Doc Banner Takes Five

So heavily is Bob Banner associated with documentaries that you could call him “Doc” Banner. Banner, who publishes the indy HopeDance magazine from San Luis Obispo, screens documentaries all over the state as fundraisers and reasons to get together. If that sounds too chummy, he also rents out flicks from his video library at Below are his current faves.


It’s the only film that interviews the “enemy”—the insurgents who are actually making explosives—while the country is still at war! What would you do if your country was invaded and occupied? This daring film meets face-to-face with the men and women engaged in the Iraqi insurgency, as they speak candidly about their struggle, motivations, hopes, and goals, exploding myths about the war, the Iraqis who participate, and why the violence continues. According to Gene Knudsen Hoffman, founder of the Compassionate Listening Project, “An ‘enemy’ is someone whose story we have not yet heard.” This is a must-see that intensely questions what we would do if we were occupied by a foreign country. Watch the trailer at


Mothers across the country organize to do something about the disgusting, malnourishing food served at schools. Not only is it an excellent film that describes the problem and then provides solutions from models throughout the country, but as an added bonus the film is a great tool for strategic organizing. Watch this and see how local groups can be successful! Please see the interview that we conducted with the filmmaker, Amy Kalafa, at


The best and most recent of voter fraud films. A must-see in these times of our obsession with the rightness of “one person, one vote” while we continue to disregard what actually happens with our vote.


Finally, a popular film about midwifery. The filmmakers do an excellent job of getting superb interviews and objective and graphic footage of natural and surgical births (C-sections are at an all-time high in many countries).Footage of women having babies punctuates The Business of Being Born. Each experience is unique; all are equally beautiful and equally surprising.Giving birth is clearly the most physically challenging event these women have ever gone through, but it is also the most emotionally rewarding.

Along the way, filmmaker Abby Epstein conducts interviews with a number of obstetricians, experts and advocates about the history, culture and economics of childbirth. The film asks the fundamental question: should most births be viewed as a natural life process or should every delivery be treated as a potential medical emergency? As Epstein uncovers some surprising answers, her own pregnancy adds a very personal dimension.


A hard-to-find film about positive solutions to our increasingly broken food system. We visit oyster farmers, hopgrowers making beer for their communities, a dry grape grower who makes local wine, and restaurateurs who believe in using their local CSAs [community supported agriculture] to obtain local and seasonal food for their customers. Wow, finally a film about vision and real solutions that doesn’t just focus on grim problems. Watching this film brings you a sigh of relief—some people are already out there facing the challenges ahead of us!

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