Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai


Title Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai
Director(s) Alan Dater and Lisa Merton
Date released (year) 2008
Length 81 mins
Production company Independent
Location Kenya
Keywords/tags Kenya, women,   deforestation, activism, planting trees, feminism, environmental justice,   ecofeminism, land degradation, environmentalism
Link to film
Synopsis TAKING ROOT: The Vision of Wangari Maathai   tells the story of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, a grassroots organization   encouraging rural women and families to plant trees in community groups, and   follows Maathai, the movement’s founder and the first environmentalist and   African woman to win the Nobel Prize. Maathai discovered her life’s work by   reconnecting with the rural women with whom she had grown up. They told her   they were walking long distances for firewood, and that clean water was   scarce. The soil was disappearing from their fields and their children were   suffering from malnutrition. “Well, why not plant trees?” she suggested.

Maathai   soon discovered that tree planting had a ripple effect of empowering change.   In the mid-1980s, Kenya was under the repressive regime of Daniel arap Moi,   whose dictatorship outlawed group gatherings and the right of association. In   tending their nurseries, women had a legitimate reason to gather outside   their homes and discuss the roots of their problems. They soon found   themselves working against deforestation, poverty, ignorance, embedded   economic interests and government corruption; they became a national   political force that helped to bring down the country’s 24-year dictatorship.

Using   archival footage and first-person accounts, the film documents dramatic political   confrontations of 1980s and 1990s Kenya and captures Maathai’s infectious   determination and unwavering courage through in-depth conversations with the   film’s subjects. TAKING ROOT captures a world view in which nothing is   perceived as impossible. The film also presents an awe-inspiring profile of   one woman’s three-decade journey of courage to protect the environment,   ensure gender equality, defend human rights and promote democracy—all   sprouting from the achievable act of planting trees.

Source:   http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/takingroot/film.html



Awards & Festivals:

2008, Winner,   Audience Choice Prize, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire de Montréal   (RIDM)

2008, Winner,   Prix Ecocamera (Ecocamera Award), Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire   du Montréal (RIDM)

2008, Winner,   Margaret Blank Award for Storytelling Vermont International Film Festival

2008, Winner,   Amnesty International Durban Human Rights Award, Durban International Film   Festival

2008, Winner,   Green Cinema Award, Maui Film Festival

2008, Winner,   Audience Award, Projecting Change Film Festival, Vancouver

2008, Winner,   Audience Award Winner, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival

2008, Winner,   Full Frame Women in Leadership Award, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival,   Durham, North Carolina

2008, Winner,   Nashville Women in Film & Television Award for Best Feature Length Film   Directed or Co-Directed by a Woman Nashville Film Festival

2008, Winner,   Best Documentary Feature, Honorable Mention, Nashville Film Festival

Below taken from:   http://takingrootfilm.com/reviews.htm

“Highly recommended”
read Video   Librarian review…

“We have just completed the month-long book tour [The   Challenge for Africa] and … hardly was there a place we went that people did   not mention Taking   Root. It has been a wonderful project… I hope the film will   continue to inspire people across the globe especially as the message is so   fitting for our time.”

Wangari Maathai
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Founder of the Green Belt Movement,
and subject of Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai

“[Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai]   portrays a woman’s fight against all odds not to be a victim in her own   natural environment. Indeed, ‘the tree woman’ and her initiative of planting   trees led to the emancipation of women in her community. Through this act,   she became the epitome of success and a role model of an enriching   woman.”
read more…

International Images Film Festival for Women,
Zimbabwe upon presenting the Best Documentary Award

Taking Root underscores the critical importance of   education to a social movement. It portrays a vision of education that is not   about changing people’s heads, but ultimately changing the conditions under   which people live. We can talk in the classroom about education for social   change, but this extraordinary film provides a model for change that engages   and inspires. It is worth a hundred hours of classroom talk…both the film   and the woman are truly extraordinary!”

Dr. Thomas Heaney,
Adult & Continuing Education
National-Louis University


Links to other resources Official   site: http://takingrootfilm.com/reviews.htm


From filmmakers Alan Dater and Lisa Merton:

We hope that TAKING ROOT: The Vision of Wangari Maathai will help viewers to see their relationship to the natural world in a different way. The connection between a healthy environment and healthy communities is at the core of the work of the Green Belt Movement, the NGO that Wangari Maathai founded in 1977, when she realized that the problems the rural women were having were directly related to their degraded environment. In taking steps to ameliorate their situation by planting trees, these women were not only addressing their immediate problems but the root cause of those problems as well.

