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iWonder December Highlights: Christmas Unconventional

As the season of giving draws close, this December iWonder takes an alternative look at audacious acts of charity, with the launch of Robin Banks, and the tale of the man who stole $500,000 from the banks to give back to society.

Then peeling back the curtain on what goes into creating Christmas as we know it, Santa School sees six men attend the ultimate Santa workshop, While Twenty Feet From Stardom celebrates the quiet achievements of the singer behind a vintage Christmas hit.

Then in this month’s iWonder Top Five, from bingo and beer to whiskey and wine, we take a walk through some of the many ways people will be getting set to make merry this festive season.

Robin Bank

#Crime #Morality #Intriguing

Launches 21st December

Taking an alternative look at the season of giving, new to iWonder, Robin Banks is an intimate thriller about Enric Duran, the Robin Hood of the 21st century.

During the 2008 financial crisis, the Catalan activist stole half a million from the banks, donated it to social projects, and announced it to the media to report the malpractices of the banking system.

He was sentenced to prison but managed to escape and vanish.

Duran's mother, who hasn't seen her son for years, manages to contact the activist via encrypted chat, revealing a fascinating character.

Robin Banks poses the question: where are the limits between legality and legitimacy, and what price should one pay for being true to one's ideals?

Santa School

#Endearing #Seasonal #Up-Close

Launches 7th December

Have you ever wondered how one of the most famous faces in history has managed to remain anonymous all these years? Easy. Decoy Santas; hundreds of them!

Santa School delves into the world of professional Christmas entertainers and explores what it takes to be just like the big man himself. The school is run by Santa Rick and his wife Tracy. Santas attend from all over the world to learn about everything from Santa fashion and hair care through to inclusivity and being a Santa for all.

This heart-warming festive film follows six Santas on their journeys through school and out into the world of professional Santas, whilst exploring the true meaning of Christmas along the way.

Twenty Feet From Stardom

#Music #Bio #Interviews

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling film, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century.

Featuring Darlene Love, the singer of Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.

Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, the film also features intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few.

iWonder when

December 25th / January 4th

Happy birthday(s), Sir Isaac Newton!

The polymath who revolutionised science which his laws of motion and universal gravitation, along with his groundbreaking work on calculus, optics, and the nature of light was born on December 25th according to the Julian calendar, which was in use in England at that time.

In today's Gregorian calendar, his birthday would actually be recorded as January 4th, 1643. Though not introduced until 1752, after Newton’s death in 1727, it’s not the date Newton would have recognised.

iWonder who:

Enric Duran

'Robin Bank', launches December 21st on iWonder

Star of Robin Banks, new to iWonder this December, Enric Duran is a Catalan activist known for his audacious act of financial disobedience. Dubbed the "Robin Hood of the Banks," Duran acquired and distributed €492,000 worth of loans from various banks, advocating for an alternative economic system and criticising the banking industry's practices. He used the funds to support social movements, emphasising the need for a fairer, more equitable society.

Following this act, Duran published a manifesto and co-founded Faircoop, a platform aiming to create a cooperative, fair economy through decentralised cryptocurrencies and mutual support networks. His actions sparked discussions about economic justice, alternative currencies, and the ethics of financial systems. Despite legal repercussions and exile, Duran remains a symbol of nonviolent resistance, challenging conventional financial structures for a more inclusive future.

iWonder what

Eat, Drink, and be Merry

Christmas in some of the world’s warmer climes brings with it a slightly different set of rituals from its northern hemispheric neighbours. In December's iWonder What Top Five, we take a closer look at some of the ways people will be looking to celebrate the world’s most famous winter holiday in the summer sunshine. 

1) Jackpot

#Humurous #Community #Characters

Inside the strange, compelling, sometimes hilarious and sometimes heartbreaking world of hardcore Bingo players, these passionate players devote an innumerable amount of money, time, and effort to the pursuit of a game that does not require skill but rather patience, determination, and a great deal of luck.

2) Beers of Joy

#Picturesque #Travel #Informative

Against the stunning backdrops of medieval monasteries, historic German villages and breweries from across the world, an internationally acclaimed brewer and a celebrated chef take separate journeys of discovery through Europe and early America. While two Advanced Cicerones attempt to pass the prestigious Master Cicerone exam (beer’s equivalent to wine’s Master Sommelier), one of the most difficult tests in the world.

3) The Amber Light

#Scotland #Culture #History

In this journey through the lesser-known parts of Scottish whisky culture, The Amber Light reveals why whisky is such an integral part of a wider Scottish culture, unpicking some of the myths and half-truths along the way.

4) Floyd Uncorked

#Travel #Indulgent #Social

The late Keith Floyd takes a break from his kitchen and dedicates some time to his favourite hobby: Wine. Having hired a camper-van for the summer he sets off to explore the wine regions of France. But Keith is also interested in seeing the local beauty spots, learning the history, meeting the people, eating the local produce, and above all, tasting the wine.

5) Barbecue

#World #Australia #Society

As BBQ season in Australia gets into full summertime swing, Barbecue presents a grand vision of humanity unified by our most common and primal tradition.

Despite strikingly different landscapes and cultures, intimate portraits of everyday life in Australia and around the world reveal a bold vision of humanity, as each country searches for its own answer to the question – how do we live in the world today?