We are delighted to be representing ro*co educational films as part of our content. Ro*co is a leading voice in the US academic world, bringing award winning documentaries to campuses across America and Canada.
In the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.
Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet.
Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.
Programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz has his fingerprints all over the internet—he was integral to the development of the basic internet protocol RSS and co—founded the global social news and entertainment website Reddit. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two—year legal nightmare. It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.
America is in the grip of a societal economic panic. Lawmakers cry “We’re Broke!” as they slash budgets, lay off schoolteachers, police, and firefighters, crumbling our country’s social fabric and leaving many Americans scrambling to survive. And while the deficit climbs and the cuts go deeper, these corporations—with intimate ties to our political leaders—are concealing colossal profits overseas to avoid paying U.S. income tax.
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the radical “hacktivist” collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. The film explores the historical roots of early hacktivist groups like Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater and traces how they evolved and coalesced into Anonymous, a full-blown movement with global reach and extraordinary power.
Imagine being able to watch as Edison turned on the first light bulb, or as Franklin received his first jolt of electricity. PARTICLE FEVER gives audiences a front row seat to our generation’s most significant and inspiring scientific breakthrough as it happens. The film follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet.
Have you ever read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policies connected to every website you visit, phone call you make, or app you use? Of course you haven’t. But those agreements allow corporations to do things with your personal information you could never even imagine. What are you really agreeing to when you click “I accept”?
THE GENIUS OF MARIAN is a visually rich, emotionally complex story that follows Pam White in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease as her son, the filmmaker, lovingly documents her struggles to retain her sense of self. After she is diagnosed at age 61 with early-onset Alzheimer’s, life begins to change for Pam and everyone around her. Pam’s husband grapples with his changing role from partner to caregiver. Her adult children each find ways to show their love and support while mourning the slow loss of their mother.
This celebrated documentary tells the dramatic success story of the women’s peace movement of Liberia, where Christian and Muslim women banded together to end their country’s civil war. Leymah Gbowee, the central figure in the film, and the Women of Liberia are the recipients of the 2009 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™.
As a teenager in Nazi Germany, Jutta is shocked to discover she is Jewish. She joins the German resistance and meets Helmuth, an injured German soldier. The two become sweethearts and ultimately, co-conspirators in the now famous Valkyrie plot to assassinate Hitler.
AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda is an unconventional biography about the Hindu Swami who brought yoga and meditation to the West in the 1920s. Paramahansa Yogananda authored the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi,” which has sold millions of copies worldwide and is a go-to book for seekers, philosophers and yoga enthusiasts today. (Apparently, it was the only book that Steve Jobs had on his iPad.) By personalizing his own quest for enlightenment and sharing his struggles along the path, Yogananda made ancient Vedic teachings accessible to a modern audience, attracting many followers and inspiring the millions who practice yoga today.
Faced with their own mortality, an improbable group of mostly HIV-positive young men and women broke the mold as radical warriors taking on Washington and the medical establishment. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. How To Survive A Plague is the story of how activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.
Every day, across all corners of the globe, millions of users log onto Second Life, a virtual online world populated by real-life-like avatars. Life 2.0 follows a group of people whose lives are dramatically consumed by the virtual world of Second Life. They reside in this new reality, where inhabitants assume alternate personas in the form of avatars—with digital alter egos that can be sculpted and manipulated on a whim.
Crime After Crime tells the dramatic story of the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, a woman imprisoned for over a quarter century due to her connection to the murder of the man who abused her. Two rookie attorneys step forward to take her case and through their perseverance, they bring to light long-lost witnesses, new testimonies from the men who committed the murder, and proof of perjured evidence.
Their investigation ultimately attracts global attention to victims of wrongful incarceration and abuse, and the film tells an unforgettable story of a relentless quest for justice.
Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email? Or become so overwhelmed that you just unplugged from it all? In this funny, eye-opening, and inspiring film, Tiffany Shlain takes audiences on an exhilarating rollercoaster ride to discover what it means to be connected in the 21st century. Using a brilliant mix of animation, archival footage, and home movies, Shlain reveals the surprising ties that link us not only to the people we love but also to the world at large. A personal film with universal relevance, Connected explores how, after centuries of declaring our independence, it may be time for us to declare our interdependence instead.
