Meet the man who tried to feed the world

Meet the man who tried to feed the world

Source:  American Experience

American Experience’s “The Man Who Tried to Feed the World” tells the story of Norman Borlaug, an American agronomist who won the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in fighting global hunger.

By increasing the world’s food supply, Borlaug made it possible for the planet to support far more people than had been thought possible, saving countless lives in the process.

However, in doing so, Borlaug unleashed a series of unintended consequences that tarnished his reputation and forever changed the environmental and economic balance of the world.

Written, directed, and produced by Rob Rapley and executive produced by Mark Samels and Susan Bellows, American Experience’s “The Man Who Tried to Feed the World” premieres April 21 on PBS.

Read the story at American Experience.


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“Crip Camp” uncovers a forgotten history

“Crip Camp” uncovers a forgotten history

Source:  IndieWire

Nicole Newnham and Jim LeBrecht’s feature documentary “Crip Camp” starts off like any other summer camp story:  Kids of different backgrounds meet up, hook up, and fall into a series of youthful hijinks.

The only distinction is that the residents of Camp Jened are teens with disabilities.  But what “Crip Camp” uncovers about Camp Jened is that the site would eventually sow the seeds for a disability rights movement that would have long-lasting implications decades later.

LeBrecht had always wanted to tell a story about his time at Jened, a place where he found liberation, joy, and a sense of normalcy outside of his home.  So when he met up with Newnham, a director he had worked with for 15 years doing the sound design and mixing on her documentaries, the two started brainstorming on a project they could work on together.

Newnham said she had watched LeBrecht “spend a lot of his time and energy as an advocate for better representation for people with disabilities,” especially disabled filmmakers, so when he brought up his time at Camp Jened it seemed, for LeBrecht especially, “like a golden opportunity.”

“Crip Camp” arrives March 25 on Netflix.

Read the story at IndieWire.


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The Truth About Stalin’s Prison Camps

The Truth About Stalin’s Prison Camps

Source:  The Atlantic

Vera Golubeva spent more than six years in one of Joseph Stalin’s gulag camps.  Her crime?  “To this day, I still don’t know,” she says.

In a new documentary from Coda Story, Golubeva remembers the excruciating details of her imprisonment.

When she was arrested in 1943, along with her father, mother, and sister, Golubeva was taken to KGB headquarters and tortured.  She was eight months pregnant.  “I felt as if they were burying me alive,” she says in the film.

Shortly before being transferred to a labor camp, Golubeva gave birth to a baby boy, who died just days later while in the care of KGB agents.  “It was the worst cruelty,” she says.

Watch “Generation Gulag: Vera Golubeva” above and read the story at The Atlantic.


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Watch American Experience’s “Influenza 1918”

Watch American Experience’s “Influenza 1918”

Source:  American Experience on PBS

The influenza epidemic of 1918 holds the record for the deadliest flu outbreak in American history.

In September of 1918, soldiers at an army base near Boston suddenly began to die.  The cause of death was identified as influenza, but it was unlike any strain ever seen.

As the killer virus spread across the country, hospitals overfilled, death carts roamed the streets, and helpless city officials dug mass graves.

It was the worst epidemic in American history, killing over 600,000—until it disappeared as mysteriously as it began.

Watch chapter 1 of  American Experience’s “Influenza 1918” above and watch the complete documentary at PBS.


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Who Really Killed Malcolm X? The case might be reopened 55 years later

Who Really Killed Malcolm X? The case might be reopened 55 years later

Source:  The New York Times

For more than half a century, scholars have maintained that prosecutors convicted the wrong men in the assassination of Malcolm X.

Now, 55 years after that bloody afternoon in February 1965 in New York City, the Manhattan district attorney’s office is reviewing whether to reinvestigate the murder.

Some new evidence comes from six-part documentary “Who Killed Malcolm X?” that begins streaming February 7 on Netflix, which posits that two of the men convicted could not have been at the scene that day.

Instead it points the finger at four members of a Nation of Islam mosque in Newark, N.J., depicting their involvement as an open secret in their city.  One even appeared in a 2010 campaign ad for then-Newark mayor Cory Booker.

Read the story at The New York Times.


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“The Poison Squad” premieres January 28 on PBS

“The Poison Squad” premieres January 28 on PBS

Source:  American Experience

By the close of the Industrial Revolution, the American food supply was tainted with frauds, fakes, and legions of new and untested chemicals, dangerously threatening the health of consumers.

Based on the book by Deborah Blum, “The Poison Squad” tells the story of government chemist Dr. Harvey Wiley who, determined to banish these dangerous substances from dinner tables, took on the powerful food manufacturers and their allies.

Wiley embarked upon a series of controversial trials on 12 human subjects who would become known as the “Poison Squad.”

American Experience’s “The Poision Squad” premieres January 28 on PBS.

Read the story at American Experience.


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