TV & Film

Documentary of the Week

WNYC Studios

+1 FAN

Every week, WNYC tells you about the best documentaries as they become available on screens of any size. Our hosts are Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen, co-founders of the Pure Nonfiction podcast and the DOC NYC festival, the largest non-fiction f...Show More

Best
Newest
Looking for recently uploaded episodes
Uncovering a CIA Conspiracy

01:42 | Dec 22nd, 2017

Errol Morris’ six-part documentary “Wormwood” investigates the 1953 death of CIA agent Frank Olson, which has been a six-decade obsession for Olson's son Eric. Morris combines interviews and archival footage with dramatic re-enactments featuring the ...Show More

Exposing Rape Culture

01:59 | Mar 22nd

The documentary “Roll Red Roll” investigates a rape case in Steubenville, Ohio, where high-school football players documented their crime on social media. Filmmaker Nancy Schwartzman chronicles how the case changed public opinion after many local foo...Show More

Sketching Orson Welles

02:05 | Mar 15th

In “The Eyes of Orson Welles,” filmmaker Mark Cousins looks into the sketchbooks of the fecund creator who revolutionized radio, theater and film. Cousins, known for his monumental history “The Story of Film,” succeeds at giving us a fresh perspectiv...Show More

Re-investigating the ‘Serial’ Case

01:59 | Mar 8th

HBO’s four-part series “The Case Against Adnan Syed” follows investigators as they re-open the Baltimore murder case made famous by the Serial podcast. Filmmaker Amy Berg uncovers new details and testimonies that stir fresh questions over whether jus...Show More

Going to the Moon

01:50 | Mar 1st

The documentary “Apollo 11” brings a fresh perspective to the first voyage to the moon, with rare 70 mm archival footage and audio recordings from inside mission control. For the 50th year anniversary of the journey, filmmaker Todd Douglas Miller has...Show More

Wrestling Their Way to College

01:46 | Feb 22nd

The documentary "Wrestle" is set at a failing high school in Huntsville, Alabama, where Coach Chris Scribner mentors students to get scholarships for wrestling. Filmmakers Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer follow four students who variously cope wit...Show More

Black America on Wheels

01:55 | Feb 15th

The documentary “United Skates” looks at black communities formed around roller skating across America and the struggle to keep rinks open against a wave of closures. Filmmakers Dyana Winkler & Tina Brown capture a dazzling display of regional skatin...Show More

Remembering Teddy Pendergrass

02:03 | Feb 8th

"Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me" looks back at the life of the iconic singer who's rise was cut short by a tragic car accident. Director Olivia Lichtenstein delivers a definitive biography set to a soulful soundtrack. — Raphaela Neihausen an...Show More

Embedded with Syria’s Islamic Militants

01:53 | Feb 1st

For the film “Of Fathers and Sons,” Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki returned from exile to embed with Islamic militants in his homeland for over two years. He captures the life of a member of Syria’s Al-Qaeda and how his philosophy of jihad is passed do...Show More

The Glory Boys of New York Tabloids

02:06 | Jan 25th

The documentary “Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists” profiles the legendary newspaper columnists Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill. Directed by the trio of Jonathan Alter, John Block and Steve McCarthy, the film traces the last five decades of New York...Show More

Democracy, from Plato to Trump

02:00 | Jan 18th

In the documentary “What is Democracy?”, filmmaker Astra Taylor explores the meaning and challenges of our political system. She talks to thinkers such as Cornel West and Wendy Brown as well as average citizens ranging from Syrian refugees to America...Show More

Hillbilly Pride

02:03 | Jan 11th

In the documentary “Hillbilly,” filmmakers Ashley York and Sally Rubin look at the people of Appalachia and counter stereotypes of the region. Kentucky born authors Silas House and bell hooks are among the diverse voices who bring a deeper understand...Show More

Webcams in China

02:21 | Jan 4th

The documentary “People’s Republic of Desire” looks at live-streaming performers who attract hundreds of thousands of working-class fans as well as rich patrons. Filmmaker Hao Wu follows popular hosts and their followers for two years to better under...Show More

