All posts by alanwp

UMe releases another Supreme(s) winner. Get going a Go-Go!

Label this gem truly supreme. Make that Supremes. UMe continues to reissue the old, the forgotten, the important recordings that must be heard.cid:image003.jpg@01D2A719.7D954040

Now up:  The Supremes A’ Go-Go, the group’s first-ever No. 1 album (and first by an all-female group) featured the chart-topping “You Can’t Hurry Love” and covers of fellow Motown artists’ hits; the new version includes covers of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones

By the time Motown released the group’s ninth studio album, on August 25, 1966, the group had already scaled the charts with hits like “Where Did Our Love Go?,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Back in My Arms Again” and “I Hear a Symphony.”

The Supremes A’ Go-Go solidified Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard’s hold on the American and global marketplace, the first of their albums to go to No. #1 on the Billboard 200, marking the first LP by an all-female group to do so, spawning two Top 10 hits in the No. 1 “You Can’t Hurry Love” and the No. 9 “Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart.”  The album also featured the trio tackling an array of hit cover material, mostly from their Motown stablemates the Four Tops, the Temptations, Martha & the Vandellas, Barrett Strong and the Isley Brothers, but also contemporary hitmakers Nancy Sinatra (Lee Hazlewood’s “These Boots are Made for Walkin’”) and the McCoys (Bert Berns and Wes Farrell’s Brill Building chestnut “Hang on Sloopy”).

UMe will now reissue the classic album in a deluxe, expanded two-CD edition, featuring the original 12 tracks, featuring both the stereo album, along with rare mono album mixes, alternative vocal versions and mixes, as well as a duet of “Shake Me Wake Me (When It’s Over)” with the Four Tops. There are also rarely heard album outtakes, such as covers of fellow ‘60s stalwarts Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satsifaction.”

The Supremes A’ Go-Go remained on the Billboard chart for 60 weeks, going on to sell 3.5 million around the world, including one million in the U.S., knocking off The Beatles’ Revolver from the top spot for the honors. It also went to #15 in the U.K. album charts, with “You Can’t Hurry Love” peaking at #3 on the U.K. singles chart.

The production represented the peak of the fabled Motown team, headed by producers Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, the Funk Brothers and even the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on hand.Image result for vintage supremes

This expanded edition will also contain two 24-page booklets. The first chronicles the album’s production and success, as well as a timeline, and both rare and never-before-seen photos. The second booklet is a recreation of the Supremes 1966 tour book.

Said All Music’s Bruce Eder about the album, referring to its winning formula of having The Supremes cover Motown’s greatest hits: “In fact, back in the days when vinyl was the only game in town, used copies of this record sold faster and better than any of their other common ’60s LPs, and for good reason.”

Glen Campbell and pals say “Adios” to his recording career

His career ends on a bittersweet note. Legendary singer and guitarist Glen Campbell’s final studio album, Adiós, will be released June 9 on UMe, capping off an extraordinary career that has spanned more than five decades and 50 million albums sold. The album will be released on CD, vinyl and digitally and is available for pre-order. Pre-order Adiós here: UMe.lnk.to/AdiosPR

Adiós was recorded at Station West in Nashville following Campbell’s “Goodbye Tour” which he launched after revealing he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The album was announced with an exclusive statement from Kim Campbell, Glen’s wife of 34 years. In her touching notes, Kim reveals the genesis of the album, details the recording process and explains why Adiós is finally being released.Image result for glen campbell

She says: “A new Glen Campbell album coming out in 2017 might seem a bit odd since he hasn’t performed since 2012, and even more odd–if not absolutely amazing–when you consider that he has Alzheimer’s disease. Glen’s abilities to play, sing and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011. A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never. What you’re hearing when listening to Adiós is the beautiful and loving culmination of friends and family doing their very best for the man who inspired, raised and entertained them for decades–giving him the chance to say one last goodbye to his fans, and put one last amazing collection of songs onto the record store shelves.”

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Kim and Glen on their wedding day, October 25, 1982

For Campbell’s final recording session, Glen and Kim turned to Glen’s longtime banjo player and family friend Carl Jackson to helm the production, play guitar and help his old friend. In preparation for the recording, Jackson, who joined Campbell’s band in the early ’70s as an 18-year-old banjo player, laid down some basic tracks and vocals for Campbell to study and practice. Jackson encouraged him every step of the way and although Campbell struggled at times because of his progressing dementia, he was clearly ecstatic about being in the studio.

