August 2, 2020

Screen Time: Week of August 3, 2020

From Ramona S. Diaz's 'A Thousand Cuts.'

Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.

Opening August 7 in virtual cinemas via PBS Distribution, Frontline|PBS and Concordia Studio, Ramona S. Diaz's A Thousand Cuts takes viewers to the Philippines, where the worldwide erosion of democracy, fueled by social media disinformation campaigns, is starkly evident in the authoritarian regime of President Rodrigo Duterte. Journalist Maria Ressa places the tools of the free press—and her freedom—on the line in defense of truth and democracy. A Thousand Cuts is an IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund grantee.

Now streaming on Field of Vision, Martyna Starosta's Elevator Pitch sheds light on the dire accessibility issues on the New York City subway system and reveals a system that, in the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, shuts out many of the city's disabled community.

The July 17th edition of Beyond Resilience, the weekly series produced and presented by Firelight Media, focused on "The Black Gaze," in which such filmmakers as Jason Fitzroy Jeffers, Ja'Tovia Gary, Jon-Sesrie Goff and Loira Limbal discussed how they are navigating the ubiquitous images of Black trauma in this moment, documenting Black life, and forging new cinematic languages, practices and formal approaches. This edition is now available on YouTube.

Premiering August 3 on Netflix, Immigration Nation, a documentary series from Shaul Schwarz and Christina Clusiau, offers an unprecedented look at the processes, pitfalls and pain of immigration in America. Shot over the course of three years, Schwarz and Clusiau capture the daily workings of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, activists, lawmakers, attorneys and a wide swath of undocumented immigrants, from desperate recent arrivals to longtime residents to deported US military combat veterans.

Premiering August 6 on HBO Max, On the Trail: Inside the 2020 Primaries, from filmmakers Katie Hinman and Toby Oppenheimer, follows a team of female journalists, both veterans and first-timers, as they report on the presidential election that will define a generation. Beginning just days prior to the Iowa caucuses, viewers see the journalists pack up and leave their families to fan out across the country, to report on the president and his would-be rivals, as the candidates launch (and end) campaigns, and contend for voters.  

Premiering virtually on August 7, River City Drumbeat, from directors Marlon Johnson​ and Anne Flatté, ​is a powerful story of music, love and legacies set in the American South. Edward "Nardie" White devoted his life to leading the African-American drum corps he co-founded with Zambia Nkrumah in Louisville, Kentucky three decades ago. Together they inspired youth from their West Louisville neighborhood to thrive by connecting them with the art and cultural traditions of their African ancestors. Now Albert Shumake, whose destiny was shaped by the drumline, must take up the mantle for the next generation. Meanwhile, student drummers Imani, Jailen, and Emily navigate adolescence and life changes.