All posts filed under: Documentary

Watch “Earthlings”

After years of avoidance, I finally watched Earthlings.  If you haven’t heard of it, Earthlings (dir. Shaun Monson, 2005) is an animal rights documentary that’s inspired countless viewers to re-think their relationship with animals, capitalism, and the world at large. The film, which is narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, is broken into five parts covering the use of animals as pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and test subjects. Even as someone who’s knowledgeable about animal abuse, I was utterly shocked by what I saw happening to the animals in this film. It’s certainly not easy to watch, but it’s necessary viewing for those who don’t wish to blindly engage in the exploitation of people and animals. I’d like to note that this film does compare the horrors of human slavery and genocide to our treatment of animals, which I don’t personally support. The oppression of humans and other animals is certainly connected, but I think it’s only appropriate to let the victims and ancestors of those atrocities draw such conclusions. Please watch Earthlings with an open mind and a willingness to acknowledge that our …

Why I’m Vegan

Why are you vegan? I’m asked this question all the time and the full answer is far too complicated for me to answer succinctly. Instead, I tackle the interrogation with a simple answer – “for the environment, animals, and my health” – but the truth is there’s far more to it. Sometimes my response is enough, but more curious folks will press further. How is being vegan better for the environment? But aren’t dairy cows treated well? So where do you get your protein? In such moments, I wish I had a packet I could give them and say “read over this and that’s your answer.” Although realistically I can’t walk around with copies of a document highlighting the facts that informed my decision to go vegan, I can share one digitally. So here’s my web-based Why I’m Vegan fact sheet for those who are curious and for vegans who need a reminder of why they made changes to their lifestyle. Let’s start with one of my favorite facts: “Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 …

WATCH: “Wearing the Big Heart”

When I started Catch-all one of my intentions was to share short films by artists who I felt had something unique and important to say. I haven’t posted any such work in a long time, and I think Wearing the Big Heart by Tony Carter-Hill is a great place to start again. Carter-Hill’s film captures the Los Angeles Women’s March, showcasing the march’s complex mood while revealing remarkably intimate moments within an intense and massive public event. That day meant something very special to me, and I appreciate how Wearing the Big Heart paints the historic Women’s March with such vibrant images and sounds. Carter-Hill’s work is abstract, dynamic, rhythmic, and truly compelling. I was able to ask Tony about what that day meant to him. Here’s a bit of what he had to say: “As people began to walk with their banners held erect and in these colorful costumes, I became more inspired about filming. I thought about reproducing a feeling rather than a narrative, while keeping in mind consciousness and place, national identity, humanistic tendencies, …

Fast Fashion & “The True Cost”

The True Cost is one of those documentaries that everyone should watch, and then tell their friends and family to see too. I discovered the film after a friend told me it was necessary viewing, and I’m so grateful for her insistence. In order to be conscientious consumers, it’s imperative that we know where our clothes come from, who’s making it, and how they’re being treated. The True Cost examines the human rights, labor rights, and environmental impact of the garment industry, focusing on the horrific practices of fast fashion in particular. It’s also important to note that with women making up the majority of garment workers across the globe, this topic is a feminist issue as well. Before watching The True Cost I admittedly shopped at places like Zara and H&M because they offered affordable, cute clothing. But such low prices are the first sign that something is not ethically produced. Now I not only shop less (why do we need so much stuff?) but I buy second-hand and search for brands that are known to treat their employees well and embrace sustainable practices. Compared …

Watch “Hate Rising” with Jorge Ramos

I first heard about Univision anchor Jorge Ramos’ documentary, Hate Rising, from an interview on NPR that aired in the fall (listen to Jorge Ramos in Hate, Politics, and the Trump Effect, and To Make ‘Hate Rising,’ Jorge Ramos Spent Time with Hate Groups), but didn’t watch the film until after the election. Surely, seeing this documentary following November 8th had a different impact than it would have had if I had watched it earlier, and post-inauguration viewing will again produce a new meaning. In the film, Ramos explores the concerning rise in hate in the U.S., speaking with members of the KKK and the “Alt-Right” (a young, tech savvy version of the KKK), as well as those effected by their deplorable ideologies and actions. While Hate Rising is a particularly difficult documentary to watch, I believe it’s necessary in this current political climate to know exactly what we’re up against. And due to the administration’s recent executive orders on the border wall and immigration ban targeting Muslims, this film is more relevant now than ever. Please watch Hate Rising and share it …

