~Refugee uses ballet to create a message of peace~
Half a year ago, ballet dancer Ahmad Joudeh was giving dance lessons to orphaned children in war-torn Damascus. Now he has made his debut at the Dutch National Ballet and is studying at the ballet academy in Amsterdam.
“It took me a month to fully realize I really am in Amsterdam, and I still can’t believe my luck,” Joudeh says.
For years, as the war raged around him and his family, Joudeh – a stateless Palestinian in Syria – had tried to make ends meet by teaching, and had received death threats from Islamic State. When the summons to do three years of military service arrived, the 26-year-old began to believe that this was going to be the end of the dream that he had cradled from childhood.
But his life changed radically in August 2016 when a Dutch TV journalist made a documentary about him.
I do not own this image.
No intention of taking credit.
If anyone knows the owner of any, please advise and it will be corrected immediately.
Joudeh not only struggled to survive as a dancer during the Syrian war: he also fought a tough, private war to realize his dream.
“My father forbid me to dance,” he says. “Because in our culture, to be a ballet dancer is the worst thing your son can choose to do for a living. He said it was a shame for the family and wanted me to study English or medicine. But I said no, this is my life. I went to dance class secretly. When he found out, he beat me with a wooden stick. He used to beat me really hard. Once he hurt my leg so badly, I couldn’t dance for days. But I never gave in.
Denise is a sought after speaker on the subject of identity, an entrepreneur, and an experienced internet marketer. She has built and managed large direct marketing sales teams, and led the sponsorship departments for House of Blues and high visibility Denver-based sporting events. She has been passionate about sharing (ñ) Stories and bringing the concept of (ñ) into the mainstream American consciousness since she first realized she was an (ñ) in her mid-twenties.
In addition to her work on the film, Soler Cox is a regular blog contributor to Huffington Post Latino and a syndicated content provider for AOL.com.
She has been featured on a diverse array of media including CNN Money, NBC News, Fox News Latino and Telemundo.
Henry Ansbacher is a four-time Emmy Award winner and Academy Award Nominee for producing films and television series that raise awareness and motivates change around a social or cultural issue.
His films have been broadcast on HBO, the BBC, PBS and on leading networks around the world.
Lady Gaga has turned out some powerful performances recently, but she saved her best for the Oscars.
Gaga wrote the Oscar-nominated “Til It Happens to You” for The Hunting Ground, a harrowing documentary about sexual assault on college campuses. The singer has been actively and passionately involved in raising awareness for the issue, and has been open about how she, too, is a survivor of rape.
With studies indicating that 16-20% of women are sexually assaulted while attending college in the United States, more and more survivors are speaking about their experiences. As colleges strive to protect their brands and financial stability, assault victims often experience cover-ups by campus officials and police, but survivors continue to pursue their education and fight for changes in campus policies.
“Til It Happens to You” is a song produced and performed by American singer Lady Gaga. She co-wrote the song with Diane Warren for the 2015 documentary film The Hunting Ground, which deals with campus rape in the United States. The song had leaked onto the Internet through an unofficial recording made at the film’s premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. It was later released by Interscope Records to digital retailers on September 18, 2015.
The director and producer of the film had looked for someone influential to write a song for it, and music supervisor Bonnie Greenberg contacted Warren who was interested. After writing the song, Warren asked Gaga to record “Til It Happens to You“. Producer Nile Rodgers accompanied them during the recording, providing his suggestions.
A universal song about any kind of loss in life, the track was placed during two sequences in the film, highlighting the pain of sexual assault. The song consists of an orchestral production with strings, and an emotional vocal delivery from Gaga. Lyrically it asks listeners to stand in a victim’s position and try to understand the turmoil they go through. “Til It Happens to You” was later included as part of a public service announcement video directed by Catherine Hardwicke. The video depicts various instances of violence against women and sexual assaults. It ends with a cautionary note about the effects of such distress, and individuals finding solace with their close friends and relatives.
Gaga appeared from behind a frame and sitting at a piano.
She dramatically delivered the ballad that built up as a string orchestra joined in. The performance climactically ended with a group of sexual assault survivors surrounding Gaga at the piano with the words “Not Your Fault” written on their arms. Both Gaga and Warren are survivors of sexual assault.
Gaga, a first-time Academy Award nominee, performed at the Oscars last year during a 50th anniversary tribute to The Sound of Music. Over the last month, she has sung the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 and paid tribute to David Bowie at the Grammy Awards. She is working with Warren on songs for her as-yet-untitled fifth studio album.
