National Geographic Documentary Films will release the Ron Howard-directed documentary “Rebuilding Paradise” in select theaters — physical and digital — on July 31.
On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a devastating fire engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time it was extinguished, the fire had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents, and destroyed 95% of local structures.
It was the deadliest fire in the United States in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history.
“We’re in beautiful downtown Mossville,” says Stacey Ryan, the central figure in the documentary “Mossville: When Great Trees Fall,” as he waves his arm toward the supremely ugly petrochemical plants and construction projects surrounding him. “Population of one,” he adds bitterly, essentially summing up the central theme of Alex Glustrom’s powerful film concerning the environmental ravaging of a once-thriving community.
Ryan is the last man standing in a rural town that at one point had a population of 8,000. Founded in the late 19th century by freed slaves, Mossville, Louisiana, is where his family has lived for generations.
Once filled with natural beauty, the town was essentially taken over by Sasol, or South African Synthetic Oil Limited, an energy and chemical company that wanted to expand to America.
The company was welcomed with open arms by then-Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, seen in a news clip extolling the jobs and prosperity that the company would bring to the state.
Unfortunately, it came with a cost. Sasol built 14 plants in the community, and the resulting chemical spills, fires, and general contamination eventually drove out all of the residents – except for Ryan.
Easter Island is often described as “mysterious” and “mystical.”
That outsider perspective is reflected in archival TV segments included in “Eating Up Easter,” a documentary about the very real, terrestrial, socio-economic concerns of the island locally known as Rapa Nui, which sits in the Pacific Ocean, more than 2,000 miles from Chile.
While its megalithic moai statues have made Rapa Nui a vacation attraction, the film provides a more microcosmic insight from residents, who talk about how tourism and modernization are ruining their ancestral land.
SURPRISE! Just dropped a brand new feature film, right now, just finished, and just posted minutes ago on my YouTube channel!
It’s called “Planet of the Humans” and it’s executive produced by me and directed by my longtime co-producer, Jeff Gibbs and produced by author Ozzie Zehner.
Have we lost the climate change battle — and are we afraid to admit it? We are lifelong environmentalIsts and in this movie we expose some harsh truths about the failures of our movement — and what we need to do immediately to reboot and save this planet. We are way beyond out of time.
Greed and the profit motive have derailed us. Some organizations have sold out.
It’s 50 years after the first Earth Day, and the Earth is crumbling. The current pandemic is nothing less than a brutal Coming Attraction.
We all know what’s ahead. Only one species caused this – and only that species can fix it.
This is a provocative, searing documentary. It’s why we’re releasing it right now and why we’re making it available free of charge. Please watch it today.
Despite efforts across the country to reduce the use of the material, the plastics industry is rapidly scaling up new production and promoting a familiar solution: recycling.
But it’s estimated that no more than 10 percent of plastic produced has ever actually been recycled — and as it turns out, the plastics industry isn’t surprised.
“Plastic Wars,” a joint investigation from FRONTLINE and NPR, reveals how plastic makers for decades have publicly promoted recycling, despite from almost the beginning privately expressing doubts that widespread plastic recycling would ever be economically viable.
“There was never an enthusiastic belief that recycling was ultimately going to work in a significant way,” Lewis Freeman, former VP of government affairs for the Society of the Plastics Industry, tells FRONTLINE and NPR.
That didn’t stop the industry from promoting recycling heavily, counting on a simple strategy: “If the public thinks the recycling is working, then they’re not going to be as concerned about the environment,” says Larry Thomas, who formerly headed the SPI.
From FRONTLINE producer Rick Young, NPR correspondent Laura Sullivan, and their team, “Plastic Wars” is a powerful look at how the plastics industry has used recycling to help sell more plastic — and why the plastic waste problem has only grown.
Watch “Plastic Wars” above and read the story at FRONTLINE.
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A year after releasing “A Plastic Ocean,” a documentary about the disastrous effects of disposable plastic on the world’s oceans, Craig Leeson turned his attention to a different project.
In 2017, the Australian and long-time Hong Kong resident went filming in the Alps to focus on extreme alpine sports – but when he found out about the work of a group of French scientists measuring ice deep inside the glaciers, he was drawn back to the mission of shining a light on the perils of climate change.
The film traces the vanishing snowlines in Asia, Europe, South America, and Antarctica, in a stark global odyssey that highlights how human activity has wreaked havoc on the environment.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, “The Last Glaciers” was scheduled to hit the festival circuit this summer.