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Creating Freedom

The Lottery of Birth

Do you shape the world or does the world shape you? We do not choose to exist or the environment in which we grow up. Our starting point in life is one of passive reliance on forces over which we have no control. Drawing on leading thinkers from around the world, THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH shows that from birth onwards our minds are a battleground of competing forces — familial, educational, cultural, and professional — and that the outcome of this battle not only determines who we become, but the society that we create.

THE LOTTERY OF BIRTH, nominated for Best Documentary at the Raindance Film Festival and winner of the Spirit Award at the Artivist Festival, is the bestselling independent documentary on iTunes in several countries and, for over four months, was the most watched documentary on Amazon Prime in the United States.

"Challenging, insightful and timely. Unmissable."

Alan Rickman

"I was quite blown away. A lot of bracing, tangential and uncomfortable thought. And it looks and sounds beautiful."

Colin Firth

"Absolutely wonderful. beautifully made and utterly captivating."

Margaret Heffernan

"The Lottery of Birth is one of the most important films we have ever screened at Raindance, and needs to be seen by anyone willing to challenge the way our society functions."

Elliot Grove (Founder of Raindance Film Festival)

"Activist cinema for the age of TED talks."

New York Times

"Fascinating, compelling and intellectually arresting, The Lottery of Birth is a truly powerful and insightful documentary, which will completely blow you away. Highly recommended."

View London Review

"It just shows you how powerful a documentary can be. It's like a switch has been turned on, the electricity is flowing — now I can begin to look at the world in a way that I've been working my way towards without direction. The Lottery of Birth is the beginning of a new way of approaching things."

– Kid in the Front Row

The Cast

  • Kathleen Taylor
  • Steven Pinker
  • George Monbiot
  • Daniel Dennett
  • Michael Albert
  • Nick Davies
  • Stanley Arnowitz
  • Jeff Schmidt
  • Bill Fletcher Jr
  • Tony Benn
  • Vandana Shiva
  • Howard Zinn

Produced and Directed by

  • Raoul Martinez and Joshua van Praag

Written and Edited by

  • Raoul Martinez

Director of Photography

  • Joshua van Praag

Narrated by

  • Nicholas Woodeson

Original Music by

  • Pete Raeburn


About The Filmmakers

Raoul Martinez is a writer, artist, and award-winning filmmaker. The Lottery of Birth - produced, written and co-directed by Raoul - premiered in 2012 as Episode One of a series entitled Creating Freedom. It was nominated for Best Documentary at London's Raindance Film Festival and went on to win the Artivist Spirit 2012 Award at Hollywood's Artivist Festival. It has been translated into several languages and the second film is currently in production. Accompanying the series is Raoul's first book, also called Creating Freedom, written over four years and informed by over a decade of research. Raoul lives and works in London, where his paintings have been selected for exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery.

Joshua Van Praag is a filmmaker working in both narrative and documentary formats to explore themes of social justice and interculturalism. His first short film, ‘The Dig’ won both the jury prize and the award for best director at the New York Film Festival. His work has subsequently been exhibited in venues as diverse as New York's New Museum, Cairo’s Townhouse Gallery and the Raindance Film Festival. In 2013, JvP released his first feature length documentary, The Lottery of Birth, co-directed by Raoul Martinez. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at the Raindance Film Festival, won the Spirit Award at the Artivist Film Festival and received a theatrical release in the US and UK. JvP is currently in production on ‘Disrupters’, a documentary about citizen journalists covering rising social movements across the globe. A native of the United Kingdom, JvP lives between London and New York.

Power, Control and the Fight for our Future

A book to complement the film series is now available to order in numerous countries and languages. In greater depth, it explores the limits placed on freedom by human nature and society. Exploding the myths at the heart of our economic, political, and criminal justice systems, it calls for a profound transformation in the way we think about democracy, control and our own identities.

The Book

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