The Miss India pageant is the ultimate glamour event in a country that has gone mad for beauty contests. Winning the coveted title means instant stardom, a lucrative career path and, for some girls, freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society. As the beauty contestants move through beauty boot camp, Director Nicha Pahuja travels to another corner of India to visit a different camp for young girls, the women’s wing of the militant fundamentalist movement. Through lectures and physical combat training, these girls learn what it means to be good Hindu women and how to fight against Islam, Christianity and the onslaught of Western culture.
AMERICAN PROMISE spans 12 years in the lives of two middle class black families as they navigate their family experience when they choose to send their two young sons to a prestigious Manhattan private school. With a sharp and merciless camera, filmmakers/parents Joe and Michele intimately document the struggles as these talented boys deal with stereotypes and identity issues, while their parents juggle high expectations against the social and cultural obstacles their sons face. Convinced that education is the key to success in the 21st century, these families make enormous sacrifices for an elite education. But will the rewards be there?
Casualties of war rage beyond the battlefield. As ranks of women in the American military swell, so do incidents of rape. An estimated 30 percent of servicewomen and at least 1 percent of servicemen are sexually assaulted during their enlistment, not by the enemy, but at the hands of fellow soldiers. With stark clarity and escalating revelations, The Invisible War exposes a rape epidemic in the armed forces, investigating the institutions that perpetuate it as well as its profound personal and social consequences.
GIRL RISING journeys around the globe to witness the strength of the human spirit and the power of education to change the world. Viewers get to know nine unforgettable girls living in the developing world: ordinary girls who confront tremendous challenges and overcome nearly impossible odds to pursue their dreams. Prize-winning authors put the girls’ remarkable stories into words, and renowned actors (including Meryl Streep and Salma Hayek) give them voice.
Redefining the traditional scope of documentary film in an electronic age, 65_RedRoses leaves viewers with a new appreciation of life and the digital world. This personal and touching journey takes an unflinching look into the lives of Eva Markvoort and her two online friends who are all battling cystic fibrosis. Unable to meet in person because of the spread of infections and super bugs, the girls have become each other’s lifelines through the Internet, providing unconditional love, support and understanding long after visiting hours are over.
A beautiful and deeply moving portrait of seven Palestinian and Israeli children. Emmy award-winning and Academy award-nominated, PROMISES follows the journey of a filmmaker who meets these children in and around Jerusalem, from a Palestinian refugee camp to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Although they live only 20 minutes apart, these children exist in completely separate worlds, divided by physical, historical and emotional boundaries. PROMISES explores the nature of these boundaries and tells the story of a few children who dared to cross the lines to meet their neighbors.
Ayed Morrar, an unlikely community organizer, unites Palestinians from all political factions and Israelis to save his village from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. Victory seems improbable until his 15-year-old daughter, Iltezam, launches a women’s contingent that quickly moves to the front lines. Struggling side by side, father and daughter unleash an inspiring, yet little-known, movement in the Occupied Palestinian Territories that is still gaining ground today. In an action-filled documentary chronicling this movement from its infancy, Budrus shines a light on people who choose nonviolence to confront a threat.
Big Data is defined as the real time collection, analyses, and visualization of vast amounts of information. In the hands of Data Scientists this raw information is fueling a revolution which many people believe may have as big an impact on humanity going forward as the Internet has over the past two decades. Its enabling us to sense, measure, and understand aspects of our existence in ways never before possible.
The Human Face of Big Data captures an extraordinary revolution sweeping, almost invisibly, through business, academia, government, healthcare, and everyday life.
The story of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion as seen through the eyes of oil executives, survivors and Gulf Coast residents who experienced it first-hand and then were left to pick up the pieces while the world moved on.
On April 20, 2010, communities throughout the Gulf Coast of the United States were devastated by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, a state-of-the-art, offshore oilrig operated by BP in the Gulf of Mexico. The blast killed 11 of 126 rig crewmembers and injured many more, setting off a fireball that was seen 35 miles away.
