Every month, Guernica’s multimedia editor, Mary Wang, selects a new documentary as part of our partnership with Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA). These works were produced by filmmakers around the globe, but are united in their commitment to advancing social justice through compelling narratives and captivating imagery.
Watch our selections below.
Hotel USA is a tender and intimate documentary that follows a group of refugees as they spend their first night in the United States in a New Jersey roadside motel, before settling into their new lives.
Billed as an “immersive listening journey”, the film follows acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton as he seeks to document the impact of noise pollution in the Hoh Rainforest, one of the quietest places in North America. According to Hempton, silence is on the verge of extinction. Watch this documentary for his profound meditation on the art of listening.
A salmon in Alaska makes an unlikely journey along “the Mount Everest of rivers”—the Susitna—as residents consider the costs and benefits of a mega-dam. Watch this gorgeously-shot, deliriously-paced documentary for the way it shows how the river connects the state’s wildlife with a group of its most ferocious and eccentric defenders.
The setting is Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, where the prison’s debate team joins forces with students from Washington State University to discuss gun control, even though many of the incarcerated debaters have landed there precisely for firearm-related crimes.
In the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, failed reconstruction has pushed social unrest to the breaking point. Protests erupt in the streets, and armed UN soldiers stalk the angry crowds. But a group of young Haitians, driven by their passion for a new Haiti, is sparking social change. To democratize information and offer hope to the population, they produce a radical newspaper, Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye (Noise Travels, News Spreads).
SIMA is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt arts organization. It exists to advance global awareness, social justice, human rights and education by supporting filmmakers on the front-lines of social change. SIMA started as the first and only international media competition honoring achievements in the creative, human rights and humanitarian fields. Today, SIMA is the most renowned global curator in the social impact space, serving independent film, academic and global social justice industries around the world. The organization now consist of several programs, including SIMA Classroom, SIMA RAMA and SIMAx, which all have the purpose of affecting change through social impact cinema.