This feature documentary focuses on the reality of life before, during, and after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the profound effects the economic agreements between big business and government can have on human lives.
Filmed over a three year period in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, this documentary poses a sobering question: In this global war of cut-rate economies, are people on the losing side?
In this feature documentary, 6 student activists visit 36 Canadian towns to take on one giant corporation. Filmed over 2 summers, these young crusaders (plus a gonzo journalist) try to raise public awareness about Wal-Mart's business practices and their effect on cities and towns across Canada. With youthful passion and often hilarious cultural jams, this film takes us to the frontlines of the ongoing debate over the company's increasing dominance in the Canadian retail market.
This feature documentary is a portrait of the country of Mexico, as seen through the eyes of Mario Rojas Alba, a physician and former member of Congress, who fled to Montreal as a political refugee after surviving a brutal physical assault. During a cautious trip home, he guides us through the workings of political repression and violence in Mexico. The resulting film reveals the darker side of this vast country which became our official trading partner in 1994 under NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), an accord criticized by a great many Mexicans, especially the indigenous people of Chiapas, who rose in revolt, demanding a more just and democratic society. On the Day of the Dead, families and friends remember those who have "disappeared"; widows lay flowers on the graves of husbands slain for opposing the ruling party. By their side, Alba reaffirms his commitment to a peaceful transition toward true democracy. In Spanish with English subtitles.
This documentary from Min Sook Lee (Tiger Spirit) follows a poverty-stricken father from Central Mexico, along with several of his countrymen, as they make their annual migration to southern Ontario to pick tomatoes. For 8 months a year, the town's population absorbs 4,000 migrant workers who toil under conditions, and for wages, that no local would accept. Yet despite a fear of repercussions, the workers voice their desire for dignity and respect.
In this feature-length documentary, Marilyn Waring demystifies the language of economics by defining it as a value system in which all goods and activities are related only to their monetary value. As a result, unpaid work (usually performed by women) is unrecognized while activities that may be environmentally and socially detrimental are deemed productive. Waring maps out an alternative vision based on the idea of time as the new currency.
This documentary looks at the microchip, an American invention exploited by the Japanese that caused a second industrial revolution. The devastating effect on millions of human lives is related through interviews with some of the newly jobless in Hamilton, Ontario. Using the example of Japan for contrast, host James Laxer demonstrates that the cost of technological advances need not be so high if their effects are foreseen and planned for. Part 2 of the series Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.
This documentary from 1987 looks at the serious malaise that plagued the US manufacturing sector at the time. No longer competitive in the world market, and forced to buy more than it could sell, the US nevertheless continued to bask in the glow of past glory rather than face its immediate predicament. Meanwhile, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries were gaining economic ground, perhaps permanently.This film was part one of the series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.
This feature documentary based on Margaret Atwood’s bestselling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth offers a fascinating look at debt as a mental construct and traces how it influences relationships, societies, governing structures and the fate of the planet itself. Exploring the link between debtor and creditor in a variety of contexts and places, from the mountains of northern Albania to the tomato fields of southern Florida, the film blends compelling stories of “owing” and “being owed” with the views of renowned figures like Karen Armstrong, Louise Arbour, William Rees and Raj Patel.
This documentary focuses on boom-and-bust economic cycles, most notably that of Alberta oil during the '70s and early '80s. When the bust hit after a drop in world oil prices, those business people who knew how to "ride a tornado" cut their losses and moved on, while others were left devastated. When Newfoundland was faced with a possible oil boom of its own in the mid-'80s, it took the lessons of Alberta to heart. Part 3 of the series, Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.
This feature documentary is an inquiry into Canada's economic troubles of the 1970 and '80s. The film summarizes the facts at hand, including some pre-NAFTA speculation about economic dependency on the United States. At roughly thirty percent, the Canada of a few decades ago was more foreign-owned than any other country in the world. Still, however, a great and stubborn national pride in our cultural and social idiosyncrasies persists, resulting in the confidence to look elsewhere besides the United States for economic alliances and models. This episode is the fifth and last part of the series Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada.
This feature documentary provides a gripping retrospective of United States-Canada relationships through a study of successive presidents and prime ministers. Using archival film footage, it demonstrates that Canadian prime ministers, from John A. Macdonald down, all began their tenures by making overtures to their American counterparts. Attitudes and outcomes have varied widely. The almost comic antipathy between Kennedy and Diefenbaker, for instance, is as palpable here as is the folksy camaraderie of Reagan and Mulroney. Part four of Reckoning: The Political Economy of Canada series.
More than a decade after the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–08, what does globalization mean today? Filmmaker-philosopher Jean-Daniel Lafond takes us behind the scenes of the International Economic Forum of the Americas, a massive annual gathering at which economists, financiers and politicians hold forth on the key issues of the day. Featuring first-hand testimonials by nearly two dozen influential men and women, The End of Certainties unfolds as a multi-voice meditation on the state of the world. This observational documentary offers a cogent assessment of globalization—and its ideals, disillusionment, fears and hopes—and the quest for a new humanism, characterized by greater inclusiveness and fairness.