The Empowerment Project is the incredible journey of a crew of female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions.
Driving over 7,000 miles from Los Angeles to New York over the course of 30 days, the documentary spotlights 17 positive and powerful women leaders across a variety of lifestyles and industries.
In celebration of the all-female focus in front of and behind the camera, the filmmakers turned the cameras on themselves, capturing their transformational journey.
The film challenges the audience to ask themselves,
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid to fail?”
This is a very special project, close to our hearts, as they are going to do amazing things in the life of many young American women.
The documentary features some incredible pioneer women from a range of different industries such as aviation, medical, entertainment, fashion, sport, law, food and a superstar Ballerina. All the women interviewed are at the top of their game, and furthermore are committed to making a change for many other young women who will come after them.
Many of them have come up against person and societal hardship, but their stories will inspire all of us that difficulties aren’t intended to make us fail, but force us to become strong!
And while we’re on the topic of amazing women, the documentary’s two executive producers, Sarah Moshman and Dana Cook just won their very first Emmy Award for a previous documentary they made called ‘Growing Up Strong: Girls On The Run‘.
Amy Robach with The Empowerment Project filmmakers Sarah Moshman and Dana Michelle Cook
This is an organization which the two are personally very involved in, and also featured the founder, Molly Barker in The Empowerment Project. It seems everything has come full circle for this dynamic duo.
Below is a clip of Jane Goodall taken from the film HUMAN, a documentary by Yann Arthus-Bertrand which examines the question of what it means to be human and live on planet Earth.
For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Jane Goodall is one of the world’s most prominent and popular primatologists, ethologists, anthropologists, and environmental activists. In the clip below, she shares some indispensable words of wisdom — wisdom that we must listen to carefully if our species is to move forward and thrive.
“If you really want something, you have to be prepared to work very hard, take advantage of opportunity, and above all never give up.”
The quote above is one example of the multiple points Jane makes in the video that really resonated with me. She expresses her wish that she had more time to do and to see all the things she would like, to connect with all the people she would like to meet, and I think that sense of desperation is something we can all relate to as we age. It’s important to take advantage of the time we have, right now, because we never know how much longer we have left in this life.
She also, of course, touches on animal rights, arguing that “we’re not the only beings with personalities, and minds capable of reasoning, and certainly not the only beings with emotions like happiness, sadness, fear, despair. Nor are we the only beings capable of giving and receiving love.”
Goodall and Monsanto
Finally, she touches upon the biggest problem facing environmentalists today, and that is the difficulty of fighting the power of money:
“Because there’s absolutely no question. There are people in government, who truly agree when I talk with them, they agree that this mine shouldn’t go ahead, or that damn shouldn’t be built, or Monsanto shouldn’t be allowed to test its seeds here. It’s corruption really, the might of money, the corporations that hold governments in their hands, because of lobbying power and so forth, it’s really frightening.”
These are powerful words, and the truth is, the corporations that dictate governmental policy (and the methods by which they do this) are indeed frightening, as Goodall states. Governments and politicians are simply used as puppets to push along what many academics and politicians call “the invisible government.”
Monsanto is one of these corporations.
Fortunately, the story of Monsanto has shifted in recent years, and is becoming a shining example of the power we can wield when we come together for a common cause. Just a few short years ago, you would have been considered a conspiracy theorist for suggesting that GMO’s are or could be harmful to human health.
Today, dozens upon dozens of countries have completely banned them, or at least placed severe restrictions on them, and this is all due to awareness The latest example occurred a couple of months ago, with 19 countries in Europe completely banning them due to environmental and health concerns. You can learn more about these concerns here.
On the occasion of the Climate Conference held in Paris in December 2015, Yann Arthus-Bertrand and Jane Goodall organized a sale to the profit of the Jane Goodall Institute Thursday 10th of the December at Arthus-Bertrand Workshop, 15 rue de Seine, in the presence of Jane and Yann.
Jane Goodall is a primatologist, ethologist and anthropologist.
She is the first to have observed and reported that chimpanzees use tools for feeding, deeply transforming the human-animal relationships. Today, Jane is committed to the crucial mission of alerting the public about the dangers our planet is exposed to and of changing individual behavior towards a greater awareness of our environment.
The inspiring story of 18-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is being told in a new documentary, “He Named Me Malala.”
