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With the world economy once again flirting with disaster, we recommend checking out the new Bullfrog Films release THE FLAW, which explains why the world economy collapsed in 2008 and why, until we deal with the pernicious effects of excessive income inequality and the causes of the credit bubble, the problems won't go away.
Taking for its title an admission by Alan Greenspan that he had relied on a flawed model of global economics that put too much faith in free markets and their ability to self-correct, David Sington's masterful new film THE FLAW is a thorough and enlightening report on the confluence of economic and financial factors that led to the U.S. housing bubble. It also addresses the historical attitudes toward home ownership and the changing business practices of private and government lenders that allowed the bubble to expand exponentially before bursting. Through interviews with real homeowners affected by the bubble and by unsound financial advice, THE FLAW gives us insight into the human toll of the crisis as well as the overall economic consequences.
As the United States faces down the possibility of a double-dip recession and its credit rating is downgraded, as foreclosures hit record highs and home sales record lows, THE FLAW dissects the practices and mindsets that have allowed such a reality to come about.
OUR DEMOCRACY IS PRICELESS, ISN'T IT?
With the 2012 elections looming on the horizon, the topic of campaign finance reform becomes very important. The Supreme Court’s historic 2010 decision greenlighting unlimited corporate contributions to political campaigns (Citizens United v Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876) has made sifting through the misinformation and rhetoric of PACs and campaign platforms ever more challenging for voters. And with the recent news that President Obama’s campaign has established two groups, Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, to take advantage of the 2010 ruling, voters are left pondering the virtues of such a decision. Into this strange political climate comes director Steve Cowan’s PRICELESS. This new release from Bullfrog Films uses the examples of our national agriculture and energy policies to explore the influence of lobbies on shaping legislation and what that means for average Americans struggling to have their voices heard and represented in government, both at the federal and local levels. PRICELESS also takes an in-depth look at Arizona’s Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Act and its effect on that state’s election process. This unique system of public financing for candidates has recently been challenged and is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court.
Whose interest money serves in our economy is dramatically illustrated in the BBC blow-by-blow coverage of the Wall Street collapse in THE LOVE OF MONEY. And what an economy should do for the people is playfully illustrated in WHAT’S THE ECONOMY FOR, ANYWAY?
CLIMATE CHANGE - IS THERE HOPE?
Climate Change is happening faster than expected, according to a new report from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. New estimates show that by 2100, the sea level will have risen by between 0.9 and 1.6 meters, which is approximately twice the increase predicted by the UN’s panel on climate change, IPCC, in its 2007 report. A SEA CHANGE looks at the ocean acidification that is resulting from too much CO2 being absorbed by the ocean…and what that is already doing to life in the seas.
However, we can do something to improve our CO2 emissions, says a new Special Report from IPCC on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. They estimate that by 2050, three quarters of our energy could be provided by renewable sources, such as wind and solar…but only if governments pursue policies promoting green power. Investing in renewables to the extent needed would cost only about 1% of global GDP annually, according to Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC.
THE AGE OF STUPID looks back at us from the future and asks, why didn’t they do anything when they could?
Bullfrog's newest release, DIRTY BUSINESS: "CLEAN COAL" AND THE BATTLE FOR OUR ENERGY FUTURE is a good place to start as we get serious about making good energy choices.
THE EMERGENCE OF WIKILEAKS
The emergence of WikiLeaks and the ensuing media and political storms it has stirred has highlighted just how much of the U.S. government’s workings are purposefully kept secret, away from the eyes and judgment of the public at large. SECRECY, directed by Harvard University professors Robb Moss and Peter Galison, is an insightful primer on the systematic sequestering and suppression of information deemed “sensitive” by the U.S. government and military. It acts as an excellent sidebar to the current media debate over the mass release of sensitive government documents by WikiLeaks. Do the actions of WikiLeaks weaken our security as a nation, or are we bolstered and strengthened by the knowledge gained through open access to information? When is secrecy absolutely necessary? And who decides?
BULLYING HAS BEEN A HOT ISSUE IN THE NEWS RECENTLY IN MANY AREAS OF THE COUNTRY.
There have been several tragic instances involving teenagers who’ve been victims of bullying. One of our new releases this fall, THE STORYTELLING CLASS describes an after school project that was initiated in a school in Winnipeg, Canada where there was quite a diverse population of students. The students come from various backgrounds. Fifty-eight different languages were spoken by the student body. Through the project the students develop the ability to listen to each other and find some commonality amongst themselves.
For a provocative animated film that gives insight on dealing creatively with bullies, check out the delightful BULLY DANCE, part of the ShowPeace series produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER FLOODS ARE MOVING MORE THAN MUD DOWN THE RIVER
Besides the expected topsoil, and people’s livelihoods, washing down the Mississippi in the floods, the now toxic water contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous from farmlands, as well as bacteria and pesticides that may pollute the freshwater supplies down river for a long time to come. BIG RIVER, from the producers of KING CORN, follows the toxins from a farm field in Iowa down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. SOLA: SOUTHERN LOUISIANA WATER STORIES offers a chance to visits the communities once again being decimated, this time by floodwaters instead of the oil spill.