Review: “Bag It” (2010)

A film by Suzan Beraza

Bag It is a documentary that follows Jeb into the world of the omnipresent single-use plastic bag.  Plastic bags are the number one consumer item in the world.  Americans consume about one million plastic bags per minute.  He finds out they are expecting their first child and this gets him more concerned about plastic bags and chemicals that could harm his child.

Plastic bags are being banned in countries across the world.  With any luck, the US will take their lead and get rid of them once and for all.  The American Chemistry Council would like to see their plastic in rotation for as long as possible.  Unfortunately, they have the money to back them and can easily win legal battles.  They also duped Americans into thinking that most plastic is recyclable because of the revolving arrow recycle symbol.  In reality, only a few of these (HDPE and PETE) are actually recyclable.  There are no regulations for recycling and vary from state to state.  I was appalled when I moved to Montana and found out that recycling wasn’t even mandatory.

The oceans and marine life are at great risk due to plastics.  Sea turtles will see plastic bags and eat them mistaking them for jellyfish.  So many species are ingesting and continually exposed to plastic.  Sadly, plastic kills about 100,000 marine animals per year.  All the plastic in the seas comes from land sources.

They also talk in length about phthalates and BPA’s (endocrine disruptors) and how they are affecting us, especially infants.  Boys are becoming more feminized and girls are becoming masculinized.  There is also a direct correlation with exposure to BPA’s and ADHD and autism as well as low sperm count and type II diabetes.  We need to deal with these chemicals now to protect our children and their children.

 Within minutes of finishing the film I had my kids scouring the house for plastic bags.  We loaded them up and recycled them at our local grocery store.  We decided to take all the plastic milk jug tops and clean them to make an art project.  I checked our toiletry products and made note of the ones that probably contain phthalates (contain Parfum/fragrance) so I wouldn’t purchase them again.  The BPA’s are a little trickier, but we are trying to purchase less canned goods.  They stress in the film that everyone can do a little bit to pitch in, and it will end up making a big difference.  Three easy things you can do are bring your own bag, bring your own coffee cup, and bring your own water bottle.  And buy less stuff! Hopefully, after watching Bag It, you will also feel moved to do whatever you can to curb your use of plastic and steer clear of phthalates and BPA’s.  Check out www.bagitmovie.com to learn how to get more involved.

Watch the trailer:

 

You can follow Bag It on twitter @BagItMovie and on facebook at fb.com/BagItMovie.

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Lotus Wollschlager is the official Her Film movie reviewer.  Find her bio on the HF.Reviews page.

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Her.Stories: Women & Screenplays, female character added to The #Hobbit, #BAFTA Study, the women in #Argo & more

The Documentary Summit on Nov. 3-4 in Toronto
(Speakers include filmmaker Michèle Hozer, Program Manager Marcia Douglas (Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund), Stephanie McArthur of Doc Ignite, and more)

Venevision International Enters Initiative for Female-Created Programs
at World Screen

BAFTA Study: Young People ‘Discouraged’ From Careers in Film, TV and Gaming
at The Hollywood Reporter

Sexism In Cinema: Where Are The Women In Argo?*
at Thought Catalog

(*As I mentioned in a facebook post today, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, writers of the new Hobbit movies, created a female character that wasn’t in The Hobbit (the book), but in keeping with Tolkien’s world, so as to avoid the crushing masculinity that the film was suffering from with 13 dwarves, a hobbit, a wizard, etc. — all male — in lead and supporting roles.  This new character, “Tauriel,” played by Evangeline Lilly, was mentioned in a video of a Comic-con panel I saw but can’t locate it now.  You can google it, though.  I will say I am terribly disappointed in the utter lack of a positive look at the creation of a female character, and disappointed in Geek Girls Network which posted a piece called “Tauriel, Shmauriel,” in which the writer states she’s a feminist, but goes on to express her feelings that it’s unnecessary and ridiculous to have more “feminine energy,” in the film, as Boyens herself has stated as a reason for the creation of Tauriel in the first place.  Fans of the Middle Earth stories  (and I am a hardcore one, and yes, have even read the oft-claimed “inaccessible” book, The Silmarillion, and think it’s the best of all the Middle Earth books), have a right to be disappointed or surprised by changes occurring during the book-to-screen adaptation process, but fans can oftentimes become so invested in the authenticity of the movies, comparing them to how they follow the books, that they forget that there have already been numerous changes by Jackson, Walsh and Boyens from the books to the screen.  Why should the creation of “Tauriel” be treated any less acceptingly than the changes we’ve already witnessed with The Fellowship, The Two Towers and The Return of the King when adapted from books to films?)

