Shot over six years The Choir is the true story of Jabulani Shabangu and a group of fellow inmates who are battling to survive in South Africa’s biggest prison. Jabulani is rebellious and angry until he meets a wily old bank robber named Coleman, who recruits him for the prison choir. Jabulani rises in the ranks and leads the inmates to an extraordinary performance at the National Prisoner Choir Competition. But there’s more at stake than just a contest to see who sings best. The brotherhood of choristers, along with Coleman’s fatherly guidance have the power to transform Jabulani’s life and give him the courage to face his victims and to survive in the world outside – if only he can overcome the violence and heartbreak of his past.
The sound of gunfire shatters the pre-dawn stillness in Africa’s greatest national park. Six endangered mountain gorillas are found dead. They weren’t killed by poachers, or murdered for sport. This was an execution calculated to make a political statement. Chaos, corruption and civil war threaten to bury the truth behind the killings – until this remarkable investigation unveils a web of deceit that leads straight to the heart of Virunga.
Honor Among Men: The Killing of Women in Pakistan
In Pakistan, if a man believes his wife has dishonored him custom dictates that he may mutilate or kill her to restore his honor. It’s a pre-Islamic tradition called “honor killing”, and it’s a practice that claims thousands of lives every year. When Zahida Perveen’s husband suspected her of infidelity he beat and mutilated her and left her to die. Zahida, six months pregnant at the time, survived the attack and so did her child. She then did something unheard of: she fought for justice in a system that turns a blind eye to honor killings. Davie follows Zahida’s story from her home in rural Pakistan, through meetings with men who have killed for honor, and into the country’s corridors of power to confront Pres. Pervez Musharraf. Zahida and Davie then travel to the US where Zahida is to undergo surgery to reconstruct her face – and there she meets a former CIA agent who helps her in an unusual way.
When Nelson Mandela became President, fifty years of political and racial oppression ended in South Africa. But today the struggle continues. Apartheid’s legacy has left many South Africans crippled by poverty, marginalized by corruption and victims of a growing crime wave. This intimate documentary follows the lives of five young South Africans who fighting not only to make better lives for themselves, but to build upon Mandela’s vision for a just and equitable South Africa.
Liberia: American Dream?
In August 2003 filmmakers Michael Davie, Scott Bronstein and Neil Barrett traveled to the West African nation of Liberia, a country founded by freed American slaves, to document the human cost of the country’s brutal civil war. Within hours of the team’s arrival a rebel army laid siege to the capital, Monrovia, trapping them along with hundreds of thousands of civilians and refugees. The rebels cut off all food supplies and shelled the city in an attempt to force Liberian President, Charles Taylor, to step down. As starvation set in the Liberian people called on their ally, America, to intervene. What took place next was a drama of uncommon magnitude.
About Michael Davie
Michael Davie is a producer, director and cameraman who is best known for his films on conflict, human rights and the environment. He has worked extensively for National Geographic Television and Film and has filmed in more than thirty countries.
In the global effort to adapt to climate change half the population has been left out of the conversation. But women in the developing world aren’t simply passive victims of this crisis, they’re one of the most effective weapons against it. This series of short documentaries shot in Jordan, Kenya and Bangladesh documents the innovative work that poor women in poor countries are doing to strengthen their communities and make the world a cleaner, healthier place.
Ohio Reformatory for Women
Women are the fastest growing prison population in the United States, and one of the most difficult to manage. The inmates at ORW are no exception. 2500 prisoners are locked up here, serving time for everything from minor drug offenses to mass murder. If men’s prisons are about gangs and territory, women’s prisons are about sex and relationships. This film goes behind bars into a world unto itself.
Ten years ago Donnie Fritts was diagnosed with a rare form of facial cancer, and doctors cut away most of his face to save his life. For years he battled health insurance companies for the right to undergo reconstructive surgery. He was denied again and again. Donnie was about to give up when he met Bob Barron, a former CIA “identity transfer expert” who has turned his skills at disguise into helping people who have suffered major facial trauma.
The Innocence Project
Conservative estimates say there are more than 10,000 innocent people in America’s prisons. The Innocence Project uses DNA re-testing to fight for the exoneration of the wrongfully convicted. In 2009 James Bain was freed after spending 35 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. This story follows Bain on his re-entry into the free world and examines the case of another inmate fighting for his freedom.