Fall 2010 Film Series
This film series, which was sponsored by the Sustainability Committee at Susquehanna, presented sustainability issues in a modern, engaging manner and encouraged university faculty, staff and students as well as local community members to engage in dialogue about these issues.
“In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.
Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.”
The End of Suburbia
“Since World War II North Americans have invested much of their newfound wealth in suburbia. It has promised a sense of space, affordability, family life and upward mobility. As the population of suburban sprawl has exploded in the past 50 years, so too has the suburban way of life become embedded in the American consciousness. Suburbia, and all it promises, has become the American Dream.
But as we enter the 21st century, serious questions are beginning to emerge about the sustainability of this way of life. With brutal honesty and a touch of irony, The End of Suburbia explores the American Way of Life and its prospects as the planet approaches a critical era, as global demand for fossil fuels begins to outstrip supply. World Oil Peak and the inevitable decline of fossil fuels are upon us now, some scientists and policy makers argue in this documentary.
The consequences of inaction in the face of this global crisis are enormous. What does Oil Peak mean for North America? As energy prices skyrocket in the coming years, how will the populations of suburbia react to the collapse of their dream? Are today's suburbs destined to become the slums of tomorrow? And what can be done NOW, individually and collectively, to avoid The End of Suburbia?”
“Carbon Nation is a documentary film about climate change solutions. Even if you doubt the severity of the impact of climate change or just don't buy it at all, this is still a compelling and relevant film that illustrates how solutions to climate change also address other social, economic and national security issues. We meet a host of entertaining and endearing characters along the way.”
No Impact Man
“Follow the Manhattan-based Beavan family as they abandon their high consumption 5th Avenue lifestyle and try to live a year while making no net environmental impact.”
“Multinational coffee companies now rule our shopping malls and supermarkets and dominate the industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil. But while we continue to pay for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many have been forced to abandon their coffee fields.
Nowhere is this paradox more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela is one man on a mission to save his 74,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price.
Against the backdrop of Tadesse's journey to London and Seattle, the enormous power of the multinational players that dominate the world's coffee trade becomes apparent. New York commodity traders, the international coffee exchanges, and the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organization reveal the many challenges Tadesse faces in his quest for a long term solution for his farmers.”
Addicted to Plastic
“Addicted to Plastic is a point-of-view style documentary that encompasses three years of filming in 12 countries on five continents, including two trips to the middle of the Pacific Ocean where plastic debris accumulates. The film details plastic's path over the last 100 years and provides a wealth of expert interviews on practical and cutting edge solutions to recycling, toxicity and biodegradability. These solutions—which include plastic made from plants—will provide viewers with a new perspective about our future with plastic.”
“dirt!—directed and produced by Bill Benenson and Gene Rosow—takes you inside the wonders of the soil. It tells the story of Earth's most valuable and underappreciated source of fertility—from its miraculous beginning to its crippling degradation.”
Buyer Be Fair
“Buyer Be Fair looks at two major trade goods—timber and coffee—to find out how certification works and whether it helps the world's poor, and their lands. Can the lessons from certification of timber, by the Forest Stewardship Council, and coffee, by Fair Trade, be applied to other products?
Buyer Be Fair takes viewers to Mexico, the Netherlands, the U.K., Sweden, the U.S. and Canada, where compelling stories and characters raise and answer these questions in a powerful documentary that explores new ways to make globalization work for all of us.”
The End of the Line
“The End of the Line delves beyond the surface of the seas to reveal a troubling truth beneath: an ocean increasingly empty of fish, destroyed by decades of overexploitation.
The film argues that unless we demand political action from governments, responsible menu selections from restaurateurs as well as changing our own consumption habits, we could see the end of wild fish by mid-century.”
What’s On Your Plate?
“What's On Your Plate? is a witty and provocative documentary about kids and food politics. Over the course of one year, the film follows two eleven-year-old multiracial city kids as they explore their place in the food chain. Sadie and Safiyah talk to food activists, farmers, and storekeepers, as they address questions regarding the origin of the food they eat, how it's cultivated, and how many miles it travels from farm to fork.”
“Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century—the world water crisis.
Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.
Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question "Can anyone really own water?"
Beyond identifying the problem, Flow also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.”
“In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the East Coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat—and how we farm.”
“Following up on their Peabody Award-winning documentary King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis have returned to Iowa with a new mission: to investigate the environmental impact their acre of corn has had on the people and places downstream.
In a journey that spans from the heartland to the Gulf of Mexico, Ian and Curt trade their combine for a canoe, and set out to see the big world their little acre of corn has touched. On their trip, flashbacks to the pesticides they sprayed, the fertilizers they injected, and the soil they plowed now lead to new questions, explored by new experts in new places. Half of Iowa's topsoil, they learn, has been washed out to sea. Fertilizer runoff has spawned a hypoxic 'dead zone' in the Gulf. And back at their acre, the herbicides they used are blamed for a cancer cluster that reaches all too close to home.
A lively investigation and a worthy follow-up, Big River grows to ask is industrial agriculture worth its hidden costs?”
“In the misty folds of the Appalachian mountains lies Pigeonroost Hollow, in Blair, West Virginia. With its narrow creek and crawdads, its wild ginseng and raccoons, Pigeonroost looks as it might have a century ago -- a woody haven tucked away from time and technology. But for how long? And at what price?
In May 1998, Arch Coal Inc. announced it would expand its Dal-Tex strip mine just above the small town of Blair. But lifetime residents said too many had already been bought out or chased away by the giant mine, and that Arch Coal's planned expansion was the final threat to their once-tranquil way of life. Forty families—where there were once 300—stayed in Blair.
Razing Appalachia is the story of their remarkable fight—against the second-largest coal company in America, against the know-nothing state political leaders and, unhappily, against the 400 union miners whose jobs were on the line.”