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Meaningful Movies - 2016 Archive

Rain in a Dry Land


Friday, March 18,

Garden House 2336 15th Ave. S.

RAIN IN A DRY LAND chronicles two years in the lives of two extended Somali Bantu families as they leave behind a two-hundred year legacy of oppression in Africa to face new challenges in a strange new land. The film begins in January, 2004, at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, where our featured families are stunned by what they learn about America in their "Cultural Orientation" class: refrigerators, stoves, bathtubs, elevators, stairs, buildings taller than one storey, schools, and all the things we take for granted in modern life. As their awe and excitement grow, the audience fears for them. How will these illiterate Muslim farmers who speak no English manage to survive in America?



These opening scenes in Kakuma introduce our featured families, both dynamic, charismatic, and very different in nature. Arbai is quick, strong, affectionate, a single mother of four with a great sense of humor and an easy contagious laugh, despite her devastating past.


Madina is fierce, vulnerable, wounded, strong; her husband Aden is volatile, moody, soulful, determined to provide for his huge family but uncertain and a bit naive about the life that lies ahead. Their witty, resourceful teenage sons, Ali (17) and Warsame (15), figure prominently in the film, as do Arbai's beautiful teenage daughters, Sahara (13) and Khadija (16).


The documentary follows these two families to America and through their first two years in their new homes. Aden and Madina, sponsored by Jewish Family Service, settle in the grim mill-town of Springfield, Massachusetts; while Arbai's family settles in Atlanta.


Despite racism, poverty, failures of the school system, and severe culture shock, both families do find ways to survive in America, and to create a safe haven for their war-torn families. The film ends with two vivid celebrations: the naming ceremony of Aden and Madina's first American-born child; and the traditional wedding of Arbai's oldest daughter, a colorful reunion of hundreds of Somali Bantu families converging on Atlanta from all over America. 

We hope to have local representatives from the refugee and refugee assistance communities join us for the post film discussion.


Check out the movie trailer

Cascadia: The Hidden Fire        Friday, February 19, 7:00 pm

In recent years scientists have discovered shocking new evidence that all points to Cascadia experiencing a subduction zone earthquake 100 times greater than Nisqually (Feb 28,2001) and unlike any seen in US or even recorded history.  


Like a true detective story, Cascadia’s tale contains twists and turns that have sent world-class scientists scrambling around the globe to understand and piece together dramatic new evidence. From the bottom of the ocean to high tech satellites; from historic and revealing clues in Chile, Mexico, Alaska and Japan to colorful Native American stories, Cascadia uncovers a hidden and dangerous story. A recently discovered two week long “silent” earthquake initially startled scientists but is now helping them to more accurately forecast or predict major earthquakes.  First hand accounts from Alaska’s great 1964 earthquake provides a human dimension, while breathtaking cinematography and state of the art animations reveal the hidden danger.  


Cascadia: The Hidden Fire is the riveting story of scientists and ordinary people caught in extraordinary seismic events and discoveries around the globe.  And what these seismic detectives are learning about Cascadia has brought us to a new threshold of earthquake prediction that will ultimately benefit the 2 billion people that live in super-quake prone areas along the Pacific Rim known as the Ring of Fire.  


For more on how to prepare, click the links below.

Filmed in nine countries and five continents over four years, This Changes Everything is an epic attempt to re-imagine the vast challenge of climate change. Inspired by Naomi Klein’s international non-fiction bestseller This Changes Everything, the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond.

Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Klein’s narration, connecting the carbon in the air with the economic system that put it there. Throughout the film, Klein builds to her most controversial and exciting idea: that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.


“The stakes are too high for us not to make the absolute most of this moment.” -Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything

Friday, January 15, 7:00 pm

Nuclear Lands

Friday, November 18th
Doors open at 6:15 pm at the Garden House 

Nuclear Lands (2015) describes three areas in the world in the US, France and Japan where the landscapes are dominated by nuclear sites. It explains the origins of plutonium, and examines its evolution from a matter used for military purposes to one which is used for nuclear energy. It explores the scientific, industrial and geopolitical implications of its production.

The film begins with the story of the birth of plutonium production in the 40s in Hanford USA, then recounts the history of the nuclear reprocessing plant in La Hague, France, then tells of the Rokkasho nuclear site in Japan which is actually built on a seismic fault line. Citizens and local politicians share their thoughts and experiences on living near these nuclear sites. The film is based on archives made by scientists at that time and recreates the story of an industrial environment secretly born in arid and desolate locations. The sites, depicted though creative imagery, show us that humankind made an irreversible choice in the mid-twentieth century.



Special guest for the evening will be Tom Carpenter who founded and is executive director of Hanford Challenge whose mission is to help create a future for Hanford that secures human health and safety, advances accountability and promotes a sustainable environmental legacy.  Come learn the latest.