The Best of Broadly

Today I wanted to post some of my favorite videos from Broadly’s YouTube channel. Broadly is a feminist offshoot of Vice, and it’s great source for interesting and informative women-centric content. From an interview with a trans porn star, to a piece on how women will suffer if Britain leaves the European Union – Broadly’s features are as diverse as those who contribute to the site and utilize it. Although I’ve only selected six videos to link below, all of Broadly’s short documentaries are worth watching, so be sure to check out their channel!  Radical Life of The First Lady of New York   This Cult Nail Artist Has the World at Her Fingertips   The Land Where Women Rule: Inside China’s Last Matriarchy   Inside the Weird World of an Islamic ‘Feminist’ Cult   The Land of No Men: Inside Kenya’s Women-Only Village   Virginie Despentes on Killing Rapists

Video of the Day: “Fighting For Flint”

The Flint, Michigan, water crisis is an immense tragedy that is largely underreported on a national level. What has happened in Flint is an abomination – so why haven’t we been hearing about it everyday on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News since the unearthing of this calamity? Why is this community being overlooked? In an interview on The Real, Russell Simmons discussed environmental racism and declared that the same sort of disaster would never happen in a place like Beverly Hills, and he’s absolutely right. Because Flint is largely impoverished, their plight has been systemically ignored. Please watch and share Fighting For Flint from Elite Daily, which features the stories of Flint citizens whose lives have been destroyed by this catastrophe. And if you are in the position to donate, please look into giving to the Flint Water Fund and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

5 Essential Food & Agriculture Docs on Netflix

I believe that it is immensely important that we know where our food comes from. Not only is it in our best interest, but it’s our right! These five documentaries listed below, which are all available on Netflix, provide a quality starting point for learning about food production and consumption in the U.S. Check them out and be sure to let me know about some of your favorite food and agriculture documentaries in the comment section below!   GMO OMG (dir. Jeremy Seifert, 2013) In GMO OMG father and filmmaker Jeremy Seifert investigates GMOs: what are they, what do we know about them, and how is our government involved with the protection of huge agricultural businesses such as Monsanto? Even if you know about GMO’s and steer clear of them already, Seifert’s critical examination of GMO’s and “big ag” is interesting and powerful. And his kids are super cute!   Food Inc. (dir. Robert Kenner, 2008) I think of Food Inc. as the ultimate documentary about food in the United States. From plant-agriculture, to factory farming, big ag, fast food, organic farming, politics, animal welfare, health, poverty, …

“Under The Gun” – Examining the Gun Debate

Last week I had the chance to attend the Los Angeles premiere of Under the Gun, directed by Stephanie Soechtig and executive produced by Katie Couric. The film examines America’s complex gun problem, from Sandy Hook to the streets of Chicago, and takes aim at the gun show loophole and the country’s most powerful lobby, the National Rifle Association. Although the documentary certainly leans left, the film also gives a voice to gun advocates who hold their right to bear arms dearly. Under the Gun concludes with a positive outlook and a common thread: though we may disagree about guns, we’re (mostly) in agreement that they should stay out of the wrong hands. On January 8th, 2011 my Congressional Representative, Gabby Giffords, and 18 others were shot at a grocery store in Tucson, AZ. Six people died. Every Tucsonan was devastated, and the memory of that day will always remain with me. Under the Gun begins in Tucson with Gabby, who is alive, but dealing with the effects of her brain injury every day. She is a fighter and an …

Gender & Representation

A couple of years ago I stumbled across Miss Representation on Netflix, and after reading the film’s description, I decided to give it a watch. The documentary, which examines how women are represented in the media, is a must see for all. I credit the film for solidifying my interest in studying how representation (or rather misrepresentation or lack there of) in media both reflects and shapes our society. I’d argue that media has the ability to inform and influence change more than anything in our culture. And because of the impact of images in film and television, media makers have a special responsibility to be conscious of their influence and power. Now on Netflix is a new documentary from The Representation Project, The Mask You Live In, which analyzes American masculinity and the mounting pressures of manhood. I had the chance to watch this documentary with my boyfriend, and afterwards, as we often do when we watch a film together, we debriefed. It was especially insightful to hear his stories of bullying, the pressure to “be a man”, and the complexity of male …