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5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/3/14)

5 Netflix Streaming Titles You May Not Know Are Available & May Want to Check Out (9/3/14)

As usual…. To reiterate a suggestion I previously made, if you’re a filmmaker/producer/distributor reading this, and your film is streaming on Netflix, please let me know. Netflix unfortunately doesn’t have what I feel should be a more efficient search/sort method, and it can be quite a chore trying to find something worth watching. So, help me out if you can.

The same goes for non-filmmakers. If you stumble across any titles that you think should be featured in this weekly series, let me know!

But as usual… These aren’t necessarily recommendations. Consider the list more of an FYI – films and TV shows we’ve talked about on this site, at one time or another, that are now streaming on Netflix, that you might want to check out for yourselves.

Without further ado, here is this week’s list of 5:

1 – The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster (aka the BP Oil Spill), is officially registered as one of the worst oil spill disasters in an unfortunately rather lengthy history of similar devastating occurrences all over the world; The people who live in the Niger delta, for example, are just one ongoing example of a population that has had to live with resulting environmental catastrophes for decades. Their story has been documented on film more than a few times – films that were highlighted on this blog.

The Deepwater BP Oil Spill takes center stage in this specific case, in Louisiana native Nailah Jefferson’s feature documentary, “Vanishing Pearls” – a 2014 Slamdance Film Festival selection.
An all-too familiar David vs Goliath story, the film follows the battle between the multinational oil and gas company, BP, and a 300-person Louisiana Gulf community dependent on oyster fishing, in a region where the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened, where more than 200 million gallons of crude oil was pumped into the Gulf of Mexico for a total of 87 days, making it the biggest oil spill in U.S. history. Many thousand total miles of coastline were affected, including the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, and even though the well was capped in July 2010, oil is still washing up on shores, which might cause long-term damage to people living in the area.

The initial oil rig explosion killed 11 people and injured 17 others, and over 8,000 animals (birds, turtles, mammals) were reported dead just 6 months after the spill, including many that are already on the endangered species list. 

Over 30,000 people responded to the spill, working to clean up the coast, take care of animals and perform various other duties. 

As of 2012, the Gulf was still polluted with oil.

Nailah Jefferson’s film (also her directorial debut), which should act as a propogator of information on a situation that many may still not know about, was picked up and released earlier this year by ARRAY, the multi-platform distribution label of the

African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM).

Watch a trailer for the film below:

2 – Kino Lorber released Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch’s “Les Chevaux De Dieu” (“Horses of God”) which premiered at Cannes 2012, and was Morocco’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film consideration at the Academy Awards last year (although it didn’t make the short list of 5 nominees). 

The film is loosely based on the terrorist attacks that took place in Casablanca on May 13, 2003. Ayouch was shocked by these attacks that were committed by a group of kids from a neighborhood that he knew very well, and with this film, he wanted to essentially humanize the suicide bombers, and show that they themselves are/were also victims.

Last October, as we reported, Jonathan Demme attached his name to the film, hoping to help its Oscar chances, but also to ensure that it’s distributed in the USA. One out of two ain’t bad, now that Kino has picked up the film, although a release date has yet to be set.

Demme’s interest in the film begun after he met the filmmaker, Ayouch, at the Marrakesh Film Festival in December 2012, where it screened. 

”Horses Of God is simply one of the very most powerful pictures that I have ever seen… Extraordinarily gripping and moving, the cinematic style is really breathtaking. I can’t remember being so blown away by the marriage of visuals and storytelling since the first time I saw Marty Scorsese’s Mean Streets and Bertolucci’s The Conformist way back then,” shared an enthusiastic Demme.

The film was reviewed very well after its Cannes 2012 debut, although its POV (showing that the suicide bombers were victims themselves) might have been what (in part) kept American distributors away over the last 20 months.

Ayouch is currently working on his follow-up to “God’s Horses,” which will be a sci-fi film about how the Arab world will look fifty years from now, which he describes as a major project and a “futuristic fresco of Arab society.” 

Watch a couple of clips from “God’s Horses” below:

3 – French actor Omar Sy’s first post-“Intouchables” release, titled “De l’autre côté du périph,” or “On The Other Side Of The Tracks,” was releasedd by The Weinstein Company earlier this year, in a limited theatrical release.

Already the toast of France, Sy, who relocated to LA, and signed with UTA earlier this year, is ready to take on Hollywood, with “Intouchables” already released Stateside, and generally well-received, and now, with his follow-up project, also attracting USA distribution.

As a recap, “On The Other Side Of The Tracks” is another inter-racial buddy pairing for Sy, except, this time, instead of a wealthy white quadraplegic and a street-smart poor black man, “On The Other Side Of The Tracks” features Omar Sy playing one-half of a starring duo of cops from opposite sides of the tracks (as the title says), who must come together to solve a murder.

The film’s synopsis reads: “David Charhon’s On The Other Side of the Tracks stars Sy as a street-wise police cop based in a rough Parisian suburb who joins forces with an uptight officer from an elite, central Paris crime squad to solve the murder of a prominent businessman’s wife.”

Starring opposite Omar Sy is Laurent Lafitte. 

The film’s trailer is embedded below:

4 – The first project from CNN’s recently launched CNN Films – created to secure feature-length documentaries for air on CNN and CNN International, alongside theatrical distribution, as part of a wider strategy to acquire original non-fiction content to complement CNN’s news programs – titled “Girl Rising,” directed by  Academy Award-nominated director Richard Robbins (“Operation Homecoming”), tells the story of several girls fighting tough odds to achieve their dreams. It follows 9 girls in 9 countries striving beyond circumstance and overcoming nearly insurmountable odds to achieve their dreams, and features voiceovers by Kerry Washington, Selena Gomez, Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway and will air in spring 2013.

The 9 girls whose stories are featured in the film are: Wadley in Haiti; Yasmin in Egypt; Asmera in Ethiopia;  Mariama in Sierra Leone; Suma in Nepal; Ruksana in India; Senna in Peru; Sokha in Cambodia; and Amina in Afghanistan.

Here’s a preview of “Girl Rising”:

5 – The entire first (and likely only season of) FOX’s reboot of “Cosmos,” the late Carl Sagan’s iconic exploration of the universe as revealed by science, which is hosted by renowned African American astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, is now available for streaming on Netflix.

From one science geek to another, you’ll love it as much as I did. It’s also great to see a black astrophysicist in Neil deGrasse Tyson, who clearly he loves his job, which helps, host the franchise reboot. It infectious. He’s engaging enough.

The 13-part docu-series aspires to awaken a global audience to the wonders of the universe, as revealed by the awesome power of the scientific perspective. 

The new “Cosmos” features animated sequences with guest voices from producer Seth MacFarlane and an array of other talent, weaving rigorous science with visual, emotional and spiritual elements.

One of the world’s most beloved science series, the original “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage” was a watershed moment in nonfiction television, when it premiered in 1980. For 33 years, the series has remained in ongoing worldwide distribution, seen by more than 750 million people in more than 175 countries. In the United States, the series was the most highly-rated public television series at its time of broadcast, and held that record for a decade. It was also the recipient of three primetime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award.

Big shoes for Neil deGrasse Tyson to fill.

Watch a preview below:

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