Nuclear Information and Resources Service
Beyond Nuclear
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility

The Delano Manongs

Friday, October 21st
7:00 pm
Cintila Community Center at Plaza Roberto Maestas

We will be celebrating Filipino American History Month with a very special documentary on Friday, October 21 at 7:00 pm. Join us for the excellent film the DELANO MANONGS, spotlighting the much under-reported struggle for fair wages and rights by Filipino farm workers in California. 

We will be screening in the fabulous new Cintila Community Center at Plaza Roberto Maestas in the new El Centro de la Raza addition. Come have a peek at this fabulous gathering spot (and rental venue) on the first floor of the eastern apartment building. Our movie is free and we know you'll learn a lot about the struggle of these farm workers and their many supporters. Special guest for the evening is author Patty Enrado reading from her book "A Village in the Hills". 

This promises to be a very special evening. 
November we move back to our home at the Garden House.

Where to Invade Next

Friday, September 16th
Doors open at 6:15 pm

Michael Moore's latest film chronicles his quest to make America great. Honored by festivals and critics groups alike, WHERE TO INVADE NEXT is an expansive, hilarious, and subversive comedy in which the Academy Award®-winning director confronts the most pressing issues facing America today and finds solutions in the most unlikely places. 

Dhamma Brothers,

East Meets West in the Deep South

Friday June 17th
Doors open at 6:15 pm

Behind the high security towers and double row of barbed wire and electrical fence at Donaldson Correction Facility dwells a host of convicts who will never see the light of day. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when it becomes the first maximum-security prison in North

America to hold an extended Vipassana retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding course of silent meditation lasting ten days.

The Dhamma Brothers tells a dramatic tale of human potential and transformation as it closely follows and documents the stories of the prison inmates who enter into this arduous and intensive program. This film, with the power to dismantle stereotypes about men behind prison bars also, in the words of Sister Helen Prejean (Dead Man Walking), "gives you hope for the human race."

We will be joined by guests who bring meditation to prisoners.

Just Eat It

Friday, May 20
Doors open 6:15 pm

We all love food. As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs.

So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash?


Filmmakers and food lovers Jen and Grant dive into the issue of waste from farm, through retail, all the way to the back of their own fridge. After catching a glimpse of the billions of dollars of good food that is tossed each year in North America, they pledge to quit grocery shopping cold turkey and survive only on foods that would otherwise be thrown away. In a nation where one in 10 people is food insecure, the images they capture of squandered groceries are both shocking and strangely compelling. But as Grant’s addictive personality turns full tilt towards food rescue, the ‘thrill of the find’ has unexpected consequences.


Featuring interviews with TED lecturer, author and activist Tristram Stuart and acclaimed author Jonathan Bloom, Just Eat It looks at our systemic obsession with expiry dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, and reveals the core of this seemingly insignificant issue that is having devastating consequences around the globe.


Just Eat It brings farmers, retailers, inspiring organizations, and consumers to the table in a cinematic story that is equal parts education and delicious entertainment


Special guests from Seattle Public Utilities, Food Lifeline and City Fruit will join us for the discussion.Become part of the solution.

After Winter, Spring


Friday, April 15
Doors open 6:15 pm
Presentation/Q&A by the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance at 7 pm
Movie & discussion to follow.

A portrait of one family farm in France and the challenge it faces.


Their story is recorded by one of their neighbors, an American filmmaker who grew up on her family’s farm in Pennsylvania. Inter-weaving her story and theirs, the film explores the nature of the farming life and the changes, over the last 60 years, that impact the lives of families whose survival is tied to the land. As each of the farmer’s stories unfolds, we see their individual responses to change…the losses and the surprising adaptations.


The Périgordine farmers show us that as agriculture moves out of the hands of families who have farmed for generations and into a model of “agriculture as business,” something fundamental shifts. This farming community caught between tradition and an uncertain future struggles to hold on not only to their farms but to a set of values that comes of their intimate relationship with the natural world. AFTER WINTER, SPRING reveals the human story of family farming at a turning point in history.


Watch the trailer

Find out more about the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance


King Corn


Friday, March 11th

5:30 - 7:30 pm


Beacon Hill Branch
2821 Beacon Ave. S.

Beacon Hill Meaningful Movies is proud to partner with the Beacon Hill Public library for a for a Food Matters film screening and discussion. 


Fueled by curiosity and a dash of naiveté, college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to their ancestral home of Greene, Iowa, to find out how the modest corn kernel conquered America. With the help of real farmers, powerful fertilizer, government aid, and genetically modified seeds, the friends manage to grow one acre of corn. Along the way, they unlock the hidden truths about America's modern food system.


More details at the library website.


Check out the movie  trailer

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