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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

The Gift of Johnny Cash

10/11/2019
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The documentary "The Gift: The Journey of Johnny Cash" traces the musician's career in his own words and through interviewers with his admirers from Emmylou Harris to Bruce Springsteen. Director Thom Zimny explores the artistry of Cash and also his struggles with adversity. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here.

Duration:00:02:07

Diego Maradona, Larger Than Life

10/4/2019
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Oscar-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia ("Amy) tells the larger-than-life story of World Cup football star "Diego Maradona." The film focuses on his tumultuous years in the 1980s, when his loyalty was divided between his home country of Argentina and his adopted country of Italy, culminating in an epic match at the 1990 World Cup. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:59

Who Has Your Data?

9/27/2019
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The documentary "The Great Hack" investigates how our personal data is collected, monetized and weaponized to sway elections. Filmmakers Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim frame the story around the case of Cambridge Analytica, interviewing the company's insiders, whistleblowers and critics. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:02

Close-up on Buzz Bissinger

9/20/2019
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The documentary "Buzz" profiles the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Buzz Bissinger ("Friday Night Lights") as he explores his own gender and sexuality while writing about Caitlyn Jenner. Filmmaker Andrew Shea creates an intimate portrait of Bissinger experimenting with cross-dressing and fetishes as he seeks to find his own authentic self. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:48

Hollywood's Gender Problem

9/13/2019
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"This Changes Everything" profiles Geena Davis and other Hollywood women trying to fix gender discrimination on screen and behind the scenes. Filmmaker Tom Donahue and a majority female film crew including Davis as Executive Producer interview an all-star roster of talent from Shonda Rhimes to Meryl Streep. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:58

Celebrating Gospel Music

9/6/2019
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"Say Amen, Somebody" captures the early pioneers of gospel music, Willie Mae Smith and Thomas Dorsey, in a celebratory documentary that will move even non-believers. Director George Nierenberg made the film in the early 1980s and it's now been lovingly restored for re-release. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:59

How Miles Davis Birthed the Cool

8/30/2019
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The documentary "Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool" profiles the trumpet player who left an indelible mark on 20th century music. Director Stanley Nelson celebrates Davis' soaring artistic achievement, but doesn't shy away from the more troubling sides of his personality in this complex portrait. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:05

When China Opens a Factory in Ohio

8/23/2019
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The documentary "American Factory" covers the Chinese company Fuyao Glass that retools an abandoned GM Factory in Dayton, Ohio, raising hopes for local workers. Oscar-nominated filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert get deep access to both management in China and American workers on the factory floor. The film is the first acquisition by Barack and Michelle Obama's film company in partnership with Netflix. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to...

Duration:00:02:00

China's One Child Policy

8/16/2019
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In "One Child Nation," filmmakers Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang investigate the history of China's policy of restricting families to one child and its untold consequences. They interview people whose lives were affected by forced abortions, sterilizations, human trafficking and families separated by international adoption. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web sit.

Duration:00:01:52

Remembering D.A. Pennebaker

8/9/2019
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D.A. Pennebaker died this month at the age of 94. He was a pioneer of the modern documentary with films like "Crisis," "Dont Look Back" and "Monterey Pop." The last four decades of his career were spent in collaboration with his wife Chris Hegedus on films such as "Town Bloody Hall," "The War Room" and "Unlocking the Cage." — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers Click here to listen to the full interview with Pennebaker on the Pure Non-Fiction podcast.

Duration:00:01:53

Photographer Jay Maisel Has to Move

8/2/2019
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The documentary "Jay Myself" profiles acclaimed photographer Jay Maisel, who bought a six-story building in Manhattan, filled it with found objects for five decades and now has to move. Filmmaker Stephen Wilkes documents the wondrous 72-room former bank building that Maisel assembled like an art installation curated by a hoarder. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:03

What Made Mike Wallace Tick

7/26/2019
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"Mike Wallace is Here" profiles the "60 Minutes" star in an uniquely constructed film that relies on archives drawn from thousands of hours of his television interviews. Filmmaker Avi Belkin simultaneously explores how news coverage evolved and shaped the world during Wallace's career. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:11

What Happened to Brazil?

7/19/2019
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"The Edge of Democracy" explores recent political upheavals in Brazil that resulted in the popular former President Lula going to prison, his successor being impeached and the rise of a new President who's been compared to Donald Trump. Filmmaker Petra Costa tells the story from a personal perspective of growing up with leftist parents who were persecuted under the country's previous military dictatorship. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the...

Duration:00:01:44

Environmental Thriller

7/12/2019
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The documentary "Sea of Shadows" follows activists trying to save the rare totoaba fish from extinction, going up against poachers, smugglers and the mafia from Mexico to China. Filmmaker Richard Ladkani covers action by land and sea with the pacing a thriller. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:27

Leonard Cohen in Love

7/5/2019
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In "Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love," filmmaker Nick Broomfield profiles Marianne Ihlen, who was Leonard Cohen's lover and the subject of his songs "So Long, Marianne" and "Bird on a Wire." The film captures an era of artistic expression, drugs and free love. Broomfield also had a relationship with Marianne, who inspired him to make his first film fifty years ago. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:58

A Women's Sailing Crew Races Around the World

6/28/2019
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"Maiden" is a documentary adventure story chronicling the first all-women sailing team to compete in an around-the-world race, defying sexist naysayers. Filmmaker Alex Holmes interviews the key players, including Skipper Tracy Edwards, and weaves their accounts with extraordinary footage shot on board the Maiden amidst ocean storms and accidents. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:40

Toni Morrison Looks Back

6/21/2019
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The documentary “Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am” profiles the Nobel Prize winning author of “Song of Solomon,” “Beloved” and other novels. Filmmaker and photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders frames Morrison speaking directly to the camera and gives her work context in interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, Walter Mosley and others. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:46

Up Close with Chelsea Manning

6/14/2019
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The documentary “XY Chelsea” profiles Chelsea Manning, alternately seen as a whistleblower or traitor, who spent seven years in prison — the longest any American ever has for leaking government secrets. Filmmaker Tim Travers Hawkins follows the transgender activist, who went to prison as Bradley and emerged as Chelsea. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:00

Rescuing Modern Slaves

6/7/2019
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The documentary “Ghost Fleet” follows a modern anti-slavery crusader, Patima Tungpuchayakul, as she goes on a mission to remote islands to rescue escapees from illegal fishing boats. Filmmakers Shannon Service and Jeffrey Waldron expose a hidden system in the Thai fishing industry that’s estimated to keep tens of thousands in slave labor at sea. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:48

Beto’s Run for Senate

5/31/2019
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The documentary “Running with Beto” follows Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke over a year as he becomes a national political figure with an unexpectedly strong challenge against incumbent Senator Ted Cruz. Filmmaker David Modigliani captures how Beto energizes a new base of voters by taking strong left-wing positions on issues like immigration, gun control and police violence. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:04