Desert Riders

Thousands of children, some as young as two, were trafficked to work as camel jockeys in the Middle East. At the training schools, they were starved, injected with hormones and physically abused. Many died. Even more never returned. Even though the use of children as camel jockeys has now been banned, many suspect the practice is still continuing. We hear the stories of the children whose lives have been marred forever by their experiences. DIRECTOR: VIC SARIN/ PRODUCER: filmblanc.

Cambodia: The Virginity Trade

thumb_thumb_thumb_virgin-tradeIn Asia there is a line of thought that having sex with a virgin will bestow health, vitality and luck. Virginity cannot be faked, and moreover, there is no risk of contracting HIV. This creates a social demand for young girls that poor families all to often fall prey to. The Virginity Trade follows the story of a 13-year-old girl from the Cambodian countryside that can be sold on the sex market for anywhere up to US $1,200. What’s worse, once their virginity is gone these girls are sold on to brothels across Cambodia or over the border in Thailand. In these brothels the young girls are at risk of disease, and if by chance they manage to escape they are subject to social scorn, rejection from her family, and in some cases, imprisonment. Through intimate and revealing interviews, men explain why sex with virgins is so important to them. We hear the stories of those whose lives have been ruined by the virginity trade, and speak to politicians, the police and representatives from NGOs. Can anything be done to end the plight of these girls?

Since I was Born

Tamer is 11 and has grown up in the only home he knows–the Palestinian refugee camp behind the Israeli security wall. Life is oppressive and the people here have been boxed in for over two generations. Tamer’s father Nader was a resistance fighter who tries to protect his son from the horrors of the war and the dangers in the settlement camp. Like all children there he dreams of liberating his country, and to travel to the sea to be free. The Meditarrean Sea is only 40 kms away but virtually impossible for Palestinans to reach without security permits. Nader tries again and again over many years to take his son to see the ocean, and in this tender and revealing documentary the plight of the Palestinians themselves is embodied in the hopes and dreams of young Tamer, and the disillusionment and scarring of his father Nader. Poignant, lyrical and cinematic, this film will move and delight you.

Miss South Pacific

What does a beauty pageant in Suva, Fiji have to do with climate change? Quite a lot, as it turns out. ‘Miss South Pacific: Beauty and the Sea’ is a short documentary film about the 2009-2010 Miss South Pacific Pageant that brought contestants, or Queens, to Suva, Fiji to address issues of rising sea levels, and the salt water intrusion that is destroying their land, crops, and drinking water, and in some cases has resulted in the relocation of entire villages from their native homes. Is it too late to turn back the tide? Watch Miss South Pacific and find out what these beautiful and intelligent women are saying about the issues.

Losing Layla

Vanessa is nearing forty and decides she wants to have a baby. Her boyfriend Michael isn’t enthusiastic about it, but he agrees to help conceive a child. After some time, Vanessa is elated to find herself pregnant and excitedly awaits the baby’s birth. After a difficult labor, the baby is delivered by Caesarean and found to have breathing problems. Eight hours after birth, the baby, named Layla, dies and Vanessa and Michael mourn her loss and try to celebrate her brief life

The Man Who Stole My Mothers Face

Hope Road is a quiet jacaranda-lined street in a white middle-class suburb in Johannesburg, South Africa. Two days before Christmas in 1988, a 59-year-old woman is sexually assaulted and savagely beaten in her home by a young white teenager.

Fourteen years on, the woman has still not recovered from this assault. The police bungled the investigation, the neighbours disputed her version of events and her son blamed her for letting the perpetrator into her house.

The teenager, identified from a school photograph, was never charged and remains a free man. The woman’s daughter is film-maker Cathy Henkel, and the film is her search for some form of justice and whatever it takes to help her mother heal and move on from this trauma.

The journey takes her back to Johannesburg, city of her birth, to confront the past and the present climate of violence. The police re-open the case, but they run into numerous obstacles and the film-maker has to take matters into her own hands. What she discovers and the answers she brings back for her mother form the climax of this compelling, and ultimately uplifting.

Doni doni – soon you will be artists.

In Koumana village Bangali, Moussa, Dati and Omori Camara are learning the traditional music of Hamanah people: the Strong Men, by master Nankhoria Amadou Keita.

Step by step they will learn the secrets of Hamanah tradition. Yakhouba Dabo, a young percussionist from Conakry, reaches Koumana during his travel in search of traditional rhythms where he meets the four children. Their destinies meeting is the cross between village and city, where tradition and modernity weaves together.

Daisy Bitch

“Daisy Bitch” is the stage name of a young Israeli drag queen named Eli Abergel. The film documents Eli’s life for two years, enters his personal world behind the costumes and make-up, and turns into a psychological journey which reveals his unique and complex relationship with his conservative Jewish mother, Jacqueline. Coming to terms with her son’s strange lifestyle leads to a turning point in their lives. A huge gap exist between Eli’s two worlds: on the one hand, the world of the homo-lesbian community in Tel Aviv and on the other, living as an IDF solider in a low socio-economic, conservative family from a suburban proletarian town. The conflict that emerges from within this impossible combination reaches its climax at the end of the film.

The Kids Britain Doesn’t Want

Every year, thousands of children come from all over the world to Britain seeking refuge from persecution, terrorism and war. But many arrive to find this country is not the place of safety that they hoped. Instead they are met by a culture of disbelief and an asylum system that in some cases causes them profound psychological and physical harm.

Through the stories of a 10-year-old Iranian boy, a 16-year-old Afghan and a 22-year-old Ugandan woman this revealing film explores the experiences of young people who have been brutalized by the British asylum system. This is the story of the kids Britain doesn’t want.