Viewers   have been moved and inspired by TAKING ROOT, and we hope that inspiration   leads to action. The path that Wangari Maathai took from environmental   justice to social and economic justice and then, ultimately, to peace, is   what inspires audiences. They start to make connections that they have   perhaps not made before.

In   that spirit, we have partnered with the Katahdin Foundation to produce an action   guide. The guide encourages people to take action in   their local communities by becoming aware of trees and encouraging people to   plant trees, and to make the connections between tree-planting, clean air,   strong children and healthier communities and ultimately a healthier planet.   We hope that TAKING ROOT encourages viewers to ask questions such as, “Who is   living in degraded environments in the United States and why?” and then to   seek solutions.

We   also hope that the historical context of the film will raise awareness about   how colonialism across the globe has been, and continues to be, at the root   of environmental destruction in the “developing world.” Viewing the   land as a commodity, and the extraction of resources as more important than   anything else, has led us to the global climate crisis in which we find   ourselves today. This way of doing business in the developing world continues   without taking into account the livelihoods, well being and environmental   sustainability of local communities; we take what we need and leave.

Source:   http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/takingroot/filmmakers.html

Deforestation   101: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/takingroot/deforestation.html


Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Title Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity   for Women Worldwide
Director(s) A team of veteran filmmakers   collaborated to create to bring the stories and ideas of Nicholas Kristof and   Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book to public television audiences nationwide.
Date   released (year) 2012
Length 4 hours
Production   company Show of Force, LLC and Fugitive   Films, LLC in association with PBS and ITVS
Location International (10 countries),   including Somaliland, Kenya and Sierra Lione
Keywords/tags Gender, feminism, prostitution, sex   trafficking, women, domestic violence, education, health, economic   empowerment, livelihoods
Link   to film


Synopsis Half the Sky: Turning Oppression   into Opportunity for Women Worldwide was filmed in 10 countries and   follows Kristof, WuDunn, and celebrity activists America Ferrera, Diane Lane,   Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde on a journey to tell   the stories of inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression   is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned   through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls.   The linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based   violence, and maternal mortality — which needlessly claim one woman every 90   seconds — present to us the single most vital opportunity of our time: the   opportunity to make a change. All over the world women are seizing this   opportunity.
Reviews/discussion Women   and girls across the globe face threats — trafficking, prostitution,   violence, discrimination — every day of their lives. But hope endures. Brave   men and women have developed innovative ways of helping those living in some   of the most challenging conditions.

A   girl in India is on the brink of being sold into the commercial sex trade. A   young mother in Somaliland may die giving birth. In Sierra Leone, a girl has   been raped and must confront the norms of her community. A women whose   husband abused her now helps those suffering at the hands of their spouses.

These   are the stories of individuals who represent hundreds of millions of women   and girls around the world who are victimized and abused, denied access to   education, medicine or property, prevented from reaching their full potential   and contributing in more meaningful ways to their communities. These are   stories of dehumanizing violence and discrimination. But these are also   stories of struggle and victories, large and small, in the face of the   longest odds.

A   women whose husband abused her now helps those suffering at the hands of   their spouses. With a book, a teenage girl in Vietnam takes the first steps   towards breaking the cycle of grinding poverty that plagues her family.   Dozens of former impoverished individuals, seeking economic independence,   band together to establish what will become Kenya’s fastest-growing   microfinance organization.

Each   of these stories puts a human face to an otherwise abstract idea or string of   statistics that could never convey the true human cost of the discrimination   and abuse suffered by hundreds of millions. These stories also illuminate the   spirit of perseverance that is embodied by the women and girls who face these   violations each day, and those who have made it their life’s mission to help   them

Source: http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/half-the-sky/stories/

Links   to other resources The Half the   Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put   an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of   our time. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book   of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women   Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational   tools to not only raise awareness of women’s issues, but to also provide   concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women. Change is possible,   and you can   be part of the solution. See http://www.halftheskymovement.org/pages/movement