Skip to main content

Screen Time: Week of May 6

By Tom White

From Mark Johnathan Harris and Deborah Oppenheim's "Foster." Courtesy of HBO

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


Drawing on unprecedented access, Foster, from Academy Award-winning filmmakers Deborah Oppenheimer and Mark Jonathan Harris, traces a complex path through the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services, challenging some of the most enduring myths about foster care and Interweaving first-hand stories of those navigating the child protection system with insights from social workers, lawyers and other advocates. The film, which is a project of IDA's Fiscal Sponsorship Program, premieres May 7 on HBO and streams through May on HBO GO and HBO Now.

Out of State, from Ciara Lacy, takes an intimate look at the lives of two Native Hawaiians, sent thousands of miles away to a private prison in the Arizona desert. It is here that these men find a community and discover their indigenous traditions from a fellow inmate serving a life sentence. Hoping for a fresh start and eager to prove the experience changed them forever, the two men finish their terms and return to Hawai’i. But once on the outside, they wonder if it’s possible to ever go home again.  Out of State premieres May 6 on Independent Lens.

Premiering May 7 on America Reframed/PBS World, Adele Free Pham’s Nailed It tells the story of the multibillion-dollar nail salon industry--one launched in 1975 by 20 Vietnamese refugee women, part of the first wave of Vietnam War refugees. Pham captures an entrepreneurial saga, turning an American Tragedy into the American Dream.

Coming out on BluRay and streaming on Cohen Media Group’s site starting May 7, Shoah: Four Sisters, Claude Lanzmann’s final film, profiles four women--all Holocaust survivors--from four different regions of Eastern Europe, with four different destinies,  each finding herself improbably alive after war’s end:

Premiering May 10 on Showtime, WuTan Clan: Of Mics and Men tells the story of one of hip-hop’s most influential groups, rising from a hardscrabble life in Staten Island and Brooklyn to capture the world’s imagination as a collective powerhouse. Sacha Jenkins directed this four-part series.