Standing/Still Standing is a short documentary that captures the real-time transformations of three people for whom a paraplegic yoga instructor with an unconventional method is a last hope.
Matthew Sanford turned a devastating car accident into a reason for being. Paralyzed at age 13, Matthew grieved, grew increasingly bitter and lashed out at the injustice of the world. Then in his twenties, with nothing left to lose, he tried yoga and was shocked to finally find a way to reconnect with his paralyzed limbs. He now helps others whose broken bodies and defeated spirits have been ill-served by conventional medicine.
Angie is an acrobat whose recent debilitating accident crippled her body and threw her entire identity into question. Bruce is a college dean and ALS patient who is withering before our eyes. And Britt is a Marine who after being hit by an IED in Afghanistan was given a 10% chance of ever walking or talking again. All three of these students from very diverse backgrounds with very diverse conditions, engage Matthew to help them wrestle down their demons and recover some sense of "normal" in their lives.
This powerful chain of stories drives home how one man’s determination to live a life against daunting odds can inspire others to recover what they thought had been lost forever. Those who are short on hope or good news will be inspired. All of us will be encouraged to find the determination, confidence, and strength to take on what might seem impossible.
The Thing That Happened
Featuring a score by Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys, The Thing That Happened played at film festivals worldwide, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the United Nations Film Festival. The tiny campus of the Hope North Vocational and Secondary school is south of the Nile River, near the remote trading center of Bweyale in Northern Uganda. With no phone, Internet or reliable transportation, the school is an island in a vast sea of African bush. The students here are a mix of former child soldiers, orphans and abjectly poor kids, displaced by the 22-year old civil war in Uganda between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UDPF). The teachers are mostly rookie educators fresh out of Ugandan universities - some of whom look not much older than the kids. Their teaching tools amount to little more than their own wits and a scattering of out-dated textbooks. With seldom enough money to pay the staff, house the kids and buy school supplies, operating the school is a juggle of compromises. But deficiencies or not, the school is the only chance these kids have to escape their tragic histories. Embedded within this story of tenuous survival at a small school in the African bush is a larger exploration of a powerful concept... the concept of hope.
US Navy - USS New York
Built with almost 8 tons of World Trade Center steel forged in her bow stem, the USS New York is deploying to the Middle East for the first time since her commissioning. State-of-the-art in warfare technology and stealth design, LPD 21 represents the future of the fight.
Personal 9/11 accounts from her crew set the stage for a deeper understanding of how that day continues to resonate and how this ship sends a powerful message of resolve. From her young greenhorns to her seasoned Master Chief who was raised in a housing project in the Bronx, this short portrait of the New York reminds us of the commitment and pride each feels for this latest in a long line of warships named for the city of New York.
PBS - Arctic Son
In the tiny town of Old Crow, 80 miles north of the Arctic Circle, a father and his son are reunited after almost 25 years apart. They share a name and a bloodline, but the worlds they know and the lifestyles they lead are as different as their respective hometown climates. Stanley Sr. is a hunter, a man of the land steeped in native traditions. Stanley Jr., who has been raised by his mother in Washington State, immerses himself in hip-hop music and video games, and is drifting deeper into drugs and alcohol. After a lifetime apart, the two meet again in the raw, quiet beauty of the Canadian Yukon. The New York Times hailed the film as having, "...a tension that never really fades." The film premiered at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, played at festivals worldwide and aired on PBS' POV program.