The new ‘Star Wars’ and women: Female sci-fi directors on Leia, Amidala, and what lies ahead
at Inside Movies

Question Time: Women & Screenplays
at Wellywood Woman

Feminine mystique (The Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival)
at CS Indy

2012 Houston Cinema Arts Festival Focuses on Women Directors
at Women and Hollywood

British woman, 79, becomes martial-arts action hero
at the Los Angeles Times

Preview Stark ‘Living/Building’ (A Thorough Look At Technological Change In A Remote Part Of Chad) — by filmmaker Clemence Ancelin
at Shadow and Act

War on Women, Waged in Postcards: Memes From the Suffragist Era
at Collectors Weekly  (Note: some disturbing content)

TIFF: Interview with Margarethe von Trotta and Barbara Sukowa – Director and Star of Hannah Arendt
at Women and Hollywood

Her.Stories: Women filmmakers in Abu Dhabi, Fact sheet on women in the U.S. film industry, Ava DuVernay, Little Miss Jihad and more

Women Filmmakers Perfect Roles in Abu Dhabi
at Gulf News

Women’s Leadership Fact Sheet: A Project of Women Leaders Count
“Women in the U.S. Film Industry” (Fall 2012 Report by the Institute for Women’s Leadership at Rutgers University and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media)
Download the PDF report

Digital Hollywood Women highlight ‘What Women Want’
at Examiner.com

Ava DuVernay: A New Director, After Changing Course
Listen/read/watch at NPR

Seven Islands International Film Festival in Chennai; focuses on women in 2012*
at India Education Diary
*Good news!  My friend Stephanie Law’s short film, Little Miss Jihad (previously featured as a HF.Spotlight), has been invited to screen at Seven Islands! Congrats, Steph!

AWFJ To Present Special Awards To Women Directors At Cinema St. Louis SLIFF 2012
at We Are Movie Geeks

Women still a minority in film, figures show (in Canada)
at the CBC

Rehovot film festival to focus on women and religion
at Haaretz

‘Mrs. Judo’ Featured in U.N. Association Film Festival
at The Rafu Shimpo

Who will follow Rama Burshtein to the Oscars?
at Haaretz

Naples International Film Festival to host “Women Calling the Shots” panel on November 3
at the NIFF

The UK Jewish Film Festival: The Women To Watch Out For
at Female First

Her.Stories: Sexism rife in drama world, Aida Begic’s film chosen for Oscars, Gaylene Preston to direct NZ drama, Shola Lynch’s new doc

Gainesville Latino Film Festival Kicks Off, Produced by the Latina Women’s League
at Gainesville.com

Sharon Lawrence: “Listen to Your Own Heart and to Another Woman’s Story”
at the Huffington Post

Parade’s End director says sexism is still rife in drama world: Directors’ group to investigate after Cannes film festival snubs women for Palme d’Or prize
at The Guardian

Bosnia selects ‘Children’ for Oscar race: Aida Begic’s film premiered at Cannes
at the Chicago Tribune

‘The Headless Woman’ Director Lucrecia Martel To Return With ‘Zama’
at The Playlist

Patricia Riggen Directing Chilean Miners Film, The 33
at Women and Hollywood

Magnet Releasing Embraces Xan Cassavetes’ Erotic Vampire Film ‘Kiss of the Damned’
at Indiewire

Gaylene Preston to Direct New Zealand Earthquake Dramatic Series, Receives $5M from NZ on Air
at the New Zealand Herald

On Screen & On Scene: ‘Somewhere Between’ (documentary by Linda Goldstein Knowlton)
at Hyphen Magazine

 

S&A In Conversation: Shola Lynch Talks ‘Free Angela & All Political Prisoners’
at Shadow and Act

Toronto: ‘Inch’Allah’ Director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette On Her Politically Charged Drama
at Indiewire

Audio: Behind the film Dreams Of A Life on Detour
at Triple R

New film: “The Light in Her Eyes” tells story of Muslim woman who teaches the Quran to women & girls

“A woman is a school. Teach her and you teach a generation.”

