Skip to main content

Screen Time: Week of May 30, 2022

By Bedatri D. Choudhury

A line of uniformed policemen silhouetted against streetlights. From Mike Shum’s ‘Police on Trial.’ Courtesy of FRONTLINE (PBS).

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

Two years since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by police officers, the documentary Police on Trial—produced by FRONTLINE in partnership with Star Tribune and CAAM—explores this “pivotal event in the history of race and policing in America.” Directed by Mike Shum and produced by Shum and Marcia Robiou, the documentary follows George Floyd’s murder and Derek Chauvin’s subsequent conviction, and continues to highlight the ongoing demand for police accountability and reform. If you missed the film’s PBS premiere last night, you can still watch on the PBS website.

June is Pride Month, and we had to spotlight one of our favorite documentaries on family, grief, and an artist’s relationship with these while negotiating their queerness. Angelo Madsen Minax’s North By Current, which won the IDA Documentary Award for Best Writing, aired in November last year but is still streaming on PBS. This isn’t just Pride Month viewing but essential viewing for every month and every season. 

June 2022 also marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, and in celebration of the long and hard battle to push for equal rights in education and athletics, ESPN’s W. Studios has launched W. Studios Fifty/50 Shorts Presented by Google. The lineup includes Allison Glock and Kate T. Parker’s Home Field, Shayla Harris’ Let Noor Run, Bethany Mollenkof’s The Rule of Sedona Prince, Elizabeth Lo’s Girls Got Game, and Bonni Cohen’s Make a Splash. The series premieres tonight, June 1, and will be available on ESPN’s YouTube page.

A new documentary on Joe Papp, champion of the arts and the founder of New York’s The Public Theater, Free Shakespeare in the Park and producer of groundbreaking plays like Hair, A Chorus Line and for colored girls…., is all set to premiere on PBS’ American Masters on Friday, June 3. Directed and produced by Tracie Holder and Karen Thorsen, Joe Papp in Five Acts, pays homage to the late impresario, but also explores the importance of inclusive and accessible arts in the country today. 

“Parenthood is a protracted form of unrequited love,” writes Fabrice Robinet on filmmaker Louise Monlaü, whose documentary for The New Yorker, Rocío and Me, is now streaming. The film centers a mother-daughter pair, both named Rocío, as they navigate cycles of caregiving and parenthood vis-a-vis the daughter's journey with Down Syndrome and a team of synchronized swimmers with Down syndrome called the Sirenas Especiales.

AAPI Heritage Month may be over, but at IDA, we celebrate the work and lives of Asian American filmmakers throughout the year. As do the folks at Criterion Channel. Head over to their website and check out their fantastic retrospective of the works of filmmaker Christine Choy— “​​Documentaries by Christine Choy.” The lineup includes From Spikes to Spindles, Inside Women Inside, Bittersweet Survival, Mississippi Triangle, and Homes Apart: Korea