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Screen Time: Week of March 30

By Tom White

From David France's 2012 film 'How to Survive a Plague.'

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

Streaming on Amazon, iTunes and Sundance Now is David France's Oscar-nominated How To Survive a Plague, which documents through archival footage the evolution of a movement during the worst days of the AIDS epidemic, when a group of men and women, faced with indifference and hostility, teamed up with the science community to fight for effective treatments that helped to tame the disease. In an interview in Variety, France noted the parallels and differences between the AIDS and COVID-19 pandemics: "One key difference is that there isn't the same kind of stigma associate with having COVID-19...This thing is a tidal wave. This time, the reason is incompetence and incompetence alone....In New York, ordinary people are searching the globe for needed supplies. Many of them are people who were featured in How to Survive a Plague."

Streaming on POV is Survivors, from Sierra Leonean filmmaker Arthur Pratt and American filmmaker Banker White. The film presents an intimate portrait of Sierra Leone during the Ebola outbreak, exposing the complexity of the epidemic and the turmoil that lies in its wake. 

Premiering March 31 on American Experience, The Polio Crusade, from Sarah Colt, interweaves the personal accounts of polio survivors with the story of an ardent crusader who tirelessly fought on their behalf while scientists raced to eradicate this dreaded disease. Based in part on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Polio: An American Story by David Oshinsky, The Polio Crusade features interviews with historians, scientists, polio survivors, and the only surviving scientist from the core research team that developed the Salk vaccine, Julius Youngner.

Streaming on Independent Lens, One Child Nation, from Nanfu Wang and Jailing Zhang, explores the ripple effects of China’s one-child policy, the extreme population control measure that restricted couples to one child. The film uncovers a pattern of human rights violations, from abandoned newborns to forced sterilizations and abortions to government abductions.

Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children is a five-part documentary series offering an unprecedented look at the abduction and murder of at least 30 African American children and young adults in Atlanta between 1979 and 1981. The series, executive-produced and directed by Sam Pollard, Maro Chermayeff, Jeff Dupre and Joshua Benne, premieres April 5 on HBO and will also be available on HBO On Demand, HBO NOW, HBO GO and partners' streaming platforms.