Muslim preacher Houda Al-Habash teaches women and girls the Quran at her mosque in Damascus, Syria, something she’s been doing for 30 years.  This is the story of “The Light in Her Eyes,” a new documentary film from Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix.  The film will be screening on September 19 in Austin, Texas, and will have several other screenings around the country this fall.  Take a look at the Screenings & Events page on the film’s website for dates, times and locations, or to host a screening yourself.

I missed the film’s premiere, unfortunately, as I was out of the country most of July.  Maybe some of you caught it on PBS on July 19?  If not, you can watch a trailer below, or just catch a screening in your town!

Check out an interview with Meltzer and Nix in The Austin Chronicle by clicking here.

Follow the film on twitter @lightinhereyes.
Read more about the film on the official website.

‘Wadjda’ by Haifaa Al Mansour, first film made by Saudi woman and first film made in the KSA

Wadjda is a new film by Haifaa Al Mansour, the first Saudi woman filmmaker.  She is writer and director of the film.  To add to the enormous responsibility of representation she now carries, the film is also the first to be filmed completely inside Saudi Arabia.  While movie theaters are illegal in the country, producers have stated they plan to distribute it through “DVDs and TV channels” (Telegraph). You can watch two clips of the film below.

I’ve been excited about this film since I read about earlier this week, and am looking forward to seeing it (somehow, some day).  It screened at this year’s Venice International Film Festival, and has received quite a bit of press.  Check out the links below for more articles on Al Mansour, plus this week’s Her.Stories post.

From Al Mansour’s “Director’s Statement”:

I come from a small town in Saudi Arabia where there are many girls like Wadjda who have big dreams, strong characters and so much potential. These girls can, and will, reshape and redefine our nation. It was important for me to work with an all-Saudi cast, to tell this story with authentic, local voices.  (Read more.)

Have you see the film?  It’s a Saudi Arabia-Germany production, with most of the crew being German, but Al Mansour still had to deal with the exigencies of directing as a woman in Saudi Arabia where gender separation is required.  Without being able to direct the male cast or work with the male crew face to face, what did she do?  Worked from a van and used a walkie talkie.

Wadjda screened at La Biennale on August 31 and September 1.  Visit the film’s page on the festival’s website.

Watch an interview with Al Mansour at the Doha Film Institute’s website.

Read a review of Wadjda in Variety.

Watch clips from the film:

 

Her.Stories: First Saudi woman filmmaker, Julie Dash’s ‘Tupelo ’77’, Detropia, Mollywood, Telluride, Baghdad, TIFF, Abortion Rights Trilogy

Woman beats the odds to make first Saudi film
at Arab Times

First Saudi Female Director, Haifaa Al Mansour and her Film ‘Wadjda’ in Venice (with video interview)
at Euro News

Julie Dash’s 1970s-Set Drama ‘Tupelo 77’ Gets A Boost – Selected For International Financing Forum
at Shadow and Act

What Can Detroit Teach the Nation? Heidi Ewing on Detropia
at the Huffington Post
(Read Lotus’s recent review of DETROPIA.)

Filmmaker Dorothy Fadiman’s Taking The Abortion Rights Trilogy on the Road
at OpEd News

‘Battle of the Sexes’ docu portrays women’s fight for equal pay in sports
at the Chicago Tribune

Amma Asante’s ‘Belle’ Moving Full Speed Ahead, Adds To Cast, Shooting Start Date Set
at Shadow and Act

The rising matriarchs of Mollywood (Malayalam film industry)
at DNA India

New Zealand Film Commission Shorts Films Announcement
at Wellywood Woman

First Look Pic, Official Synopsis For South African Thriller ‘Layla Fourie’ Starring Brit Rayna Campbell
at Shadow and Act

3-time Oscar-winner Thelma Schoonmaker wins 2nd Gucci award for women in film for ‘Hugo’
at The Washington Post

TIFF 2012: Female filmmakers in Toronto spotlight
at the Toronto Star

Women Filmmakers Ready to Rock Toronto
at the Huffington Post

TIFF Programer dishes on film roles for women, George Clooney and saying no at CityTV
at CityTV

Baghdad International Film Festival Selections + Arab Women Filmmakers Competition
at Baghdadfilmfest.com

La Femme Telluride
at Awards Daily

Venice: ‘Fill The Void’ Looks At Hasidic Community (film by Rama Burshtein)
at the Huffington Post