The 12-track collection features songs that Campbell always loved but never got a chance to record, including several from Jimmy Webb, his longtime collaborator behind some of his biggest hits like “Wichita Lineman” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “Galveston.” In addition to the bittersweet title track, “Adiós,” first popularized by Linda Ronstadt, Campbell also sings Webb’s longing love song “Just Like Always” and country weeper “It Won’t Bring Her Back.” He revisits“Postcard From Paris” with his sons Cal and Shannon and daughter Ashley singing the line, “I wish you were here,” resulting in a powerful and heartfelt message of a family singing together one last time.

Adiós sees Campbell putting his spin on several classic songs including “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right,” inspired by Jerry Reed’s Jversion of Bob Dylan’s timeless tune and “Everybody’s Talkin’, a banjo-filled take on the song that Campbell never recorded but famously performed on the “The Sonny & Cher Show” in 1973 with a 19-year-old Carl Jackson. Campbell’s daughter Ashley plays banjo on the song and joins her dad on several tracks on the album. Other songwriters featured include Roger Miller with “Am I All Alone (Or Is It Only Me),” which begins with a home recording of Miller singing the tune at a guitar pull before going into Campbell’s rendition with Vince Gill on harmonies, Dickey Lee’s honkytonk heartbreaker “She Thinks I Still Care” and Jerry Reed’s Johnny Cash hit “A Thing Called Love.” Willie Nelson joins his old pal for a poignant duet of Nelson’s 1968 “Funny How Time Slips Away” while Jackson tells Campbell’s life story in “Arkansas Farmboy.”

“I wrote ‘Arkansas Farmboy’ sometime in the mid- to late-’70s on a plane bound for one of the many overseas destinations I played with Glen between 1972 and 1984,” reveals Jackson. “The song was inspired by a story that Glen told me about his grandpa teaching him ‘In The Pines’ on a five-dollar Sears & Roebuck guitar when he was only a boy. That guitar led to worldwide fame and fortune, far beyond what even some in his family could comprehend.”

Adiós was a labor of love and a way for Glen Campbell to have one more chance to do what he loves to do and leave a musical gift for fans. Campbell, who turns 81 on April 22, is in the final stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He lives in Nashville where he is surrounded by his loving family and getting the very best of care.

 

Another rare recording surfaces: “diana-the original CHIC mix” will tickle fans pink

This rare one is well-done. Sought after by collectors and considered the rarest of Motown’s rare grooves, Diana Ross’ diana-the original CHIC mix, has made its long-awaited debut on vinyl on Motown/UMe/UMGI with a twist: It’s a double-LP set on pink vinyl at 45 rpm for maximum fidelity. This edition of diana includes alternate-mix versions of such classics as “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out,” as envisioned by Chic’s Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards.

Following 1979’s collaboration with Ashford & Simpson, which produced her hit “The Boss,”  Ross sought a new sound and hired the hot Chic team of Rodgers and Edwards to compose, play on and produce her next release. But she and Motown were dissatisfied with the too-Chic-like results, a feeling supported by influential disc jockey Frankie Crocker, who warned Ross the record might fall prey to the disco backlash at the time.

Ross turned to Motown’s house engineer, Russ Terrana, the man behind her Supremes and solo hits and much more, and he proceeded to remix the entire album, using alternate vocals or placing her vocals more upfront, creating overall a smoother, “commercial” mix. cid:image001.jpg@01D2BA85.EC193F60

“Our concept was to make it more avant-garde,” Nile Rodgers later told writer Brian Chin, “and their concept was to make it a little bit more accessible.” The revised diana, her tenth studio album, was released–with a striking, now iconic cover image–on May 22, 1980. 

Rodgers and Edwards were not informed and, protesting publicly, wished to take their names off the record. But they cooled off and saw “Upside Down”–Ross’ own description to Rodgers and Edwards as to what she wanted to do to her career–emerge a #1 smash hit.

Subsequent singles included “I’m Coming Out,” which went to No. 5 in the U.S. and became a LGBTQ anthem, while “My Old Piano,” was a Top 5 hit in the U.K. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, selling nine million albums worldwide. Soon after Ross moved on to RCA Records in a then-record $20 million deal before returning to Motown in 1989.

