Morocco has some terrific surf breaks, but for most local Muslim women these waves are off limits. Not so for Oumaima Erhali, a 17 year old determined to partake in the sport she loves.
In Argentina, an orchestra program gives two little girls — a generation apart — a lifeline out of poverty and into the rich and beautiful world of the arts. Marialy Rivas’ short film Melody tells a story about the incredible power of music and how, for some people, it’s as necessary to survival as the air they breathe.
Sometimes sport mirrors life, and that’s the case for a determined group of youth growing up in Rocinha, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro. Disadvantaged in circumstances but not in spirit, some of the boys from the favela begin rock climbing with Americans Asa Firestone and Andrew Lenz. This film follows the spark and the struggle of climbing — up the granite walls that soar above the city and against the conditions of the favelas that have been constructed so rapidly that proper sanitation and infrastructure lag behind. Two boys in particular, Jonas and Patrick, expand their conception of the possible through their upward ambitions.
White Earth, North Dakota, is a sleepy town on the wind-scoured northern plains that has been transformed by the oil boom. The population has mushroomed from 60 to 500, clusters of trailers have erupted to house workers, and rigs dot the stark landscape. J. Christian Jensen’s Oscar-nominated short White Earth paints a poignant portrait of the hardscrabble realities of the energy boom in a harsh winter landscape through the voices of unexpected narrators — three adolescents and an immigrant mother. Though it’s short, White Earth tells a story about hope and desperation, innocence and survival, rabid energy extraction and the fault lines that run through the American Dream.
In North Philadelphia, local kids gather at a rec center to participate in a modern-day pen pal program. Through digital technology, these teens connect, bond, share and forge friendships with peers around the world — Nigeria, France, Kazakhstan — proving that the horizons can always be expanded and that the world is as big or small as you make it.