Steps International, BBC, DR-Danish Broadcast Corp.
A collection of eight documentaries televised by networks in 69 countries, from Australia to Zimbabwe, Why Poverty? addresses when, where, what and how as well. Each film is distinct in tone and style and examines different facets of the subject. “Welcome to the World,” for instance, documents the vastly different circumstances under which 130 million babies are born worldwide each year. More a video essay, “Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream” doesn’t hide its indignation at the extreme disparity of wealth it finds on opposite ends of the fabled Manhattan thoroughfare. “Give Us the Money” questions whether celebrity-fronted anti-poverty events such as Live Aid have had any meaningful impact while “Land Rush” examines how rich nations such as Saudi Arabia and China are buying up large acreages in Mali to build agribusiness farms. For the bigger picture, there’s “Poor Us: An Animated History of Poverty,” which cleverly uses glyph-like cartoons to demonstrate how poverty, though always with us, has been redefined over the centuries of human existence. Other illuminating films in the series deal with the continuing poverty in Zambia despite its rich copper deposits (“Stealing Africa”), the exploding numbers of educated unemployed in China (“Education Education”), and a poor Jordanian woman enrolled in a solar-energy engineering program in India (“Solar Mamas”). For providing parallax insights into poverty as it is manifested throughout the world, a Peabody Award goes to Why Poverty?
PRIMARY PRODUCTION CREDITS
Executive Producers: Don Edkins, Mette Hoffman Meyer, Nick Fraser. Producers: Rachel Tierney, Blair Foster, David Herdies, Femke Wolting, Henrik Veileborg, Don Edkins, Eli Cane, Mette Heide. Directors: Brian Hill, Alex Gibney, Bosse Lindquist, Ben Lewis, Christoffer Guldbrandsen, Weijun Chen, Hugo Berkeley, Osvalde Lewat, Jehane Noujaim, Mona Eldaief.