Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth

Creating Freedom: The Lottery of Birth (2013)

Opened: 06/21/2013 Limited

reRun Theater06/21/2013 - 06/27/20137 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube

Genre: Documentary

Rated: Unrated


Do you shape the world or does the world shape you? Is freedom something we are born with or something we must work to attain? Offering a torrent of mind-expanding ideas and information THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH is going to make you think again about what it means to be free. Drawing on the best minds in philosophy, history, psychology, physics and economics, it employs decades of evidence to interrogate what we are, where we are and where we want to be.

From birth onwards our minds are a battleground of competing forces. The outcome of this battle determines the society we create. This is a film about the cultural, educational, political and commercial forces that shape our identities, often in ways that limit both our personal and political freedom. Whether you're into philosophy, economics or simply being a better person than you were born to be, you can't afford to miss this film.

THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH is the first film in a groundbreaking new three-part documentary series: CREATING FREEDOM. The series as a whole explores the most urgent questions of power, control and freedom in modern democracies, and includes a stellar cast of interviewees from Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn and Amy Goodman to Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett and Tony Benn. A book to complement the series, by Raoul martinez, is set for worldwide publication in 2014.

Cast Biographies

Michael Albert (Economist and Founder of ZNet)

An MIT-trained physicist, recognized authority on economic alternatives, author of the groundbreaking economic model "Parecon", and co-founder of "Z Magazine" and independent publishing house "South End Press".

Stanley Aronowitz (Professor of Sociology)

Professor of Sociology at City University New York, Green Party candidate for New York Governor in 2002, Aronowitz is author of numerous books ranging in subject from education to politics.

Tony Benn (Former British Parliamentarian)

Tony Benn entered the House of Commons in 1950 and with Ted Heath holds the record post-war timespan as an MP in the UK. He has held four cabinet posts and has twice contended the leadership of the Labour Party, of which he has also been chairman. He has written over 15 books, and is currently President of Stop the War Coalition.

Ha-Joon Chang (Development Economist)

An award-winning Cambridge economist who for the past two decades has taught and researched issues related to economic development and globalisation; a consultant to the World Bank, the UN and numerous governments around the world.

Noam Chomsky (Philosopher, Linguist and Political Analyst)

Once described by the New York Times as "arguably the most important intellectual alive" Chomsky is credited with being both the founder of modern linguistics and the most influential and controversial political commentator of our time.

James Curran (Professor of Communications)

Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London, and co-author of the seminal text on media history, "Power Without Responsibility".

Nick Davies (Investigative Journalist)

Investigative journalist for The Guardian, named as both Journalist of the Year and Reporter of the Year, and author of the influential analysis of the media, "Flat Earth News".

Daniel Dennett (Professor of Philosophy)

Considered by some the most important philosopher alive, Dennett is Distinguished Arts and Sciences Professor and Director for Cognitive Studies at Tuft's University.

Stuart Ewen (Professor of Media Studies)

Distinguished Professor in the Department of Film and Media Studies at Hunter College, and in the Ph.D Programs in History and Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and author of a definitive history on the emergence of twentieth century PR.

Bill Fletcher Jr. (Labour Activist)

Fletcher is a long time labour, racial justice and international activist. He was a senior scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC, a past president of TransAfrica Forum and a founder of the Black Radical Congress.

Amy Goodman (Journalist and host of "Democracy Now")

Host of the celebrated independent public broadcast radio and TV show "Democracy Now", Goodman is an internationally acclaimed award-winning journalist and activist.

David Harvey (Professor of Geography and Economic Analyst)

Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and author of numerous influential titles on economics and politics.

Janine Jackson (Program Director of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting))

Program director of FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting), and the co-host and co-producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin" -- a weekly program of media criticism airing on more than 150 stations around the U.S..

David Miller (Professor of Sociology)

As Professor of Sociology at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow Scotland, Miller has written extensively on the history and theory of PR, media, and power.