Louder Than A Bomb tells the story of four Chicago high school poetry teams as they prepare to compete in the world’s largest youth slam. By turns hopeful and heartbreaking, the film captures the turbulent lives of these unforgettable kids, exploring the ways writing shapes their world, and vice versa. Louder Than A Bomb is not about “high school poetry” as we often think of it. It’s about language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance.
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: how can we save our badly broken healthcare system? American healthcare costs are rising so rapidly that they could reach $4.2 trillion annually, roughly 20% of our gross domestic product, within ten years. We spend $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs – almost as much as the rest of the world combined. We pay more, yet our health outcomes are worse. About 65% of Americans are overweight and almost 75% of healthcare costs are spent on preventable diseases that are the major causes of disability and death in our society.
Sixteen years have passed since circus producer David Balding adopted Flora, the orphaned baby African elephant he lovingly raised as part of his family and made the star of his show. As Flora approaches adulthood, he realizes that she is not happy performing.
Ultimately, David must face the difficult truth that the circus is no place for Flora. She needs to be with other elephants. The road to Flora’s retirement, however, is a difficult and emotional journey that tests their bond in unexpected ways.
Across the USA, high school sports are regularly lavished with funding, publicity and scholarships, while theater departments struggle to put on the school musical hoping for some recognition of their own. Helping to settle the score are the “Freddy Awards,” a live television event that celebrates excellence in high school musical theater.
Illustrating that arts education encourages the same teamwork, camaraderie and confidence as sports, Most Valuable Players follows three theater troupes on their creative journeys to the elaborate award ceremony — the “Super Bowl” of high school musical theater.
Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda, Crash), in what The Washington Post calls an “artfully shot documentary,” La Source tells the uplifting story of Josue Lajuenesse, a Haitian Princeton janitor who returns to his country after the devastating 2010 earthquake to revive his lifelong dream to bring what is most fundamental to his village’s survival; clean water.
“We make the rules of the economy – and we have the power to change those rules.” – Robert Reich
A passionate argument on behalf of the middle class, INEQUALITY FOR ALL features Robert Reich – professor, best-selling author, and Clinton cabinet member – as he demonstrates how the widening income gap has a devastating impact on the American economy. The film is an intimate portrait of a man whose lifelong goal remains protecting those who are unable to protect themselves.
At 10 years old, Chico Colvard accidentally shot his older sister in the leg. This seemingly random act detonated a chain reaction that exposed unspeakable realities and shattered his family. Thirty years later, Colvard ruptures veils of secrecy and silence again. As he bravely visits his relatives, what unfolds is a personal film that’s as uncompromising, raw, and cathartic as any in the history of the medium.
From the Academy Award-nominated filmmaking team behind THE INVISIBLE WAR, comes a startling exposé of sexual assault on U.S. campuses, institutional cover-ups and the brutal social toll on victims and their families.
Weaving together verite footage and first-person testimonials, the film follows survivors as they pursue their education and legal justice, despite harsh retaliation, harassment, and pushback.
ONE DAY ON EARTH is the first film made in every country of the world on the same day. We see both the challenges and hopes of humanity from a diverse group of volunteer filmmakers assembled by a participatory media experiment. The world is greatly interconnected, enormous, perilous, and wonderful.
Abigail Disney’s directorial debut, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, follows the journey of an Evangelical minister trying to find the courage to preach about the growing toll of gun violence in America. The film tracks Reverend Rob Schenck, anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, who breaks with orthodoxy by questioning whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. Reverend Schenck is shocked and perplexed by the reactions of his long-time friends and colleagues who warn him away from this complex, politically explosive issue.
The West has positioned itself as the protagonist of development, giving rise to a vast multi-billion dollar poverty industry — the business of doing good has never been better. Yet the results have been mixed, in some cases even catastrophic, and leaders in the developing world are growing increasingly vocal in calling for change.
From TOMs Shoes to international adoptions, from solar panels to U.S. agricultural subsidies, the film challenges each of us to ask the tough question: Could I be part of the problem?
