giving spirit in you.
Paul Walker was an actor before he probably understood what acting meant. He began his career in a Pampers commercial at age two, and continued pursuing acting in his teenage years before landing his first feature role at 13. Despite a lifelong commitment to acting and a love of cars that was mirrored in his Fast and Furious roles, Walker maintained a dedication to another, lesser-known passion: marine biology.
Walker majored in marine biology in college, and although he dropped out in order to continue his acting endeavors, he remained committed to the study and preservation of the ocean and its creatures. He served on the Board of Directors for The Billfish Foundation, an organization dedicated to the conservation of the group of aquatic creatures.
In 2009, Walker was able to combine his passion for film/TV with his passion for marine biology when he joined National Geographic on an expedition that would ultimately be featured in the documentary series Shark Men. Walker and a crew spent 11 days off the coast of Mexico, capturing footage of great white sharks and other animals of the ocean.
While any other celebrity might have been on the voyage solely to provide star power, Walker blends in as part of the crew, describing his passion for marine biology and furthering the conversation about sharks and other creatures.
Cinema is a language. It can say things-big, abstract things. And I love that about it. I’m not always good with words. Some people are poets and have a beautiful way of saying things with words. But cinema is its own language. And with it you can say so many things, because you’ve got time and sequences. You’ve got dialogue. You’ve got music. You’ve got sound effects. You have so many tools. And you can express a feeling and a thought that can’t be conveyed any other way. Its a magical medium. For me, it’s so beautiful to think about these pictures and sounds flowing together in time and in sequence, making something that can be done only through cinema. Its not just words or music-it’s a whole range of elements coming together and making something that didn’t exist before. It’s telling stories. It’s devising a world, an experience, that people cannot have unless they see that film. When I catch an idea for a film, I fall in love with the way cinema can express it. I like a story that holds abstractions, and that’s what cinema can do.
”—David Lynch Catching The Big Fish Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity (via moriarty)
Like a character who develops a discreet but noticeable cough at the end of the first act, the movies have been dying for a long time. The latest chapter in their decline — which began, depending on who is telling the story, with the introduction of sound, the rise of television, the fall of the old studios, the spread of home video or the arrival of the Internet — was written earlier this year.
But maybe you tuned out all this chatter because you were otherwise occupied: with the last five episodes of “Breaking Bad,” the first season of “Orange Is the New Black” or the rollout of “Grand Theft Auto V,” all of which seemed to loom much larger in the cultural discourse of the late summer than “The Wolverine,” “G.I. Joe,” “We’re the Millers” or “Planes.” It is no longer news that video games are, measured in dollars and hours spent by the young, bigger than movies. And the notion that television is better, a provocative claim just a few years ago, when the memory of “The Sopranos” was still fresh and “The Wire” was winding down, is now conventional wisdom in the era of “Mad Men,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Walking Dead” and “Girls.”
White House Announces First-Ever Student Film Festival
by Emily Buder
Always wanted to impress Obama? For students K-12, the opportunity has arrived. Finalists of the first-ever White House Student Film Festival could have their short films screened at the White House itself. The Obama Administration announced that it’s seeking short student films that “highlight the power of technology in schools,” a topic that could manifest in myriad ways, including (but not limited to) illuminating the power of technology to foster critical thinking, project-based learning, and global collaboration.
Watch the introductory video below (featuring Bill Nye the Science Guy!), then submit.
7 Films That Will Make You Say, "Public Schools Are SO Random!"
by Gogo Lidz
In honor of HBO’s Ja’mie: Private School Girl premiere, here’s a list of 7 films that will definitely remind you of just how random public schools can be.
1. Reefer Madness
"These buildings are all sort of gray. Like, no offense." This black-and-white cult film is framed around an “anti-marijuana” PTA meeting given by a high school principal. The high school kids toke up, rape a woman and commit murder. No offense, but a Hilford girl would never get caught going criminally insane due to bad party behavior. No one knows how the film was made. Some say it was funded by the government; some church groups; others, Hollywood. So random!
2. Class of Nuke Em High
"Oh my god I love disabled people. They’re so cool." A gang called The Cretins controls Tromaville High School in New Jersey. A school so povo it’s located near a nuclear power plant. Radioactive waste seeps through the pipes and turns the teens into freaks. So random!
"Lack of formals in a school can seriously affect the development of a girl. Without formals, you can seriously stunt girls socially and physically." Carrie is a fugly high school girl with advanced paranormal abilities, but unadvanced social skills. She doesn’t know about periods because her mom doesn’t want her to become a slut. A hot popular girl gets her Spring Formal ticket taken away. No fair! Popular Girl and John Travolta set up a harmless bucket-of-pigs-blood-dumped-on-the-Fugly-Girl prank, and what happens next is…So random!
4. Teen Wolf
"Shut your face and go to the hairdresser and sort your roots out." Michael J. Fox plays a cute high school boy who discovers he’s actually a werewolf. His furry transformation helps him play basketball, and of course, become really popular. No offense, but teen werewolfs are so random!
5. Battle Royale
“I would never go out with a guy that wasn’t into peace.” The worst public school classes in Japan have to battle each other to death in a government-sanctioned game. They all have to wear these fugly electronic collars that are a capitol fashion offense. Two of them fall in love and fake their death. The non-Asian version is called The Hunger Games. So random!
6. Weird Science
“I think what happens is, like, out in the outer suburbs ugly people breed with other ugly people, so you end up with really fugly kids. So that’s why when you look around a public school, and on average, like, no offense, but people are more fugly. Whereas in a rich school area — shut up and let me explain — in a rich area, like, hotter people breed with other hot people and have hotter kids.” In this John Hughes 80s classic, Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith star as unpopular nerds. Because no one will go out with them, they make a hot girl with their computer. Lots of Atari, Spandex and Aquanet. So random!
