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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. 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.

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

Rita Moreno Confronts Her History

6/18/2021
"Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It" profiles the trail-blazing artist whose wide-ranging work includes "West Side Story," "The Electric Company" and "Oz." Filmmaker Mariem Pérez Riera explores the highs and lows of Moreno's professional and personal life.

Duration:00:01:53

Getting Through Covid with "Couples Therapy"

6/11/2021
The Showtime series "Couples Therapy" follows three New York couples as they work through conflicts with the counseling of Dr. Orna Guralnik. It may sound voyeuristic, but as we watch these couples experience breakthroughs in self-awareness, it becomes therapeutic.

Duration:00:01:39

Exploring African-American Cuisine in "High on the Hog"

6/4/2021
The Netflix series "High on the Hog" explores the wide-ranging influence of African-American food traditions. Host Stephen Satterfield talks to chefs and historians throughout West Africa and the United States for an eye-opening and mouth-watering journey.

Duration:00:02:04

A Migrant And An ICE Agent In "Five Years North"

5/28/2021
"Five Years North" profiles two figures on the opposite sides of immigration struggles in New York City: an undocumented Guatemalan teenager and an ICE agent. Filmmakers Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci deepen our understanding of the human effects of America's policies. The documentary opens theatrically this weekend at New York’s Film Forum.

Duration:00:01:37

Understanding Opioids in "The Crime of the Century"

5/14/2021
The new documentary The Crime of the Century studies how Purdue Pharma and other companies fostered an opioid epidemic. Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney interviews author Patrick Radden Keefe ("Empire of Pain") and others to expose the secrets that Big Pharma tried to conceal.

Duration:00:01:53

'The Boy From Medellin' Focuses on J Balvin Under Pressure

5/7/2021
“The Boy From Medellin” follows reggaeton superstar J Balvin as he prepares the biggest concert of his career against the backdrop of political turmoil in Colombia. Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman follows Balvin over a dramatic week as he grapples with how to use his voice in a time of protest.

Duration:00:01:25

Mother and Son Take a Bucket List Journey in 'Duty Free'

4/30/2021
In “Duty Free,” filmmaker Sian-Pierre Regis takes his mom on a bucket list journey after she loses her job at age 75. Well-timed for Mother’s Day, the emotional film explores what happens when an elderly parents have to rely on their adult children.

Duration:00:01:48

Reimagining Criminal Justice in 'Philly DA'

4/23/2021
The eight-part series “Philly D.A.” follows District Attorney Larry Krasner as he carries out a progressive agenda to reduce incarceration in Philadelphia. The series invites comparisons to “The Wire” for its dramatic twists and turns as Krasner tries to live up to his principles against fierce opposition.

Duration:00:01:47

Seeking Justice in 'Down a Dark Stairwell'

4/16/2021
“Down a Dark Stairwell” examines how Black and Asian activists were galvanized in different ways over the 2014 New York police shooting of Akai Gurley. Filmmaker Ursula Liang covers the complex case from multiple viewpoints.

Duration:00:02:01

Profiling Oliver Sacks

4/9/2021
“Oliver Sacks: His Own Life” profiles the neurologist and best-selling author of “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat.” Filmmaker Ric Burns examines the life experiences that influenced Sacks and how he reinvigorated the literary genre of scientific case histories.

Duration:00:01:48

The Rise and Fall of WeWork

4/2/2021
“WeWork: or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn” dissects the company that soared on the charisma of its co-founder Adam Neumann until its bubble burst. Filmmaker Jed Rothstein (“The China Hustle”) interviews WeWork insiders and journalists to tell a story of financial chicanery that fits alongside recent documentaries on the Fyre festival and Theranos.

Duration:00:01:47

'Tina' Captures the Singer’s Power and Vulnerability

3/26/2021
“Tina” draws upon rare archives and new interviews to profile Tina Turner with a fresh perspective on her iconic story. Oscar-winning filmmakers Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin (“Undefeated”) capture the star’s power on stage and vulnerability behind the scenes.

Duration:00:01:42

Exploring the College Admissions Scandal in Operation Varsity Blues'

3/19/2021
“Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal” tells the story of Rick Singer who helped rich parents use bribes to get their kids into elite schools. Filmmaker Chris Smith (“Fyre”) uses actors, including Matthew Modine as Singer, to artfully recreate the FBI wiretaps that led to arrests.

Duration:00:02:00

Remembering 'When We Were Kings' Director Leon Gast

3/12/2021
Filmmaker Leon Gast died this week at age 84 leaving a rich legacy of work including his documentary “When We Were Kings” about Muhammad Ali in Africa. Gast took over 20 years to complete the film. It won an Oscar and he produced a follow up called “Soul Power.”

Duration:00:01:49

'Made You Look' Tells a Twisting Tale of Art Forgery

3/5/2021
“Made You Look: A True Story About Fake Art” tells the story of the New York gallery that sold over 60 forgeries attributed to art superstars such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Motherwell for over $80 million. Filmmaker Barry Avrich profiles the con artists, the duped collectors, and the master forger.

Duration:00:01:55

Why Are Evangelicals Focused on Israel?

2/26/2021
The documentary “’Til Kingdom Come” explores why American Evangelicals are preoccupied with Israel. Filmmaker Maya Zinshtein travels from Jerusalem to Washington to Kentucky to study the confluence between religion and politics that supports the right wing policies of Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Duration:00:01:49

A Kenyan Journalist Turns to Politics in 'Softie'

2/19/2021
“Softie” follows Kenyan journalist Boniface Mwangi and his wife Njeri as their family faces death threats when he runs for Parliament. Filmmaker Sam Soko explores both the political and personal challenges of standing up for your beliefs.

Duration:00:01:55

'Black Art' Explores a Hidden History

2/12/2021
"Black Art: In the Absence of Light," directed by Sam Pollard, profiles a range of artists of different generations—from 90-year-old Faith Ringgold to President Obama’s portrait painter Kehinde Wiley. Visually, the film dazzles with painting, photography, collage, sculpture, conceptual art and more. Official trailer:

Duration:00:02:00

Secretaries Rise Up in '9to5: The Story of a Movement'

2/5/2021
“9to5: The Story of a Movement” tells the history of the women’s labor movement that inspired the Hollywood comedy and Dolly Parton’s song. Oscar-winning filmmakers Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar (“American Factory”) interview women from across the country who describe their battles over sexual harassment, child care, and equal pay. Official trailer:

Duration:00:01:51

'We Are the Brooklyn Saints' Focuses on Youth Football

1/29/2021
The four-part series “We Are the Brooklyn Saints” looks at a grade school football team in East New York. Filmmaker Rudy Valdez profiles Coach Gawuala and other mentors who inspire young players for challenges on and off the field. Official trailer:

Duration:00:01:46