Since February 2019, millions of Algerians have demonstrated against the government. They first took to the streets to demand more democracy and protest the renewed candidacy of former authoritarian president Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The COVID-19 pandemic may have brought the Algerian protest movement “Hirak” to a premature end in March 2020, and even though Bouteflika withdrew his candidacy, its demands are still far from being met. Opponents of the government still say their country is a long way from genuine democracy and is at the same time plagued by corruption, economic mismanagement and military interference in politics.
This documentary follows five young Algerians who are all taking part in the protests. They tell viewers why they are challenging Algeria’s powerful elites and describe what they want for their country. Their stories are about hope and resignation, as well as the open question of their futures in Algeria.
Jaguars roam the rainforests of South America silently and well camouflaged. But their habitat is dwindling and ranchers see them as a threat. Yet two brothers are fighting misconceptions and want to project them.
For 500 years, Transylvania’s Gábor people have held onto their values and rituals. This film explores the insular world of the Gábor Roma, and asks whether they can maintain their traditional lives in a globalized world. The Romanian village of Karácsonyfalva is the center of the Gábor Roma community. More than 1,000 Gábor live there.
The men wear large black hats, the women long skirts. The men travel all over Europe as traders, while the women raise the children. Most Gábor belong to the Adventist denomination. Many only learned to read in order to study the Bible. Abstaining from pork and above all from alcohol and tobacco makes them targets of curiosity. Considered aristocratic among the Roma people, the Gábor have their own laws in all areas of life. Problems are solved within the community; in cases of conflict, even the police turn to the community leaders.
Their biggest and most important celebration is the wedding, the foundation of their society. Gábor marry exclusively among themselves. For this reason, girls are removed from school at age 11 and married at 14. Boys move from organized education to the “school of life” at 14. This documentary follows the marriage of 14-year-old Mundra to 16-year-old Bobbi, while giving a portrait of their families and the wider community. For the first time, they share an insight into their exciting, colorful, contradictory and insular world, in which wealth and poverty collide. This is a tight-knit community, one caught between tradition and the pressures of modernity.
Remember the first COVID-19 vaccine jabs? They gave us hope that life might return to what it was before the pandemic. If we could only get enough people vaccinated. But some of the nations leading the world in vaccinations are still struggling with the coronavirus.
Thilafushi, an island of floating rubbish island in the Maldives, grows by a square meter a day. But diving instructor Shaahina Ali is trying to slow that growth by recycling and using floating barriers to hold back the rising seas.
For decades, the Maldives simply dumped the trash the tourists and the island country’s 400 thousand residents generated. Yet Shaahina Ali says that has to stop. Almost every day, the diving instructor and her allies go from island to island in the Indian Ocean. Working with an environmental organization, they have obtained trash compactors that make plastic waste transportable, allowing it to be shipped abroad for recycling. Ali also advocates avoiding disposable plastic. She gives lectures, advises hotel managers and even bends the ear of the Maldives’ president himself.
When she has time, Shaahina Ali goes scuba diving. Beneath the waves she sees environmental degradation – dying corals and fish caught up in plastic waste. She says, “We can’t afford to address just one problem. We’ve got to take care of everything at once because everything is connected to the sea.” But the island paradise is not only threatened by rubbish. Climate change is also causing the sea levels to rise, and the Maldives are at risk of sinking beneath the water.
That’s why conservationists are using floating barriers made of recycled plastic to help prevent flooding. In addition to the environmental group “Parley for the Oceans,” Ali has also won politicians to her cause. Last year saw a democratic change of government in the Maldives. “The new government no longer views environmentalists as annoying troublemakers. They see us as partners instead,” Ali says. But those trying to save the island are in a race against time. “If we don’t succeed,” says Shaahina Ali, “far more than a vacation paradise will be lost. We will lose our homeland.”
Water is fundamental to life, yet it’s also a scarce commodity. In many cases, greed and mismanagement are causing this life-giving essential to run dry. What happens when water is monetized? From Australia to California, from New York to London and Brussels, this investigative documentary tells the story of the global struggle over water.
Following rushes to secure gold and oil, the age of the water rush is now here. As well as growing populations and expanding agriculture, there are the problems of environmental degradation and climate change. Global demand for water is skyrocketing. By 2050, at least one in four people will live in a country with a chronic water shortage. The situation has awakened the greed of giant financial institutions, which are going on the offensive, investing billions in the sector. Goldman Sachs, HSBC, UBS, Allianz, Deutsche Bank and BNP are among those pouncing on the commodity known as “blue gold.”
But can fresh water really be considered a commodity on par with oil, coal or wheat? Should the players in these markets – banks and investment funds – be allowed to bet on the value of water? Will concern for profits undermine water’s essential function? Or should this precious resource be declared off-limits to financial speculators? A battle has broken out between those who advocate the monetization of water, and those who defend it as a human right. It’s a battle being fought on many fronts: ideological, political, environmental and, of course, economic. And the fate of the nearly ten billion inhabitants of our planet hinges on its outcome.
The world’s major powers agree: the resources of Antarctica should be exploited peacefully. They have promised to promote peace and scientific research in Antarctica, and to protect its environment. But is this spirit real, or just a lot of talk?
This documentary features interviews with researchers, activists, diplomats, and military personnel from Spain, Russia, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, and the United States. There’s been much debate over how to share control of resources in Antarctica, which is the world’s oldest ecosystem. Critics say that behind the scenes, a game of high-stakes poker is underway. Could this competition end in armed conflict? Or will Antarctica serve as a model for peaceful international cooperation? This film addresses these complicated issues with in-depth analysis, accompanied by magnificent images of the Antarctic landscape. The documentary’s soundtrack was composed by Javier Weyler, former drummer of the Welsh rock band, the Stereophonics.
The Arctic is one of the most fascinating regions on our planet, and one of the most threatened. Two film crews explore its spectacular wilderness in a two-part documentary. Part one takes viewers from Norway’s Svalbard archipelago to Siberia. The region around the North Pole is one of the greatest and least-known wildernesses in the world, and it’s rapidly changing due to global warming.
The retreat of Arctic sea ice can be observed everywhere along the Arctic Circle, presenting those who live there with dramatic changes. This documentary takes viewers on a journey through the Arctic circle and explores those changes. It begins in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, a place to see one of nature’s most spectacular displays — the northern lights. With the ice retreating, cruise ships can now travel further north than was previously possible. This places a strain on the fragile ecosystem.
But more visitors may also mean more awareness about the risks that face the region, and more motivation to protect the Arctic. But as if often the case, protecting nature in the Arctic is at odds with economic interests. Russia, in particular, is keen to sell Arctic fossil fuels to the rest of world. The film next takes viewers to the gas-rich Yamal Peninsula in northwestern Siberia, where the Russian company Novatek has built the northernmost industrial facility on the globe.
Further East in Yakutia, two noises fill the air: the relentless buzzing of mosquitoes that infest the Siberian tundra in summer, and the steady dripping of the thawing permafrost on the banks of the Kolyma River. The film’s journey ends in Chukotka in the northeast of Russia, a region closer to Alaska than to the Russian capital Moscow.