Dr. Jerimiah Morley believes the world is headed to a worldwide nuclear war. He organizes an expedition made up of a team of expert scientists and an atomic-powered rock-boring vehicle called a “cyclotram” to find a subterranean environment where holocaust survivors could live indefinitely. Millionaire adventurer Wright Thompson finances the project — under the condition that he be allowed to go. As the group goes deeper into the earth the journey claims the lives and causes personalities to clash. Finally the discovery of an enormous underground habitat with its own ocean and phosphorescent light is made and it appears that their goal has been achieved. But has it?
Filmmakers Barbara Multer-Wellin and Jeffrey Abelson pay tribute to three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Paul Conrad in this documentary featuring nearly 200 of his best-known cartoons in addition to interviews with Conrad’s family, friends, and colleagues. While the prominent cartoonist has been honored with many prestigious awards throughout his rich and rewarding career, the distinction that Conrad holds dearest is the inclusion of his name on Richard Nixon’s 1973 list of enemies. A native of Cedar Rapids, IA, Conrad first began cartooning for the University of Iowa’s student newspaper while earning his B.A. in art. Upon graduation, Conrad quickly landed a job at the Denver Post, where he would remain for 14 years and meet his future wife Kay King. Later lured away to the Los Angeles Times, Conrad played a pivotal role in helping the local, right-leaning publication transform itself into an influential paper of national significance. While many critics would attempt to fault Conrad for his liberal stance on issues, he refused to bend to any political party and frequently showed just how informed his opinions truly were by setting his sights on Republicans and Democrats alike. Later, when the Los Angeles Times went from being a family-owned publication to the lone asset of a massive, multi-faceted corporation, Conrad opted to strike a deal with Tribune Media Syndicate that allowed him to draw four cartoons a week for papers that circulated nationwide.
The aphorism “The poor are always with us” dates back to the New Testament, but while the phrase is still sadly apt in the 21st century, few seem to be able to explain why poverty is so widespread. Activist filmmaker Philippe Diaz examines the history and impact of economic inequality in the third world in the documentary The End of Poverty?, and makes the compelling argument that it’s not an accident or simple bad luck that has created a growing underclass around the world. Diaz traces the growth of global poverty back to colonization in the 15th century, and features interviews with a number of economists, sociologists, and historians who explain how poverty is the clear consequence of free-market economic policies that allow powerful nations to exploit poorer countries for their assets and keep money in the hands of the wealthy rather than distributing it more equitably to the people who have helped them gain their fortunes. Diaz also explores how wealthy nations (especially the United States) seize a disproportionate share of the world’s natural resources, and how this imbalance is having a dire impact on the environment as well as the economy. The End of Poverty? was an official selection at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival.