THE DAILY BLADE: Dem Documentaries Coming To A Theater Near You?
The Los Angeles Times describes a series of mostly lefty documentaries being financed by philanthropists – filmanthropists – who "have deep pockets and issue-driven agendas. Rather than make high-class dramas that might carry some mild social message, these producers are turning out full-blown advocacy movies."
The paper notes that, "in the eight months since Al Gore's global-warming wake-up call, ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ was released, the documentary film marketplace has exploded" and that these filmanthropists want to "shine a spotlight on social injustices, or government malfeasance, and even to recast history in the service of human uplift and national reconciliation" (emphasis, The Stiletto's).
Among the documentaries the article spotlights:
† Former Nickelodeon president Albie Hecht and his film on young Ugandan war refugees, "War/Dance," which won the documentary directing award last month at the Sundance Film Festival;
† James D. Stern, who has backed such movies as "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle," and his film "… So Goes the Nation" about "the political machinations that ultimately tipped the battleground state of Ohio in favor of George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election";
† Actors Brad Pitt, Dermot Mulroney and Catherine Keener, who co-produced "God Grew Tired of Us," a documentary that follows Sudanese teenagers fleeing starvation and genocide to the United States; and
† Charles Ferguson, who got Microsoft to pony up $133 for Front Page, and his first film, "No End in Sight," about the Iraq war that premiered at Sundance.
The only documentaries mentioned in the article that The Stiletto is interested in checking out are the ones about the Ugandan and Sudanese children of war – they both deal with a sympathetic subject and do not seem to have a partisan ax to grind.
The Stiletto recently saw two documentaries that she recommends highly:
† "Mine Your Own Business," which shows how professional environmentalists travel from one impoverished nation to another blocking efforts by mining companies to extract some valuable resource from the ground, providing badly needed jobs and income for locals and improving their standard of living by cleaning up polluted water supplies and building roads.
† "Screamers," which examines why genocides keep occurring around the world. The filmmakers make the case that, because Turkey has never been brought to account for the Armenian Genocide, Hitler and others were emboldened to embark on their own murderous plans. "Screamers" is directed by former BBC World anchorwoman Carla Garapedian, a descendant of an Armenian genocide survivor, who was inspired by a 2004 System of a Down concert she attended.
So will either of these documentaries change the world? "Mine Your Own Business" has not yet moved non-government organizations to rethink the socioeconomic damage they are causing poor people worldwide, but after Armenian journalist Hrant Dink’s recent assassination in Istanbul, "Screamers" - which was recently screened in Washington, D.C. - just might move the House to pass a long-overdue resolution on the Armenian Genocide. As recently reported by The Hill:
[The film] follows the journey of Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) House Resolution, passed by House International Relations Committee in the 109th Congress, recognizing the Armenian massacre as genocide. The resolution never made it to a floor vote - according to the film, because of then-Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) relationship with Turkish lobbyists.
… [M]embers of System of a Down accost Hastert in the Capitol Rotunda and the lawmaker brushes them off.
"Dennis Hastert looks like a genocide-denier," Garapedian told The Hill. …
Dink’s murder also brings attention to Schiff’s resolution. … Garapedian expressed hope that the resolution would be brought to the House floor this year, but she remains skeptical.
"The issue is whether [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who in the past has supported this effort, will allow a vote or will … be under the same pressures as Dennis Hastert from all these organizations that are afraid of angering Turkey," she said.
Like Garapedian, The Stiletto is guardedly optimistic. Rarely do the interests of such a tiny, politically insignificant ethnic group as Armenians coincide with the interests of such worthies as Pelosi and Hastert. Yeah, the Armenian Genocide is just one more stick Dems can use to beat Condoleeza Rice and the Bush Administration over the head with - but if the resolution passes, Turkey will be under increased pressure to admit its genocidal crime against humanity after nearly 100 years of unrelenting denial.
Death Certificates Proposed For Aborted Babies
The Tennessee General Assembly has introduced legislation that would require death certificates for aborted babies, so as to track "induced termination of pregnancy" statewide. The Associated Press reports the Office of Vital Records already "collects records - but not death certificates - on abortions and the deaths of fetuses after 22 weeks gestation or weighing about 1 pound."
Planned Parenthood opposes the bill on the grounds that it violates privacy, because death certificates include Social Security numbers and other personally identifying information. But the legislation is easily amended to allay these concerns by creating a special class of death certificate that omits information that can publicly identify a woman who has an abortion.
The Stiletto’s objection to the bill is that it doesn’t go far enough. Merely tracking the number of abortions appears to be duplicative to information already being gathered by the Office of Vital Records. To really have impact, the death certificate should note the gender and gestational age of the aborted baby, as well as the presence or absence of obvious physical malformation that could have led to stillbirth or neonatal death.
The vast number of abortions in TN and elsewhere are not performed because parents do not want to bring a child with birth defects into the world, or to save the life of the mother. The proposed death certificates need to be detailed enough to document this.
Norah Jones Is The Stiletto’s Kinda Gal
People Magazine recounts two recent interviews singer Norah Jones, 27, gave to promote her film, My Blueberry Nights, which costars Jude Law and Natalie Portman:
In the March issue of the British edition of Glamour, Jones says she got "really mad" when she was "asked to lose a few pounds" for the movie. "I was just amazed that it really was an issue, and it made me have a lot more sympathy for really skinny actresses. But then, I still think they need to eat a cheeseburger."
Adds People: "Jones also confesses to the March issue of Blender that she likes to binge on red meat when she drinks alcohol" (emphasis, The Stiletto’s).