Category Archives: Documentary

"Occupy Oakland" Documentary

I was sent a link to this “Occupy Oakland” video, It is sympathetic to the Occupy Wall St. movement, gives a brief glimpse into the Oakland occupy movement and was produced rather well. It is interesting to watch and worth a look.

When is the last time you used your amendment rights? In this documentary, you will follow an immigrant in his exploration of the Occupy Wallstreet movement in his hometown of Oakland, where tear gas and warlike scenes as well as grassroots movements are satirized. How to Be American? Perhaps it’s more than just living in this great country.
“Occupy Oakland”

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Filed under 99%, Documentary, grassroots, Oakland Ca., occupy wall st., protest demonstration, YouTube

Playing for Change: Peace Through Music

A friend of mine sent me a link to an organization called Playing for Change. He learned about Playing for Change from a segment he saw on Bill Moyers Journel and thought that they were worth checking out and supporting.

I did a quick google search to learn more about them and I found the following blog entry from Bill Moyers’s website. The blog entry was written by the creator/director of Playing for Change:Peace Through Music, Mark Johnson.
Mark Johnson describes the mission and goals of Playing For Change much better than I can, please read it then check out the following video it is amazing:
PLAYING FOR CHANGE is a movement uniting people all over the world through music and inspiration. It all began about seven years ago as my producing partner, Whitney Kroenke Burditt, and I assembled a group of like-minded people with cameras and a mobile recording studio. We embarked on a journey across the globe in search of music and human connections.

We started the journey with the idea that with an open mind and positive intentions we can find ways of uniting people as the human race. Music has always been the universal language and we followed its path from city streets to Native Indian reservations, African villages and the Himalayan Mountains. I could never have imagined that we would discover a world with so much love, hope and inspiration. In a world with so much focus on our differences I am proud to have discovered that people everywhere believe in creating a better world together.

Throughout our travels we created songs around the world such as “Stand By Me” and “One Love.” These songs and videos offer musicians who have never met in person the ability to collaborate and unite through the power of music. We also interviewed all of the musicians and learned stories of how music has helped to persevere through struggles all over the world. These collections of songs and interviews serve as a reminder of the power of the human spirit as well as a means of further illustrating our global collective conscience. We live in a world with way too many starving children and way too many warring nations. As a human race we come together for birth, and we come together for death, what brings us together in between is up to us. Stop and listen to the universal language of music and bring that positive energy with you everywhere we go.

The vision of PLAYING FOR CHANGE extends far beyond just music and film. We have established the Playing For Change Foundation to build music and art schools for kids around the world. We have recently returned from Gugulethu, South Africa where we constructed the first Playing For Change Music School. We plan to build many more schools, each equipped with cameras and a recording studio so supporters all over the world can watch recitals and performances in the schools we are building together. We can use these schools as sources of inspiration and a means of breaking down negative stereotypes among people everywhere. In the words of one of the artists featured in PLAYING FOR CHANGE, Vusi Mahlasela, “The world is immigrating into a global village, the question is how much do you want to belong.” Learn more about PLAYING FOR CHANGE, and together we can accomplish much more than we ever can apart.


From the award-winning documentary, “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music”, comes the first of many “songs around the world” being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe. This and other songs such as “One Love” will be released as digital downloads soon; followed by the film soundtrack and DVD early next year.

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Filed under Ben E. King, Bill Moyers, Documentary, DVD, Mark Johnson, Playing for Change:Peace Through Music

Playing for Change: Peace Through Music

A friend of mine sent me a link to an organization called Playing for Change. He learned about Playing for Change from a segment he saw on Bill Moyers Journel and thought that they were worth checking out and supporting.

I did a quick google search to learn more about them and I found the following blog entry from Bill Moyers’s website. The blog entry was written by the creator/director of Playing for Change:Peace Through Music, Mark Johnson.
Mark Johnson describes the mission and goals of Playing For Change much better than I can, please read it then check out the following video it is amazing:
PLAYING FOR CHANGE is a movement uniting people all over the world through music and inspiration. It all began about seven years ago as my producing partner, Whitney Kroenke Burditt, and I assembled a group of like-minded people with cameras and a mobile recording studio. We embarked on a journey across the globe in search of music and human connections.

We started the journey with the idea that with an open mind and positive intentions we can find ways of uniting people as the human race. Music has always been the universal language and we followed its path from city streets to Native Indian reservations, African villages and the Himalayan Mountains. I could never have imagined that we would discover a world with so much love, hope and inspiration. In a world with so much focus on our differences I am proud to have discovered that people everywhere believe in creating a better world together.

Throughout our travels we created songs around the world such as “Stand By Me” and “One Love.” These songs and videos offer musicians who have never met in person the ability to collaborate and unite through the power of music. We also interviewed all of the musicians and learned stories of how music has helped to persevere through struggles all over the world. These collections of songs and interviews serve as a reminder of the power of the human spirit as well as a means of further illustrating our global collective conscience. We live in a world with way too many starving children and way too many warring nations. As a human race we come together for birth, and we come together for death, what brings us together in between is up to us. Stop and listen to the universal language of music and bring that positive energy with you everywhere we go.

The vision of PLAYING FOR CHANGE extends far beyond just music and film. We have established the Playing For Change Foundation to build music and art schools for kids around the world. We have recently returned from Gugulethu, South Africa where we constructed the first Playing For Change Music School. We plan to build many more schools, each equipped with cameras and a recording studio so supporters all over the world can watch recitals and performances in the schools we are building together. We can use these schools as sources of inspiration and a means of breaking down negative stereotypes among people everywhere. In the words of one of the artists featured in PLAYING FOR CHANGE, Vusi Mahlasela, “The world is immigrating into a global village, the question is how much do you want to belong.” Learn more about PLAYING FOR CHANGE, and together we can accomplish much more than we ever can apart.


