Films – Poverty

Born into Brothels
Director: Ross Kauffman, Zana Briski
Academy Award winning documentary film about youth empowerment and the transformative power of art and education. Includes an accompanying Teaching Guide by Amnesty International.
Time: 85 minutes
Grade Level: middle – high school

Living on One Dollar a Day
Source: Living on One: The Change Series
Three American students explore the meaning of rural poverty by living on $1 a day in a Guatemalan village. Deals with hunger, clean water, education, finding work, and dealing with crises.
Time: Various
Grade Level: middle – high school

The Revolutionary Optimists
Directors: Nicole Newnham and Maren Grainger-Monsen
Source: The Independent Television Service (ITVS)
Film with lesson plans. The film follows Amlan Ganguly, a lawyer-turned-community activist, and three of the children he works with through adolescence as they challenge the idea that marginalization is written into their destiny. Using theater, dance, and data, the children have cut disease rates and turned garbage heaps into playing fields. Now, they have set their sights on goals that push at the limits of optimism: trying to bring clean water to a community that has long been denied it, and enabling the migrant children working in the brick fields on Calcutta’s outskirts to receive an education. Also see two accompanying education guides:

  • Map Your World: Enables young people to create interactive data and story maps focused on important issues leveraging proven technologies including Google Earth, GPS, Android phones, and the open source tool Formhub. Educators can use Map Your World in the classroom, share their findings, and collaborate with educators and students from around the world.
  • Talkback: A blogfor discussion of the video. What do you feel are the barriers to such changes taking place? What solutions might occur in order for slum neighborhoods to be lifted out of poverty?

Who Sees Poverty?

Source: Blum Center for Developing Economies, University of California, Berkeley
Based on Prof. Ananya Roy’s popular Global Poverty class at the University of California, Berkeley, combines critical social theory with improv art and live-action sketch to explore the questions posed above.
Time: 12:41 minutes
Grade Level: middle – high school