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Docs to Watch

Celebrate culture, unpack history and find timely perspectives with these essential, IDA-recommended docs from past to present. 

Doc To Watch

Tue, 05/31/2022 - 00:00
It has been a devastating month for us reeling from gun violence in the US. The most recent wave of horrifying shootings targeting Black Americans and young children has many asking, “When will this end?” Yet, the topic of gun control in the US still remains taboo for many. As with many issues, we look to documentaries to give us a deeper understanding of how we got here and what's next.This blog explores eight documentaries that discuss the topic of guns and America, taking a specific look at the activists on the frontlines fighting back against gun violence and pushing for comprehensive gun
Fri, 04/29/2022 - 00:00
In many ways, 2022 has been the Year of the Worker. Unionized workers in the US at Amazon and Starbucks recently celebrated massive victories, reenergizing the call for more equitable workplaces. This is also true in the film industry as worker-led movements and unions continue to challenge the exploitative practices of production companies, theaters and nonprofit arts institutions. We explored labor movements, within the nonfiction sphere, in the Spring 2022 issue of Documentary magazine. As we approach May Day, or International Workers' Day, it’s an important time to listen to and uplift the
Fri, 04/08/2022 - 17:32
On US National Pet Day (April 11), we celebrate the special members of our family who are there for us unconditionally. From the day-to-day companionship, warmth, and laughter of family pets, to the life-saving roles of service animals, our lives are much better off with them around. Here are seven documentaries to watch for National Pet Day this year.Stray (Elizabeth Lo, 2021)Turkey has a no-kill, no-capture policy toward all stray animals. Elizabeth Lo’s Stray follows a trio of canine outcasts roam the streets of Istanbul and shows us an intimate portrait of the life of a city and its people
Thu, 03/17/2022 - 00:00
It's that time of year again when brackets are set and bets are made. March Madness is the peak of the college basketball season here in the US and is one the highest profile college sports leagues in the country. To celebrate this season, here are eight documentaries streaming online that celebrate all things basketball, in the US and beyond!Benji (Coodie and Chilke, 2012)There are so many ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries on basketball and choosing only a few is difficult, but this documentary stands out as a must-watch. Benji tells the story of 17-year-old Ben Wilson, who showed promise in the
Wed, 03/09/2022 - 00:00
It is an exciting year at SXSW, and not just because they return in person. There are so many IDA-supported documentaries at this year's festival, ranging from transformative stories of mothers supporting their LGBTQ children to a family's journey fleeing violence in the Congo. From IDA grantees to DocuClub participants, this Docs to Watch contains nine IDA-supported films that are sure to be highlights of this year's festival.A Woman on the Outside (Zara Katz and Lisa Riordan Seville)Part observational documentary, part family album, A Woman on the Outside centers on Kristal, a woman who
Fri, 02/25/2022 - 00:00
Editor’s note: Black history in the US is marked by unimaginable pain and violence, but also by resilience, triumph, beauty, and a rich cultural history. The Black community’s struggle for equity continues today. As we honor and uplift Black voices, stories, and art for Black History Month this year, we’re excited to share a list of Docs to Watch in collaboration with the Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers West (BADWest). Joyce Guy, Officer and Treasurer of BAD West, shared a list of their members' picks for the top five Black docs of 2021—along with a few honorable mentions. The list
Sun, 02/06/2022 - 23:00
IDA's four-decade history has seen the beginning and end of many programs, but few have withstood the test of time like our Fiscal Sponsorship program. IDA began offering fiscal sponsorships to support independent documentary filmmakers in 1986, and since then we have supported hundreds of films from all over the world. These IDA-supported documentaries have won prestigious awards, from Sundance Film Festival to Peabody Awards; been nominated for Academy Awards; and, most importantly, changed countless lives. To celebrate IDA's 40th anniversary and our second longest-running program, here is a
Thu, 12/16/2021 - 00:00
In the crowded documentary field, short documentaries don’t always get the love they deserve. Our friends at Argo understand this well and have built a whole platform that celebrates and streams short films. We are excited to partner with Argo to highlight their latest playlist A Sense of Place, which includes four documentary shorts that were nominated for IDA Documentary Awards in previous years. IDA Members with a Doc Maker membership or higher get three months of complimentary exclusive access to Argo. To learn how to access your Argo benefit, visit here. Not an IDA Member? You can visit
Mon, 10/11/2021 - 00:00
The act of “coming out” as a member of the LGBTQ community is often the defining moment of films about queer and trans people. Yet many of these films still struggle to capture the nuances of this experience. Audiences can look no further than to documentaries for a raw and necessary look at what coming out really looks like for LGBTQ people. This National Coming Out Day edition of Docs to Watch presents 7 documentaries that explore “coming out” not just as a singular action, but an ever-evolving process that looks different to different people. Today and every day, let’s uplift films that
Mon, 10/04/2021 - 18:13
Between September and October 15, we celebrate the culture and contributions of the vast and diverse Hispanic communities that call the US their home, while honoring their stories. These stories of courage and grit in the face of struggle—and often disenfranchisement—give us a glimpse into what it means to be Hispanic and American. To celebrate this year, we’ve put together a list of Latinx documentaries that you can stream online. After MariaDirected by Afro-Latinx filmmaker Nadia Hallgren (director of Becoming, the Emmy-nominated doc about former First Lady Michelle Obama), After Maria tells