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.

A Hard Rain

This is a documentary that had to be made! Twice Academy award nominee and five times AFI winner David Bradbury’s latest contribution, A Hard Rain, explores the ‘other side’ of the nuclear debate.

Governments and most mainstream media are promoting that nuclear is now an attractive alternative to fossil fuels – the magic fix that will save us all from global warming. Nuclear power has taken on a clean and green spin from the low point 20 years ago which saw the Chernobyl meltdown.

Traversing five countries – China, France, UK, Japan and Australia, and using what Bradbury learnt from his previous three nuclear documentaries (Public Enemy Number One, Jabiluka and Blowin’ in the Wind), A Hard Rain takes a closer look at the global nuclear industry in its entirety – from the mining of uranium through to the nuclear power plant to the radioactive waste and weapons manufacturing. It exposes the hidden agendas behind this latest push for Australia to go nuclear.

Included are interviews with some of the world’s top scientists and environmentalists on the subject such as Dr Rosalie Bertell from Canada, Dr Chris Busby from the UK, and from Australia, Dr Mark Diesendorf (Ex CSIRO) from the Environmental Institute at the University of NSW, Prof. Ian Lowe, President of the Australian Conservation Foundation, and Dr Gavin Mudd from the Monash University Engineering Department.

Interviews with traditional owners who have been locked out of genuine consultation with what is happening on their country is also included in this film.

By looking at the experience of countries overseas that have gone nuclear, A Hard Rain debunks some of the myths of the nuclear industry: that nuclear is safe, cheap, health and green with little chance of another Chernobyl happening.

If you want vital and factual information to debate the issue intelligently and overthrow the myths that the nuclear and pro uranium mining lobby has so successfully implanted in the media, in the government and the Labor Party, then this documentary is a must see.

Jabiluka

The struggle of the Mirrar Aboriginal people against the Jabiluka uranium mine, in the Northern Territory…. Jabiluka is about us, blackfellas, whitefellas together… and our belief in the future of our nation…

Currently Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) is pushing to open a new uranium mine that is surrounded by the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park. The traditional Aboriginal owners have told the company and the government that they do not want this mine. They are concerned about its effects on their country and culture. Environment groups and many others are also working to stop Jabiluka and other new uranium mines.

Many Australians are asking how can we threaten the cultural and environmental values of our most famous world heritage listed national park… Kakadu? How can we put at risk the culture and the lives of the indigenous people of Kakadu with a new uranium mine at Jabiluka?

The Federal Government of Australia, the government of the Northern Territory, mining company Energy Resources of Australia (ERA) and the Northern Land Council all want uranium mining to go ahead at Jabiluka… but the Mirrar people are saying ‘No’.

Since the Ranger mine at Jabiru was given approval in 1978 Mirrar opposition to the proposed Jabiluka mine has strengthened… 19 years on. Living and social conditions amongst Kakadu’s indigenous population have worsened and the people are deeply concerned about the impact of mining on their lives and the unknown consequences of storing crushed and pulverised radioactive wastes on their land.

In the culture of the Mirrar. Jabiluka is so sacred not even traditional owner Yvonne Margarula can speak about it. And yet knowing this the Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill has given the green light to the Jabiluka mine… despite the negative findings of a Social Impact Study and warnings from his own departmental bureaucrats that the mining company’s Environmental Impact Statement was deficient in key areas.

Jabiluka is the first of 26 proposed new uranium mines the Howard Government has before it for approval. In this important new film twice Academy Award nominated director David Bradbury captures the controversy over Jabiluka.

The Jabiluka mine will be underground, below the flood plain in an area infamous for it’s big wet season… and beside Kakadu’s famous wetland. ERA plans to clear a mine site and bulldoze a road 22.5 kilometres long to truck the ore to the Ranger mine where it will be processed into yellowcake and then exported.

ERA’s Philip Shirvington (CEO sees management of the mine as a simple matter a job they do well: ‘We don’t add any radioactivity to what’s already there naturally.’ he says. But ‘not so’ say the traditional owners, scientists and environmentalists… who are concerned that the tailings will remain radioactive for the next 250.000 years.

The film Jabiluka clearly shows how the Mirrar were given no choice over the Ranger mine, how they were caught in a misleading process to consent to a lease over Jabiluka… and how today they are resisting those same pressures to allow mining to proceed.

The story of Jabiluka is also significant because it raises questions about the real value of ‘Land Rights’… the Mirrar people now own their land but are wondering whether that actually means anything. On December 16 as part of her steadfast campaign Yvonne Margarula will take her case to the Federal Court of Australia to prevent the Federal Government granting ERA approval to export uranium from Jabiluka.

She must continue the fight first taken up by her father Toby Gangale… for the right of her people to live in harmony with 40,000 years of cultural tradition. “We know we own the country” she says. “We know. We born the country, and we live the country. It is our country… black country… not white country.”

In 1978 Professor Manning Clark visited the ‘Top End’ and was left with an enduring impression of its abundant cultural treasures, of its pristine wetlands and majestic escarpments. Following that visit he stated clearly his opposition to mining Kakadu.

