FiRe Films: Four Documentaries That Will Change the World

Our world is a complex one, filled with problems that can, at times, seem insurmountable.  In the face of the adversity we face as a species it is critical to remember that these problems are, in reality, easy to overcome.  The human potential, creativity, and resources all exist in the here and now; to solve a problem, however, we have to know it exists.

This is the role of FiRe films.  Documentaries provide an excellent medium for informing the public about the issues we face today and the simple, creative solutions at our disposal.  Geralyn Dreyfous hosted our panel introducing four films which, we are sure, will change the world as we know it for the better.  Michael Rossato-Bennet’s Alive Inside reveals the broken world of American nursing homes and the unimaginable beauty of introducing music as therapy to elderly Americans suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.  Premiered in our FiRe films session last night, Alive Inside showed us that with only an iPod and a simple, personalized playlist, patients were able to find their inner, former selves.  While the emotional benefits are tangible, the implications for cost-effective, drugless therapy which allows patients to remain prescient for far longer in their final days is even more immense.

E. Katia Moritz’ film Undiagnosed: Medical Refugees describes the rampant problem of undiagnosed patients in the United States and the disenfranchisement that occurs in their daily lives without a proper diagnosis.  A medical refugee herself, Moritz was inspired by her situation to show the world this complex problem.  Even if we cannot diagnose issues at the moment, Moritz reminded us, it is critical to store the information we have about undiagnosed patients in order to further our understanding of diseases and our own biology.  With a little funding and Moritz continued commitment, this film seeks to achieve those goals.

Joe Piscatella rolled a clip from his film #chicagoGirl, an inspiring work that outlines the miraculous way in which a Syrian-American “Chicago girl” helped organize the Syrian revolution from her laptop.  The film seeks to reveal the ways in which our new, interconnected world continues to complexify via social media, and the incredible potential for social change that our networking advances have unlocked.  Piscatella noted that an amazing number of young people have contacted him after seeing his work explaining that the film inspired them use the same tools to solve social issues in their own communities.

Finally, Mick Ebeling’s clip about his Project Daniel revealed an awe-inspiring world of philanthropy created by seminal 3D printing technology.  Inspired by the possibilities of portable 3D printers, Ebeling traveled to Sudan’s Nuba mountains, where he successfully printed two arms for a boy named Daniel who’d been wounded by a bomb blast.  Ebeling went a step further, teaching local kids how to repeat the process, which they have been doing with gusto since his departure.  Ebeling’s focus, he explained, is to examine the seemingly impossible and make it, simply, Not Impossible.