These documentaries provide different lenses through which to better understand recent instances of race-based police brutality (from Ferguson, Missouri to New York City) as well as the historical precedents (e.g., LA officers’ beating of Rodney King in 1992, the 1965 Watts Rebellion, etc.) that reveal how deeply entrenched or systemic institutionalized forms of racism are in this country. Some of these films, like LA 92 and Whose Streets?, provide alternatives to mainstream news reports by showing African Americans’ struggles from the street-level perspective of individuals directly involved in protests. All of these films inspire and educate in equal measure.
– D. Scott Diffrient, ACT’s founder and artistic director.
Films to watch:
- LA 92 (Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin, 2017) – 114 mins. [Nat Geo (free), Netflix]
- Stay Woke: The Black Lives Matter Movement (Laurens Grant, 2016) – 40 mins. [Films for Action (free), Amazon Prime]
- 13th (Ava DuVernay, 2016) – 100 mins. [Netflix]
- Crime + Punishment (Stephen Maing, 2018) – 112 mins. [Hulu] – official selection of ACT’s 2018 festival.
- I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck, 2016) – 93 mins. [Kanopy, multiple streaming platforms] – official selection of ACT’s 2017 festival.
- Whose Streets? (Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis, 2017) – 103 mins. [Kanopy, multiple streaming platforms]
- P.S. I Can’t Breathe (Rochelle White, 2015) – 20 mins. [Kanopy]
- We All We Got (Carlos Javier Ortiz, 2014) – 9 mins. [Kanopy]
- Show Me Democracy (Dan Parris, 2017) – 90 mins. [Kanopy, Amazon Prime]
Additionally, here are three films that honor and celebrate Black artists.
- Betye Saar: Taking Care of Business – (Christine Turner, 2020) – 9 mins. [Vimeo or Op-Docs]
- Maya Angelou | And Still I Shall Rise – (Bob Hercules, Rita Coburn Whack, 2017) – 114 mins.
[Kanopy, multiple streaming platforms]
- Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am – (Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 2019) – 120 mins. [Available to stream on multiple platforms.]
To learn more: CSU’s Vice President of Diversity’s team compiles thoughtful resources and articles on learning more about anti-racism and other biases. You can access these here.