“It would be an evil day in the history of this country if the white man once again showed the black man that nothing else mattered except material grandeur.

Is it too much to hope that the natural paradise of Kakadu National Park might be a setting not so much for a human paradise but at least a place where the white man and the black man can at last live in harmony with each other?”

Another Life

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Africans risk their lives trying to get into Europe. This is their story. We follow a convoy of young migrants. First came the hopes and idealism of the journey’s start. They were going to be the lucky ones who overcome all the odds to build a new life in Europe. Next came the growing comprehension of just what they had undertaken. The loss of their money in bribes to corrupt officials. The dried-out bodies of other migrants in the desert – a constant reminder of what would happen to them if they ran out of water. Then came the hell of Libya’s internment camps. The squalid conditions and beatings. And finally, the bitter knowledge that they are simply pawns, to be used and abused by every authority they encounter. And the sickening realisation that they have lost the biggest gamble of their lives. DIRECTOR: ALEXANDRE DEREIMS.

When the Dust Settles

When the Dust Settles combines comedy and serious content to explain the dangers of uranium mining, the nuclear fuel cycle and the use of depleted nuclear materials – much of which originates in Australian uranium mines – in weapons production. It is presented on location at the Olympic Dam and Ranger uranium mines and Roxby Downs, by veteran Australian actor, and former electrician, Tony Barry. Academy Award nominee and internationally-respected Australian filmmaker, David Bradbury, of Frontline Films, was director. Other participants include Canadian nun, Dr Rosalie Bertell (who led an international team into Chernobyl), Dr Helen Caldicott (paediatrician and high-profile anti-nuclear campaigner), Dr Peter Karamoskos (nuclear radiologist and specialist in the health effects of radiation, including low level radiation), and a representative of the uranium mining industry. The film is based around a family, the Sparkies – played by Austen Tayshus, Mandy Nolan, Zoe Hutchence and Dylan Bradbury – who consider taking the big money on offer for electricians in the uranium mining industry until their son confronts them with the health and environmental risks.

Living in a Minefield

Cambodia is one of the most heavily landmined countries in the world. In many rural areas, virtually all the fields and forest are full of mines. After her husband was killed, An Vi and her eight daughters were left with no choice but to risk their lives cultivating a mine-infested plot of land. “I just dig very shallow and don’t dare to hack,” Vi explains. “If there are deep mines then maybe we won’t reach them”. This is their story. Directed by Marit Gjertsen.

Underhand Tactics: High Frequency Trading

Most of us have never heard of high-frequency trading. Yet, many experts predict that the next financial crisis will be caused by this new practice, invented by Wall Street. Thousands of computers are interconnected, buying and selling thousands of market shares every micro-second, with no human control or regulation. We delve into a mad financing world dominated by machines, or rather, by elaborate algorithms carefully developed by mathematicians. The ultimate goal? To reach maximum profit within a few seconds. But sometimes, software breaks down and creates, what experts call a “flash crack,” an instantaneous market collapse. We investigate the job of speed traders and expose the often shocking methods they use to reach their goals.

Squeezed Like Lemons: Italy in Crisis

The economic crisis and consequences of the strict austerity policies have hit the Italian people hard. Tax offices are being occupied while business people are taking their own lives in despair. We document the current mood in Italy from the point of view of those whose existence is threatened by this crisis. Giorgia Frasacco, 33, is determined to save her family’s company from bankruptcy after her father killed himself. In her spare time, she runs a support group for the families of business people who, like her father, committed suicide in the last months. Franca Stefani, 37, has been unemployed for over a year and is trying to raise her six year old daughter on 250€ a month while Piero Lospi, 47, recently lost his job. He struggles to adapt to this new reality and feels he has lost his dignity, social recognition and the sense of having a useful role in society. Finally, Gian Luca Brambilla, 50, runs a consulting business specialising in cutting costs in big companies. His problem is not getting work but being paid and his clients owe him almost an entire year’s turnover. We follow our protagonists for several month, interweaving their stories.

Secrecy

In a single recent year the U.S. classified about five times the number of pages added to the Library of Congress. We live in a world where the production of secret knowledge dwarfs the production of open knowledge. Depending on whom you ask, government secrecy is either the key to victory in our struggle against terrorism, or our Achilles heel. But is so much secrecy a bad thing?
Secrecy saves: counter-terrorist intelligence officers recall with fury how a newspaper article describing National Security Agency abilities directly led to the loss of information that could have avoided the terrorist killing of 241 soldiers in Beirut late in October 1983.
Secrecy corrupts. From extraordinary rendition to warrant-less wiretaps and Abu Ghraib, we have learned that, under the veil of classification, even our leaders can give in to dangerous impulses.
This film is about the vast, invisible world of government secrecy. By focusing on classified secrets, the government’s ability to put information out of sight if it would harm national security, Secrecy explores the tensions between our safety as a nation, and our ability to function as a democracy.

Uranium – Is It a Country?

This documentary visits Australia to explore the mining, processing and environmental effects of uranium. It answers questions like; “Where does uranium go?” and, “What is left behind after uranium is mined?”. An interesting look at the direct environmental and social cost of nuclear power, as uranium must come from somewhere.