Documentary of the Week-logo

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.

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

Robbie Robertson Remembers

2/21/2020
In the documentary “Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band,” filmmaker Daniel Roher explores the history of the legendary roots rock group from their formation and work with Bob Dylan to their final performance in “The Last Waltz.” Robertson, The Band’s founder, reflects on the chemistry of the five members that caused their rise and fall. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:01:53

On the Streets with Bill Cunningham

2/14/2020
“The Times of Bill Cunningham” profiles the legendary New York Times photographer who covered street fashion. Filmmaker Mark Bozek draws upon a rare interview with Cunningham spanning his whole career, illustrated with a dazzling array of fashion photography across several decades. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:06

McDonald’s Meets the Mafia

2/7/2020
“McMillon$” is a 6-part documentary series that explores the FBI’s investigation into the McDonald’s Monopoly scam leading all the way to the New York Mafia. Filmmakers James Lee Hernandez and Brian Lazarte blend comedy and drama like a real-life version of "The Sopranos," with twists and revelations all the way until the end. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:50

When Votes Don't Count

1/31/2020
The documentary "Suppressed: The Fight to Vote" looks at how GOP lawmakers made it harder for Democrats to vote in Brian Kemp's narrow victory over Democrat Stacy Abrams to become Georgia's governor. Filmmaker Robert Greenwald examines multiple tactics of purging registered voters from the rolls, holding back absentee ballots and reducing voter machines in Democratic districts that are a cautionary tale across the country for the 2020 election. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For...

Duration:00:01:52

Dancing from Vietnam to America

1/24/2020
The short documentary "Walk, Run, Cha-Cha" looks at a Vietnamese couple, separated by the war, who reunite in America and recover their lost youth in dancing. Filmmaker Laura Nix uses the beauty of dance to explore the experiences of immigration and reinvention. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers Click here to watch the film.

Duration:00:01:57

The Oligarch in Exile

1/17/2020
Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney traces the rise and fall of Russian oligarch-turned-dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The film plays like a thriller with dramatic twists and unsolved murders, delivering a compelling look into a complex country that sits at the center of world politics. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:01

The Giraffe Lady

1/10/2020
The documentary “The Woman Who Loves Giraffes” profiles Anne Innis Dagg, who was a pioneer at studying animals in the wild in the 1950s, preceding Jane Goodall in Africa. Filmmaker Alison Reid draws upon archival footage from Dagg’s giraffe research and examines how she was held back as a woman in her career development by the patriarchal university system in her home country of Canada. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web...

Duration:00:01:48

Israel’s Advocate for Palestinians

1/3/2020
The documentary “Advocate” profiles Israeli lawyer Lea Tsemel, who defends Palestinians that many regard as terrorists. Filmmakers Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche trace her history over several decades and follow her as she continues to defend Palestinians today, including the case of a 13-year-old boy accused of attempted murder of a Jew. The film is on the short list of 15 competing for the five slots as Oscar nominees for best documentary —to be announced later this month. —...

Duration:00:01:52

It’s So Easy to Fall in Love with Linda Ronstad

12/27/2019
“Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice” profiles the singer who made a success of multiple genres from rock and country to American standards and Mexican folk songs. Filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman deliver generous helpings of live performances from over the years and interview Ronstadt’s close associates including Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris and Don Henley. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:01

The Soul of Big Bird

12/20/2019
The documentary “I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story" profiles the Sesame Street puppeteer who died on December 8 after embodying the Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Ground for nearly 50 years. Filmmakers Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker trace how Spinney turned his childhood dreams of puppeteering into an adult reality. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:07

The Ecstasy Of Dance

12/13/2019
The new documentary "Cunningham" makes beautiful use of 3D photography to convey the artistry of the choreographer Merce Cunningham. He belonged to a postwar wave of avant garde, and the film reminds us that their work was deeply divisive before it became canonized. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:02

A Mother Under Siege in Syria

12/6/2019
Syrian filmmaker Waad al-Kateab chronicles four years of living in Aleppo during wartime in the documentary diary “For Sama” (titled after her daughter). The film, directed in collaboration with Edward Watts, contains unexpected moments of sweetness, humor, and comradery. It won the Cannes Golden Eye Award for documentary among many other festival prizes. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:03

Harlem’s Mecca of Music

11/29/2019
The documentary “The Apollo” examines the history of Harlem’s famous theater and its efforts to stay vital in the 21st Century. Director Roger Ross Williams covers both the celebrity performers on its stage and the lesser known managers, fans, ushers and amateur night performers who are the soul of the institution. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:49

The Dark Side of Hot Yoga

11/22/2019
"Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator” traces the rise and fall of the multi-millionaire hot yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury. Oscar-winning filmmaker Eva Orner documents the stories of former students who accused him of rape and how they’ve been disappointed by the criminal justice system. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:02:03

One Woman's Take On TV News

11/15/2019
“Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project” tells the story of a Philadelphia woman who recorded television non-stop accumulating 70,000 VHS tapes. Director Matt Wolf explores Stokes’ complex life. She had communist sympathies, but came into immense wealth that supported her quixotic archival mission. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration:00:02:09

When Schemers Become Dreamers

11/8/2019
"Narrowsburg" is a whimsical tale about a small town in the Catskills where an independent film stirred up Hollywood dreams and disappointments. The film plays like "The Music Man" with a dark side. It's one of more than 100 documentaries premiering at the DOC NYC festival running in Greenwich Village and Chelsea until November 15th. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the festival web site.

Duration:00:01:55

Errol Morris vs Steve Bannon

11/1/2019
In the documentary "American Dharma," the Oscar-winning filmmaker Errol Morris interviews political operative Steve Bannon about his journey from Harvard to Hollywood to Trump's White House. Morris weaves in clips from classic films with Gregory Peck, John Wayne and Orson Welles that speak to different aspects of Bannon's career. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the Errol Morris web site.

Duration:00:02:04

Talking Sex with Dr. Ruth

10/25/2019
The documentary "Ask Dr. Ruth" profiles the sex therapist now in her 90s, from her life as German Jewish refugee to becoming a talk show celebrity. Filmmaker Ryan White examines how she turned many tragic events into motivators for demystifying taboo topics. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration:00:01:55

Living Underground in Syria

10/18/2019
The documentary “The Cave,” from the Oscar-nominated Syrian director Feras Fayyad (“Last Men in Aleppo”), looks at an underground hospital outside Damascus. At the center is the young female pediatrician Dr. Amani, who has to fend off male chauvinism even while she’s saving lives. — Raphaela Neihausen and Thom Powers For more information, click here to visit the film's web site.

Duration:00:01:48

The Gift of Johnny Cash

10/11/2019
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