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Docs For Schools 2019

D: Hans Pool | Netherlands | 2018 | 88 min

The citizen journalists at Bellingcat.com use open source investigative tools to test the limits of seemingly ironclad international news stories. Who are the white nationalists leading violent attacks in Charlottesville? Was it a Russian missile that took down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17? When and where was a Syrian bombing video actually recorded? These “truth seekers” take high risks from their unimposing living rooms, diving headfirst into mountains of dangerous detail to identify culprits, geolocate atrocities and verify accuracy. Determining fact, fiction or fake news means solving mysteries and exposing myths. Go behind the scenes to witness how this volunteer collective became a thorn in the side of governments the world over. Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-Truth World lifts the veil on journalism, puts the audience in the anchor’s chair and gives new meaning to the phrase “breaking news.” Nataleah Hunter-Young

D: John Maloof, Charlie Siskel | USA | 2013 | 83 min

This intriguing documentary shuttles from New York to France to Chicago as it traces the life story of the late Vivian Maier, a career nanny whose previously unknown cache of 100,000 photographs has earned her a posthumous reputation as one of America’s most accomplished street photographers.

D: Laura Nix | USA | 2018 | 52 min

With the planet facing multiple environmental threats, brilliant young minds from around the world are working on innovative solutions to stave off crises in their communities. The brightest of these students have one destination in mind to showcase their work: the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest high school science competition. These students represent the hope and ingenuity of a burgeoning generation; winning the competition may be their immediate goal, but changing the world for the better is the ultimate prize.

D: David Hambridge | USA, Kenya | 2019 | 79 min

A devastatingly emotional and intimate portrait of extinction, Kifaru follows two Kenyan rangers at Ol Pejeta Conservancy as they protect and care for Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros. Over four years, Jojo and James experience the joy and heartbreak of conservation firsthand as their charge’s health deteriorates. By allowing the viewer to witness annihilation in real time, the emptiness, finality and weight of losing a sub-species of one of the world’s oldest land mammals takes root. Poaching led to this rhino population’s extermination and it’s clear that “extinction is the definition of human extremes of greed.” So how do we end avarice and humankind’s cruel mistreatment of other living things? Sudan’s death on March 19, 2018 should be the impetus for drastic change, but with three other rhinoceros species critically endangered and bans on the trade of rhino horns lifting, will his legacy be lost or made legendary? Angie Driscoll

D: Rachel Lears | USA | 2019 | 85 min

A young woman from the Bronx working hard to make money as a bartender. A Virginian coal miner’s daughter who has personally seen how pollutants have devastating impacts on health. A nurse from St. Louis who tended to the wounded from the Ferguson riots. A mom from Nevada who lost her daughter after a hospital wouldn’t treat her brain clot due to a lack of health insurance. Four women from different parts of America have seen their respective communities struggle, and instead of sitting idly by, they vow to take action by running for Congress. Through the early days of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign to races all across a fiercely divided United States, we witness a band of determined women and their supporters, all fighting to make sure the voices of those who have been underrepresented and marginalized can finally be heard. Gabor Pertic

D: Heather Lenz| USA | 2018 | 76 min

Exploring artist Yayoi Kusama’s journey from a conservative upbringing in Japan to her brush with fame in America during the 1960s and concluding with the international fame she has finally achieved within the art world. A rival of Andy Warhol, Kusama battled sexism and racism in America while her hallucinations of polka dots eventually led her to the Tokyo mental institution. Without connections and speaking only broken English, she devoted herself to her one true love, making art.

D: Hassan Fazili | USA, Qatar, UK, Canada | 2018 | 87 min

Afghan filmmaker Hassan Fazili directed a film about the Taliban­ – in March 2015, the Taliban put a bounty on his head. After 14 months of asylum applications and waiting for protection, Fazili, his wife and two daughters are forced to make the long journey from Afghanistan to Europe. Refugee stories are often told by outsiders, but Midnight Traveler is a powerful first-person account, with each family member picking up the camera over several years. Fazili stitches together the heart-warming intimacy between a husband and wife caught in a dire situation, while revealing one of life’s great treasures: family belonging. The miraculous story of the Fazili family is the kind of testament to compassion and empathy that validates why we create, present and watch documentary film. Ravi Srinivasan

D: Lily Zepeda | USA | 2019 | 87 min

Winner—Scotiabank Docs For Schools Student Choice Award

The global sanitation crisis finds an unlikely and eccentric hero in 60-year-old Singaporean Jack Sim, also known as Mr. Toilet. By blending a lighthearted sense of humour with some compelling and unnerving statistics, he cuts through the cultural taboos of a topic that tends to make people uncomfortable. That discomfort, however, comes at a deadly cost. Nearly a third of the world’s population is put at risk by lack of access to proper sanitation, be it unsafe outdoor conditions or improper sewage systems. While Jack’s efforts are on a global scale, a major part of his advocacy is focused on India, where 200,000 children die each year from poor sanitation and women are assaulted in public spaces for lack of private bathrooms. Mr. Toilet faces large corporate fights and thinning resources, but his sense of fun and fervour reveal a determined hero that the world needs more than ever. Gabor Pertic

D: Penny Lane | USA | 2018 | 23 min

An animated documentary about the legendary journalist who changed the game for women in reporting before women even had the right to vote. The film also examines the boundaries between reporting and storytelling.

D: Ian Cheney, Martha Shane | USA | 2019 | 84 min

Starting out as a limited set of simple icons, emojis have now ballooned into a pop culture phenomenon, appearing in films,

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