October 19, 2020

Screen Time: Week of October 19, 2020

From Yi Chen's 'First Vote,' which premieres October 20 on World Channel. Courtesy of World Channel

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

Now streaming on Firelight Media.tv, In The Making is a new documentary short film series, presented in collaboration with American Masters, that follows the lives and journeys of emerging BIPOC cultural artists—most of whom graduated from Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab—who bring insight and originality to their artistic craft.

OVID.tv presents Democracy and its Discontents, a collection of films that address the notion and nature of democracy (and democracies) from ancient Greece up until the current day, as well as aspects of America’s political system and politics, as we approach Election Day. Among the 21 films includes Shola Lynch’s Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed, Kazuhiro Soda’s Campaign, Patricio Guzman’s The Battle of Chile, Caroline Suh’s Frontrunners, Rehad Desai and Jabulani Mzozo’s The Giant Is Falling, and R.J. Cutler and David Van Taylor’s A Perfect Candidate.

Premiering October 20 on World Channel as part of America Reframed, First Vote offers unparalleled access to a diverse cross-section of politically engaged Chinese Americans. Directed by Yi Chen, a Chinese immigrant and first-time voter herself, the film weaves their stories from the presidential election of 2016 to the 2018 midterms and explores the intersections between immigration, voting rights and racial justice.

Premiering October 26 on Independent Lens is Represent, from Hillary Bachelder, which focuses on local elections in Middle America. The film follows three women running for office in the heart of the Midwest leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, as they take on entrenched local political networks and fight to reshape politics on their own terms

Premiering October 22 on HBO Max is Equal, a four-part series that tells the story of the LGBTQ+ movement, capturing the gripping backstories of the leaders and unsung heroes, pre-Stonewall, who changed the course of American history through their tireless activism. These warriors gave voice, often in a life-or-death battle, to millions of people yearning for equality and the desire to be themselves.  Stephen Kijak and Kimberly Reed directed the series, which was executive-produced by David Collins, Michael Williams, Rob Eric, Joel Chiodi, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Jim Parsons, Todd Spiewak, Jon Jashni, Mike Darnell and Brooke Karzen.

Opening October 23 in virtual cinema, theaters and drive-ins through Kino Lorber/Kino Marquee is Nationtime, the late William Greaves' landmark document of the 1972 National Black Political Convention, when 10,000 black politicians, activists and artists from across the political spectrum went to Gary, Indiana, to forge a national unity platform in advance of the Republican and Democratic presidential conventions. This long lost film was unearthed in 2018 in a Pittsburgh warehouse. Thanks to IndieCollect, Louise Greaves, Jane Fonda and the HFPA Trust, Nationtime has been fully restored in 4K to its original 80-minute length.

Streaming on YouTube beginning October 20, Adam Benzine’s The Curve traces the crucial three-month period, from mid-January to mid-April of this year, when the choices made by America’s leaders regarding COVID-19 sealed the country’s fate.  Combining original interviews with creatively treated archival footage, and made under exceptional circumstances, the film boasts interviews with more than two dozen experts, analysts, researchers, journalists and political figures, examining nine key failures made by the American government that allowed an emerging pandemic to become a national catastrophe.