Mark Crispin Miller (Professor of Media Studies)

Miller is Professor of Media Studies at New York University. He is known for his writing on American media and for his activism on behalf of democratic media reform.

George Monbiot (Journalist and Environmentalist)

One of the world's most influential radical thinkers, Guardian journalist Monbiot is author of several best-selling books on climate change, alternative societal visions and corporate greed.

John Perkins (Economist)

Writing about his experiences as an "Economic Hit Man" serving the interests of the US Government and US corporations, Perkins has turned his shocking story into a series of best-selling books exposing the corrupt system he once upheld.

Steven Pinker (Professor of Psychology)

A Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, Pinker has written extensively on language, mind and evolution.

Les Roberts (Epidemiologist)

An American epidemiologist, Roberts was the first winner of the Center for Disease Control's Paul C. Schnitker Award for contributions to global health. He came to prominence in 2004 with a study that put civilian Iraqi deaths at 100,000 at a time when official U.S. government estimates were much lower.

Jeff Schmidt (Physicist and Social Theorist)

An editor at Physics Today magazine for nineteen years, Schmidt was eventually fired for writing a provocative book on the role that professionals play in maintaining the status quo and on their selection and training.

Vandana Shiva (Physicist and Ecologist)

A philosopher, environmental activist, eco feminist and author of over 20 books, Shiva has written over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She received her Ph.D in nuclear physics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

Kathleen Taylor (Neuroscientist)

A research scientist in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford, Taylor is author of the award-winning book, "Brainwashing".

Howard Zinn (Historian)

A celebrated and influential historian and activist, Zinn was one of the world's leading radical thinkers for over half a century.

Filmmaker Biographies

Raoul Martinez (Director/Producer)

At the age of seventeen Raoul Martinez left college to become an apprentice to an international portrait painter, and to study a syllabus of his own making with the aim of questioning his beliefs and the forces that had shaped him. A deep interest in philosophy soon broadened into a study of psychology, economics, politics and history. 'Creating Freedom' is his first documentary series. He is currently writing a book of the same name.

Raoul is an artist, writer, and documentarian. His portraits have been selected for exhibition in London's National Portrait Gallery, and he has painted leading figures in the arts and academia as well as a series of symbolic works. To date, "Creating Freedom" has been funded by his artwork.

Raoul lives and works in his studio in NW London.

Joshua van Praag (Director/Producer)

Joshua van Praag is an award-winning writer, director and cinematographer working in both documentary and narrative formats to explore themes of social justice, interculturalism and exile.

With a background in feature films, van Praag trained in lighting and camera under a plethora of internationally acclaimed filmmakers, such as Martin Scorcese, Bernardo Bertolucci, Wong Kar Wai, and Woody Allen, before embarking on his own journey behind the camera.

As a director, van Praag's work has been exhibited in venues as diverse as New York's New Museum of Contemporary Art and the Anthology Film Archives, and at the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo. His first short film, 'The Dig' took both the jury prize and the award for best director at the New York Independent Film and Video Festival. As a member of the Media Working Group at Occupy Wall Street, van Praag helped found and create content for the movement's first video production collective, Occupy TVNY, whose short films have reached an online audience of millions across the globe.

In early 2012, van Praag completed his debut feature-length film, 'The Lottery of Birth' -- the first episode in the documentary series, 'Creating Freedom'. A wide ranging analysis of power and control in western democracies, the project is written and co-directed by Raoul Martinez. Cast includes Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Daniel Dennett, and Steven Pinker. The film premiered at London's Raindance Film Festival in September, 2012 where it was nominated for the Best Documentary award, and won the Spirit Award at the 2012 Artivist Film Festival.

He is now at work on a new documentary about the role of independent media in contemporary social movements. The film follows a handful of citizen journalists as they deploy an arsenal of new media tools to cover pro-democracy movements exploding onto the scene from Cairo to New York City.