February 19, 2020

Screen Time: Week of February 17

From Amy Schatz's 'We Are the Dream.' Courtesy of HBO

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


We Are the Dream, from director Amy Schatz, focuses on the Oakland Unified School District’s MLK Oratorical Festival, an annual public speaking competition in which hundreds of children from pre-K through 12th grade perform poetry and speeches, both published and original, inspired by the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The film, premiering February 18 on HBO, then streaming on HBO GO and HBO Now, covers the months leading up to the 40th annual festival, as schools across the city send their top-placing students to compete. It is a portrait of young people raising their voices about issues they care about and of the unique community that celebrates and supports them.

Now available on Amazon Prime, Raoul Peck's award-winning 2016 documentary I Am Not Your Negro envisions the book James Baldwin never finished: a personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends—Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. The result is a radical, up-to-the-minute examination of race in America, using Baldwin’s original words and flood of rich archival material, connecting the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter.

D. Wade: Life Unexpected, from director/cinematographer Bob Metelus, chronicles three-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade's experience on and off the court as he enters into his final year in the league, and reflects on personal and professional victories and set-backs throughout his legendary career. The film premieres February 23 on ESPN.

Airing on EPIX, Slow Burn, a series adaptation of Leon Neyfakh's award-winning podcast, excavates the subplots and forgotten characters of recent political history--and finds surprising parallels to the present. This season the Watergate story unfolds as the contemporary political landscape plays along.

Now streaming on Criterion Channel, Kirsten Johnson's Cameraperson weaves a tapestry of the filmmaker's 25-year career as a documentary cinematographer. Through a series of episodic juxtapositions, Johnson explores the relationships between image-makers and their subjects, the tension between the objectivity and intervention of the camera, and the complex interaction of unfiltered reality with crafted narrative.

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