A quick recap…
BBC Storyville, working with more than 70 broadcasters around the world, hosted a debate, via documentary film, about contemporary poverty titled Why Poverty? – a set of 8 ground-breaking international documentaries that screened in November in 180 countries, that explored why, in the 21st century, 1 billion people still live in poverty.
From a behind-the-scenes look at Bob Geldof and Bono’s 30-year campaign, and the moving story of illiterate women becoming solar engineers, to films exploring the impact of multinationals in Zambia, and the privatisation of education in China, and much more, the series gives expression to a diverse range of voices from around the world with the intent to kickstart a new debate about contemporary poverty.
In the last week of November 2012 more than 70 broadcasters throughout the world, covering more than 180 countries joined in putting poverty firmly on the global agenda. The films reached around 500-800 million people worldwide.
By the way, the initiative announcement came the day after the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which fell on October 17th.
The compelling list of 8 documentary films follows below. And underneath the list, you'll find a YouTube player with all 8 films, back-to-back in a playlist, within a single player (the films have all been made available on line, so you can watch them all in full now, if you missed their TV broadcasts):
Welcome To The World puts the spotlight on birth and infant mortality around the world. One hundred and thirty million babies are born each year, but the circumstances – and place – of their birth will determine how they live – and for how long. Brian Hill (Songbirds, Feltham Sings, The Not Dead) travels from the UK to America, Cambodia and Sierra Leone in search of the stories surrounding birth around the world.
Solar Mamas by filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief, follows the remarkable story of Jordanian mother-of-four Rafea, who overcomes the objections of her patriarchal husband to train as a solar engineer at India’s Barefoot College. Along with 27 other mothers and grandmothers from poor communities around the world – many of whom are illiterate – she learns the skills needed to bring light to her beleaguered village.
Give Us The Money (dir. Bosse Lindquist) takes an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at 30 years of Bob Geldof and Bono’s campaign to make poverty history. Their campaign has made them icons of aid, but what impact has it really had on Africa?
Park Avenue: Money, Power and The American Dream focuses on the residents of 740 Park Avenue – the plushest apartment building in Manhattan and home to generations of high-rolling Wall Streeters. Two kilometres to the north is another Park Avenue in the South Bronx, where life prospects are less good for those stuck at the bottom of the American pile. Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney looks at inequality in the US through the prism of these two, near-adjacent places.
Stealing Africa follows investigative reporter and filmmaker Christopher Gulbrandsen, as he travels to Zambia to look at why one of the most mineral-rich countries in Africa is also one of the most economically poor. What role does a multinational corporation play in this?
Education! Education! explores the privatisation of the Chinese education system which sees many of the country’s poorest children studying at low-standard private colleges. Will they end up joining the ‘ant tribe’ – the two million graduates each year who have no jobs? The fate of a generation of educated young is now acknowledged to be among the greatest social problems, and Weijun Chen’s film shines a unique light on the question of whether education really can help forge a route out of poverty.
Poor Us – An Animated History of Poverty looks back at the changing attitudes to poverty throughout history. Beginning in the Neolithic Age, Ben Lewis’s film, narrated by actor Shaun Parkes, takes us through the changing world of poverty.
Land Rush looks at food security and the rush for arable land as vast tracks of the developing world are bought up or leased by multi-national agribusiness. Hugo Berkeley and Osvalde Lewat’s film follows a collection of investors and developers as they attempt to find a new, more inclusive model of development in Mali. But what impact will this have on the lives of the local farmers?