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My Top Five Favorite Documentaries

My Top Five Favorite Documentaries

1.      Sharkwater

This documentary is the first I ever fell in love with. It is the story about a man, the ocean, a fight, but most importantly, the issue around shark extinction. Rob Stewart uses his photography, and diving skills along with his passion for sharks to tell the story of sharks including why humans are so scared of them, the harm they actually cause (which is next to none), and the harm WE cause. Sadly, most of the population doesn’t know that for every one human death to sharks, 25 million sharks die at the hands of humans.

But this documentary was more than just a wake-up call for me… It was the inspiration I needed to look into my options during high school as to how I can make a difference with my time on this planet. This was the documentary that inspired my big trip to Costa Rica. Meeting Rob Stewart in my senior year was what got me through all the bullying right to graduation. Sharkwater is a movie that every young activist and animal lover should watch because it is important and relevant.

2.      The Hunting Ground

It took me nearly two years to gain the courage to watch this documentary. And I didn’t necessarily want to tell my story in this setting but if not now, when? The Hunting Ground is a documentary about the amount of sexual assault that happens on American college campuses and the stigma that surrounds sexual assault and rape. Sadly, one in five girls will experience this during their time spent in post-secondary education. The documentary depicts the tragedy of this experience and the outcome of what happens when you report. This outcome is usually followed with questions directed toward the victim, not the rapist. Questions like “what were you wearing?” or “but how drunk were you really?” These are all questions I have been asked by people I have shared my story with. These are the questions that have made me and most young women question if what happened to them is their fault or their assailants. But the most important thing I have learned and something that is beautifully conveyed in this documentary is that it is NEVER the victims fault, no matter what they are wearing, how drunk they are, if they said yes and then changed their mind, or any other reason. Because in the end no means NO. This documentary goes well with a bag of chips, a box of tissues, and your best, most supportive friend.

3.      Cowspiracy

On October 17th 2016, I proudly became a vegan. Sarah had already been vegan for a few weeks and had inspired me to join her! So I did. And I loved it. I was making a difference in my own small way. But when I thought about my real reasons, I couldn’t find any except “I love the animals.” So when I was feeling vulnerable and wanted to eat a bag of chicken strips, I decided to watch Cowspiracy to remind myself as to why I was making this big lifestyle change. And it REALLY helped. Fun fact: it takes 2,500 liters of water to produce 1 pound of beef. An average shower uses about 62 liters of water. Notice something a little off? So did everyone else watching this documentary. Kip Andersen stumbled upon a huge environmental issue that lots of conservation groups were trying to hide or keep quiet. The number one cause of climate change is animal agriculture and cattle farming and that is what this movie is about.

4.      Blackfish

The first time I watched Blackfish was with my fellow conservationists in Costa Rica. I had heard my sister and mom talk about it but never really got around to watching it until this group of inspiring people decided to throw a movie night in the dorms. Blackfish is about the recently deceased, Tilikum, and his time spent at Sea World. It includes shocking footage that had been kept hidden from the public eye due to bad publicity. It shares stories of other killer whales held in captivity around the world including three killer whales bought by Sea World from “Sealand of the Pacific,” a closed aquarium in my own home province, British Columbia. This documentary had me in tears throughout the hour and a half. It is a must watch for anyone who questions whether or not it is okay to keep animals in captivity.

5.      The Cove

This is a documentary that is notoriously known as “that sad, depressing film I use to watch when I want to sob until there are no tears left in my body.” This is the first documentary I remember watching. I saw it with my mom in our living room and I remember being sad, noticing Hayden Panettiere (my favourite “Heroes”) actress, and seeing my mom cry throughout the whole film. The movie takes place in Taiji, Japan and follows the slaughtering of dolphins. It was known as an incredibly dangerous documentary to film with lots of violent and shocking footage. The raw and informative film won the U.S. audience award at Sundance Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Documentary. I highly recommend it to everyone.

BONUS: Amanda Knox

This is the story of a girl, her boyfriend and the mystery of the death of her roommate. Amanda Knox was accused and convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher but after four years in Italian prison and many trials, was acquitted of the crime twice. It is an unbiased, refreshing documentary and as a BIG fan of true crime, I totally recommend it.

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