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What do Pope St. John Paul II, Elephants, and a Brave Young Woman Have in Common?



<span class="meta-field photo-title ">Elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, East Africa</span> <p style="margin:0;"><span class="meta-field photo-desc ">Elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, East Africa</span></p>

Matthew Becklo - published on 04/23/15 - updated on 06/08/17

Check out these new trailers for three very promising upcoming documentaries

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Trailers have just been released for what look to be three fascinating (and very different) documentaries all related to issues of social justice.


John Paul II was a champion of social justice in all of its forms – solidarity, religious freedom, the dignity of workers – and these convictions led him to the front lines of the battle against communism in Poland in 1979. What many might not know is that he was also a man of deep thought: a playwright, philosopher, and poet. Apartament, a new Polish documentary, promises to offer “absolutely unique, unknown until now video materials” of the Pope in his private travels.

Official Description:
TVP, John Paul II Centre and TBA Group are finishing a film, which will present John Paul II the way only a few closest friends knew him. All of this will be possible thanks to the absolutely unique, unknown until now video materials of the Pope’s private travels. Few people had any knowledge of their existence.

Release Date:  May 2015

Gardeners of Eden

Like Austin Peck’s first documentary

Tough Bond
, Gardeners of Eden takes place in Kenya – a country visited three times by John Paul II – but shifts from the human crisis in the battered streets of Nairobi to an ecological crisis of elephant poaching in the countryside. The film’s title alone underscores the duty to care for creation – and the devastating consequences when we don’t.

Official Trailer: Gardeners of Eden from Village Beat on Vimeo.

Official Description:
Africa’s elephants are hurtling towards extinction to fuel the worldwide ivory trade. While conservationists howl and corrupt governments fail to address the ongoing slaughter, one brave family has been working for decades to stem the tide, one elephant at a time. Gardeners of Eden is a gripping, first-person experience inside the operations of Kenya’s David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. From the front lines of the crisis, we witness their heroic efforts to stop the poachers in the bush, rescue the orphans of slain elephants and raise them by hand, until one day, returning them to their home in the wild.

Release Date: April 24, 2015 (Select Theaters in LA and NYC); May 2015 (Pivot TV)

A Brave Heart

Official Description:
Writer Michael Campo’s last film (Child 31) also looked at the hunger crisis in Kenya. His latest project, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story, is about a different kind of hunger: a hunger for human dignity. Lizzie Velasquez was born with a rare syndrome that made her the target of mass cyberbullying. But now, she’s using the experience to inspire and empower young people with a message of strength and hope. 

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story is a documentary following the inspiring journey of 26 year old, 58 pound Lizzie from cyber-bullying victim to anti-bullying activist. Born with a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, Elizabeth "Lizzie" Velasquez was first bullied as a child in school for looking different and, later online, as a teenager when she discovered a YouTube video labeling her "The World’s Ugliest Woman." The film chronicles unheard stories and details of Lizzie’s physical and emotional journey up to her multi-million viewed TEDx talk, and follows her pursuit from a motivational speaker to Capitol Hill as she lobbies for the first federal anti-bullying bill.

Release Date: October 2015

MoviesPope John Paul II
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