FRONTLINE presents “Ebola in Congo”

FRONTLINE presents “Ebola in Congo”

Source:  FRONTLINE

In eastern Congo, a region already devastated by a quarter century of war, an Ebola outbreak has spiraled into the second-largest epidemic on record, killing more than 2,200 people since August 2018.

The outbreak has been compounded by public skepticism, with many Congolese convinced Ebola is a hoax meant to further destabilize the region — a suspicion that has festered into threats and even recent, deadly violence against healthcare workers.

In “Ebola in Congo,” a new short documentary from Ben C. Solomon, FRONTLINE’s first Filmmaker-in-Residence, meet three health workers who are risking their lives to battle Ebola — and misconceptions about it — in the midst of a war zone.

Watch “Ebola in Congo” above and read the story at FRONTLINE.


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“Midnight Family” provides a sobering look at Mexico City’s ambulance crisis

“Midnight Family” provides a sobering look at Mexico City’s ambulance crisis

Source:  Slant

Director Luke Lorentzen’s “Midnight Family” opens with a startling statistic.  In Mexico City, approximately 45 public ambulances serve a population of over nine million people.

Picking up the pieces are private ambulances, such as the one owned and operated by the Ochoa family, whom Lorentzen follows over several nights as they pick up patients from accident sites, provide immediate medical service, and drop them off at various hospitals.

Every element of this process is a negotiation, and Lorentzen captures a multitude of damning and haunting details.

Following the Ochoas, Lorentzen fashions a documentary that serves as a wrenchingly sobering portrait of a country’s wide-reaching health care crisis.

“Midnight Family” opens December 6 in select cities.

Read the story at Slant.


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“Love Child” is one of the most absorbing documentaries of the year

“Love Child” is one of the most absorbing documentaries of the year

Source:  IndieWire

Sahand and Leila weren’t asking for much when they fled their native Iran in 2012.

As Leila explains during one of many interviews during Eva Mulvad’s aching and intimate documentary “Love Child,” the couple wasn’t looking for a good life elsewhere; they just wanted the chance for a normal one, where their relationship and the very existence of their son Mani wasn’t a death sentence.

Nearly a decade ago, the couple and Mani left behind everything and everyone they knew to escape to Turkey, convinced that their adulterous relationship was going to get them killed.

As Sahand explains in the film, he can still remember incidents during his childhood when people guilty of his same apparent crimes were stoned or hung in public, murdered by the Iranian government for their life choices.

Yes, they were right to run, but were they right to believe that life elsewhere would be at all better?

“Love Child” recently screened at DOC NYC.

Read the story at IndieWire.


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“Saudi Women’s Driving School” explores a new freedom in Saudi Arabia

“Saudi Women’s Driving School” explores a new freedom in Saudi Arabia

Source:  Forbes

In “Saudi Women’s Driving School,” director Erica Gornall profiles the women of Saudi Arabia as they move towards gender equality and freedom.

Saudi Arabia rarely allows foreigners access to film in the Kingdom, so the unprecedented entry that Gornall and her crew received provides a rare insight into these women’s lives and the political changes taking place now in Saudi Arabia.

In June 2018, a law went into effect there that removed the ban on women drivers, resulting in the opening of one of the largest driving schools in the world, operated by and created for women.

The school is located in the capital city of Riyadh.  Even with 250 cars and 700 instructors, it still struggles with the high demand of women anxious to sign up for classes and get behind the wheel.

“Saudi Women’s Driving School” is available now on HBO.

Read the story at Forbes.

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Meet the artists in the most militarized region in the world

Meet the artists in the most militarized region in the world

Source:  The Atlantic

“It is a paradise that has been set ablaze.”

That is how Masood Hussain, a renowned Kashmiri artist, describes his homeland.  The transmogrification is reflected in his paintings.

While Hussain once painted the idyllic rural landscapes of his childhood, his artwork now depicts the reality of Kashmir—a place of perpetual conflict, where normal life has been upended by death, forced disappearances, and the omnipresence of armed forces.

The decades-long struggle between India and separatist militants has transformed Kashmir into the most militarized region in the world.  Gone are the flowing rivers and Himalayan mountains of Hussain’s early art; a recent piece portrays a child with no eyes, invoking the victims of the Indian army’s pellet-gun attacks last year.

Hussain is one of four artists profiled in Niyantha Shekar and Mukti Krishan’s short documentary, “Art in the Time of Conflict.”

The film also introduces Hina Arif, Zeeshan Jaipuri, and Mujtaba Rizvi—young Kashmiri creatives whose artistic development was deeply influenced by the trauma of growing up in a war zone.

Through their stories and art, they convey the human cost of the enduring conflict.

Watch “Art in the Time of Conflict” above and read the story at The Atlantic.


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The extraordinary “Cave” portrays the incalculable cost of the Syrian war

The extraordinary “Cave” portrays the incalculable cost of the Syrian war

Source:  Los Angeles Times

When caves appear in movies, they tend to be sinister, life threatening locations.  The extraordinary documentary “The Cave,” however, focuses on a place where just the opposite scenario is playing out.

The latest film by Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”), “The Cave” does not technically take place in a cave but in an underground hospital which has taken that name.

This network of labyrinthine tunnels and rooms served for more than five years — until it was overrun in 2018 — as a place of refuge for the besieged, completely surrounded city of El Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.

While Russian warplanes supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad systematically attempted to bomb the area into rubble, the doctors and other medical personnel of the cave followed two simple goals: Be of service and survive.

“The Cave” opens in New York and Los Angeles on October 18.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.


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