Here's a baker's dozen of documentaries worth checking out from the World Vision ACTS website...many of these films have served to break, educate, inspire, and bring reality home to myself and a generation of students seeking to figure out how and where the Kingdom needs to break through in our world today...
1. Call+Response, directed by Justin Dillon, explores the reality of modern-day slavery by merging investigative reporting (undercover in the brothels of Cambodia, interviews with prominent luminaries such as Nicholas Kristof and Cornel West, etc.) with musical response. Performances by artists such as Moby, Natasha Bedingfield, Cold War Kids, Matisyahu, Five For Fighting, Switchfoot and more show that music is also part of the movement against human slavery.
2. At the End of Slavery, by International Justice Mission (IJM), takes you inside the ugly business of modern-day slavery, from the brothels of the Philippines to the brick kilns of India. Undercover reporting along with testimonies from former slaves, experts, and modern abolitions both prove the harsh reality of the crime and offer hope for its end.
3. Very Young Girls, by Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), explores the reality of sex trafficking in New York City. Young women, who were often as young as 12 or 13 when they were forced into prostitution and now struggle to leave “the life” behind, tell stories of extreme manipulation and abuse. The film also focuses on GEMS and its founder, Rachel Lloyd, a former prostitute who now dedicates her life to helping other women escape their abusers, heal, and get an education.
4. Invisible Children, shot in Africa by a team of three filmmakers in 2003, documents the reality of child soldiering in Uganda, where kids were forcibly recruited into the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
5. Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth, follows a group of journalists as they travel across the U.S. investigating how the sexual exploitation of children has become “the nation's fastest growing form of organized crime” and how we can fight back.
HIV & AIDS
6. Tapestries of Hope exposes the Zimbabwean myth that raping a virgin cures HIV/AIDS. Check out our review of the film here: “Film Reveals Both Horror and Hope”
7. Angels in the Dust takes place in the midst of the devastating AIDS epidemic in South Africa, which has left thousands of children orphaned. Offering a ray of hope, the film tells the inspiring story of Marion Cloete, who left behind life in a wealthy Johannesburg suburb to build Botshabelo - a village and school that provides shelter, food, and education to more than 550 South African children.
8. A Closer Walk provides a broader look at the global AIDS epidemic by interviewing individuals from all over the world: Uganda, South Africa, Haiti, Switzerland, India, Nepal, Ukraine, Cambodia, and the United States. Their stories cover the broad spectrum of the AIDS experience - everything from AIDS orphans to doctors, social workers, human rights advocates, scientists, government leaders, and NGO officials.
9. The Lazarus Effect, a documentary by HBO, reveals the transformative effects ARV treatment can have on people and communities affected by HIV. The hopeful thread of this film shows the real impact - and the continuing need - of the large-scale AIDS programs being implemented in sub-Saharan Africa.
10. We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir, told mainly through the eyes of a family of nine children who lost their parents due to AIDS, describes the creation of the Agape Child Center for orphaned children - and the resulting children’s choir that helped provide healing through music and led to a global journey.
11. Malaria: Fever Wars offers a global view of the malaria pandemic, discussing where in the world it occurs, possible cures, and what is (and isn’t) being done about it. Scientists, doctors, and many others offer their opinions on how to overcome this devastating infectious disease.
12. When the Night Comes, directed by Bobby Bailey, founder of Invisible Children, follows Bailey’s journey through with a small team through Northern Uganda to tell the story of malaria and examine its effects on children and families. Watch the full length free on Vimeo.
13. ACT:S to End Malaria is a short 12 minute video by ACT:S and RELEVANT magazine that tells the story of malaria and how we can do our part to help end malaria deaths by 2015. The film unearths malaria’s devastating ripple effects into economic and healthcare infrastructure, childhood development, school absenteeism, and more.