Tribeca Docs Paint a Too-Often Sad State of Affairs for the US

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by Bryce J. Renninger
April 23, 2012 6:43 PM
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"Off Label"

After several decades of the Reagan-Bush-Palin-Santorum circus in town, perhaps we don't need to be reminded of how silly this country can be.  But a group of documentaries at the Tribeca Film Festival are exploring this funny land in a number of ways:

The Revisionaries:

It's a little known fact that because Texas buys so many textbooks (#2 in the nation after California, who has in recent years put a freeze on spending) and has an up-front way of buying textbooks at 110% current enrollment rates, textbook publishers cater their editorial decisions to the rules put forth by the Texas Boad of Education.  In a film that manages to make the procedures of the board and small town politics actually interesting, all political sides of the quest to set the standards for history and biology classes treatment of evolution are shown with an even hand.  But in the end, scientific reason and the cultural history of non-white and non-conservative citizens are put on the defensive.

Downeast:

Did you know that most lobsters, though caught by Maine workers head to Canada to be cleaned and packaged?  When a sardine packaging factory in a small Maine town must close its doors, a local entrepreneur uses the opportunity to open up a lobster processing plant in the US.  But will the omnipotent powers-that-be let the industry be taken away from Canada?  Filmmakers Ashley Sabin and David Redmon follow the small town citizens and the local interests in a searing look at the fight for American industry.

Off Label:

Our nation's overreliance on pharmaceuticals can take a number of tragic forms; pharmaceutical drugs are, of course, sometimes godsend for the suffering.  From a man who takes pharmaceutical drug tests to sustain himself financially to a woman that manages a Bigfoot Museum and has a pill regimen of several dozen medications, Donal Mosher and Mike Palmieri give a complicated look at the effect of pharmaceuticals on a diverse set of eight Americans in this fascinating -- and beautiful -- film.

The Lost Boys @ Tribeca, brought you by Diet Coke.  Diet Coke is giving away free Tribeca screenings online. Just go to Tribecafilm.com and hit the “Shift” and “X” keys at the same time and a special film will be unlocked for you to view. Do it now!

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