December 16, 2019

Screen Time: Week of December 16

Frem Bill Morrison's 'Dawson City: Frozen Time.' Courtesy of Kino Lorber

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

Coming December 19 on Ovid.TV is Bill Morrison's IDA Documentary Award winner, Dawson City: Frozen Time. The film takes the 1978 discovery of a long-lost collection of nitrate film prints buried under a swimming pool in the Yukon Territory as a pretext for a deeper exploration of time, history and preservation.

Also coming on December 19, The Criterion Channel presents Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One, William Greaves' meta meditation on making movies. This 1968 gem features Greaves directing a film in New York's Central Park, then stepping aside to let the cast and crew figure out what kind of film they're making. Cerebral frivolity ensues, as a documentary crew films a crew filming the cast and crew, and locals wander in and out of the frame. 

The Ornament of the World tells the story of an 800-year period in history when Muslims, Jews and Christians in medieval Spain forged a common cultural identity that frequently transcended their religious differences. The film, premiering December 17 on PBS, was directed by Michael Schwarz, who tragically died on December 1 following a fall at home. Schwarz’s work earned some of the most prestigious awards in broadcasting—three national Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Journalism Award for Investigative Journalism, the Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, Red and Blue Ribbons from the American Film Festival, four awards for Excellence in Local Broadcasting from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Grand Prize in the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards for Coverage of the Disadvantaged, and numerous Ciné Golden Eagles and local Emmys.

Inspired by the work of J.K. Rowling’s Lumos Foundation, whose mission is to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050, Finding the Way Home, premiering December 18 on HBO,  highlights the painful realities of the eight million children living in orphanages and other institutions around the world. The film focuses on the stories of eight children who have been reunited with family members or placed in loving foster homes after experiencing the trauma of institutionalization. Directed by Emmy® winning and Oscar® nominated Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill.

Now streaming on Topic, I Am Big Bird tells the story of Caroll Spinney, who died last week after a distinguished career as the voice, spirit and inspiration behind the beloved Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Directed by Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker. 

DAFilms presents the Best of DAFilms 2019, a selection of the most-watched films of the year, including works by renowned filmmakers like Peter Forgacz, Želimir Žilnik, Peter Mettler and the late Gustav Deutsch and Michael Glawogger. DAFilms is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of seven key European documentary film festivals