Fans now get to hear for the first time on vinyl those original Chic mixes of diana, one of four albums the duo of Rodgers and Edwards produced that year, including Sister Sledge’s Love Somebody Today, Sheila and B. Devotion’s King of the World and their own studio album, Real People. Available on two pink vinyl 45 rpm discs, diana–the original CHIC mix, incorporates tracks first heard on diana: deluxe edition, originally issued July 29, 2003.

Cat Seto takes readers on a stunning visual tour of France with “Impressions of Paris”

We would be catty if we said that the latest book by Cat Seto is the cat’s meow.  But we’d never say something so punny (funny?) if Impressions of Paris (Harper Design, $19.99) wasn’t so delicious. Think of the tome as your ultimate guide to joie de vivre.

Seto takes you on a dazzling and enlightening tour of Paris, from familiar sights to hidden surprises, to reveal this legendary city as never before. Combining informative and entertaining vignettes, stories and notes with more than 100 stunning full-color illustrations, she draws parallels between the city and the art it inspires.

Her charming visual style has echoes of Raoul Dufy, Maira Kalman and Pop Art, yet is uniquely and freshly her own. From beloved landmarks to bio-dynamic farms in the countryside, readers will witness both a classic and a revitalized Paris. This book is a thoughtful reflection on the artist’s creative process and a must-read for Francophiles, travelers and flaneurs of all kinds.

Oui!

Was Leonardo da Vinci a true renaissance man . . . or a fraud?

His notebooks contain plans for hundreds of inventions, including the machine guns, diving suits, construction cranes, robots and flying machines that would be created hundreds of years later. Was Leonardo da Vinci a genius? A prophet who anticipated the modern age by 500 years? Or was there another explanation?

The answer can be found in Secrets of the Dead: Leonardo, the Man Who Save Science. Da Vinci is, of course, best known as one of the world’s greatest artists. At his death in 1519, he was famous for such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. But he was more than a painter: He was also a musician, writer and showman. In the pages of his notebooks, written in a secretive reverse script, and unpublished for more than 400 years, we discover yet another Leonardo, the man of science.

https://youtu.be/byQFzbZhX8s

Secrets of the Dead: Leonardo, the Man Who Save Science (PBS Distrbution) will be available on DVD May 2; the program will also be available for digital download.

One of the many inventions attributed to Leonardo is the parachute. But did he actually invent it? In 1968, researchers discovered sketches from the studio of 15th-century Italian inventor Mariano do Jacopa, known as Taccola, which were similar to Leonardo’s study for such a device.

Taccola, who was 70 years older than Leonardo and died the year before Leonardo was born, was an engineer of the early Renaissance and among the first to use drawings as a design tool. But just as Leonardo copied from him, Taccola’s idea is copied from a Muslim inventor, Abbas Ibn Firnas.

The program features drawings of da Vinci’s most famous ideas and inventions, some of which trace their original creation to ancient Greece while others were a product of the scientific inventions of the golden age of Islamic learning. Leonardo never affirmed that his projects came from his original ideas.

Is Leonardo just a copycat?  Or, as the program suggests, did he, in reinventing ancient technology, spark a renewed interest in scientific experimentation lost in Europe during the Dark Ages until the Renaissance. “Dealing with a problem or understanding a phenomenon for him meant to see how it is related to other phenomena,” says Fritjof Capra, historian of science. “In this way, I think, he generated what we now call the scientific method, and he single-handedly created the scientific method.”

 As one of PBS’s ongoing limited primetime series, Secrets of the Dead is a perennial favorite among viewers, routinely ranking among the 10 most-watched series on public television. Currently in its 16th season, Secrets of the Dead continues its unique brand of archaeological sleuthing and employing advances in investigative techniques, forensic science and historical scholarship to offer new evidence about forgotten mysteries. Secrets of the Dead has received 10 CINE Golden Eagle Awards and six Emmy nominations, among numerous other awards.

 

A month of best books from Simon & Schuster . . . make the time!

Simon & Schuster’s literary line-up for May is a winner. Here are the best books to read and savor. You’ll even learn a few things!

