2009 VRT Notable Videos for Adults

The American Library Association (ALA) Video Round Table Notable Videos Committee has compiled its 2009 list of Notable Videos for Adults, a list of 15 outstanding programs released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults. Its purpose is to call attention to recent video releases that make a significant contribution to the world of video recordings.

The selections were made during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver, Colorado. The winning titles are:

The Business of Being Born. 87 min. New Line Home Video. DVD: $27.98 (Available most distributors)
www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com
Shares personal stories and insights that advocate for natural childbirth methods as opposed to corporatized hospital-based maternity care systems.

Cats of Mirikitani. 74 min. Arts Alliance America. DVD: $29.95. (Available most distributors) www.thecatsofmirikitani.com
In order to move forward with his life, homeless Japanese-American artist Jimmy Mirikitani must revisit his painful past in a Japanese internment camp.

cats of mirikitani


Deep Water. 93 min. IFC Films. DVD: $24.95. (Available most distributors) www.deepwater-movie.com
The engrossing story of amateur British yachtsman Donald Crowhurst, who risked everything in a tragic attempt to win the first solo, non-stop, round-the-world sailboat race. 

Fat Chance.   52 min.   Icarus Films.   DVD: $390.   icarusfilms.com
An honest, humorous self-portrait of an obese Japanese-Australian woman who sets out to lose weight but gains new perspectives on her past and personal identity. 

still from fat chance

How I Am. 49 minutes. Fanlight Productions. DVD: $249. www.fanlight.com
Patrick painstakingly types the text that supplies the narrative for this profound and surprising view of the private world of an autistic teenager.

Miss Navajo. 53 min. The Cinema Guild. DVD: $295.00 www.cinemaguild.com
A fascinating journey through the Miss Navajo pageant as contestants prepare for a competition that includes anything from speaking the native language to butchering sheep.

still from miss navajo

No End In Sight. 102 min. Magnolia Home Entertainment. DVD: $19.99. (Available most distributors) www.noendinsightmovie.com
Candidly reveals the decisions that led to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the mishandling of the occupation.

still from no end in sight

The Order of Myths. 80 min. Cinema Guild (with PPR): DVD: $395.00. http://cinemaguild.com/ New Yorker Video: DVD: $29.99. www.theorderofmyths.com
Documents racially segregated Mardi Gras celebrations in Mobile, Alabama, exploring the historical violence, power dynamics, and elusive forces keeping this tradition organized along color lines.

still from order of myths

The Price of Sugar.  Uncommon Productions.  DVD: $295 for Universities & Colleges, $175 Nonprofits & Churches, $75 Public Libraries & Public Schools. www.thepriceofsugar.com
Paul Newman narrates this documentary about Father Christopher Hartley, a Catholic Priest who works to improve the lives of Haitian sugar cane workers in the Dominican Republic.

still from the price of sugar

Sharkwater. 90 minutes. Warner Home Video. DVD: $19.99. (Available most distributors) www.sharkwater.com
Join activist Rob Stewart in his dangerous quest to save the world's ecosystem by stopping the global slaughter of sharks for their fins.

still from sharkwater

Steal a Pencil for Me. 94 min. Westlake Entertainment. DVD: $24.98. (Available most distributors) www.westlakeent.com
An unusual and uplifting love story: enduring the Holocaust, Jaap and Ina nourished a forbidden courtship writing secret love letters that helped them survive.

To See If I'm Smiling. 60 min. Women Make Movies. DVD: $295.00 for Universities, Colleges & Institutions; $89.00 for K-12, Public Libraries & Select Groups. www.wmm.com/filmcatalog/pages/c719.shtml
Explores the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the testimonies of female soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces serving in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

War Dance. 107 min. THINKfilm. DVD: $24.99. (Available most distributors) www.thinkfilmcompany.com
Children at a displacement camp in Uganda who have survived horrific civil war violence find renewed joy and achievement entering a national music competition.  

still from war dance

What Remains: The Life and Work of Sally Mann. 80 min. Zeitgeist Films. DVD: $29.99. www.hbo.com/docs/programs/what_remains
An intimate portrait of provocative photographer Sally Mann, whose artistic muse has always been her home and family

still from what remains

White Light, Black Rain. 86 minutes. Films Media Group (with PPR): DVD: $169.95 ffh.films.com/; HBO Home Video: DVD: $19.98 (Available most distributors) www.hbo.com/docs/programs/whitelightblackrain
Survivors of the Atomic Bomb blasts at Hiroshima and Nagasaki tell their incredible stories of survival and loss in this moving testimonial. 

still from white light, black rain

Members of the 2008-09 committee are:  

  • Chair, Meghann Matwichuk, University of Delaware Library
  • Nora Dimmock, University of Rochester (New York)
  • Tom Ipri, University of Nevada – Las Vegas
  • Cynthia Knight, Hunterdon County Library (New Jersey)
  • Chet Mulawka, San Mateo County Library (California)
  • Jeff Pearson, University of Michigan
  • Sam Readman, Miami-Dade Public Library (Florida)
  • Joan Skowronski, Hillsborough County Public Library (Florida)
  • Sue-Ellen Beauregard, consultant, Booklist magazine, Chicago.