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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

The Magic of the Met

1/12/2018
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Susan Froemke’s documentary “The Opera House” looks back on the history of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, focusing on the 1966 opening of its current home at Lincoln Center. The history encompasses larger than life characters including New York’s master builder Robert Moses, the Met leader Rudolph Bing and visionary director Franco Zeffirelli. The new building opened with soprano Leontyne Price. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web...

Duration: 00:02:07


Prince in His Prime

1/5/2018
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The performance film “Prince: Sign O the Times” came out in 1987, but was out of distribution for over 25 years. Now it’s back, on platforms such as iTunes and Showtime. The visuals are very much an '80’s period piece with an abundance of neon, smoke and shoulder pads. But the main attraction is Prince in his prime, playing alongside singer Sheena Easton, drummer Sheila E, dancer Cat Glover and an extraordinary band. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information about the...

Duration: 00:01:53


The Vietnam War, In 10 Parts

12/29/2017
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One of the most ambitious documentaries of the year is PBS’ 10-part series “The Vietnam War” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The series puts an emphasis on the voices of participants from both the American and Vietnamese sides. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:49


Uncovering a CIA Conspiracy

12/22/2017
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Errol Morris’ six-part documentary “Wormwood” investigates the 1953 death of CIA agent Frank Olson, which has been a six-decade obsession for Olson's son Eric. Morris combines interviews and archival footage with dramatic re-enactments featuring the actor Peter Sarsgaard at Frank Olson. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:42


Recy Taylor Refused to be Silent

12/15/2017
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The film “The Rape of Recy Taylor” documents the case of a black woman who was gang-raped in Alabama in 1944 and defied the Jim Crow south by speaking out, with the support of Rosa Parks and others. Filmmaker Nancy Buirski reconstructs the events with testimonies from Taylor and her siblings, along with historian Danielle McGuire who wrote a book on the case, “At The Dark End of the Street." — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the official...

Duration: 00:01:32


A Quest for Stability in North Philly

12/8/2017
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The documentary “Quest” follows 10 years in the life of the Rainey family in North Philadelphia as they operate a community music studio in a neighborhood challenged by economic instability. Filmmaker Jonathan Olshefski creates a memorable portrait of the married couple Christopher and Christine’a Rainey and their family. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:01:42


Fifty Years of Rolling Stone

12/1/2017
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“Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge” is a 2-part HBO documentary tracing the history of the magazine’s most memorable articles. Filmmakers Alex Gibney and Blair Foster weave new interviews with classic footage from the worlds of rock n roll, politics and more. — Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen For more information, click here to visit the film web site.

Duration: 00:02:02


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

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