Directed by the award-winning Davis Guggenheim, the documentary follows Malala from her early years as a girls’ education advocate in Pakistan through the assassination attempt of the then 15 year old by the Taliban in 2012 to her work today as a world famous champion for girls’ rights around the world. The film, which will be released in October, acts as a companion to “I Am Malala”, the memoir that Malala published last year.
As the name of the film suggests, Malala’s father’s, Ziauddin Yousafzai, choice of name for his daughter held deep significance — and almost eerie portents of the future.
The original Malala was a legendary heroine in Afghanistan’s Battle of Maiwand in 1880.
“This girl, this mythical Pashtun girl who rallies the Afghan troops that are losing to the British,” Guggenheim remembers. “She climbs a mountain and tells them, ‘Fight for your lives. It’s better to live like a lion for one day than a slave for a hundred years’ … And I’m just sitting there thinking, ‘Malala is named after a girl who speaks out and is killed for speaking out.
And then Malala is a young girl who speaks out and is shot, almost killed, for speaking out.’”
Malala and her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai
Guggenheim filmed the family for two years, and much of the film shows the family in their new home in the UK; these joyful scenes are a stark contrast to the the news footage of the Taliban’s assassination attempt. The film also cleverly weaves in animation, including a stunning animated sequence depicting the legendary Malala’s battle.
He hopes that his documentary shows people, particularly parents, the power of believing in their children’s potential. “Maybe if you were to reduce what Ziauddin did for Malala — he saw her as a human being in a culture where girls don’t have names, or they’re seen as people to be married off at a young age, or worse,” he says. “I think about this Pakistani father who took the family tree, which goes back 300 years of Yousafzais, and there are no women. He does this radical thing, which I’m sure many Yousafzai men would find offensive — he took a pen and wrote her name on the family tree.”
A look at the events leading up to the Talibans’ attack on the young Pakistani school girl, Malala Yousafzai, for speaking out on girls’ education and the aftermath, including her speech to the United Nations.
On Saturday night, August 1, 2015, New Yorkers enjoyed a rare treat as a dynamic art exhibit was projected onto one of the city’s landmarks: the Empire State Building. The event, called “Projecting Change,” was created by the filmmakers behind the upcoming Discovery Channel documentary Racing Extinction. It featured still and moving images of endangered animals.
As the New York Times reported on Wednesday, the event was backed by the Oceanic Preservation Society to bring attention to the “alarming” rates of species extinction. Due to New York City’s strict laws against projections on buildings, it took three years to get project approval.
The intervention of filmmaker Norman Lear, who used his connections to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, was critical to getting the event green-lit. The team then had only four weeks to put it together.
“Projecting Change” was live-streamed on the Racing Extinction website. Those who missed the livestream can enjoy the experience by watching the YouTube video below, starting at about 32:40.
In Racing Extinction, a team of artists and activists exposes the hidden world of extinction with never-before-seen images that will change the way we see the planet.
Two worlds drive extinction across the globe, potentially resulting in the loss of half of all species. The international wildlife trade creates bogus markets at the expense of creatures that have survived on this planet for millions of years. And the other surrounds us, hiding in plain sight — a world that the oil and gas companies don’t want the rest of us to see. Using covert tactics and state-of-the-art technology, the Racing Extinction team exposes these two worlds in an inspiring affirmation to preserve life as we know it.
From the Academy Award® Winning Filmmakers of “The Cove“.
~Cecil the Lion projected on to Empire State Building in New York Light Display~
~Published on Aug 2, 2015~
Projections of endangered animals light up empire state “Stunning New York Light display”
Cecil the lion and other endangered animals are projected on to Empire State Building in stunning New York light display. The Empire State Building broadcast images of endangered animals to New Yorkers on Saturday in a video projection said to be the first-of-its-kind.
It is not known exactly how many people saw the display, though large crowds of spectators stopped in Manhattan intersections gazing at the pictures of the building’s south side and taking photos with their smart phones. At one point an image of Cecil the Lion, whose death at the hands of an American hunter last month caused international outrage, was broadcast in a picture more than 350 feet tall and 180 feet wide.
In total 160 species of endangered animals including birds, tigers, leopards and bears were shown at the event, which was meant to spark conversations about mass extinction, The images were put up over 33 floors of the building for three hours using 40 projectors stacked together at a rooftop two blocks away.
The landmark is decorated with lights of different colors for various holidays, though organizers said Saturday night marked the first time that such as video projection had been done. The show was organized as part of a promotion for a new Discovery Channel documentary, Racing Extinction, which is set to air in December.
We ALL are connected through NATURE!!
