June 1, 2020

Screen Time: Week of June 1

From Damon davis and Sabaah Jordan's 'Whose Streets?' Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Since the Memorial Day murder of George Floyd, Americans have risen up in protest against age-old scourges of police brutality and systemic racism—and cities around the world have taken notice and have staged their own protests in solidarity. We have witnessed arrests of journalists, we have witnessed attacks on protestors by the state—and we have witnessed communities coming together to call for justice and systemic change, all while our national leadership tries to divide us.

This week's Screen Time brings you documentations of other civil rights movements in the US, from Ferguson to Los Angeles to Virginia to Selma, as well as profiles of the courageous men and women whose words and acts inspired generations to confront the power structure.

Whose Streets?, a Pare Lorentz Documentary Fund grantee from Damon Davis and Sabaah Jordan, presents the story of Ferguson, Missouri, where unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown was killed by police, setting off a movement of artists, musicians, teachers and parents for freedom and justice. As the National Guard descends on Ferguson with military-grade weaponry, these young community members become the torchbearers of a new wave of resistance. For this generation, the battle is not for civil rights, but for the right to live. Now streaming on Hulu and most VOD platforms. 

LA 92 tells the story, entirely through archival footage of the tumultuous period following the verdict in the Rodney King trial in 1992. The acquittal of four police officers for beating a black motorist saw several days of protests, violence and looting in Los Angeles. The film won the 2017 ABCNews VideoSource Award at IDA Documentary Awards for Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin. LA 92 streams free on National Geographic.

Eyes on the Prize, the epic series on the Civil Rights Movement, covers three decades of tumultuous struggle and change, as related through the stories of those who fought, marched and made history. Produced by the late Henry Hampton's company, Blackside, and directed by a host of luminaries including Orlando Bagwell, Louis Massiah and Sam Pollard, Eyes on the Prize, which earned an IDA Documentary Award, streams on Kanopy.

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners, directed by Shola Lynch, tracks activist Angela Davis' rise to prominence, from college professor to leader in the Black Power Movement, and how that prominence implicated her in a botched kidnapping attempt, landing her on the FBI's 10 most wanted list. Her subsequent trial and acquittal affirmed her renown as a revolutionary icon. Free Angela and All Political Prisoners is available for free with ads on Tubi and Vudu, as well as on demand via Google Play, Amazon Video, YouTube Movies.

The Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution, from 2016 IDA Career Achievement Award honoree Stanley Nelson, chronicles the revolutionary culture that emerged in the turbulent ‘60s that gave rise to the Black Panther Party. Mixing archival footage with the diverse group of voices of the people who were there: police, FBI informants, journalists, white supporters and detractors, and Black Panthers who remained loyal to the party and those who left it, the film underscores the Party’s significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for the African American community—and the painful lessons learned when a movement unravels. The Black Panthers: Vanguards of the Revolution is available on Amazon Prime, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu.

Raoul Peck's I Am Not Your Negro, which earned an IDA Documentary Award for Best Writing, takes the words and wisdom of the late writer James Baldwin--through his unfinished book Remember This House and through archival footage—to tell the story of Black history from the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter. By confronting the deeper connection between the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, the film challenges the very definition of what America stands for. I Am Not Your Negro is available on Amazon Prime and other VOD platforms.

Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property, from Charles Burnett, examines how the story of Nat Turner and the slave rebellion he led in Virginia in 1831 has served as a touchstone for deeper inquiries into racial tension, resistance and revolution. Burnett weaves together dramatizations of different versions of Turner’s story with commentary and insights from historians, writers, artists and descendants of those involved in the revolt to accentuate the complicated legacy of Nat Turner in America today. Nat Turner: A Troublesome Property is available on Kanopy.