Uncover hidden histories and revealing stories that reshape our understanding of where we’ve come from. From ongoing global events to comparative historical contexts, these carefully curated films deepen our understanding of history to better inform the present.
Twelve years in the making, Shoah is Lanzmann’s monumental epic on the Holocaust and features interviews with survivors, bystanders, and perpetrators in 14 countries. This two part documentary does not contain any historical footage but rather features interviews which seek to “reincarnate” the Jewish tragedy and also visits places where the crimes took place. It grew out of Lanzmann’s concern that the genocide perpetrated only 40 years earlier was already retreating into the mists of time, and that atrocity was becoming sanitized as History. His massive achievement – at once epic and intimate, immediate and definitive – is a triumph of form and content that reveals hidden truths while rewriting the rules of documentary filmmaking.
Floyd Abrams: Speaking Freely explores America’s dedication to the foundational principles of free speech and free press through the groundbreaking work of attorney Floyd Abrams. A biopic of the First Amendment told through Abrams’ important cases, we reveal how this legal giant helped transform the First Amendment from an often ignored principle into a bulwark of American democracy. As the nation grapples with issues such as hate speech, book banning, the impact of money in politics, artificial intelligence and the dangers of boundless internet communication in a rapidly changing media ecosystem, Abrams continues to advocate for broad First Amendment protections.
“Few people have done as much to shape the First Amendment as it exists today.” – Jameel Jaffer
FLEE tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon to be husband. Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, he tells for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan.
In 1973, French journalist Claude Lanzmann began work on a film about the Holocaust that ranks among the greatest documentaries ever created. In SPECTRES OF THE SHOAH, the iconoclast opens up for the first time about the trials he faced while creating his magnum opus and the weight it left him carrying. In addition to his years spent tracking down Nazi officials and traumatized death camp survivors, the filmmaker – who passed away in 2018 – also discusses his teenage years fighting in the French Resistance, his relationship with existential philosophers Simone de Beauvoir and Jean‐Paul Sartre, and his hopes for the future.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered as an American hero: a bridge-builder, a shrewd political tactician, and a moral leader. Yet throughout his history-altering political career, he was often treated by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies like an enemy of the state. In this virtuosic film, award-winning editor, and director Sam Pollard lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged King’s activism throughout the ’50s and ’60s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover. In crafting a rich archival tapestry, featuring some revelatory restored footage of King, Pollard urges us to remember that true American progress is always hard-won.
From 1968 to 1973, the public television variety show SOUL!, guided by the enigmatic producer and host Ellis Haizlip, offered an uncompromising celebration of Black culture. The series was among the first to provide expanded images of African Americans on television, shifting the gaze from inner-city poverty and violence to the vibrancy of the Black Arts Movement. Mr. SOUL! captures a critical moment in culture whose impact continues to resonate, and an unsung hero whose voice we need now more than ever.
Mr. Soul! was listed by the The American Library Association (ALA)’s Film and Media Round Table as one of its 12 Outstanding and Notable films for 2022: “a celebration of and an ode to Blackness”.
A provocative, visually stunning testament to a land and a people who have survived removal, exploitation and genocide – and whose best days are yet to come.
In 2016, the world turned its eyes to the people of Standing Rock as they formed a coalition of unprecedented magnitude to defend their land and water from the threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
An inflection point for human rights and environmental justice, the #NoDAPL struggle became a rallying cry for Indigenous people everywhere to take a stand against the myriad injustices committed against them for centuries.
OYATE elevates the voices of Indigenous activists, organizers, and politicians as they offer their perspective on that complicated history, contextualize the #NoDAPL movement, illuminate the interconnectivity between the issues facing Indian Country today, and look towards a more sovereign and sustainable future for their people.
With a fist full of credit cards & a lucky run at the track, Franco Stevens launched Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine ever published. AHEAD OF THE CURVE is a must-see documentary for anyone hoping to understand identity politics around LGBTQ+ women in the early ’90s. Against the hostile backdrop of hate crimes and family rejection, with few celebrities or politicians willing to be out publicly, Curve magazine dared to show that lesbians, queer women, and non-binary people are fully human. Franco revisits Curve’s original mission, connecting with queer women leading today who share the belief that “true visibility looks like us being the authors of our own experience” and that “any type of visibility is radical, political.”
The automobile and the highway brought a promise of adventure, agency and self-expression to African Americans in particular. With powerful feelings, frightening hope and fraught of danger and anxiety, they resonate a still-relevant narrative of freedom, mobility, and race in America.Part One of the educational version of Driving While Black discusses the root of racism in America, the Civil War and Reconstruction, the Jim Crow Era, the Great Migration, the birth of the automobile, the myth of mobility in America and the dangers of road travel during segregation.Part Two celebrates Black entrepreneurship, introduces The Green Book, highway construction and its impact, the cruel reality of ‘driving while Black’ in contemporary society and the ongoing struggle for Civil Rights in America.
Welcome to Riotsville, USA–a point in American history when the nation’s rulers–politicians, bureaucrats, police–were faced with the mounting militancy of the late 60s, and did everything possible to win the war in the streets. Using training footage of Army-built model towns called “Riotsvilles” where law enforcement were trained to respond to civil disorder, in addition to nationally broadcast news media, the film connects the stagecraft of “law and order” to the real violence of state practice. RIOTSVILLE, USA is a poetic and furious reflection on the rebellions of the 1960s-and the machine that worked to destroy them.