A Mother in Prison

01:55 | Dec 28th, 2018

The documentary “The Sentence” follows a family of three girls who grow up while their mother Cindy serves multiple years in prison due to the controversial system of minimum mandatory sentencing. The filmmaker is  Cindy’s brother, Rudy Valdez, who b...Show More

The Rise and Fall of Roger Ailes

01:59 | Dec 21st, 2018

“Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes” examines how the creator of Fox News rose and fell by his quest for power. Filmmaker Alexis Bloom interviews a wide range of colleagues as well as women who accuse Ailes of sexual harassment over a span ...Show More

Capturing Springsteen on Broadway

02:14 | Dec 14th, 2018

The film “Springsteen on Broadway” documents Bruce Springsteen's one-man show, in which he tells stories from his life and sings acoustic versions of his classic songs. Filmmaker Thom Zimny directs with an intimacy that brings us closer than the fron...Show More

Aretha’s Amazing Grace

02:03 | Dec 7th, 2018

The documentary “Amazing Grace” captures Aretha Franklin recording her eponymous gospel album in a Los Angeles church in 1972. The footage was shot by camera crews led by Hollywood director Sydney Pollack. After Pollack’s death, former record produce...Show More

Robots vs Humans

01:29 | Nov 30th, 2018

“The Truth About Killer Robots” looks at cases where automation has caused human deaths and eliminated human jobs. Filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin surveys multiple incidents from a self-driving car accident to the law firm Robot, Robot & Hwang. — Raphael...Show More

A Walker in the City — on Film

01:59 | Nov 23rd, 2018

In the documentary, “The World Before Your Feet,” the camera follows Matt Green, a former civil engineer who’s on a mission to walk 8000 miles of New York City’s streets and parks. Filmmaker Jeremy Workman follows in Green’s footsteps and allows us t...Show More

Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment

01:51 | Nov 16th, 2018

“Under the Wire” tells the story of journalist Marie Colvin and photographer Paul Conroy covering a deadly siege in the Syrian city of Homs. Filmmaker Chris Martin adapt’s Conroy’s book “Under the Wire: Marie Colvin’s Final Assignment” with harrowing...Show More

Criticizing While Female

01:48 | Nov 9th, 2018

The documentary “What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael” profiles The New Yorker's iconic film critic. Director Rob Graver unearths rare archival footage of Kael and skillfully interweaves classic film clips with quotes from her spiky articles read b...Show More

The Epic Life of Quincy Jones

02:04 | Nov 1st, 2018

Composer, arranger and producer Quincy Jones looks back on a life of constant movement among America’s greatest musicians in the Netflix documentary “Quincy.” Directed by his daughter Rashida Jones and Alan Hicks, the film contains a Who’s Who of tal...Show More

Solving the Mystery of a Stolen Film

01:56 | Oct 26th, 2018

In the Netflix documentary “Shirkers,” filmmaker Sandi Tan goes in search of a film she made in Singapore 25 years ago that was stolen by her collaborator. Winner of the Sundance World Documentary Directing Award, the film is full of mystery, beauty ...Show More

Close-Up on Peace Prize Winner Nadia Murad

02:03 | Oct 19th, 2018

The documentary “On Her Shoulders” profiles Nadia Murad, the Yazidi activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize this month for her work against sexual violence. Filmmaker Alexandria Bombach follows Murad at age 23 as she grows into her role of speaking on...Show More

Jane Fonda Performs Herself

01:59 | Oct 12th, 2018

In the documentary “Jane Fonda: A Life in Five Acts,” the Oscar-winning actress looks back on the multiple personas of her life — from ingenue to activist to exercise guru and beyond. Filmmaker Susan Lacy layers the films with clips from classic film...Show More

Inside Studio 54

01:59 | Oct 5th, 2018

The documentary “Studio 54” charts the rise and fall of the legendary nightclub and its creators, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager. Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer allows Schrager to tell his own tale, and uncovers never-before-seen footage capturing the club’s...Show More