The Broken Road (May 2, $19.99), the first book in a much-anticipated new trilogy by beloved storyteller Richard Paul Evans, is an engrossing, contemplative story of redemption and grace and the power of second chances. It is an epic journey you won’t soon forget. Chicago celebrity Charles James can’t shake the nightmare that wakes him each night. He sees himself walking down a long, broken highway the sides of which are lit in flames. Where is he going? Why is he walking? What is the wailing he hears around him? By day, he wonders why he’s so haunted and unhappy when he has all he ever wanted-fame, fans and fortune and the lavish lifestyle it affords him. Coming from a childhood of poverty and pain, this is what he’s dreamed of. But now, at the pinnacle of his career, he’s started to wonder if he’s wanted the wrong things.  Then a twist of fate changes everything. Charles is granted something very remarkable: a second chance. The question is: What will he do with it?

A timely and relevant look into America’s Doomsday preparedness, Garrett M. Graff’s Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself—While the Rest of Us Die (May 2, $28) tracks the evolution of the government’s plan for surviving a catastrophic attack on U.S. soil.  The book provides the eye-opening truth about the multibillion-dollar Continuity of Government (COG) program. Used only once—on September 11th, 2001—this complex Doomsday machine still exists but remains out of sight: book coverIt shadows Presidents wherever they travel, tracks the whereabouts of congressional leaders hour by hour, and is ready to be unveiled at America’s darkest hour. Calling upon, for the first time, thousands of pages of recently declassified plans and White House documents, Raven Rock—which takes its name from the Pentagon’s sprawling secret 650-acre bunker complex in the Pennsylvania mountains—is equal parts a presidential, military, and cultural history.

At 27, Lauren Marks had everything she wanted in life: She was pursuing a PhD, she was an actress, a director, a voracious reader, had a dedicated boyfriend and a loving family, and was an extensive traveler. One night, while traveling in Scotland, Lauren suffered a sudden brain aneurysm. Although she was lucky to be alive, Lauren was left unable to write, speak or read. Her identity before the aneurysm now seemed to be crafted around a language she could no longer access, because of a diagnosis she couldn’t understand. A Stitch of Time:  The Year a Brain Injury Changed My Language and Life (May 2, $26) is Lauren’s gripping account of her recovery from the injury and her life with aphasia. Although an uncommon term, aphasia affects 1 in every 250 people, making it more common than Parkinson’s or M.S. Lauren’s loss of language is told through stories of her life before, during, and after aphasia, using the journals she actually kept while in recovery.

Dr. Rock Positano, an internationally renowned foot specialist in New York City, was introduced to Joe DiMaggio by the dean of New York sports writers, Bill Gallo, in 1990. During the time Dr. Positano successfully treated the Yankee Clipper, a friendship slowly developed. book coverThe stories and experiences he shared with Rock Positano comprise Dinners with DiMaggio: Memories of an American Hero (May 9, $26), an intimate portrait of one of the great stars of baseball and one of the icons of the twentieth century.

Similar to Saving Private Ryan in the way it reminds us of the strength of family in moments of unspeakable uncertainty, the difference with The Jersey Boys (May 9, $28) is that this story is true. A WWII saga like no other, the tome tells the story of Bill and Benny Mott—both Navy men—who embark on a complex rescue mission to save their youngest brother after he finds himself a POW in the Pacific.
What makes it even more remarkable is that Sally Mott Freeman is the daughter of one of the brothers, which adds a whole separate layer of intrigue and purpose to this important book.

Acclaimed journalists Tom Oliphant and Curtis Wilkie provide a behind-the-scenes, revelatory account of John F. Kennedy’s wily campaign to the White House with The Road to Camelot: Inside JFK’s Five-Year Campaign (May 9, $28). The most comprehensive account based on a depth of personal reporting, interviews and archives, the book reveals him as a tough, shrewd political strategist who kept his eye on the prize. JFK and his young warriors invented modern presidential politics. They turned over accepted wisdom that his Catholicism was a barrier to winning an election and plotted a successful course to that constituency. They twisted arms and they charmed. This is one of the great campaign stories of all time, appropriate for today’s political climate and the 100th anniversary of JFK’s birth.

