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BBC Storyville launches Why Poverty? debate with 8 films

BBC Storyville launches Why Poverty? debate with 8 films
Staff Reporter
22 October 2012

BBC Storyville, working with more than 70 broadcasters around the world, is hosting a debate about contemporary poverty with Why Poverty?, a set of international documentaries screening in November on BBC Four.

The debate will launch on BBC One with Four Born Every Second (w/t) – a look at childbirth and infant mortality from Century Films.

The global cross-media event, produced in partnership with The Open University, will see the same eight films screened in 180 countries to explore why, in the 21st century, a billion people still live in poverty.

The films range from a behind-the-scenes look at Bob Geldof and Bono’s 30-year campaign and the story of illiterate women becoming solar engineers, to films exploring the impact of multinationals in Zambia and the privatisation of education in China.

“I’m very proud that Storyville, working with broadcasters from around the world, has been able to find and commission such a wide range of thought-provoking and deeply engaging films about a subject that concerns the whole world,” says Nick Fraser, commissioning editor, Storyville.

Launching Why Poverty?, Four Born Every Second (w/t) puts the spotlight on birth and infant mortality around the world. Brian Hill (Songbirds, Feltham Sings, The Not Dead) travels from the UK to America, Cambodia and Sierra Leone in search of the stories surrounding birth around the world.

In Solar Mamas, filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief follow the story of Jordanian mother-of-four Rafea, who overcomes the objections of her patriarchal husband to train as a solar engineer at India’s Barefoot College. Along with 27 other mothers and grandmothers from poor communities around the world - many of whom are illiterate - she learns the skills needed to bring light to her village.

Give Us The Money (dir. Bosse Lindquist) takes an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at 30 years of Bob Geldof and Bono’s campaign to make poverty history.

Park Avenue: Money, Power and The American Dream focuses on the residents of 740 Park Avenue - the plushest apartment building in Manhattan. Two kilometres to the north is another Park Avenue in the South Bronx, where life prospects are less good for those stuck at the bottom of the American pile. Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney looks at inequality in the US through the prism of these two, near-adjacent places.

In Stealing Africa, investigative reporter and filmmaker Christopher Gulbrandsen travels to Zambia to look at why one of the most mineral-rich countries in Africa is also one of the most economically poor.

Education! Education!
Is a film by Weijun Chen that explores the privatisation of the Chinese education system which sees many of the country’s poorest children studying at low-standard private colleges.

Poor Us - An Animated History of Poverty looks back at the changing attitudes to poverty throughout history. Beginning in the Neolithic Age, Ben Lewis’s film, narrated by actor Shaun Parkes, takes us through the changing world of poverty. See the teaser film here.

Land Rush looks at food security and the rush for arable land as vast tracks of the developing world are bought up or leased by multi-national agribusiness. Hugo Berkeley and Osvalde Lewat’s film follows a collection of investors and developers as they attempt to find a new, more inclusive model of development in Mali.

BBC Four controller Richard Klein will be interviewed at the Televisual Factual Festival this week.

Film production credits

Four Born Every Second
Dir: Brian Hill
Prod: Rachel Tierney
Century FilmsUK
Give Us The Money
Dir: Bosse Lindquist
Prod: David Herdies
Momento Film
Stealing Africa
Dir: Christoffer Guldbrandsen
Prod: Henrik Veileborg
Guldbrandsen Film

Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream
Dir: Alex Gibney
Prod: Blair Foster
Jigsaw Productions
Poor Us: An Animated History of Poverty
Dir: Ben Lewis
Prod: Femke Wolting
Submarine Pictures
Education, Education
Dir: Weijun Chen
Prod: Don Edkins
Steps International
Land Rush
Dirs: Hugo Berkeley and Osvalde Lewat
Prod: Eli Cane
Normal Life Pictures
Solar Mamas
Dirs: Jehane Noujaim and Mona Eldaief
Prod: Mette Heide
Plus Pictures

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