In July 2011, a great wave of famine ravages the Horn of Africa. Over 13 million people are threatened with starvation. Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia are in the center of a terrible humanitarian crisis and the United Nations plead with the international community for immediate food aid for the affected regions.
Once again, starvation spreads death through Africa. For decades now, our screens are being inundated with images of emaciated Africans and always, the so called developed countries are sending help. But, what is done incorrectly and the Black Continent is still starving? “Charity, Diplomacy and Business” is filmed on location in Kenya and the United States, the two ends of this humanitarian thread, and it investigates into the not so altruistic aspects of a system that traps the poor states of Africa in a vicious circle of dependency and hunger.
Can you imagine a water market? A market where owners of water stock would buy and sell, while others would profit on its price without needing it? What would life be like if all of the planet’s water resources, superficial or subterranean, the waters of rivers, lakes and glaciers, belonged to the private sector?
“Life For Sale” examines the biggest water market in the world, set up in Chile. Where the country’s water resources do not belong to the state but to private individuals and one company can own an entire river and possess a quantity of water as big as Belgium. A place where water has turned from a public good of life to property and a “water right” can cost as much as a house. Even in the Atacama desert, which is considered the driest place on the planet, the mining companies – big owners of Chile’s longest river, the Rio Loa – draw immense quantities and use valuable water to wash metals, thus condemning thousands of natives and farmers’ villages to thirst and poverty.
According to the IMF, Ghana is a case of success! The government, after faithfully following the IMF's recommendations for shrinking the public sector, fully liberalizing the market and carrying out privatizations, has now “achieved its goals”. Nowadays, the country's economy is among the world's 20 fastest growing economies and the first in Africa!
However at the same time, 4,000 schools do not have any facilities and the students are having their lessons under the trees. At the clinics in the country's northern parts there is one doctor per 161,000 inhabitants! And small scale farmers, without any support from the state, have been left to starve, struggling alone in the free market's vast sea.
Growth… for whom?
“Plain Old Greed”, Exandas new documentary film, is an “economic thriller” or, rather, a social horror movie which is timelier than ever. Through the saddening stories of those who lose their homes because of the savage bank raid emerges the famous “housing crisis” which torments the US economy and causes huge damage at a global level. However, what is more important is the unveiling of the logic of modern globalized economy and its “secret mechanisms”. In other words, the money market's new way of making money… out of thin air!
Had you ever imagined that clean air could become an object of commercial exchange? And yet, the ability of plants to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere can today translate into money and produce great profit. A new stock market, the Carbon Market, is already born!
The Arctic Ocean spreads across 14 million square kilometers and conceals 25% of the global oil and natural gas reserves. As the ices melt, bays, marine areas and islands that had been long forgotten suddenly find themselves in the spotlight of the international agenda.
Five arctic states, Russia, Canada, Norway, Denmark and the US, lay claim to a piece of the Arctic Pole and, of course, to the largest share of the treasure. This is a new-age western film on the Wild North, which explores the economic and geostrategic facts of the Great Arctic Game that has just begun.
Have you ever asked yourself where does the fish you eat come from? If you had, you would be controlling a huge pirate industry which commits a crime in your dish! The ever-rising demand for fish in the international market has driven European and Asian fishing fleets towards the coasts of West Africa. Hundreds of industrial pirate ships are fishing illegally in the territorial waters of the nations of the area, devastating all forms of life in the ocean and condemning millions of Africans to poverty and hunger. “Stealing from the Poor” was filmed in Senegal, where pirate fishing perpetrated by huge industrial vessels belonging to developed countries is depriving the inhabitants of this West African country of their main source of subsistence.
In December 2001, in Buenos Aires, great crowds of people are heading towards the historic square Plaza de Mayo. Argentina, once amongst the richest economies in the world, has gone bankrupt. The government has resigned and Argentina's president, Fernando de la Rua, flees from the presidential residency in a helicopter, amidst a storm of enraged people clashing with the police, breaking banks, looting super markets and shouting “Out with the lot of them!” The 2001 social explosion marked the end of a neoliberal economic model which lasted 10 years and left a toll of 35 deaths (murdered by the police and the private guards of the banks), 30,000 collateral damages (suicides, heart and brain attacks) and approximately 20,000,000 (over half the population) submerged in poverty and misery.
Almost 10 years later, the Greek documentary filmmaker Yorgos Avgeropoulos, who had been working in Argentina in 2001-2002 during the crisis, returns for a new autopsy of the country's economy and political and social situation.
In the virgin tropical forests of the Amazon, the region with the richest biodiversity in the world, an unspeakable crime has been and is still being committed against humankind. Texaco is accused of dumping 18.5 billion gallons of toxic oil waste into the Ecuadorian Amazonia. Petroecuador, the state oil company, is accused of causing hundreds of oils spills into the jungle.
Ancient native populations are considered invisible and expendable, victims of the oil companies' easy profiteering. They are disappearing on a massive scale, as pollution kills the animals they hunt and causes illnesses until recently unknown to them, such as cancer.
This documentary – the second by Yorgos Avgeropoulos on the same subject, following multi-awarded “Delta – Oil's Dirty Business” – is dedicated to the Tetetes and Sansahuari people. Their voices were silenced forever at the dawn of the 21st century on account of the region's “development”.
When the Spanish conquistadors reached Colombia in the 16th century, they thought they had found the mythical El Dorado. In amazement, they watched a ritual at Lake Guatavita, near modern day Bogota, in which the leader of the Muiscas, naked and coated with gold dust, threw enormous amounts of gold into the water as an offering to the gods.
Five centuries later, with gold prices skyrocketing due to the global economic crisis, this time multinational companies are searching Colombia for the new El Dorado. And they are not alone. Guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug cartels are all claiming a share of the legendary gold deposits.
Gold rush fever, along with cocaine, fuels the civil war which has been raging in the country for over 40 years. It is an invisible form of collateral damage inflicted by the economic turbulence engulfing the planet.