From James Dodson comes a funny and nostalgic journey of self and sport in which the author completes his golfing “bucket list.” Dodson recently rediscovered a list titled “Things to Do in Golf” that he’d written when he was 13 years old. Realizing he had yet to complete the list, Dodson (now in his 60s) expanded the list into a golfing “bucket list” of the people and places he had yet to meet and see in the golf world. book coverFrom rounds with John Updike to intimate conversations with Arnold Palmer to scoring a memorable 13 on a hole at St. Andrews, The Range Bucket List (May 9, $25) is an exhilarating armchair adventure.

Many people recognize Sidney Blumenthal’s name as a journalist and political advisor, but what you may not know is he has been formidably building a major contribution to Lincoln scholarship that focuses on Lincoln’s political life. https://catalog.simonandschuster.com/Thumbnails/9781501153785.jpgWith Wrestling With His Angel:  The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. II, 1849-1856 (May 16, $35), Blumenthal vividly and insightfully describes the most decisive period of Lincoln’s political life—after losing re-election to the House of Representatives, Lincoln is exiled back to Illinois to practice law, where he helps create the Republican Party.

From Andrew Pyper, the internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist, comes a radical reimagining of literature’s most haunting protagonists, their most sinister traits found in one terrifying man. Straight from the canon of horror fictions like Frankenstein, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Dracula, the monster featured in The Only Child  (Maay 23, $25) tells Dr. Lily Dominick three things: That he is more than 200 years old, that he personally provided the inspiration for those three horror classics, and that he is her father. Fusing the page-turning tension of a first-rate thriller with a provocative take on where thrillers come from, The Only Child will keep you up until its last unforgettable revelation.

We discover two delightful books meant for “young readers” . . . may we add they are also for the young-at-heart!

We came across two books meant for the wee ones, but we simply cannot stop reading them ourselves. No wonder we are young-at-heart!

Carrot and Pea (HMH Books for Young Readers, $16.99) is a charming and creative celebration of embracing differences and standing out in a crowd that will teach and remind everyone that our differences make us unique and wonderful . . . and most important, they make us, us.

Colin is tall and orange. He is definitely not a pea. He’s a carrot. He has nothing in common with his friend Lee, a round, green pea. He can’t roll, or bounce. In fact, Colin can’t do any of the things Lee and his pea pals can do. How can Colin and Lee ever be friends?

Morag Hood has written stories and painted pictures since childhood, and this delight is her debut picture book. She also created the nifty artwork, collaged from orange and green plastic grocery bags.

Next up: Frankie is an adorable shelter puppy who has just arrived at his new home. He’s so excited by the things he finds . . . A new home! A new bed! A new ball!

But wait… another dog already lives here. His name is Nico. That’s Nico’s home. Nico’s bed. Nico’s ball.

It’s not easy being the new dog in the house. Will Frankie be able to find his place here too?

Humorous and heartfelt, Frankie (HMH Books for Young Readers, $12.99), the latest from Geisel Honor-winning author-illustrator Mary Sullivan, introduces not one, but two new dogs with big personalities as they struggle to get along and find their places in the pack. The whimsical and wondrous book is based on her real-life experience. Frankie will surely win over fans of Sullivan’s previous books, Ball and Treat, as well as the hearts of dog-lovers everywhere.

Sullivan has donated a portion of sales to the Austin (Texas) Pets Alive,  the shelter that first took (the real) Frankie in and helped him find a new permanent home!

Do we dare: This is the cat’s meow!

 

 

Climate change doesn’t exist? Only idiots believe that. Welcome to “Wild Weather”

Climate change doesn’t exist? Then catch PBS Distribution’s Wild Weatheon DVD. Weather: It’s big, it’s beautiful–and it’s wild.

Nature takes simple ingredients like wind, water and temperature and transforms them into something spectacular and powerful. This documentary reveals exactly how it does it. The only way to truly understand the weather is to get inside it. This program features scientists from around the globe who are creating their own weather in an attempt to examine the secret processes at work.

 

Scientists such as Dr. Nigel Tapper of Monash University (Australia) tries to create his own massive dust storm so he can examine the microscopic moments when dust particles begin to bounce high into the stratosphere. Engineers Jim Stratton and Craig Zehrung from Purdue University,  use a high powered “vacuum cannon” to fire homemade hailstones at over 500 mph. It sounds like fun, but their work has a serious purpose: to discover whether hail is actually stronger than ordinary ice.

