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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.
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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

Baltimore Lives Matter

11/24/2017
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Actress Sonja Sohn is best known for role in the "The Wire” as the police officer Kima. Now she gets behind the camera for the HBO documentary "Baltimore Rising” following activists and police officers after the death of Freddie Gray. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:55


Jerry Garcia’s Frankenstein Creation

11/17/2017
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Filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev explores the history of the Grateful Dead from the psychedelic sixties to the death of band leader Jerry Garcia in 1995. The six-part film on Amazon goes beyond the scope of the average rock documentary to capture the legacy of the band in a way that’s meaningful to both devoted deadheads and outsiders. For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:50


Sammy's Song

11/10/2017
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Sammy Davis Jr. had multiple talents as a singer, dancer and actor. He broke down color barriers from Broadway to Las Vegas, even doing impressions of white actors in the 1940s. Long seen as Frank Sinatra's sidekick in the Rat Pack, the documentary "Sammy Davis Jr.: I Gotta Be Me" puts him back in the spotlight as a trailblazer. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:44


Joan Didion Looks Back

11/3/2017
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Joan Didion, now in her 80s, had long resisted being profiled in a documentary. But she couldn’t say no when the director was her nephew, the actor Griffin Dunne. They have a warm rapport as she tells the stories behind her novels, essays and screenplays in the documentary “Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold.” — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:48


Leaving the Fold

10/27/2017
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The Netflix documentary “One of Us” follows three members of New York’s Hasidic Jewish community who want to explore a more secular way of life. Oscar-nominated filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) stay with their subjects for over a year with great sensitivity. The film explores the universal theme of what it means to separate yourself from everything familiar. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:37


Life and Work Among The Chimps

10/20/2017
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The documentary “Jane” plays like a romantic epic traversing Jane Goodall’s early days studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. Filmmaker Brett Morgen draws upon a rediscovered archive of gorgeous 16 mm footage from the 1960s, combined with a new candid interview and an original score by Philip Glass. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration: 00:01:40


Health Care for Undocumented Workers

10/13/2017
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The HBO short documentary "Clinica de Migrantes” profiles a Philadelphia clinic, Puentes de Salud, that delivers free health care to undocumented workers. Filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin covers both the clinic's doctors and patients, reminding us of their humanity and ours. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:54


Transforming Lives Through Art

10/6/2017
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In “Faces Places,” the eminent French filmmaker Agnès Varda teams with the street artist JR (known for his recent mural on the Mexican border). They take a wondrous journey of making art and transforming lives in villages across France. This late career gem from the 89-year-old Varda has already won festival prizes in Cannes and Toronto. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:37


Race, Death and Justice on Long Island

9/29/2017
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In April 1992, a 24-year-old unarmed black man named William Ford was shot by a white teenager during an argument in a Long Island auto body shop. But a grand jury called it self-defense, and declined to file charges. The victim’s sibling, Yance Ford, explores the case and its impact on his family in the film "Strong Island." — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:58


Battling a Mysterious Illness

9/22/2017
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In " Unrest," filmmaker Jennifer Brea chronicles the mysterious illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, better known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, including her own moving struggle. Victims not only suffer multiple disabilities, but also from medical confusion over the illness and media skepticism. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration: 00:01:53


Frederick Wiseman at the Library

9/15/2017
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After 50 years of making films about institutions, Frederick Wiseman’s latest is “Ex Libris - The New York Public Library.” The documentary covers multiple angles - from serving patrons to soliciting funds - to make an eloquent case for the library’s value to the city. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:55


Back to School in Ireland

9/8/2017
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Nicely timed for September, the documentary "School Life” is set at Headfort boarding school in County Kells, Ireland. Filmmakers Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane aren’t entering any debate over education. Instead, the film plays as a light comedy as they sweetly observe the staff and students growing together over a year. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:47


A Contest to Win a Baby

9/1/2017
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Nearly one in six American couples are unable to naturally conceive a baby and carry it to term. The documentary “Vegas Baby” follows the contestants in a controversial contest to win in-vitro fertilization treatment. Filmmaker Amanda Micheli shines a light on infertility issues by creating memorable portraits of these people and their struggles. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration: 00:02:07


The Alpha Males of the Environmental Movement

8/25/2017
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The documentary "Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman" profiles the kind of American you don't usually associate with the environmental movement -- a Montana rancher, a Gulf Coast fisherman. Filmmakers Susan Froemke and John Hoffman explain the stories of these mavericks in their own words and through gorgeous cinematography. They speak from a hard-won wisdom. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:48


Exposing Russia’s Olympic Doping

8/18/2017
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In the documentary “Icarus," filmmaker Bryan Fogel, an amateur cyclist, engages Russian doping mastermind Grigory Rodchenkov for an experiment that has a dramatic twist. We follow in real time, through a web of intrigue and exile, as Rodchenkov exposes a long history of Olympic doping. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:47


Warhol’s Brillo Box

8/11/2017
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In the documentary “Brillo Box (3¢ off),” filmmaker Lisanne Skyler traces the journey of Andy Warhol’s famous pop-art creation that her parents bought and sold. Through the ups and downs of Warhol's place in the art market, the film blends cultural history with family history to explore how we assign value and why. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration: 00:01:58


Spotlighting Native Americans in Music

7/28/2017
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The documentary "Rumble: Indians Who Rocked the World" explores a hidden history of Native American musicians who made an impact on rock, jazz, blues and more. Filmmaker Catherine Bainbridge profiles artists such as Link Wray, Charlie Patton, Mildred Bailey and Black Eyed Peas rapper Taboo. No matter what your musical taste, there’s something to be gained from this invigorating history. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:02:08


The Frontal Assault on Backpage.com

7/21/2017
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The documentary “I Am Jane Doe” profiles victims of underage sex trafficking and their all-out legal battle the popular advertising website Backpage.com. Filmmaker Mary Mazzio examines how Backpage.com has used the First Amendment to battle the lawsuits and why its critics claim that’s a problematic defense. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration: 00:01:49


Documenting the Death of Coral

7/14/2017
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Environmentalists report the world lost half its coral reefs in the last 30 years — and the pace is increasing. It’s one thing for someone to say that. It’s another to see it. In the film "Chasing Coral,” filmmaker Jeff Orlowski follows a team of researchers who use time-lapse cameras to examine the effects of climate change and pollution. We get as close as we can get without putting on a wet suit. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the...

Duration: 00:02:05


Journalism as a Weapon of War

7/7/2017
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The documentary “City of Ghosts” profiles the Syrian activists from the group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently as they report on the takeover of their hometown by the Islamic State. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows the key organizers as their group experiences exile and assassination, but succeeds in overcoming the wall of silence. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official film web site.

Duration: 00:02:06

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