It’s human nature to lie; we all do it! From scandalous headlines to little white lies, (Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies explores the complex impact dishonesty has on our lives and everyday society. Interweaving groundbreaking experiments from celebrated behavioral economist Dan Ariely with personal stories from individuals affected by the unraveling of their lies, Ariely and a team of scientists uncover our propensity to be dishonest—sometimes even unknowingly. What’s revealed is a fascinating look at the forces behind our collective behavior and the many truths behind lies.
CODE exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap, raising the question: What would society gain from having more women and minorities in the tech industry, and how do we get there?
Tech jobs are growing three times faster than our colleges are producing computer science graduates. By 2020, there will be one million unfilled software engineering jobs in the USA.
On Black Friday 2012, four African-American teenagers stopped at a gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. One of them, Jordan Davis, argued with Michael Dunn, a white man parked beside them, over the volume of music playing in their car. The altercation turned to tragedy when Dunn fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Davis almost instantly. The seamlessly constructed, riveting documentary film 3 1⁄2 MINUTES, TEN BULLETS explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws by weaving Dunn’s trial with a chorus of citizen and pundit opinions, alongside the wrenching experiences of Jordan Davis’ parents.
There is more interest in food these days than ever, yet there is very little interest in the hands that pick it. Farmworkers, the foundation of our fresh food industry, are routinely abused and robbed of wages. In extreme cases they can be beaten, sexually harassed or even enslaved – all within the borders of the United States.
Food Chains reveals the human cost in our food supply and the complicity of large buyers of produce like fast food and supermarkets.
In this Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary, director Matthew Heineman and executive producer Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”, “Zero Dark Thirty”) gain unprecedented, on-the-ground access to the riveting stories of two modern-day vigilante groups and their shared enemy – the murderous Mexican drug cartels.
From her childhood bedroom in suburban Chicago, Ala’a, a 19-year-old American girl coordinates the revolution in Syria.
Armed with Facebook, Twitter, Skype and cameraphones, she helps her social network “on the ground” in Syria brave snipers and shelling in the streets to show the world the human rights atrocities of a dictator. But just because the world can see the violence doesn’t mean the world can help. As the revolution rages on, everyone in the network must decide what is the most effective way to fight a dictator: social media or AK-47s.
The dramatic story of one unforgettable athlete, Kevin Pearce; one eye-popping sport, snowboarding; and one explosive issue, Traumatic Brain Injury. A comeback story with a difference.
This visually arresting film seamlessly combines twenty years of stunning action footage with new specially-shot verité footage and interviews as it follows U.S. champion snowboarder Kevin Pearce and exposes the irresistible but potentially fatal appeal of extreme sports.
A provocative tale of ego, exploitation and lust for power, GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF shines a light on the Church of Scientology, how they attract true believers, and the things they do in the name of religion.
Following the HBO documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God,” his investigation into sex abuse in the Catholic Church, Academy Award®-winning director Alex Gibney (HBO’s “Taxi to the Dark Side”) turns his gaze to Scientology in GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF, based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright.
Michael Haas has played war video games since he was 5. At 19 he is employed by the US AirForce as a drone pilot.
This is the new warfare: Young gamers recruited to operate drones through their computers to kill real people 7000 miles away. This is not science fiction but today’s reality and the big investment of the future: Robot war. As technology expands at an unprecedented rate we are part of an experiment that changes our wars and possibly our world. DRONE gives crucial context and new perspectives that reveal crucial secrets of the CIA drone war and asks where we are headed.
U.S. abortion clinics are fighting to survive. Since 2010, hundreds of laws regulating abortion clinics have been passed by conservative state legislatures, particularly in the south. These restrictions, known as TRAP laws (or Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers) are spreading across America.
Faced with increased costs of compliance and the alarming fear of violence from protestors, the stakes for the women and men on the frontlines couldn’t be any higher. As the battle heads to the U.S. Supreme Court, TRAPPED follows the struggles of the clinic workers and lawyers fighting to keep abortion safe and legal for millions of American women.