The early years of Bin Laden, from timid Saudi schoolboy to revered freedom fighter. The first episode begins with Osama Bin Laden's schooldays in Saudi Arabia. He grew up in a wealthy family, loved westerns and soccer, and avoided fights in the schoolyard. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1980, like many Arab men, he joined the resistance to liberate the country from the occupying forces. In Peshawar, Pakistan, just across the Afghan border, he sets up a "service bureau" and uses his connections to organize money for the fight. He keeps promising his mother not to go into battle himself, but then joins the mujahideen commander Sayed Wahidyar, who is only called "Fearless". According to Wahidyar, bin Laden is initially a burden because he has no idea about fighting. The wealth he inherited and the family's connections to the construction industry come in handy when he begins to build much-needed infrastructure such as roads, warehouses and clinics on his own. In the Battle of Jaji, the Soviet troops were finally repulsed with the help of the experienced Afghan mujahideen - a decisive victory for bin Laden, which resulted in the superpower's final withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1988. It is the beginning of a myth fueled in part by Bin Laden himself. His supposed military success gives him enormous prestige. In the same year, Bin Laden founded Al-Qaeda. The die is cast.
Searching for Sugar Man tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, the greatest '70s rock icon who never was. Discovered in a Detroit bar in the late '60s by two celebrated producers struck by his soulful melodies and prophetic lyrics, they recorded an album which they believed would secure his reputation as the greatest recording artist of his generation. In fact, the album bombed and the singer disappeared into obscurity amid rumors of a gruesome on-stage suicide. But a bootleg recording found its way into apartheid South Africa and, over the next two decades, he became a phenomenon. The film follows the story of two South African fans who set out to find out what really happened to their hero. Their investigation leads them to a story more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the artist known as Rodriguez.
2012 • People
He Named Me Malala is an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old (she turns 18 this July) was singled out, along with her father, for advocating for girls’ education, and the attack on her sparked an outcry from supporters around the world. She miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) shows us how Malala, her father Zia and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. The film gives us an inside glimpse into this extraordinary young girl’s life – from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life with her parents and brothers. - “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world." – Malala
2015 • People
From a painter who changed the face of modern art to the most recognised figure of WWII, this episode spans the century, highlighting people of such profound influence that they can reasonably be termed “iconic”. Whether they’re reshaping a nation or reinventing the tools that will forever change the way we live, no one could argue that the Top Twenty are all people who made the twentieth century.