From the award-winning documentary, “Playing For Change: Peace Through Music”, comes the first of many “songs around the world” being released independently. Featured is a cover of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe. This and other songs such as “One Love” will be released as digital downloads soon; followed by the film soundtrack and DVD early next year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ben E. King, Bill Moyers, Documentary, DVD, Mark Johnson, Playing for Change:Peace Through Music

Donahue Documentary Takes On The War


by Richard Huff – New York Daily News

If he were a senior in college today, he probably wouldn’t pay to see his film, “Body of War.”

“Body of War” is a tough film that follows the story of U.S. Army soldier Tomas Young, whose spine was severed when he was shot after being in Iraq just five days.

The film was produced and directed by Ellen Spiro and Donahue. It hit festivals and theaters early this year, and will air tomorrow night(tonight) at 7 on the Sundance Channel.

“It’s tough, it’s hard-hitting and has a strong message,” said Laura Michalchyshyn, general manager of Sundance. “We wanted to be able to tell a story that’s real, honest and true and hasn’t been manufactured.”

Donahue met Young on a visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also spoke to Young’s mother during her bedside vigil for her son, who is paralyzed from the chest down.

“I couldn’t get him out of my head,” Donahue said. “The first thing you think is, why him and not me?”

The former TV host remained in contact with Young and his family, and the film emerged.

Donahue has been against the war in Iraq since the start, and lost his show at MSNBC in 2003 because of his nightly stance against the war and the Bush administration.

“Body of War” blends footage from the debate in Congress on the war with scenes from Thomas’ struggle to adapt to life without the use of most of his body.

“This is the most sanitized war of my lifetime,” Donahue said. “We do not see the pain. Less than 5% of us have sacrificed for this war. What you see in this film is the drama that’s taking place in thousands of homes in this country occupied by young soldiers who have come home with hideous injuries.”

The film, however, focuses on just one. Young’s life involves pain, multiple health problems and trouble dealing with the sort of activities most people take for granted.

“The American people do not see this,” Donahue said. “This war is over to them. Less than 10% of us identified the war as a the major reason we were voting.”

Sundance’s decision to air the documentary on Veterans’ Day is not an accident.

“It’s not just about Iraq, it’s about how we’ve treated these veterans,” Michalchyshyn said. “I don’t think a lot of people have conceived of the Iraq war veterans the same way as World War I or World War II veterans.”

In addition to Sundance, where “Body of War” will get multiple plays, the film is out on DVD. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam wrote two songs for it, and part of the proceeds of the DVD sales at Pearl Jam’s Web site go to Young.

“Before the next President swaggers in front of the camera with a big lone-star belt buckle and says, ‘Bring it on,'” Donahue said, “I want them to meet the honorably discharged Army Spc. Thomas Young.”

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Filed under Body of War, Documentary, Iraq War, MSNBC, NY Daily News, Phil Donahue, Sundance Channel, Tomas Young, U.S. Army, Veterans Day

Donahue Documentary Takes On The War


by Richard Huff – New York Daily News

If he were a senior in college today, he probably wouldn’t pay to see his film, “Body of War.”

“Body of War” is a tough film that follows the story of U.S. Army soldier Tomas Young, whose spine was severed when he was shot after being in Iraq just five days.

The film was produced and directed by Ellen Spiro and Donahue. It hit festivals and theaters early this year, and will air tomorrow night(tonight) at 7 on the Sundance Channel.

“It’s tough, it’s hard-hitting and has a strong message,” said Laura Michalchyshyn, general manager of Sundance. “We wanted to be able to tell a story that’s real, honest and true and hasn’t been manufactured.”

Donahue met Young on a visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also spoke to Young’s mother during her bedside vigil for her son, who is paralyzed from the chest down.

“I couldn’t get him out of my head,” Donahue said. “The first thing you think is, why him and not me?”

The former TV host remained in contact with Young and his family, and the film emerged.

Donahue has been against the war in Iraq since the start, and lost his show at MSNBC in 2003 because of his nightly stance against the war and the Bush administration.

“Body of War” blends footage from the debate in Congress on the war with scenes from Thomas’ struggle to adapt to life without the use of most of his body.

“This is the most sanitized war of my lifetime,” Donahue said. “We do not see the pain. Less than 5% of us have sacrificed for this war. What you see in this film is the drama that’s taking place in thousands of homes in this country occupied by young soldiers who have come home with hideous injuries.”

The film, however, focuses on just one. Young’s life involves pain, multiple health problems and trouble dealing with the sort of activities most people take for granted.

“The American people do not see this,” Donahue said. “This war is over to them. Less than 10% of us identified the war as a the major reason we were voting.”

Sundance’s decision to air the documentary on Veterans’ Day is not an accident.

“It’s not just about Iraq, it’s about how we’ve treated these veterans,” Michalchyshyn said. “I don’t think a lot of people have conceived of the Iraq war veterans the same way as World War I or World War II veterans.”

In addition to Sundance, where “Body of War” will get multiple plays, the film is out on DVD. Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam wrote two songs for it, and part of the proceeds of the DVD sales at Pearl Jam’s Web site go to Young.

“Before the next President swaggers in front of the camera with a big lone-star belt buckle and says, ‘Bring it on,'” Donahue said, “I want them to meet the honorably discharged Army Spc. Thomas Young.”

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Filed under Body of War, Documentary, Iraq War, MSNBC, NY Daily News, Phil Donahue, Sundance Channel, Tomas Young, U.S. Army, Veterans Day