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Icarus Film
Distributing innovative and
provocative documentary films
from independent producers
around the world
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Current Concerns: Films on issues in the news
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Monday, October 24, 2005

Behind Gold's Glitter: Torn Lands and Pointed Questions
"Behind Gold's Glitter: Torn Lands and Pointed Questions"--the feature article on the front page of today's (Oct. 24) New York Times-- is an in-depth result of a months-long investigation by the Times. It exposes the fact that gold mines have become the "near-equivalent of nuclear waste dumps that must be tended in perpetuity."

The article makes specific references to the Newmont Corporation's Yanacocha mine in Peru. Our film CHOROPAMPA: THE PRICE OF GOLD documents this mine's devasting effect on local populations, as well as the organizing and activism that ensued after a mercury spill. First Run/Icarus Films distributes several other films about the environmental and human damage caused by metal mines around the world, including INHERITANCE: A FISHERMAN'S STORY, AN INJURY TO ONE, and THE COLOR OF GOLD.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Scientists Bridle at Lecture Plan for Dalai Lama at Society for Neuroscience Meeting
As reported in the New York Times, the Dalai Lama is at the center of a scientific controversy. Long an enthusiastic collaborator in research on whether the intense meditation practiced by Buddhist monks can train the brain to generate compassion and positive thoughts, next month in Washington, the Dalai Lama is scheduled to speak about the research at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. But 544 brain researchers have signed a petition urging the society to cancel the lecture, because, according to the petition, "it will highlight a subject with largely unsubstantiated claims and compromised scientific rigor and objectivity."

The First Run/Icarus Films release MONTE GRANDE features the Dalai Lama and the late, eminent neuroscientist Francisco Varela. Varela's life long pursuit was the integration of Western science and Eastern philosophy in the area of neuroscience, and to that end he founded Mind & Life: A forum for scientists and the Dalai Lama to compare western research with Buddhist teachings, to pursue new directions for western research, and, on the other hand, to give new impulses to the Buddhist tradition.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

"Restorative Justice" Gaining Popularity
Many crime victims feel traditional justice comes up short. A recent article about Restorative Justice in the Oct. 1 Los Angeles Times presents the alternative, its origins in tribal and biblical teachings, and how restorative justice aims to achieve accountability for crimes in a direct, tangible way—rather than through state penalties—through mediated, face-to-face encounters between victim (or surviving relatives) and offender.

The acclaimed documentary FACING THE DEMONS, one of the first films to introduce this growing practice to the United States, has been hailed as, "Powerful and deeply moving... A very vivid rendering of the complexities and pain flowing out a real crime when put through the lens of a restorative justice effort. Very, very highly recommended!" (Educational Media Reviews Online)

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