I Lost My Dream is an uplifting short film chronicling the life and journey of Moacir Zeledon, a young man who wanted nothing more than to escape his life of poverty in Nicaragua and head to the United States. However, his dream was cut short when inflexible immigration laws forced Zeledon’s mother to leave him behind at the children’s refuge Misión México while she proceeded across the border.

Scared and alone in a foreign country, Zeledon began to shut himself off from the world around him. It was then that he met Pam and Alan Skuse at the children’s refuge in Mexico. Their words of encouragement along with his introduction to the sport of surfing allowed his healing to begin. “Somewhere on the journey I lost my dream and found myself a better one,” he says.

You can learn more about the children’s refuge Misión México by visiting their website or Facebook page.
Via Daniel Lombroso

Oumaima Erhali is a 17-year-old who loves to surf. In this short film, Making Waves, she tells the story of how before her brother died in in 2008, he brought her out into the ocean and introduced her to the sport. She’s been riding waves off the beaches of Morocco ever since. Despite the support she receives from her family, Erhali still feels pressured by cultural expectations—but she’s determined not to let those tensions hold her back from the sport she loves or the life she wants to lead.

This video comes to us from Grain Media and AJ+. For more work from AJ+, you can see their YouTube channel here.

Editor’s note: This video contains images that may be disturbing or distressing to some viewers.

Donna Ferrato has an ethnographic approach to photography, and for more than 30 years she has been forming relationships with women and asking to document the violence they endure in the home. “We’re living in a home that should be our sanctuary, and it’s like living in a war zone,” she says in this short film, I Am Unbeatable. “It’s been meeting women like this that I’ve started to understand how deep the psychology is to accept abuse.” Over the decades, Ferrato’s phone has become a hotline for battered women—and her photography is a medium to ask these same women why they stay, and encourage them to leave and save themselves.

This is the third episode in a six-part series called Conflict, by the Brooklyn-based cinematic documentary and narrative video production company redfitz. Each episode explores the testimonies of professional conflict photographers and looks at how they engage with and seek to understand their subject matter. Original music was composed by Reza Safinia. Connect with the photographers and watch the complete series from redfitz at thisisconflict.com.

For George Saunders, the process of crafting a good story means not condescending to your reader. It means creating sentences that clue them into something unnoticed about the character, and allowing them to figure it out. “A bad story is one where you know what the story is and you’re sure of it,” he says in this short film, George Saunders: On Story. For Saunders, storytelling is a stand-in for day-to-day life—and the same considerations you take when approaching how to tell a story mirror the freedom to self-determined identity that you give your loved ones.

George Saunders: On Story is part of an ongoing series created by Redglass Pictures and executive produced by Ken Burns, courtesy of PBS. Saunders’s new book, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, is out now. The first short film, Ken Burns: On Story, can be seen here. To see more from this interview with George Saunders go to the Redglass Pictures website.

Editor’s note: This video contains images that may be disturbing to some viewers.

For the photojournalist Pete Muller, there are real similarities between South Sudan and the U.S.: “Wherever you have people living in environments that they perceive to be hostile, real or imagined, you have a universal appreciation and almost obsession with guns.” Muller has spent his career taking photos in conflict zones and seeking to uncover the tensions beneath cycles of violence—to capture in his images all the ways that war continues to eat away at societies.

This is the first episode in a six-part series called Conflict, by the Brooklyn-based cinematic documentary and narrative video production company redfitz. Each episode explores the testimonies of professional conflict photographers and looks at how they engage with and seek to understand their subject matter. Original music was composed by Reza Safinia. Connect with the photographers and watch the complete series from redfitz at thisisconflict.com.