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It’s inevitable that whilst in lockdown we’re all spending a little more time in front of the screen. So why not fill your screen time with some educational watches? We’ve compiled a few of our favourite thought-provoking and uplifting documentaries for you to binge-watch during all this extra downtime so you can hopefully learn something new. In celebration of World Fair Trade Day on Saturday 9th May, we made sure to include a few brilliant films that focus on the subject of Fair Trade and ethical production. World Fair Trade Day is celebrated on the second Saturday of May and is endorsed by the World Fair Trade Association, the global authority on fair trade, made up of over 450 member organisations from 75 countries around the world. This year's World Fair Trade Day is all about perseverance and solidarity. You can learn more about World Fair Trade Day here.

Fairtrade Documentary: Black Gold
We’re kick starting this list with Black Gold, a 2006 documentary that follows the efforts of an Ethiopian coffee-union manager as he travels the world to obtain a better price for his workers' coffee beans. Winner of the Best Achievement in Production Award at the British Independent Film Awards and the Contemporary Issues Award at San Francisco Black Film Festival, this thought-provoking documentary delves into the world of coffee trading and the impact of staggeringly low prices on the workers. The documentary asks us to face the unjust conditions under which our favourite drink is produced and to decide what we can do about it. The film traces the journey of the two billion cups of coffee consumed each day back to the coffee farmers who produce the beans. The main focus of the documentary is the founder of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union, Tadesse Meskela, who is fighting to help his 70,000 Ethiopian coffee farmers by seeking out buyers willing to pay a fair price. Black Gold is an incredibly eye-opening watch that will really get you thinking harder about your early morning flat white. 

Lifestyle Documentary: Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things 
Available on Netflix
Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things delves into the many different ideas and practises of minimalism by taking us inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life, including families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less. The documentary helps us to think about our own consumption of material goods and the modern culture of excess and wastefulness. If all this time at home has got you itching for a declutter, this might just be the perfect documentary to motivate you to live and consume goods more mindfully. Plus, the film was made by Matt D’Avella, an independent filmmaker and creator, so you’re also supporting small businesses and independent creatives by giving this one a watch.

Animal Rights Documentary: Blackfish 
Available on Netflix & Amazon Prime
Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, an orca held captive by Seaworld. The documentary underscores problems within the sea-park industry, the controversy over captive killer whales, man's relationship to nature, and how little has been learned about these highly intelligent mammals. The film follows Tilikum from his capture off the coast of Iceland in 1983 and throughout his life at Seaworld. The film includes a testimonial from Lori Marino, director of science with the Nonhuman Rights Project. Other people interviewed include former SeaWorld trainers, such as John Hargrove , who describe their experiences with Tilikum and other captive whales. The film can be a difficult watch, however the insight it provides into the treatment of some of the world's most beautiful creatures is worth it. Blackfish tells an incredibly heartfelt story that sheds light on the terrible reality of what happens to the orcas once their performances are over.  

Nature Documentary: Night on Earth
Available on Netflix
Night on Earth is a beautifully made British nature documentary series made for Netflix that follows the lives of animals after dark using incredible state of the art, low-light camera technology. Each episode focuses on a different habitat, including the city, jungles and the oceans from all around the world. The documentary provides some truly breathtaking footage of many animals that are rarely captured on camera, as well as providing a unique insight into the nocturnal habits of species that we never knew about before. During a particularly amazing sequence, we see giraffes, elephants, black rhino and other larger animals drink together at an oasis. This series provides an incredible, otherworldly look at our beautiful planet and the creatures that reside on it, it’s definitely one not to be missed.

Clothing Industry Documentary: The True Cost
The True cost is probably one the most well-known and hard-hitting documentaries about the modern clothing industry and its impact on the earth and the people that make our clothes. The documentary is filmed in countries all over the world, and transports us from the runways to the slums, following the journey of a garment. The film mainly focuses on exploring the life of low-wage workers in developing countries that make our clothing. It features interviews with some of the world’s leading influencers including animal-rights activist and clothes designer Stella McCartney, eco-fashion activist Livia Firth and environmental activist Vandana Shiva. The True Cost invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes and poses the question; who really pays the price for our clothes?

Uplifting Documentary: Pick of the Litter
Available on Netflix & Amazon Prime 
Pick of the Litter is a truly heartwarming documentary that follows a litter of puppies from the moment they’re born and begin their journey to become guide dogs for the blind. The film follows these pups through an intense two-year program as they train to become dogs whose ultimate responsibility is to protect their blind partners from harm. Along the way, these incredible animals rely on a community of dedicated people who train them to provide an amazing, life-changing service to their human. Pick of the Litter is a wonderful reminder of the extraordinary relationships we have with our dogs, especially those that we work beside each day. And who doesn’t want to watch some cute puppies for an hour?! 

Inspiring Documentary: Little Miss Sumo
Available on Netflix
Little Miss Sumo is a documentary short that follows female sumo wrestling champion Hiyori Kon who is banned from competing professionally. Women cannot compete in the sport at a professional level in Japan, meaning Hiyori will have to retire at the age of 21. Fighting this tradition, Hiyori embarks on an incredible journey, confronting gender barriers, traditional customs and many more obstacles along the way in an attempt to help change Japan's national sport forever. Little Miss Sumo provides a powerful look into the life of women in Japan who wish to go against the grain and live their lives outside of strict traditions. Ultimately, the film is bursting with passion and fire and is all about fighting for what you love.
We hope you enjoy these educational and ethical watches. Let us know if we've missed any, we're always looking for a good watch recommendation.
Written By Leona Chapman

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