~~”Racing Extinction” Official Festival Trailer~~
~~Published on Jan 22, 2015~~
Racing Extinction is currently playing select screenings before hitting theaters this fall, and will be released in an unprecedented global broadcast event on the Discovery Channel later this year.
Go to RacingExtinction.com for screenings and sign up for updates.
Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, Oscar®-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) assembles a team of artists and activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that expose issues of endangered species and mass extinction.
Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerilla-style tactics or exploring the scientific causes affecting changes to the environment, “Racing Extinction” will change the way we see the world and our role within it.
Pentatonix releases ‘Evolution of Michael Jackson‘ tribute video, documentary ‘On My Way Home‘
Grammy Award-winning and platinum-selling vocal group Pentatonix, which features former University of Oklahoma student Kirstin Maldonado, released today an impressive new mash-up video, “Evolution of Michael Jackson.”
The a capella quintet manages to give each of its members at least one shining moment in the tuneful 5 1/2-minute tribute to the late King of Pop. The mash-up features an array of Jackson’s hits, from the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back” and “Billie Jean” to “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal”.
Pentatonix also released a new documentary, “On My Way Home,” Thursday, June 18, exclusively via Vimeo On Demand. The 90-minute documentary follows the group on their journey back home to Texas after they received their first platinum-selling album with “That’s Christmas To Me” and won their first Grammy.
With the expectations set higher than ever and the group riding a wave a success, PTX continued their domination on the road with their sold-out North American “On My Way Home Tour.” Mixed with live performances, fans will get a behind the scenes look as the group perfects their tour, starts recording their first original album and shares their experiences of how their wildest dreams are coming true.
I Want You Back 1969
I’ll Be There June 1970
Dancing Machine 1973
Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) 1979
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough 1979*
Rock With You 1979*
Billie Jean 1983
Beat It 1983
Wanna Be Startin’ Something 1983
Human Nature 1983
I Just Can’t Stop Loving You 1987
The Way You Make Me Feel 1987
Man In the Mirror 1988
Dirty Diana 1988
Smooth Criminal 1988
Black or White 1991
Remember the Time 1992
Heal The World 1992
Will You Be There 1993
You Are Not Alone 1995
5 years ago today, the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, spewing 210 million gallons of crude oil.
Gulf residents and wildlife continue to reel from the impacts of BP’s negligence. Coastal residents are struggling to maintain their livelihoods and culture, while they wrestle with health problems from exposure to oil and toxic chemicals. Gulf communities still fight for climate justice.
Please SHARE this image so that we never forget. A disaster of this magnitude doesn’t have to happen to us here, or to anyone, anywhere, ever again.
Want to get more involved?
Follow Gulf South Rising to learn what you can do: bit.ly/1b4i7z0
~~A look at the Gulf oil spill after the cameras had gone~~
~~Published on Nov 19, 2014~~
More than four years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, gushing oil into the Gulf Coast for almost three months before it was capped. Despite settlements and clean-up efforts, some communities have never fully recovered. Filmmaker Margaret Brown joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss her documentary, “The Great Invisible,” which examines the fallout.
~~The Great Invisible~~
~~Published on Mar 6, 2014~~
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. It killed 11 workers and caused the worst oil spill in American history.
The explosion still haunts the lives of those most intimately affected, though the story has long ago faded from the front page. At once a fascinating corporate thriller, a heartbreaking human drama and a peek inside the walls of the secretive oil industry, The Great Invisible is the first documentary feature to go beyond the media coverage to examine the crisis in depth through the eyes of oil executives, survivors and Gulf Coast residents who experienced it first-hand and then were left to pick up the pieces while the world moved on.
Thanks to the BP oil disaster, this Louisiana barrier island is washing away.
BY SUSAN COSIER
At this time five years ago, Cat Island, off the coast of Louisiana, was getting ready for breeding season. In spring, rare and endangered birds, like brown pelicans, come from all over to nest on this 5.5-acre spit in the sea, the Gulf region’s fourth-largest rookery.
After hatching, chicks would imprint on the place and later return to lay their own eggs in its eight-foot mangroves. Then on April 20, 2010, disaster struck. The Deepwater Horizon blowout began to spew oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days straight.
Cat Island was once one of the four largest bird-nesting grounds in Louisiana. But the Deepwater Horizon oil spill killed the mangroves growing there, destroying the root system that held the island’s sediment in place. Since 2010, the 5.5 acre island has been washing away into the Gulf of Mexico, and migratory birds find their home disappearing before their eyes.