Meanwhile Walter Steinkogler of the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos, Switzerland, is trying to find out how something as light and delicate as snow can travel at 250 m.p.h when it’s in an avalanche. His solution is to start an avalanche of his own in an attempt to see the secret snowballs he believes are hiding beneath the powder cloud.

Dr. Kazunori Kuwana from Yamagata University, Japan has spent the last 10 years trying to capture the rare moment that can turn a bushfire into a formidable fire whirlwind. Here he fulfills a lifelong ambition by starting a 10-meter high fire whirl of his own.

American meteorologist Reed Timmer, together with a bizarre tornado-proof armored car called “The Dominator 3,” is attempting to do something that no-one has ever done before: fire a flying probe right into the heart of a tornado.

As Reed explains, “near the base of the tornado is one of the biggest mysteries of tornado science and it’s also the most important to understand because those are the wind speeds that cause all the destruction.” The show follows Reed and his team on their groundbreaking mission.

Meanwhile Dan Morgan of the U.K.’s Cobham Laboratories creates lightning bolts in his lab to try and measure the destructive power not of lightning, but of thunder. Although we think of thunder as merely the sound of lightning, it is actually a powerful destructive force of its own. In a world-first, Wild Weather makes it possible to actually see thunder for the first time.

Wild Weather  is a fresh and informative documentary featuring a series of ambitious, surprising and revealing experiments that will change the way you think about weather forever.

The DVD goes on sale May 2; the program will also be available for digital download.

Vin Diesel is back in the explosive “xXx: Return of Xander Cage”

When a group of lethal mercenaries steal a hi-tech weapon that poses a global threat, the world needs superspy Xander Cage. Remember him? Recruited back into action, Xander leads a team of death-defying adrenaline junkies on a mission to kick some ass, save the day and look dope while doing it. Who better to return than Vin Diesel?

Welcome to  xXx: Return of Xander Cage. Packed with some of the most mind-blowing stunts ever caught on film, the film features a powerhouse international cast including Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, Kris Wu, Ruby Rose, Tony Jaa, Nina Dobrev, and Samuel L. Jackson.

The flick x-plodes on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On Demand May 16, 2017 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.  X-cited fans can be the first to get it two weeks early on Digital HD May 2. The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs are loaded with more thanr an hour of action-packed special features, including in-depth  interviews with the all-star cast, plus a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s incredible stunts, locations and much more.  The film also boasts a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead.

Ready for blast-off?

“Frontline: Exodus” explores first-hand stories of refugees and migrants seeking better lives

The horrors continue. They are not dreams, but real-life nightmares that remain embedded on our minds with profound grief. Since 2011, millions of people have fled their homes in Syria and other countries besieged by violence, helping to fuel Europe’s largest migration crisis since the end of World War II.

Frontline: Exodus (PBS Distribution) explores the epic, first-hand stories of refugees and migrants as they make dangerous journeys across 26 countries seeking safety and better lives. The program draws on camera and smartphone footage filmed by refugees and migrants themselves–from inside a sinking dinghy on a route across the Mediterranean Sea where thousands have died, to the tents and fires inside Calais’s notorious “Jungle” camp. The riveting documentary is available on DVD; the program will also be available for digital download.

Through its harrowing access and intimacy, the program vividly exposes a shadow-world of human traffickers exploiting the crisis for profit, how countries are handling the influx of people, and the challenges and choices these refugees and migrants face every day.

“Anyone can become a refugee,” says Hassan, a former English teacher who fled his home in Damascus, after he says he was beaten by government forces. “It’s not something which you choose, it’s something that happens to you.”

Hassan’s journey is one of several at the heart of the program. Viewers will also hear the stories of:

  • Isra’a, a young Syrian girl who fled Aleppo with her family, including her disabled sister, after a missile destroyed their home.
  • Ahmad, who fled Syria when his village was invaded by Islamist extremists, and who is trying to reunite with his wife and young daughter.
  • Alaigie, a young Gambian man whose father recently died, and who dreams of reaching Italy and lifting his brothers and sisters out of poverty.
  • Sadiq, who fled Afghanistan to escape the Taliban, and now wants to start a new life in Finland.

Together, their stories paint an indelible portrait of this global crisis, and what it means to be a refugee.

“I am a refugee, I am just like you, I have a family, I have dreams, I’ve got hopes,” says Ahmad. “I just want a peaceful life away from violence.”