WATCH DOCS daily schedule: Friday, Dec 11
About the film: What does a run-down mining town in Kentucky have to do with America’s Middle East policy? In her electrifying documentary, Maya Zinshtein reveals the dangerous ties between religion and politics. Starting with a portrait of a small community of evangelicals, whose members enthusiastically donate their modest savings to lobbyists for the Israeli right, the filmmakers slowly uncover an unusual alliance beyond faiths. What enables it is a passionate belief of the evangelicals in the imminent fulfillment of the biblical prophecy about the end of the world in which Israel has a role to play. Using her access to an Israeli lobbyist in the United States, Zinshtein uncovers the extent to which religion influences American policy concerning one of the most explosive places in the world, including the American decision to move the country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. She follows the money trail—from small donations dropped into church collection plates to transfers in the millions to buy weapons—and analyses the connections. Her film sheds new light on the Middle East and, unfortunately, does not inspire optimism.
The experiences of human rights defenders from the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia are striking for the prevalence of torture by police and security forces, as well as the high level of public acceptance of these practices. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights supports a regional coalition of non-governmental organizations fighting the culture of impunity for government officials. We invite you to an interview in reference to the film by Magnus Gertten "Only the Devil Lives Without Hope."
About the film:The story told in this documentary could undoubtedly serve as a script for a high-budget fictional film. It is set in the 1990s, in the Colombian city of Cali, with the OJ Simpson trial piped in by CNN in the background. Just a year earlier, Pablo Escobar was killed, and people die every day as cartels settle scores in the streets. Fearing for the safety of his family, Tom Hargrove, an American journalist and NGO employee, decides to leave the country with his wife. Hargrove won't make it to the airport, however, as he gets kidnapped by teenage FARC soldiers on his way to work. Consisting solely of archival recordings on Video8 tapes, Miracle Fishing is a remarkable testimony to that age and the steadfastness of a family that had to learn overnight to negotiate with kidnappers demanding a $6 million ransom.