BBC America to assist Australian bushfire relief with new “Seven Worlds, One Planet” premiere episode

BBC America to assist Australian bushfire relief with new “Seven Worlds, One Planet” premiere episode

Source:  TV Guide

In response to the devastation caused by the widespread, ongoing bushfires in Australia, BBC America announced on Friday that it will now launch its latest nature documentary series, “Seven Worlds, One Planet,” with its episode centered on Australia.

The series, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, makes its U.S. debut Saturday, Jan. 18 and focuses on Earth’s seven continents and how they shape animal behavior and biodiversity.

The Australia-centric episode, which was filmed before the fires began, will include important information about relief efforts and how viewers can support them.

If you don’t have cable, the episode will also be made available to view on the BBC America website for free.

Additionally, the network has launched a website with links for more information and details regarding organizations that are already helping on the ground.

Read the story at TV Guide.


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The New York Times presents “The Church Forests of Ethiopia”

The New York Times presents “The Church Forests of Ethiopia”

Source:  The New York Times

Over a century ago, the Ethiopian highlands were covered with trees.  Now, that forest is little more than a memory, and what remains is preserved in small pockets of greenery surrounding Ethiopian Orthodox churches.

Jeremy Seifert’s new New York Times Op-Doc, “The Church Forests of Ethiopia” takes us inside one of these leafy enclaves, which have become important preserves of biodiversity.

Seifert’s film introduces viewers to Dr. Alemayehu Wassie Eshete, who works with priests and the surrounding community to preserve the forests from further environmental destruction.

Often, faith and science are seen as in opposition, but in Ethiopia, they are intersecting to cultivate and protect the environment.

Watch “The Church Forests of Ethiopia” at The New York Times.

Amazon Pets

The Sisyphean Solitude of a Migrant Shepherd

The Sisyphean Solitude of a Migrant Shepherd

Source:  The Atlantic

Some films don’t need words.  “El Desierto” is one of them.

Carly and Jared Jakins’s short documentary follows a lone migrant worker as he shepherds thousands of sheep in the Great Basin desert amid a formidable drought.

Without a single line of dialogue, the film’s imagery speaks volumes about the isolating plight of America’s migrant workers and the looming specter of climate change.

The co-directors, who are married, grew up in the Great Basin, an arid expanse of nearly 190,000 square miles in the western United States.  Despite the fact that they were both raised in a wool-growing community, it wasn’t until adulthood that they became aware of the crucial role migrant workers play in the sheep-farming industry.

For 11 days, the filmmakers tracked Francisco Llerena, his flock, and his beloved sheepdogs as they navigated the mountains and high desert.  Their simple approach lends the film a lyrical and intimate quality.

Watch “El Desierto” above and read the story at The Atlantic.


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“The Hottest August” turns climate change into a sci-fi film

“The Hottest August” turns climate change into a sci-fi film

Source:  Vox

One of the best documentaries of the year is also, on its surface, one of the simplest.  To make “The Hottest August,” director Brett Story spent the month of August 2017 talking to New Yorkers about their hopes for the future as well as their anxieties.

Story and her crew visited many well-traveled spots as well as some out-of-the-way places like Rockaway Beach, where residents worried about an eroding shoreline even before Hurricane Sandy devastated the area in 2012.

The film was named for the expectation that the month would be the hottest August on record in the northern hemisphere — and while, in the end, it turned out to be slightly cooler than August 2016, the trendline has continued upward.

What emerged from Story’s interviews was a portrait of ordinary people living in the shadow of looming climate change, and the threats it poses to their ways of life.  The film’s official description is “a film about climate change, disguised as a portrait of collective anxiety.”

The film is funny and fascinating, but with an air of the uncanny hanging over everything.

“The Hottest August” opened in select theaters on November 15.

Read the story at Vox.


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FRONTLINE presents “Fire in Paradise”

FRONTLINE presents “Fire in Paradise”

Source:  FRONTLINE

Multiple blazes are currently raging across California — and 10 of the 20 most destructive blazes in the state’s history have happened in the last four years.

New FRONTLINE documentary “Fire in Paradise” goes inside the deadliest and most destructive of them all: last November’s Camp Fire — which burned an area the size of Chicago, destroyed around 30,000 people’s homes, decimated the town of Paradise, and killed 85 people.

From director/producer Jane McMullen, the documentary examines how climate change has contributed to making fires bigger and more frequent, and shares tales of both unfathomable loss and miraculous escape.

The film raises tough questions about who and what are to blame for the Camp Fire’s catastrophic toll.  It traces how the blaze was sparked by a failed power line belonging to the country’s largest energy company, PG&E — which had previously been warned that its transmission towers were aging and components might fail.

Watch “Fire in Paradise” above and read the story at FRONTLINE.


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Eco-warrior and Sea Shepherd captain delivers an urgent message in “Watson”

Eco-warrior and Sea Shepherd captain delivers an urgent message in “Watson”

Source:  Los Angeles Times

Throughout his adult life, Captain Paul Watson has traveled the seas in his trusty Sea Shepherd, dedicating his life to keeping poachers and whalers at bay.

As depicted in Lesley Chilcott’s excellent and urgent documentary, “Watson,” the fierce eco-warrior and founding member of Greenpeace remains one of the most vital voices in the conservation movement.

Though he has been condemned, arrested, and placed on Interpol watch lists for his interventionist style, in the current climate crisis, his approach feels appropriate to the level of emergency.

Watson started as kid in a Canadian fishing village, freeing beavers from traps, and he’s never stopped, cuffing himself to sealing vessels, placing himself in harm’s way to stop whalers and ramming vessels poaching sharks.

“Watson” is playing at the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, California.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.


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