May 28, 2020

Screen Time: Week of May 25

From Alexander Glustom's 'Mossville: When Great Trees Fall,' which premieres May 26 on PBS' 'Reel South.'

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

Now streaming on PBS' Reel South, Mossville: When Great Trees Fall, from Alexander Glustrom, captures life in Mossville, Louisiana, one of the oldest African-American communities in the nation, which has been devastated by environmental racism at the hands of the petrochemical industry. Glustrom tracks the history of this tragedy and follows the efforts of the few survivors in Mossville to fight the power.

COVID: Our Lockdown in Shanghai, premiering May 26 on Smithsonian Channel, follows Shanghai-based filmmaker Yu Kung and his wife, Crystal Liu, as they document tales of their neighbors in one apartment building: a doctor risking her life every day; a family trying to keep its wedding-dress business afloat; a self-described workaholic lawyer reconnecting with his young son at home. This firsthand look captures the anxiety, uncertainty—and resilient moments in this global health crisis.

As we live in front of our computers and smart TVs in these days of sequestration, for work, school, entertainment and connecting with friends and family, Screened Out, from Jon Hyatt, explores the impact of screen addiction on our home lives and the challenges of striking a balance with our real world. Screened Out premieres May 26 on most TVOD platforms.

Now streaming in The Criterion Channel, Tell Me: Women Filmmakers, Women’s Stories, curated by Nellie Killian, celebrates some of the groundbreaking female filmmakers of the past 50 years, with works by Chantal Akerman, Barbara Hammer, Julia Reichert, Camille Billops, Chick Strand, Yvonne Rainer, Joyce Chopra, Vivienne Dick, Su Friedrich Lourdes Portillo, Christine Choy and more. Made in a range of idioms encompassing cinema verité, essay film and agitprop, what the assembled films all share is a startling intimacy between camera and subject.

Prideland, a new series on PBS Voices, PBS' new YouTube channel, premieres May 26. Produced by Tiny Horse and hosted by actor Dyllón Burnside, the series opens a window into the world of modern-day LGBTQ+ life in America, highlighting authentic personal stories through Burnside's curious, exploratory lens. As an LGBTQ+ advocate, he guides viewers into the South’s various LGBTQ+ communities, connecting with people of different backgrounds, locations, experiences and points of view.

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, a new docuseries debuting May 27 on Netflix, tells the tale of the late financier/serial predator/pedophile through frightening accounts of Epstein's accusers. The series, directed by Lisa Bryant and executive produced by Joe Berlinger, gives voice to a sisterhood of survivors intent on stopping predators—and the American justice system—from silencing the next generation. 

Premiering May 31 on EPIX, Laurel Canyon, a two-part series from Allison Ellwood, takes viewers to a Los Angeles neighborhood whose community of artists—Jackson Browne, the Eagles, the Byrds, the Mamas and the Papas, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Linda Ronstandt and many more—created and defined an indelible musical sound and a pop revolution.