There's no end to the stream of politically-liberal documentaries detailing sad tales of human misery and global catastrophes in the offing. As a rule, these documentaries spend most of their runtime expounding on the problem de juor before halfheartedly rushing through a laundry list of possible remedies. Not so with One Peace at a Time (2009), Turk Pipkin's follow-up to Nobelity (2006).
In Nobelity, Pipkin sat down with Nobel Prize winners to discuss the means of tackling chronic global problems. Now in One Peace at a Time, Pipkin features non-profit organizations at the forefront of these efforts to fulfill basic human needs for clean water, food, education, medical care, a sustainable livelihood, and care for orphaned children. Pipkin pitches for viewers to make a difference by contributing resources either to these organizations or others like them, while also making more conscientious decisions as consumers.
With camera crew in tow, Pipkin goes globetrotting to feature the efforts of organizations including The Miracle Foundation to care for orphans in India, The Population and Community Development Association to provide family planning and AIDS-prevention services in Thailand, and A Glimmer of Hope to dig wells in Ethiopia.
As in Nobelity, Pipkin interviews a number of leading advocates for efforts ranging from microfinance to supporting sustainable agriculture to the elimination of land mines. Along the way Pipkin discusses the virtues of biodiesel with singer-songwriter Willie Nelson over a game of chess.
While Pipkin offers a sufficiently broad range of ways that a viewer can get engaged in remedying the World's woes, 83 minutes of this can be wearying to even the most conscientious viewer. Pipkin does his best to minimize viewer fatigue by keeping the segments consistently upbeat and visually dynamic, while also providing a lively soundtrack with tunes from Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Ben Harper, The Band, and many others. Nevertheless, some viewers may be watching the clock by the hour mark, and few will wish to return to this documentary for repeated viewings.
Video & Audio:
One Peace at a Time is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1 aspect ratio). Shot on video, the image is somewhat soft through colors are accurate and contrast is good.
For a documentary of this sort, the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio is surprisingly good providing for clear dialogue and lively music. Optional Spanish subtitles are available.
The extras include three independent shorts, ranging from four to eight minutes, constructed from segments appearing in alternative form in the main feature, a trailer for this film, and forced trailers for three other like-minded documentaries.
While not a documentary that many viewers will feel compelled to own, One Peace at a Time is recommended for purchase by libraries and schools, and for rental by those looking for ways to a make a difference in the lives of the needy.