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.

BLACK DIAMOND: FOOL’S GOLD

It’s an old story with a perverse new twist. Before, it was known as the transatlantic slave trade. Today, it’s just called business.
This is the compelling story of the international web of speculation and trafficking in African boys, under the guise of international football.
Every African boy dreams of being scouted for a Western club. Football means a way out of poverty for their entire families: a passport to a new life. But most of the boys are simply pawns in a cynical game governed by self-interest and money. Tricked out of thousands of euros, they end up abandoned in foreign countries. We travel from the slums of Accra and Abidjan to the petro-dollar sports temples of Arab potentates and unravel the networks ensnaring these African boys. Directed by Pascale Lamche.

Sons of the Land

Between 400 and 800 French farmers commit suicide every year. In 1999, the father of director Edouard Bergeon became one of them. Decades later, Bergeon returns to his roots in Southwest France to follow the Itards, a family of farmers, for 14 months. Their story provides a microcosm of the crisis engulfing farmers across Europe today. While telling their story, Bergoen tells his own. Directed by Edouard Bergeon.

Low Carbon: The Economics of Climate Change

The Earth is warming, oil reserves are running out, our way of life is unsustainable. For years, environmentalists have been lecturing us to reduce our carbon footprint or suffer the consequences. A survey commissioned by the British government concluded that climate change will account for a 5 to 20% loss in Gross World Product within the next 30 years. But reducing our use of carbon doesn’t have to mean a rejection of capitalism or turning our backs on the niceties of modern life. From driving electric cars to producing ethanol from waste products, controlling carbon change is in fact creating new economic opportunities. In the words of Jeremy Rifkin, author of “The Hydrogen Economy”, a move to a low carbon economy is ‘the biggest extension of capitalism in history, empowering people’. One of the countries leading the way is Spain. From utilizing solar and wind energy to thoughtful government schemes promoting the use of bikes, Spain is embracing the challenges of climate change. What can be learned from their example? We investigate. DIRECTORS: PEDRO BARBADILLO

Keep on Rolling

In just over a century, cars have completely transformed our way of life. In many areas, cars are prioritised over people. 62% of urban space is now devoted to roads or car parks and garages are often larger than children’s rooms. Devoting so much public space to the least efficient form of transport has also changed the way we interact with our environment. Children go out much less and watch much more tv. This film examines the implications of our love affair with the car. Directed by Oscar Clemente.

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.

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.

Collective Moments of Madness

Five international travelers (3 French, 1 British and 1 Australian) set out on an epic journey, to be the first people to take Bactrian camels from the towering heights of the Himalayas down to Rajasthan and the famous Pushkar camel fair. When two of the camels die, the travelers are blamed for the deaths their camels, in the local media and the BBC. Threatened with charges of animal cruelty, police prosecution and mob justice, the group is forced into hiding.

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.