Looking for free, compelling, exciting, and commercial-free movies in DC, MD, and VA this weekend? WETA brings great feature films and documentaries right into your home every Saturday beginning at 9:30pm! This weekend, a 1960s drama-dy and three contemporary documentaries divulge into the many facets of friendship. We’ll discover that no friendship is alike and a “friend” can take on all types, forms, and meanings. Be sure to tune into WETA TV26 and WETA HD every Saturday night for movies galore!
Opposites Attract: Soldier in the Rain (1963)
The most unlikely pairs are proof that opposites attract. Master Sergeant Maxwell Slaughter forms an unlikely friendship with Sergeant Eustis Clay and neither status, nor rank, nor intellectual capacity prevents the two from building an admirable and loyal friendship. Eustis eagerly awaits the end of his stint in the military and his inexhaustible attempts at convincing Slaughter of the perks of civilian life provide opportunities for comedic adventures and antics. As in any good friendship, each provides meaning and importance in the other’s life. But friendships are not without their flaws and their hurdles, and the friendship which forms in Soldier in the Rain is put to the test. What Slaughter and Eustis learn and take away from each other becomes life-changing.
Watch Soldier in the Rain (1963) Saturday, December 15 at 9:30pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD. Repeats Sunday at 11:30am.
Through Thick & Thin: Garbage Dreams (2009)
In Cairo, recycling is a bit more complex than the American standard of sorting plastic, metal, paper, and glass from trash. In fact, recycling garbage is the Zaballeen’s (translating to “garbage people”) livelihood. The Zaballeen make their living collecting and recycling eighty percent of the garbage which accumulates in Cairo. For years, the city had no sanitation service and depended on the Zaballeen. And for the Zaballeen, trash is all they know. But in recent years, the city has turned from tradition and begun to rely on private companies to collect trash with garbage trucks. With machines replacing men, the shift in tradition comes as detrimental and dangerous to the Zaballeen’s future. How will they make a living? How will they survive?
Independent Lens: Garbage Dreams tells the stories of three teenagers experiencing the life-altering transition directly. Adham, Osama and Nabil, all born into the business of trash, must confront the possibility of losing the security their people have had for decades. But, when one door closes another one opens, and maybe Cairo’s stab at modernization is a blessing in disguise for these three young men to pursue new and exciting opportunities.
The United States recycles 30 percent of its waste. Impressive? Not in comparison to the 80 percent recycled by the Zaballeen. How eco-friendly are you? Test your ability by playing the Garbage Dreams online game!
Watch Garbage Dreams (2009) Saturday, December 15 at 11:00pm on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.
In Sickness & In Health: We Were Here (2011)
San Francisco is a melting pot for people from different walks of life but they all seek the same things: happiness, freedom and acceptance. For a large population of gay men, San Francisco proves to be a source of solace and a place they are happy to call home. In the 1980s, the city was also the site of what was, to some, believed to be the “gay cancer”, plaguing the gay community and swiftly. Time would soon tell that the mysterious disease was the AIDS virus. At the brink of its arrival, San Francisco’s response to the epidemic showed compassion and empathy, but most significant was the vastly different actions taken by other cities. Subsequently, “The San Francisco Model” became the ideal for creating a healthier and humane society in a world now struggling with AIDS.
Independent Lens: We Were Here tells the inspiring and poignant stories of five individuals who lived in San Francisco prior to the epidemic and were all effected in one way or another by the devastation, loss of life, compassion of strangers, and kindness of humanity that accompanied it. The firsthand stories of these ordinary people who experienced the change and assumed roles as activists and caregivers, friends or lovers to victims of AIDS, and living testimonies of those who suffer from the virus comprise We Were Here.
Check out an educational and informative timeline tracing the history of AIDS.
Watch We Were Here (2011) Sunday, December 16 at 12:00am on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.
Man's Best Friend: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003)
St. Francis of Assisi made it his life’s work to care for animals. His compassion for all creatures is admired and praised long after his death. Animal shelters and advocates recognize the importance of animals and family pets are common in modern day society. Whether consciously or not, one man has followed suit of St. Francis of Assisi and dedicates his days to feeding, caring for and protecting the wild parrots of San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill. He is known as the “Bohemian St. Francis”. Former homeless musician Mark Bittner was on a search for his life’s purpose, and the parrots he affectionately, and rather impressively, recognizes by name just happened to collide with the timing of his search, and help him in ways one wouldn’t think a bird could.
Not your typical nature or wildlife documentary, Independent Lens: The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill puts the spotlight on parrots but more significantly on relationships between animals and people, and finding meaning in life.
Watch The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2003) Sunday, December 16 at 1:30am on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.
Watch a preview of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill here!
You may not be able to tell “Patrick” the parrot from “Sophie” like Mark Bittner, but learn more about the wild parrots and their background, and explore a photo gallery of the birds.