7. Wild Things
“Bogan Alert! The Public School Skank Society.”Neve Campbell is a public school slut, Denise Richards is a private school bitch and Matt Dillon is a high school teacher. They all push each other into a pool, and then Kevin Bacon shows up and tries to arrest them. So random!
1. He almost died—twice—before becoming President.
In 1954, Kennedy had a near-brush with death from an infection after having back surgery. Also, in WWII, his torpedo boat PT-109 collided with a Japanese ship; some crew members died, and JFK himself was given up for lost until he showed up on a safe island with an injured man in tow.
Philanthropy can be an alienating word. For some, it’s synonymous with the phrase “donating to charity,” which is widely considered to be a privilege of the privileged. In other words, unless you have a deep trove of wealth to spare, you aren’t obligated to give to the have-nots. At SnagFilms, we’re challenging this misconception.
In the wake of National Philanthropy Day, it’s important to consider the ways in which we can begin to charge philanthropy with an innovative current that’s adaptive to the modern world and its vagaries. Where there’s an internet connection and a computer, there’s no longer an excuse for ignorance. Yet too much information can be paralyzing. How do you choose a cause to be passionate about when so many are vying for your attention? And once you’ve chosen, what next? That’s where filmanthropy comes in.
Filmanthropy (n): Films that highlight important issues, foster discussion, and promote activism.
Ted Leonsis, SnagFilms’ co-founder, coined the term in 2007 after the release of his film Nanking, a sober recounting of the rapes and murders of 300,000 Chinese civilians and soldiers in Nanking from 1937-8. He describes filmanthropy as
[Shedding] light on a big issue. You raise the money around your charity and make something that can drive people to understand an issue. It brings together philanthropy and understanding how media works. You’re going to see a lot of people doing this because a studio probably wouldn’t.
Filmanthropy is a manner of engaging with philanthropy in the modern sphere. This is because it aims to connect people with potentially unfamiliar or distant humanitarian issues on an emotional and personal level, giving each issue a complex treatment with a human face. It’s must easier to decide what you care about—what really moves you—when you’re given the framework of a personal story. Both documentary and narrative fiction are powerful forms of filmanthropy: documentary unites the audience with real people and circumstances, while narrative utilizes the power of fiction to illuminate the deepest recesses of real-world issues. All you have to donate is your time.
Don’t know where to start? Try Kicking It, the inspirational story of six players preparing for the Homeless World Cup in South Africa. It tackles the issue of homelessness in an innovative, compelling way. Bonus points: It’s about sports and narrated by Colin Farrell. Watch:
America Recycles Day: 5 Alternative Takes on Sustainability
by Emily Buder
Let’s begin with some cold, hard facts:
In 2009, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times.
Over 75% of waste is recyclable, but Americans only recycle about 30% of it.
Every year, nearly 900,000,000 trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.
The power of recycling is undeniable, but we know you’re tired of hearing the Al Gores of the world soapbox their way into your environmental conscience. We’re here to help. Here are 5 awesome shorts that offer alternative takes on recycling, sustainability, and the future of our planet. You don’t know the drill.
Twelve Fluid Ounces is a 6-minute journey down the recycling chute that answers the most important question about recycling: Where does it all go?! Bonus points: the answers come from a team of puppets.
Where is the world’s most efficient waste disposal system? Where you’d least expect it to be. On the outskirts of Cairo lies a labyrinth of narrow roadways camouflaged by trash that’s home to 60,000 “garbage people” who have survived for centuries by recycling Cairo’s waste. Watch Garbage People, a 4-minute short.
Environmental racism. It exists, and you should know about it. Watch 11-minute short, Shame on You: That Can Be Reused!
"Sustainable Dave" attempts to not throw away anything for an entire year. Can he do it? Watch Days of Trash, a 7-minute short.
So, you got a new iPad. What happens in 2 years when the cycle of planned obsolescence consumes it and you’re chucking it away in favor of the newest model? Watch E-Waste, a 2-minute animation that teaches you about the problem of electronic recycling and what we can do about it.
“When the last living thing
Has died on account of us,
How poetical it would be
If Earth could say,
In a voice floating up
From the floor
Of the Grand Canyon,
‘It is done.’
People did not like it here.”—
― Kurt Vonnegut
Today’s America Recycles Day. Everything we do has an impact on the world around us. Watch National Geographic’s Human Footprint to find out just how much you may be unwittingly contributing to the earth’s demise, and what you can do to change that.
Who does it better? While “it” could be a measure of everything from the tallest building in America (now World Trade Center One, in a serious one-up steal from Chicago’s Willis Tower) to the best leftist political publications, Jon Stewart has a different proposal.
We’re partisan, of course. We’re inclined to agree vehemently with Mr. Stewart. But we have some real evidence to add to the debate. Check out this 6-minute short, Pure and Simple, in which New York pizza master Anthony Mangieri dispels the myth that pizza is merely a food. He’s a do-it-yourself, detail-obsessed, rigorous artist, lost in the universe he has created for himself. Its epicenter: pizza.
"We are the 99%" echoed loudly as thousands of individuals protested in Zuccotti Park in 2011. This protest movement was initiated by two employees of Adbusters, a Canadian anti-consumerist publication. Adbusters emailed its subscribers saying “America needs its own Tahrir” and the idea of the protest basically snowballed from there. Filmmaker Kevin Breslin (who, by the way, was the only filmmaker with total access to the whole demonstration) takes viewers on an all-access look into the Occupy Wall Street Movement in the documentary #whilewewatch (full film embedded below).
Although news coverage of the protest is dwindling, the movement is still alive and thriving. On Black Friday, protests are planned at Wal-Mart stores throughout the country. The goal: better wages for its employees.