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The lives of ordinary people, their unique stories and challenges.
Last updated: 06 Oct 2014 10:55
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China: Balancing a Dream                                                                                  Sunday, October 5

To be a journalist in today's China, you sometimes need to have a few subtle tricks up your sleeve to get your stories to print.

Sun Hua, an award-winning investigative journalist for the Jinan Times, knows just what he can and cannot get away with and how best to persuade his bosses to allow him to continue his work. He is charming, philosophical - and also very determined.

This film follows Sun Hua at work as he investigates a story about possible corruption by a property developer, seeking out residents' views, negotiating demonstrations and dealing with the police.

All the time, he quietly considers his position as a journalist in a complex country that itself is dealing with change. He dreams of 'fairness, objectivity, truth' - but he also knows there are real limits to what he can do. Yet he continues to push, to persuade and to publish.

China: Balancing a Dream explores 21st century China as it is challenged by a changing world, pushed by free-thinkers such as Sua Hua and an ongoing struggle for increasing freedom of expression.

China: Balancing a Dream can be seen from Sunday, October 5 at the following times GMT:  Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630.

Casablanca Camerawoman                                                                          Wednesday, October 8

This film follows Khadija, a divorced woman and single parent, as she pursues a career as a wedding videographer in Morocco.

She has gained a level of independence outside the family home that was previously unthinkable, but her conservative family wants her to remarry and stop working, despite the fact that she is the chief breadwinner.

They are ashamed of the fact she is divorced, and appalled that her work means she often works late at night.

The film shows how the camera has liberated Khadija, and changed her life, while at the same time forcing her into a daily struggle to maintain her position as a woman in Moroccan society.

Casablanca Camerawoman can be seen from Wednesday, October 8 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

Alfred's Free Press                                                                                              Sunday, October 12

In Liberia, a country where radios and televisions are luxuries most people cannot afford, Alfred Sirleaf, an enterprising journalist has founded an innovative newspaper, the “Daily Talk”.

The paper is Alfred’s answer to the misinformation he says caused Liberia’s brutal civil war. His innovation is to write it up each day on a blackboard in the centre of Monrovia, accessible to all.

Witness goes behind the scenes of the Daily Talk, following the tireless Alfred in his pursuit of news and getting to know some of the readers who make the Daily Talk a central part of their daily routine.

Alfred's Free Press can be seen from Sunday, October 12 at the following times GMT:  Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630.

Kismet: How Turkish Soap Operas Changed the World                            Wednesday, October 15

Turkish soap operas have taken the world by storm, breaking taboos and conquering the hearts of millions of viewers.

With unprecedented access to the industry's most glamorous actors and creative talent, the film travels from North Africa to the Middle East, Turkey and the Balkans to discover the secret of their phenomenal success and powerful impact on women across the region.

Kismet: How Turkish Soap Operas Changed the World can be seen from Wednesday, October 15 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

Sunday in Brazzaville                                                                                                       Sunday, October 19

Brazzaville in Congo is one of the poorest cities in Africa but its citizens know how to enjoy life to the full. They may be surrounded by poverty but members of the eccentric ‘Sapeurs Association’ always dress in designer suits.

Rapper Cheriff Bakala is recording his first album despite living in a country with hardly any music producers, while wrestler Palmas Ya Ya relies on voodoo and faith to help him defeat younger and stronger opponents.

This film features a rollercoaster of a weekend spent with people who know how to have a good time, despite the grim reality around them.

Sunday in Brazzaville can be seen from Sunday, October 19 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630.

Mustafa's Sweet Dreams                                                                         Wednesday, October 22

Mustafa is a young apprentice pastry-maker who dreams of becoming a baklava master in Istanbul. We meet him in Gaziantep in south-eastern Turkey, the capital of baklava-making, where over 300 workshops strive to make this ‘heavenly’ cake.

We see him and his young apprentice friends at work, learning their craft and musing about the world.

We follow Mustafa as he struggles to make his dream come true, eventually heading to Istanbul where he is desperate to make a name for himself, to become rich and respected and to leave poverty behind. But his journey is complex, the dream elusive and Mustafa finds more than just the bright lights and baklava at his destination.

This award-winning film is exquisite to look at and beautifully paced, a poignant quest by a winsome young man battling impossible odds.

Mustafa's Sweet Dreams can be seen from Wednesday, October 22 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

In This Room                                                                                                 SundayOctober 26

The economic downturn that hit the US economy has left many families struggling. For those who were already living on the edge of economic security the impact of the downturn has been a devastating tipping point.

In This Room is a personal look at how one Chicago family, forced into living in a homeless shelter, is navigating through this turmoil. We see this journey through Derrell, a father of four trying to find a job and restore his family's dignity.

