Upcoming documentary “Vessel” follows the experiences of Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician who founded Women on Waves, which brings contraception and safe abortion services to women in countries with few reproductive rights. Gomberts felt the need to take action for women whose control of their own bodies are prohibited by their nation’s government, often at the expense of their own health. She’d heard of one too many illegal abortion leading to a woman’s death, so she set sail with a mobile health clinic to help as many as she could. Since Gomberts’ organization travels by boat, she is governed by the laws that oversee international waters instead, making abortion and other reproductive health procedures legal on board. The documentary is available on video January 13th, and it looks nothing short of powerful.
We’ve all seen wizards playing quidditch on broomsticks in the “Harry Potter” films, but these days, quidditch is a very real sport on college campuses across the world. The new documentary “Mudbloods” explores the root of the sport’s growth from a fantasy on a book page to a real-life hobby with its own World Cup. In the film, we meet quidditch heroes like Alex Benepe, commissioner of the International Quidditch Association, Tom Marks, the lovable captain of the UCLA quidditch team, and Katie Aiani, a “Harry Potter” super fan. As viewers follow the UCLA team on their journey to the World Cup, we learn that quidditch is about so much more than athletics. Quidditch has created an earnest, inclusive community that encourages fans of all stripes to join in on the fun – the kind of people that we all wish we could be friends with. Whether you’re an epic “Harry Potter” fan or just love a good underdog story, you’ll fall in love with these big-hearted players. After the jump, my discussion with director Farzad Sangari and Ali Cottong, one of the UCLA quidditch players featured in the film.
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New HBO documentary “Private Violence” follows the experiences of Deanna Walters, a mom who was beaten by her estranged husband until she was close to death, and Kit Gruelle, the survivors’ advocate who helps Walters fight for justice. Walters and Gruelle weave their way through a complicated legal system and Walters finds that the law is often stacked against abuse victims. Film director Cynthia Hill told the Huffington Post that she made the film to help people understand that leaving an abusive partner is not always a simple option.
“We don’t understand this issue as a society. We all think domestic violence is bad, but we tend to still push it behind closed doors — it makes us uncomfortable. When the lights come up and someone finishes watching this film, if they don’t ask why doesn’t she just leave,’ then I feel like I’ve done my job. That’s the first step of finding other, better questions to ask…When one person believes in you, it makes a powerful difference.”
The movie premieres on HBO Monday night at 9 p.m. Considering the disheartening public response to domestic violence struggles like the one between Ray Rice and Janay Palmer, this is the exact kind of film this country needs to see more of. [HuffPost]
Quidditch isn’t just played in “Harry Potter” — it’s become a real-life sport on college campuses all over the U.S. “Mudbloods,” a documentary hitting limited theaters and On Demand in October, will explore the intense subculture that compels people to run around on a field with a broom between their legs at a competitive level. The filmmakers will follow the determined UCLA Quidditch team as they try to make it to the Quidditch World Cup (an actual thing!) in New York City. From the looks of it, quidditch is tough, and the players’ happy attitudes are what get them through. The movie looks totally intriguing and oddly inspirational. [io9]
You may remember Australian mom Taryn Brumfitt from the unconventional “before and after” photos she released in 2013, which showcased her transition from an ultra-fit body-building physique to an equally beautiful post-baby body. The images went viral, and in the months since then, Brumfitt was inspired to create a documentary, “Embrace,” that encourages women to love their bodies as much as she loves hers — because like many others, the shift to self-acceptance wasn’t easy for Brumfitt. This trailer really strikes a cord, especially because Brumfitt’s honesty about her tough road to loving herself is much more relatable than the simplistic “everyone is beautiful!” rhetoric that puts responsibility on us to somehow magically ignore the constant barrage of advertising and entertainment that tells us otherwise. Keep reading »
Truth be told, the last 10 months of my life have been pretty difficult. I’m talking sucky… Real craptastic…. A fucking turd parade. In nearly every area of my life—personal or professional—nothing’s been going my way. Sure, I have my health and all my basic needs are accommodated blah blah blah, but I’m not ashamed to say I’ve been the hostess of many-a pity party thrown in my honor.
So when I curl up on the couch, sporting the pajamas I’ve been wearing non-stop for the past three days and momentarily pausing to think how long it’s been since I’ve taken a shower or talk to a real human being, I like to put something on the television that’s going to be comforting. Soothing, even. Something that’ll make me feel just a centimeter better about my stupid, no-good, very bad life—and that, my friends, is usually a documentary about unsolved murders, substance abuse, undiscovered pedophilia and/or other light-hearted areas of interest. Keep reading »