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Documentary of the Week

WNYC

Every week, WNYC tells you about the best documentaries as they become available on screens of any size. Our hosts are Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen, co-founders of the Pure Nonfiction podcast and the DOC NYC festival, the largest non-fiction film festival in the U.S.

Every week, WNYC tells you about the best documentaries as they become available on screens of any size. Our hosts are Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen, co-founders of the Pure Nonfiction podcast and the DOC NYC festival, the largest non-fiction film festival in the U.S.
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Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Every week, WNYC tells you about the best documentaries as they become available on screens of any size. Our hosts are Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen, co-founders of the Pure Nonfiction podcast and the DOC NYC festival, the largest non-fiction film festival in the U.S.

Language:

English


Episodes

Close-Up on Peace Prize Winner Nadia Murad

10/19/2018
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The documentary “On Her Shoulders” profiles Nadia Murad, the Yazidi activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize this month for her work against sexual violence. Filmmaker Alexandria Bombach follows Murad at age 23 as she grows into her role of speaking on behalf of the Yazidis, a non-Muslim minority that suffered a genocidal campaign at the hands of ISIS. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:03

Jane Fonda Performs Herself

10/12/2018
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In the documentary “Jane Fonda: A Life in Five Acts,” the Oscar-winning actress looks back on the multiple personas of her life — from ingenue to activist to exercise guru and beyond. Filmmaker Susan Lacy layers the films with clips from classic films such as “Barbarella,” “Coming Home” and “On Golden Pond.” But Fonda’s most complicated performance is finding herself. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:59

Inside Studio 54

10/5/2018
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The documentary “Studio 54” charts the rise and fall of the legendary nightclub and its creators, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer allows Schrager to tell his own tale, and uncovers never-before-seen footage capturing the club’s decadent spirit. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:59

Climbing El Capitan Without Safety Ropes

9/28/2018
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In the documentary “Free Solo,” mountain climber Alex Honnold tries to become the first person to climb the 3,200 cliff of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without safety ropes. Filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chinn conjure a visually stunning adventure with a compelling character at the center. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:52

Remembering Fashion Icon Antonio Lopez

9/14/2018
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In “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco,” filmmaker James Crump celebrates the fashion illustrator who helped launch the careers of Jessica Lange, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones and others. Lopez’s vibrant life was cut short by AIDS in 1987, but this film keeps his memory burning brightly. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:52

Deported to the Desert

9/7/2018
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In “Bisbee ’17,” residents of the mining town Bisbee, Arizona re-enact a dark chapter of history, when over 1200 immigrant workers were violently deported across state lines into the desert of New Mexico. Filmmaker Robert Greene artfully blurs the past and present to confront how the incident continues to stir strong emotions one hundred years later. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:58

High School Close-Up

8/31/2018
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In “America to Me," director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) spends a year examining a high school in Oak Park, Illinois that struggles with a performance gap along racial lines. The 10-part series on Starz looks at both students and faculty trying speak across divides of age, gender, race and income. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:01

Blowing the Whistle on the NYPD

8/24/2018
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The documentary “Crime + Punishment” follows the case of the NYPD 12, who spoke out against biased policing. Filmmaker Steven Maing covers their story from the inside as they risk their careers in a documentary that plays like a modern day “Serpico.” — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:00

Skating into Manhood

8/17/2018
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The documentary “Minding the Gap” follows three skateboarding friends of different races — white, black and Asian — who are grappling with childhood abuse as they transition to adulthood. One of the trio is director Bing Liu, who started filming skateboard stunts as a teenager and now uses the camera to penetrate the shells of his peers. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:36

Duck and Cover

8/10/2018
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The documentary classic “The Atomic Cafe,” an archival-footage essay about America’s relationship with the atomic bomb, is back in theaters with a new 4k restoration. Filmmakers Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty compiled government propaganda, newsreels, educational films — like one that tells students to “duck and cover” if a bomb hits — for a dark comedy. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web page.

Duration:00:02:00

Revealing Hollywood’s Sexual Secrets

8/3/2018
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The documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” profiles Scotty Bowers, who was a sexual procurer for movie stars in the studio era. Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer reveals the closeted lives of Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and many more, as Scotty revisits his past having reached the age of 90. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:00

When Medical Devices Go Bad

7/27/2018
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Over 70 million Americans have some kind of implanted medical device including birth control, joint replacements and pacemakers. In the Netflix documentary "The Bleeding Edge," filmmaker Kirby Dick looks at patients who have suffered from such devices and traces problems to lack of government regulation in the industry. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:56

When Kids Turn Out Different

7/20/2018
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The documentary "Far From the Tree," based on the award-winning book by Andrew Solomon, explores the dynamics in families when kids turn out different from their parents' expectations. Filmmaker Rachel Dretzin profiles families encountering cases of Down's Syndrome, autism, dwarfism and incarceration. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:44

Who's Funding Our Politicians?

7/13/2018
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The documentary “Dark Money” looks at how mysterious sources of campaign financing corrupts the political process. Filmmaker Kimberly Reed uses a case study in her home state of Montana where politicians in both parties found themselves being smeared by negative campaign ads that were difficult to trace. The film illustrates how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has a lasting impact on American elections. "Dark Money" opens in theaters today.

Duration:00:01:51

The Life & Music of Whitney Houston

7/6/2018
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Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin MacDonald delivers a sensitive exploration of the troubled life of Whitney Houston in “Whitney.” With generous samplings of her music and candid interviews with her inner circle, the film helps us understand her motivations and addictions. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:09

Separated at Birth

6/29/2018
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The documentary “Three Identical Strangers” looks at the saga of triplets who were separated at birth and accidentally met each other at age 19. Director Tim Wardle follows the twists and turns of their lives and explores the question of whether the greatest influence on a person is nature or nurture. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:50

The Cost of Making Champions

6/22/2018
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The documentary “Love Means Zero” profiles the controversial tennis coach Nick Bollettieri and his broken relationship with Andre Agassi. Filmmaker Jason Kohn frames the story around three classic tennis matches that defined their careers. Like a great tennis match, the film is filled with suspense, joy and tears. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:39

You Are What You Eat

6/15/2018
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Based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer, the documentary “Eating Animals” challenges us to think more carefully about what we eat and where it comes from. Narrated by Natalie Portman and directed by Christopher Quinn, the film profiles both independent farmers and those working for food conglomerates.

Duration:00:01:42

Who Was Fred Rogers?

6/8/2018
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The documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” profiles the Presbyterian minister-turned-children’s TV host Fred Rogers. Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (“20 Feet From Stardom”) draws upon the vast archive of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” and interviews insiders and family members.

Duration:00:01:51

Inside the New York Times on Trump

6/1/2018
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The four-part Showtime series “The Fourth Estate” looks at the reporters and editors covering the Trump administration in its first year. Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus (“What Happened Miss Simone?”) chronicles the changing nature of journalism in the age of Twitter, podcasts and the 24-hour news cycle.

Duration:00:01:45