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. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, 2 Dope Queens, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media and many more.

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. WNYC Studios is the producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, Freakonomics Radio, 2 Dope Queens, Death, Sex & Money, On the Media and many more.

Language:

English


Episodes

New documentary "Roberta" profiles the soul singer

1/27/2023
"Roberta" chronicles how the singer of "Killing Me Softly" went from being a classically trained musician to a soul sensation. Director Antonino D'Ambrosio draws upon interviews with Roberta Flack and her contemporaries such as Jesse Jackson and Angela Davis along with music scholars Emily Lordi and Jason King.

Duration:00:02:00

Performing for inmates at Angola Prison

1/20/2023
"Angola Do You Hear Us?" follows Liza Jessie Peterson as she performs her one woman show, "The Peculiar Patriot" at Louisiana's Angola Prison. Filmmaker Cinque Northern captures how the event raises excitement for the inmates and tensions for the guards.

Duration:00:01:43

Remembering Linsanity in "38 at the Garden"

1/13/2023
"38 at the Garden" looks back on Jeremy Lin's phenomenal scoring streak with the New York Knicks in 2012 and what it meant for Asian Americans. Filmmaker Frank Chi interviews Lin along with comedian Hassan Minaj, journalist Lisa Ling and others who reflect on how "Linsanity" became about more than just basketball.

Duration:00:01:41

"Bad Axe" profiles a restaurant during COVID

1/6/2023
In "Bad Axe," filmmaker David Siev documents his immigrant family running their restaurant during the 2020 challenges of COVID and a racial reckoning. When tensions rise, the family has to choose when and how to make a stand.

Duration:00:01:45

"Turn Every Page" Explores a Literary Relationship

12/30/2022
"Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb" looks at the relationship between Lyndon Johnson's biographer and his editor. Filmmaker Lizzie Gottlieb brings a personal perspective as the editor's daughter.

Duration:00:01:49

Revisiting the Feminist Classic "Joyce at 34"

12/16/2022
Joyce Chopra, who made the ground-breaking 1972 personal documentary "Joyce at 34," has published a new memoir called "Lady Director." A collection of her films is now available on Criterion.

Duration:00:01:48

Pursuing the Green New Deal in "To the End"

12/9/2022
"To the End" follows young activists with the Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats as they join forces with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to push the Green New Deal. Filmmaker Rachel Lears examines the idealism, road blocks and breakthroughs as the activists face pushback from the fossil fuel industry and its political supporters.

Duration:00:01:53

"2nd Chance" profiles the inventor of a bullet resistant vest

12/2/2022
"2nd Chance" profiles the complicated life Richard Davis whose invention of body armor saved lives while he ducked scandals. Filmmaker Ramin Bahrani explores American myth-making around guns, retribution and redemption.

Duration:00:01:49

"Descendant" investigates the legacy of a slave ship

11/25/2022
"Descendant" explores the legacy of the last known slave ship that arrived in Mobile, Alabama in 1860. Filmmaker Margaret Brown profiles the descendants of enslaved Africans who were aboard the ship and the family that financed it.

Duration:00:01:55

Meet the elder Robert Downey in "Sr."

11/18/2022
Before there was Robert Downey Jr., there was his namesake father, an underground filmmaker, who's profiled in "Sr." Documentarian Chris Smith follows the two generations of Downeys as they seek to become closer and the father feels his mortality.

Duration:00:01:54

Celebrating filmmaker Jonas Mekas at the DOC NYC festival

11/11/2022
"Fragments of Paradise" celebrates the life of Jonas Mekas, co-founder of New York's Anthology Film Archives, who left a lasting legacy on the New York film world. Directed by KD Davison, the film premieres among nearly 200 films at the DOC NYC festival in theaters and online. "Fragments of Paradise" premieres Saturday, Nov. 12 at DOC NYC.

Duration:00:01:52

Remembering Sally Schmitt in "The Best Chef in the World"

11/4/2022
"The Best Chef in the World" profiles Sally Schmitt, founder of the legendary restaurant The French Laundry. Oscar-winning filmmaker Ben Proudfoot captures her history as a trail blazer when it was rare for a woman to run a restaurant.

Duration:00:01:55

"Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues" profiles the jazz great

10/28/2022
"Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues" explores the legendary trumpet player and singer in all his complexity. Filmmaker Sacha Jenkins draws upon Armstrong's private audio diaries and interviews to tell his own story.

Duration:00:02:05

"An Act of Worship" listens to American Muslims

10/21/2022
Filmmaker Nausheen Dadabhoy interviews American Muslims from diverse backgrounds to create a mosaic of voices in "An Act of Worship." The film shows how love can serve as an antidote to discrimination and hate.

Duration:00:01:57

Pursuing major league dreams in "The Last Out"

10/14/2022
"The Last Out" follows several Cuban baseball players trying to emigrate to the United States to follow their major league dreams. We watch them be challenged physically and mentally in a competitive marketplace where raw talent alone isn't enough.

Duration:00:01:50

Facing mortality in "Last Flight Home"

10/7/2022
In "Last Flight Home," director Ondi Timoner chronicles her entrepreneur father Eli, creator of Air Florida, in the final weeks of his life. The film captures their family's experience as the 92-year-old patriarch chooses to exercise California's legal right to end his own life.

Duration:00:01:44

European Jews fleeing to America in "The U.S. and the Holocaust"

9/30/2022
"The U.S. and the Holocaust" looks at the World War II era when many European Jews fleeing the Nazis were turned away by America. Filmmakers Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein tell a story that deeply resonates today as the United States grapples with the arrival of asylum seekers.

Duration:00:01:59

Disney confronts Disney in "The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales"

9/23/2022
In "The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales," filmmaker Abigail Disney examines how the corporation built by her grandfather Roy and great uncle Walt treats its workers today. The film delivers a broader study of how American business trends have widened economic inequality.

Duration:00:01:57

"Moonage Daydream" explores the artistry of David Bowie

9/16/2022
"Moonage Daydream" explores the artistry of David Bowie through his music, paintings, acting and interviews drawn from his private archives. Filmmaker Brett Morgen creates a visual spectacle as bold as his subject.

Duration:00:01:44

"We Met in Virtual Reality" explores socializing by avatar

9/9/2022
"We Met in Virtual Reality" takes a unique approach to documentary by filming on the platform VR Chat and interviewing users through their avatars. Filmmaker Joe Hunting puts the emphasis less on technology and more on the search for human connection.

Duration:00:01:51