The Invisible Heart
May/June 2019 (Volume 34, Issue 3)
The Invisible Heart
(2018) 80 min. DVD: $29.99: individuals; $325: institutions. DRA. Outcast Films. PPR. Closed captioned.
Reviewer rating: 3.5/4
Does private sector investment help solve society’s ills, or just make things much worse? That is the question at the center of this documentary focusing on social impact bonds (SIBs), which often relies on Sir Ronald Cohen (a former refugee turned venture capitalist turned impact investor) to help put the concept into accessible context. An SIB is an investment of capital into one or another segment of society struggling with chronic failure (public schools, prisons). If certain markers of progress are achieved by specific deadlines, investors earn dividends that are paid for by appropriate levels of government (city, county, state, etc.). The latter can afford this, in theory, because measurable progress in education, as well as reduction of crime and drug use, will save taxpayers millions of dollars. The Invisible Heart takes a hard look at how SIBs operate in the real world of housing for at-risk populations, widespread drug use, low-performance classrooms, overcrowded prisons, and more. The evidence of real progress is mixed, but Canadian filmmaker Nadine Pequeneza wisely turns her attention to big ethical questions. Should the public throw in the towel on addressing problems through government, and instead privatize solutions? Can capitalism and the public good be partners? In an era when extreme income inequality has become sharply contentious, will voters support SIB investors who profit from human crises? This thought-provoking film is sure to spark discussion on the pluses and minuses of SIBs. Highly recommended. Aud: C, P. (T. Keogh)
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TRAFFIC STOP – SCREENINGS
Outcast Films is excited to announce we are working on a screening series for the Academy Award nominated film “Traffic Stop”.
Directed by Kate Davis, “Traffic Stop” provides a unique, firsthand look into how police brutality impacts so many lives today. Behind the dashboard and body-camera footage are people with stories. One of those stories is Breaion King who was part of what first started out as a routine traffic stop, but one that soon made national headlines. The film gives us an intimate view of her career, upbringing, and personal philosophies—and how one brutal encounter with the police changed all of that.
The film is 30 minutes long, making it a perfect length to show to an audience and host a “talk back” or post-screening panel. The filmmakers, Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, as well as Breaion King and her attorney, are available to be present at screenings.
February 19: Texas State Capitol, Austin, TX (Featuring David Heilbroner, Kate Davis, and Breaion King)
February 20: University of Houston, Houston, TX (Featuring David Heilbroner, Kate Davis, and Breaion King)
If you are interested in hosting a screening of “Traffic Stop” on your campus, or would like more information, please contact us at email@example.com.
The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin.
First published March 26, 2018 (Booklist Online)
In the 1970s, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a column called “Tales of the City,” a fictionalized account of a young woman arriving in the city and drawn into the counterculture scene. The author was Armistead Maupin, raised in the conservative South and coming to terms with his sexuality. Using excerpts from the columns and clips from the PBS television series of the same name, this documentary tracks Maupin’s evolution from his younger years to his role as a major player in the literary and gay-rights scenes. Extensive interview footage with Maupin (both current and archival) as well as commentary from Laurie Linney, who starred in the PBS dramas, and recollections and thoughtful comments from Sir Ian McKellen, Neil Gaiman, Amy Tan, and others add depth to the coverage. This entertaining program is a good fit in literary collections in public libraries and colleges.
Buy the Film Here
October 14, 2014 (Booklist Online).
Sandy beaches and beautiful ocean views are the dreams of many. But dreams can become nightmares when severe weather, eroding sand, and rising water levels decimate the shoreline. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy tore through the East Coast, wiping out neighborhoods and scattering possessions. Interviewed survivors in New Jersey talk about seeing their household goods “on the curb” and making decisions about rebuilding. In North Carolina, Outer Banks residents worry about disappearing shorelines yet decry attempts by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to put in artificial barriers to curb erosion. Efforts to restore beaches with costly sand-reclamation projects are wiped out when devastating storms hit the region. Experts debate questions of who should finance beach-replenishment projects and the wisdom of continuing to develop and build houses on endangered coastal regions. This thought-provoking video sparks discussion for environmentalists and those directly affected by beach erosion. Extras include an interview with director Ben Kalina. Candace Smith
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November/December 2014 (Volume 29, Issue 6)
Reviewed by Tom Ipri, Drexel University
Ecology, Environmentalism, Global Warming
Date Entered: 3/2/2015
Focusing mainly on the New Jersey and North Carolina shore lines, Shored Up examines the troubled relationship between nature and those who want to build beach homes and communities. Taking Hurricane Sandy as a starting point, Ben Kalina’s film traces the history of shore development with an emphasis on the more recent trend of building expensive homes in flood and erosion prone areas.
Shored Up presents a short but effective overview of the history of shoreline development along the east coast. This growing development clashes with the effects of climate change and communities are forced to keep rebuilding. Some areas enlisted the Army Corp of Engineers to extend their beaches.
Scenes of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy provide a timely and moving example from recent history. Interviews with longtime residents of select coastal towns put a human face to the threat of property destruction.
The film cumulates with the shocking and disturbing decision by North Carolina politicians to ban discussion of the accelerated rise of sea level. Shored Up excels at showing the conflicting interests at play. It provides a great overview of the effects that climate change is having on coastal communities and provides a disturbing portrait of how those who have economic interests in these areas have their heads in the sand, so to speak.
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The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin
Early in this film, author Armistead Maupin asserts that he is not a gay writer, but rather a writer who is gay. But it’s quickly evident from the film that his personal story encompasses many of the plot arcs of the larger story of LGBT+ people in San Francisco and beyond.
The AIDS crisis, hepatitis, friendships with straight women, open relationships, coming out, chosen families, censorship, San Francisco as promised land: all of these topics appear in the film. To its credit, the film explores these issues as parts of Maupin’s story, rather than trying to generalize them to all gay men. Yet, also to its credit, the film allows space for Maupin’s friends and acquaintances to voice their own stories, as when fellow author Kate Bornstein explains her objections to Maupin’s outing actors Rock Hudson and Lily Tomlin.
Untold Tales is, in fact, a frustratingly difficult film to summarize, because rather than following a definite plot, it is like a day-long visit with a new friend, learning about his life and the people therein. Happily, it is a consistently interesting one, and one that demonstrates the humanity underlying those aforementioned social issues.
It is highly recommended for academic and public libraries.
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