Independent Lens, Global Voices
Jasmine left her village to get a job and help her family. Now she and her friends at the blue jean factory are trying to survive the work environment.
An examination of the debate surrounding biotechnology and the future of farming.
Micha Peled was born and raised in Israel and is one of the few people ever to emigrate to the United States by hitchhiking. His checkered career includes stints as an importer of hammocks and sheepskin jackets, a tutor, a prison guard, a freelance journalist, a director of the Nuclear Freeze Campaign,… and the executive director of Media Alliance, a media watchdog group in San Francisco. He also guided adventure trips in the jungles of Thailand and Brazil.
Peled’s first documentary, Will My Mother Go Back to Berlin? looked at relations between Jews and Germans 50 years after the Holocaust through his personal family story. Winning awards on both sides of the Atlantic, Peled left his job to become a full-time filmmaker. His next film, Inside God's Bunker, followed a group of extremist Israeli settlers in the West Bank during a highly tense period that culminated in a massacre. It aired on television in Europe, Australia, the United States, and Japan. You, Me, Jerusalem was the first Israeli-Palestinian co-directed film, which Peled also produced. It followed an ambulance team comprised of both Israelis and Arabs, which responded to emergencies in both sides of the capital.
Next came the ITVS-funded Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town, which followed one southern town’s struggle to decide whether to allow Wal-Mart to build a megastore there. To produce a film taking on the largest company in the world, Peled founded a nonprofit organization, Teddy Bear Films. Store Wars won a number of awards, including Best Documentary at the San Francisco International Film Festival and the CINE Golden Eagle. It was nominated for the IDA (International Documentary Association) Distinguished Achievement Pare Lorenz Award. Along the way, Peled has also produced numerous television magazine items for broadcasters in the U.S., Germany, and France, and authored a slim volume of fiction, The Fisherman and the Nymph.
Biotechnology is changing the way farming is done all over the world. Advocates believe the “New Green Revolution” is the only way to provide sufficient food for the world's growing population while opponents raise environmental concerns and fear that GMOs drive small-scale farmers off the land. Bitter Seeds explores the controversy — from a village in India that uses genetically modified seeds to U.S. government agencies that promote them.