Tag: Jon Shenk

Audrie & Daisy

August 23rd, 2016 — 8:19pm

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 9.40.05 AM***

Audrie & Daisy-sp

Every high school student and probably many preteens and their parents/grandparents and close family members should see this documentary film. The husband and wife filmmaking team of Bonnie Cohen and Jon Shenk mainly focuses on the lives of three teenage girls and their families who lived in different parts of the country but had similar experiences. This involves teenagers sending naked pictures through the internet, alcohol, parties, rape, and subsequent humiliations. In the case of one girl there was a fatal outcome. Part of the film is seen through the eyes of two of the boys who carried out the attacks on one girl who was 14 years old at the time and apparently unconscious from drinking.

It would appear that neither the parents of teenagers coming of age nor the teachers, school system, or even the criminal justice system seem adequately prepared to deal with this emerging tragic social phenomenon. It is being fueled by a changing Internet which is best understood by the young people of today some of whom end up hurt and damaged by it. Not only does the Internet provide readily available pornography but it also becomes a vehicle for girls responding to requests from boys for nude pictures of themselves, as a badge of popularity. The result and changes in sexual standards are enhanced by readily available alcohol and marijuana. This film shows caring parents who may have thought they were sophisticated about sexual issues in their children but found out that they were basically clueless.

The majority of people who were experiencing some of the tragic sexual consequences demonstrated in this film would understandably be reluctant to publicly describe their plight. Therefore it is a great accomplishment for the filmmakers that they were able to find some brave young women and their families who were willing to speak up and are motivated to action in order to prevent similar tragedies for others. We also meet the very thoughtful brother of one of the rape victims who not only reflected on how he felt but also what he is motivated to do to address this problem.

We could find some faults with the continuity of the storyline and the abrupt changes and locations. We would have also liked to have seen a better examination of the legal issues which are an important part of the story. However there is enough in this documentary film to be a “game changer” in this crucial issue concerning the destructive use of the Internet in our country. Netflix is now onboard with this film and should greatly facilitate its distribution. It opens up September 23rd in Los Angeles and New York. It should also be available soon for home screen viewing. We also understand that there is a roll-out plan for schools to use it with backup educational material. (2016)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary

The Island President

March 27th, 2012 — 7:10pm


The Island President- sp – The producers gave this documentary film the tagline, “Can This Man Save the World “. In the Indian Ocean there are a series of small islands called the Maldives with a population of about 400,000. It is the lowest lying country in the world with literally no hills. There are some large building on at least one of the islands but the main industry is tourism with beautiful beaches and high-end hotels. Since 1978 the country had been under the iron rule of President Maaumoon  Abdul Gayoom who was able to harshly suppress any opposition to his ruling party. One of the leaders of the opposition was Mohamed Nasheed who was thrown into jail and spent 18 months in solitary confinement. Eventually a new constitution was established in 2008 which allowed the country’s first multi-party presidential election which elected Mohamed Nasheed as President. This documentary is about this man and how he became a world wide symbol for environmental reform. Nasheed made it his mission to make the world aware of how his country is seriously threatened with extinction if global warming continues and if the water line rises another three feet, which it is on track to do. He made the case that eventually much of the world,  even New York City will be threatened by the rising water which comes with carbon emissions and global warming. Despite opposition by developing countries such as China which feels it needs to use fossil fuels  to continue its growth, Nasheed  carried on an amazing, almost one man, campaign at the all important 2010 Copenhagen World Wide Environmental Conference attended by important representatives from most of the world nations including Secretary of State Hilary Clinton . This film used a very creative and effective approach by following this passionate, very likeable sincere man who pleaded individually and at the plenary sessions to save his country and save the world. In the end, while he couldn’t get full agreement on the exact number to which  carbon emissions should be reduced over a period of time, he got members of this conference for the first time sign a document agreeing to reductions . The emotion of this accomplishment was quite palpable as the viewers felt close to this remarkable man as we followed him throughout his non-stop activities with a musical backdrop effectively provided by 14 songs from Radiohead and some other music by Stars of the Lid. The film was directed and photographed by Jon Shenk and Samuel Goldwyn Films picked it up for distribution. You come away from this movie quite informed and feeling good. It is scheduled for release at the end of March and  President Mohamed Nasheed was supposed to help promote this movie in the US and elsewhere which would allow him continue to crusade for the environment. Unfortunately, a month before the scheduled release there was a coup d’edat in the Maldives and Nasheed was forced to resign and was thrown in jail again. The situation there is evolving and the “ end cards “ for the film are constantly being revised as the political situation changes day by day.(2012)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary

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