November 25, 2019

Screen Time: Week of November 25

From Lynn Novick's 'College Behind Bars.' Courtesy of Skiff Mountain Films

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

Premiering November 25 and 26 on PBS, College Behind Bars, a four-part series directed by Lynn Novick, tells the story of a small group of incarcerated men and women struggling to earn college degrees and turn their lives around in one of the most rigorous and effective prison education programs in the United States--the Bard Prison Initiative in New York State.

Alter-NATIVE: Kitchen, a series of shorts now streaming on Independent Lens, profiles three talented young Indigenous chefs--Brian Yazzie, a Navajo/Dine chef based in Minnesota; Kala Domingo, a  Hawaiian culinary students and heir to his father's catering throne; and Hillel Echo-Hawk, a Pawnee-Athabaskian chef and caterer in Seattle. These chefs share their specialties from their respective cultures that have sustained their communities for generations. Directed and produced by Billy Luther.

The Game Changers, directed by Louie Psihoyos, introduces viewers to James Wilks—elite Special Forces trainer and The Ultimate Fighter winner— as he travels the world on a quest to uncover the optimal diet for human performance. Showcasing elite athletes, special ops soldiers, visionary scientists, cultural icons, and everyday heroes, what Wilks discovers permanently changes his understanding of food and his definition of true strength. Now streaming on Netflix.

The New York Times Op-Docs presents From Here to Home: Five Films about Immigration and Belonging. Those films are: Walk, Run, Cha-Cha, from Laura Nix, about Vietnamese immigrants Paul and Millie Cao, here in the US since the Vietnam War, who are rediscovering themselves on the dance floor; El Vacio, from  Deborah S. Esquenazi, which tells the story of Karla, a Harvard-educated,  formerly undocumented immigrant journalist and advocate; Darlin, from Isabel Castro, about a wife and mother separated from her still-detained loved ones; La Boca del Lobo, from Jesse Moss, about a reporter investigating ICE arrests in Atlanta; and To Be Queen, from Farihah Zaman and Jeff Reichert, about two Latina teenagers vieing for the crown of a local pageant.

Now streaming on HUFFPOST Short Stories via RYOT Films, Sandra Winter's Lowland Kids tells the story of Howard and Juliette, the last teenagers on Isle de Jean Charles, a sinking island on the coast of Louisiana. Due to rising sea levels and hurricanes, the two are forced to leave their home, making them among the first American Climate Refugees.

Days of Black and Yellow, the new short film from Lotfy Nathan, and co-directed by Willie Miesmer and Ray Levé, is now streaming on and Field of Vision. The film is a bracingly intimate look at the emotional toll of working as a taxi driver in New York City.