In the 1950s, American women discovered they could earn thousands – even millions – of dollars from bowls that burped. “Tupperware ladies” fanned out across the nation’s living rooms, selling efficiency and convenience to their friends and neighbors through home parties. Bowl by bowl, they built an empire that now spans the globe. AMERICAN EXPERIENCE presents Tupperware!, a documentary by Laurie Kahn-Leavitt. Narrated by Kathy Bates, this funny, thought-provoking film reveals the secret behind Tupperware’s success: the women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds who discovered they could move up in the world without leaving the house. TUPPERWARE! charts the origins of the small plastics company that unpredictably became a cultural phenomenon.

Extreme Railways : Indias Monsoon Railway

There is no better way to experience what a country has to offer than to travel by train. This couldn’t be more true of travelling on the Konkan Railway along the West coast of India between Mumbai and Mangalore. From the moment you step onto the train the adventure begins. Our train left on time from Mumbai’s busy CST station at 6.55 on that muggy subcontinental morning. Locating our seats down the busy narrow corridors of the train we had to jostle past passengers and chai sellers with all our film kit. Out the window you get a sense of India’s huge population as trains coming from all directions head towards the city jammed packed with commuters over flowing at the open doors as they make their way to work.

The differences between travelling on an Indian train and a train back home in the UK hit you. For a start travelling with the doors open in India does give you a better view and provides a welcome breeze but somehow it just doesn’t feel right or safe! You might struggle to get a cup of tea on a train in the UK but on an Indian train every couple of minutes somebody will appear selling hot chai or spicy samosas.

The views on the train away from Mumbai through Maharashtra, Goa and into Karnataka are breath taking. Look right as you travel South and you’ll see countless rivers flowing towards the coast. Look left and you’ll see green rice fields and lush forests leading to mountains.

Travelling and filming on the Konkan Railway we encountered a few unexpected surprises. One thing I didn’t expect to see were cows meditatively chewing on the platform at Ratnagiri station. For me I was particularly surprised to learn that my hat which I mislaid on the train was reunited with me after five days all washed, dried and pressed. It was handed into lost property and returned cleaner than it had been for a long time! I can’t think of many places around the world where this happens!

If you ever get the chance to travel on the Konkan Railway along India’s West coast, seize the opportunity, for the journey has something in store for everyone. And there will no doubt be some surprises to experience for yourself too!

Tea with Babe Walsh (Ferryland)

Newfoundland Folkways #01
Babe Walsh is an 83 year old woman from Ferryland, Newfoundland who lives on the same waterfront property that she was born and raised on. Every winter when the snows arrive, she packs up and goes to a retirement home in Witless Bay where she spends her days walking on the road, waving to passers-by. Rest assured though, come May, she is back home on the farm. I first met Babe two years ago when doing research on traditional farming along the Southern Shore. Known locally for her dedication to the Newfoundland Pony as a heritage animal, Babe is an outspoken crusader with a deep capacity for warmth and compassion. Since our first visit, I have spent countless hours with her learning about everything from local folk beliefs and legends to traditional skills such as haymaking and animal rearing. This is a snapshot of the friendship we have formed, and a portrait of the generosity that still thrives in the outports today.
Material gathered by Lisa Wilson and assembled by Justin Oakey /

Guardian of the Golden Gate

The Golden Gate Bridge has always been famous. It was the world’s longest suspension bridge when it was completed in 1937. Since then, it has become an iconic landmark of San Francisco and, tragically, one of the most popular places in the world to commit suicide. Few know this better than Kevin Briggs, a sergeant with the California Highway Patrol who has talked hundreds of people out of jumping.




Oceana, West Virginia, sits squarely in one of God’s blind spots. It’s one of the old coal mining communities that feeds the nation’s insatiable appetite for energy. Set in the middle of unbelievable natural beauty, a beauty that in the last number of years has been marred by the Appalachian scourge of Oxycontin. Life persists, but it’s a living that few Americans could explain or even believe – closer in kind to the world of a medieval plague. Men and women die epidemically. The addicts — who are the vast majority and all nice enough people — sell, scramble, and steal in an economy of nigh-endtimes desperation. Worn down and out by the pills, the mines or the indignity of both, everyone looks twice their own age and is unable to imagine an existence outside of coal, subsidies and prescription narcotics. Things could hardly get darker than in this place called Oceana. Nevertheless, there it is. A little village in the valley of Death, where children are born, groceries are still purchased and festivity is expressed through firearms and poor decision-making. But is this enough to live for? Is it enough to provide anyone with any hope or deliverance? OXYANA is an unflinchingly close focus on the anguish and horrors of a community that the rest of the country would just as soon forget, a nearly Biblical narrative of American forsakenness.

British Neo Nazis

100% White is a powerful portrait of men trapped on the margins of society. Leo Regan’s subjects, Colin, Neil and Nick, may have left their neo-Nazi gang behind, but shedding their own fear, hatred and violence is a far harder task.

Former leader Neil, who describes stabbing someone as “too easy, like getting butter out of a tub”, now seeks counselling to control his violent tendencies. Colin left the gang because “you’ve got to look after your family before you can sort out your country”, but demonstrates his paternalism by assaulting his wife and forbidding his children to have black schoolfriends. Nick has befriended a black man but still “can’t get on with Asians.” All three miss the camaraderie of the gang, the powerful identity and sense of belonging now so patently absent from their lives.

Like Alan Clarke’s groundbreaking drama Made in Britain, Regan achieves the difficult task of humanising men whose views and actions are both reprehensible and frightening. At the same time, he never lets his subjects off the hook, challenging them even at personal risk. His only weapon, and best defence, is a disarming openness, which extends from subject to form.

Unlike traditional ‘observational’ documentaries, where the film-maker remains hidden behind a veil of so-called ‘objectivity’, Regan throws himself into the situation as an active participant, offering his opinions and leaving his questions on the soundtrack. As the effects of filming are foregrounded (particularly the way Regan’s presence influences Colin’s wife Karla, and Neil’s girlfriend Charlene) 100% White becomes a video diary of the interaction between film-maker and subject – hand-held, messy, personal.. That these paranoid men reveal so much and that we, as viewers, care so much, is testament to Regan’s skill and compassion.