We will also go through this experience with 19-year-old Lamont, who is striving to be seen as just another kid in high school despite his family's homelessness. And from the perspective of young Malichi, who is caught up in the chaos with little grasp of why this happening to the people he loves.

In This Room can be seen from Sunday, October 26 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630.   

The Mulberry House                                                                                   WednesdayOctober 29

Filmmaker Sara Ishaq grew up in Yemen but decided to live with her mother in Scotland, when she was 17. In 2011 she travelled back to Yemen and took her camera along. She wanted to reconnect with her family and the place that was once so close to her.

Outside the gates of their home, The Mulberry House, people were protesting against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s authoritarian rule. Sara’s family joined in and cooked food for the protesters. Sara began reporting the events as they unfolded to the international media.

This highly personal film records events during this tumultuous period, as change was taking place both outside and inside Sara’s home.

The Mulberry House can be seen from Wedneesday, October 29 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

Dream for a City                                                                                                      Sunday, November 2

Dream for a City is an inside look at how Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson and her team are working to keep Martin Luther King’s dream alive in Gary, Indiana. This is a story that will connect the humanitarian, spiritual and social justice principals that Dr King preached with a city whose mayor and senior team openly embrace his teachings as a way to bring positive change to a devastated city.

This is a city that once offered bright promise for working-class black families migrating north seeking work. For years the city’s factories were a bastion of economic opportunity and racial harmony. Today most of the factories have closed and intra-racial violence has skyrocketed.

Freeman is the first black woman to be elected mayor in Gary. We will join them as her as she works to turn the fate and fortunes of her city around. This will be seen through the prism of raising support in her community for a legislative bill she is pushing through the Indiana State Legislature. It will give Gary an important step towards rising out of debt, poverty, violence and despair by providing economic opportunities for its citizens. The bill is a core element of the plan to revive their city. Without it the future of the city, and the mayor’s vision for the future of her city may be a dream that dies.

Dream for a City can be seen from Sunday, November 2 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630. 

Emptying the Skies                                                                               Wednesday, November 5

If you want to impress your dining companions in Cyprus, it is not caviar that you order, but ambelopoulia: a tiny songbird. But as this film reveals, the cost to bring such delicacies to the table is enormous.

Bestselling novelist Jonathan Franzen takes a break from the world of fiction to guide us through an all too horrifying reality: tens of millions of protected migratory songbirds are illegally killed every year.

Franzen, a longtime bird lover, accompanies young staffers of the Committee Against Bird Slaughter on their expeditions. With police enforcement in Southern Europe practically non-existent, they risk their lives to rescue trapped birds, and confront hostile poachers.

Emptying the Skies can be seen from Wedneesday, November 5 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

Hungry for Change                                                                                      Sunday, November 9

Food is at the core of human survival. It can be at the heart of a family's traditions and the key to a nation's cultural identity. It has also been the source of war and conflict and devastation.

Natural disasters can wipe out the food supply of an entire country. But what happens when you live in the largest economy in the world, where food is ever abundant and yet you may still go to bed at night hungry?

Nineteen-year-old Chima, a homeless Nigerian immigrant, takes us on a journey through New York City to reveal what it means to be truly food insecure in the land of plenty. In his own neighbourhood he shows us what unhealthy food choices most of the poor must make each day and how part of the solution may be growing just around the corner.

Hungry for Change can be seen from Sunday, November 9 at the following times GMT: Sunday: 2230; Monday: 0930; Tuesday: 0330 and Wednesday: 1630. 

A Whole Lott More                                                                               Wednesday, November 12

In a tough economy, the entire country worries about jobs, homes, and children’s futures. Yet how often do we think of the most vulnerable members of our society? Around eight million people in America have a developmental disability but the vast majority - around 80 percent - remain unemployed.

Many Americans with development disabilities who do work have historically found refuge in ‘workplaces’ – coalitions of industry and social service that provide manufacturing jobs. Most states in America have facilities such as these – in Toledo, Ohio, there is Lott Industries.

Lott employs over 1,200 workers. For decades the company excelled in building car parts, competing successfully with the non-disabled and achieving the highest quality ratings. However, with the decline of the auto industry in neighbouring Detroit, Lott is faced with a crisis.

For Lott to move into the modern age, it must overcome the odds to create a new, dynamic model for working environments for people with disabilities. This model must also be inclusive, allowing people with disabilities to work in the wider community. It must be self-sustaining and should provide people with disabilities a decent wage. Some in the disability world are not sure that a workplace can evolve at all.

A Whole Lott More can be seen from Wedneesday, November 12 at the following times GMT: Wednesday: 2000; Thursday: 1200; Friday: 0100; Saturday: 0600.

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