Documentaries are stories – hopefully important stories. Documentary films are some of the most popular films on networks such as Netflix and Canada’s CBC.
In late April, in Toronto, the world of documentary films comes together as part of the Hot Docs Festival.
My next guest is showcasing one of these important stories: The Daughter Tree. It is a film that explores the aftermath of a cultural preference for baby boys in the interior of India. The film is seen through the eyes of two people: of a midwife who advocates for baby girls as well as a man who lives in the Village of Men where a girl as not been born in over 20 years.
Please welcome to the show: writer, producer, and director Rama Rau.
I was going to call the title of this blog post: How professional football got away with murder. This is how emotional and powerful this story is.
Based on real life events, Concussion is the story of how Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith) discovers a neurological deterioration that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease while conducting an autopsy on former NFL football player Mike Webster (played by David Morse). Dr. Omalu names the disorder chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and co-publishes his findings in a medical journal. As other football players face the same diagnosis, the doctor begins a mission to raise public awareness about the dangers of football-related head trauma.
As the movie states, football players know that football is dangerous. They know they can break their leg playing the game. They may even get a concussion. However, the movie suggests that the NFL hid from the players the one thing they didn’t know could happen to them: That the repeated head trauma would lead to former football players literally losing control of their minds and body.
There are better writers than I who have written about this issue. Here’s one such article from USA Today that is well worth the read. It’s titled, “The chilling first script of ‘Concussion’ is everything the NFL doesn’t want you to see.”
Read the book, see the movie. It will change the way you watch NFL football.
Over the holidays millions of people went to the theatre multiple times to see one film: Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, there are at least two movies that are more important (at least here in North America).
One of them is the movie adapted from Michael Lewis’ book of the same name: The Big Short. According to IMDB, The Big Short is about “Four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.” However, it’s much more than that. This is, of course, a true story. Millions of people in North America and around the world lost jobs, their homes and their entire life savings.
In an interview with Variety, movie director and screenwriter Adam McKay said this when asked how the banking world has reacted to the film,
It started when we were filming. We’d book a location and then be told, “No, no, they pulled the plug. The husband’s a banker” or “the wife’s dad is a huge banker.” At first it was little prickly things like that. And then as the film opened in a limited run (on Dec. 11), there were six or seven op-ed pieces in the world of economics and finance, crossfire arguments. The Wall Street Journal reviewer liked the film but an op-ed piece took a swipe at us, then Paul Krugman responded to the Journal piece, then Forbes responded to Krugman, then a Libertarian columnist really liked this movie. … It’s encouraging. We made this movie to get the conversation going. Even in the last few Q&As, there’s been — well, I’d say a little arguing, but not yelling. It’s a good sign. This movie was designed to stir the pot. And even more than financial people, I’m glad that “regular” people are talking about it. What’s amazing about this story is that it’s still happening.
Go see this movie. Not only is it important but it is also entertaining.