Faced with their own mortality, an improbable group of mostly HIV-positive young men and women broke the mold as radical warriors taking on Washington and the medical establishment. Despite having no scientific training, these self-made activists infiltrated the pharmaceutical industry and helped identify promising new drugs, moving them from experimental trials to patients in record time. How To Survive A Plague is the story of how activism and innovation turned AIDS from a death sentence into a manageable condition.
Told through first-hand accounts of directors, actors, writers, and producers this documentary asks hard questions about the uneasy relationship between American popular culture and the Holocaust.
We find out about the difficulties and responsibility of filmmakers as they re-imagine for the screen the horrors of Nazi Germany and how film itself has the power to shape and reflect history and memory.
A powerful documentary about the extraordinary team of doctors and activists – including Paul Farmer, Jim Yong Kim, and Ophelia Dahl – whose work thirty years ago to save lives in a rural Haitian village grew into a global battle in the halls of power for the right to health for all. The community health model they developed to treat diseases like tuberculosis has saved millions of lives in the developing world. Epic, yet intimate, the film is a compelling argument for the power of collective and personal vision and will to turn the tide of history.
Over 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war in the greatest human displacement since World War II. Human Flow, an epic film journey led by the internationally renowned artist Ai Weiwei, gives a powerful visual expression to this massive human migration. The documentary elucidates both the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact, following a chain of urgent human stories that stretches across the globe in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Greece, Germany, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, and Turkey.
Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87. With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother to eleven, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change.
Experience the extraordinary life of author Kurt Vonnegut, through the 25-year friendship with the filmmaker who set out to document it.
The film “Looted and Hidden” explores Palestinian archives taken by Israeli / Jewish forces during the 20th century, now buried in Israeli military vaults. Stemming from a prolonged effort to access classified materials, the movie showcases once-lost archival footage and images. It emphasizes treasures seized in Beirut in the 1980s, spotlighting film and visual archives that chronicled the Palestinian Revolution from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. Additionally, it touches on photographic archives taken since the 1930s. The film questions archival practices in colonial regions and conflict zones, underscoring the importance of uncovering what’s been altered or removed.
Eighteen years after House, Amos Gitai returns to the setting of his first film to observe the changes in the new residents as well as in the neighbourhood. The filmmaker works like an archaeologist, revealing, under multiple layers, a complex labyrinth of destinies.
An intimate account of legendary U.S. Representative John Lewis’ life, legacy and more than 60 years of extraordinary activism. After Lewis petitioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help integrate a segregated school in his hometown of Troy, Alabama, King sent “the boy from Troy” a round trip bus ticket to meet with him. From that meeting onward, Lewis became one of King’s closest allies. He organized Freedom Rides that left him bloodied or jailed, and stood at the front lines in the historic marches on Washington and Selma. He never lost the spirit of the “boy from Troy” and called on his fellow Americans to get into “good trouble” until his passing on July 17, 2020.
This celebrated documentary tells the dramatic success story of the women’s peace movement of Liberia, where Christian and Muslim women banded together to end their country’s civil war. Leymah Gbowee, the central figure in the film, and the Women of Liberia are the recipients of the 2009 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award™.
A beautiful and deeply moving portrait of seven Palestinian and Israeli children. Emmy award-winning and Academy award-nominated, PROMISES follows the journey of a filmmaker who meets these children in and around Jerusalem, from a Palestinian refugee camp to an Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Although they live only 20 minutes apart, these children exist in completely separate worlds, divided by physical, historical and emotional boundaries. PROMISES explores the nature of these boundaries and tells the story of a few children who dared to cross the lines to meet their neighbors.
In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leader Anwar Congo and his friends to dramatise their role in genocide. But their idea of being in a movie is not to provide testimony for a documentary: they want to be stars in their favourite film genres—gangster, western, musical. They write the scripts. They play themselves. And they play their victims. This is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.
The Viewing Booth explores a space ostensibly off-limits to cinema — the internal experience of a viewer. In a lab-like location, Maia Levy, a young Jewish American woman, watches videos portraying life in the occupied West Bank, while verbalizing her thoughts and feelings. Maia is an enthusiastic supporter of Israel and the images, depicting Palestinian life under Israeli military rule, contradict some of her deep-seated beliefs. Empathy, anger, embarrassment, innate biases, and healthy curiosity — all play out before our eyes as we watch her watch the images. Her candid and immediate reactions form a one-of-a-kind cinematic testimony to the psychology of the viewer in the digital era.
KINDERLAND tells the timely tale of two rival Jewish summer camps in upstate New York that have cultivated social activists for almost a century and are still in existence today. Kinderland was communist; Kinder Ring, socialist. Despite numerous commonalities, they enjoyed a legendary feud from opposite ends of Sylvan Lake. In response to the devastating impact of the Trump era and the accompanying rise in intolerance and inequality, today’s campers, a largely secular multi-ethnic group, prioritize shared values over philosophical differences and attempt to join forces; inspiring unity within our divided world.
Hidden high in the Rocky Mountains, fringe mining-town Crested Butte, CO, has always been defined by its people. Its timeless nostalgic American story tells how this lawless frontier used to provide an escape hide-out and paradise for the wandering souls who stumbled upon it, disguised as ski bums and hippies. With stewardship over greed, this progressive group would create a world of their own, protecting it for years to come in the face of economic pressures, balancing between growth and conservation.
As a challenge faced by small towns across America today, the story of one town hopes to inspire “community” amongst others: if you don’t take care of a place, you risk losing it forever.