Climbing El Capitan Without Safety Ropes

01:52 | Sep 28th, 2018

In the documentary “Free Solo,” mountain climber Alex Honnold tries to become the first person to climb the 3,200 cliff of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without safety ropes. Filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chinn conjure a visually stunni...Show More

The Photographer Who Elevated The Street

01:57 | Sep 21st, 2018

The documentary “Garry Winogrand: All Things are Photographable” explores the life of the prolific New York street photographer who died in 1984. Filmmaker Sasha Waters Freyer offers a rich sampling of Winogrand’s photos with commentary by fans such ...Show More

Remembering Fashion Icon Antonio Lopez

01:52 | Sep 14th, 2018

In “Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex, Fashion & Disco,” filmmaker James Crump celebrates the fashion illustrator who helped launch the careers of Jessica Lange, Jerry Hall, Grace Jones and others. Lopez’s vibrant life was cut short by AIDS in 1987, but this f...Show More

Deported to the Desert

01:58 | Sep 7th, 2018

In “Bisbee ’17,” residents of the mining town Bisbee, Arizona re-enact a dark chapter of history, when over 1200 immigrant workers were violently deported across state lines into the desert of New Mexico. Filmmaker Robert Greene artfully blurs the pa...Show More

High School Close-Up

02:01 | Aug 31st, 2018

In “America to Me," director Steve James (“Hoop Dreams”) spends a year examining a high school in Oak Park, Illinois that struggles with a performance gap along racial lines. The 10-part series on Starz looks at both students and faculty trying speak...Show More

Blowing the Whistle on the NYPD

02:00 | Aug 24th, 2018

The documentary “Crime + Punishment” follows the case of the NYPD 12, who spoke out against biased policing. Filmmaker Steven Maing covers their story from the inside as they risk their careers in a documentary that plays like a modern day “Serpico.”...Show More

Skating into Manhood

01:36 | Aug 17th, 2018

The documentary “Minding the Gap” follows three skateboarding friends of different races — white, black and Asian — who are grappling with childhood abuse as they transition to adulthood. One of the trio is director Bing Liu, who started filming skat...Show More

Duck and Cover

02:01 | Aug 10th, 2018

The documentary classic “The Atomic Cafe,” an archival-footage essay about America’s relationship with the atomic bomb, is back in theaters with a new 4k restoration. Filmmakers Jayne Loader, Kevin Rafferty and Pierce Rafferty compiled government pro...Show More

Revealing Hollywood’s Sexual Secrets

02:00 | Aug 3rd, 2018

The documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood” profiles Scotty Bowers, who was a sexual procurer for movie stars in the studio era. Filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer reveals the closeted lives of Cary Grant, Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn and m...Show More

When Medical Devices Go Bad

01:57 | Jul 27th, 2018

Over 70 million Americans have some kind of implanted medical device including birth control, joint replacements and pacemakers. In the Netflix documentary "The Bleeding Edge," filmmaker Kirby Dick looks at patients who have suffered from such device...Show More

When Kids Turn Out Different

01:44 | Jul 20th, 2018

The documentary "Far From the Tree," based on the award-winning book by Andrew Solomon, explores the dynamics in families when kids turn out different from their parents' expectations. Filmmaker Rachel Dretzin profiles families encountering cases of ...Show More

Who's Funding Our Politicians?

01:51 | Jul 13th, 2018

The documentary “Dark Money” looks at how mysterious sources of campaign financing corrupts the political process. Filmmaker Kimberly Reed uses a case study in her home state of Montana where politicians in both parties found themselves being smeared...Show More

The Life & Music of Whitney Houston

02:10 | Jul 6th, 2018

Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin MacDonald delivers a sensitive exploration of the troubled life of  Whitney Houston in “Whitney.” With generous samplings of her music and candid interviews with her inner circle, the film helps us understand her motivat...Show More

Separated at Birth

01:50 | Jun 29th, 2018

The documentary “Three Identical Strangers” looks at the saga of triplets who were separated at birth and accidentally met each other at age 19. Director Tim Wardle follows the twists and turns of their lives and explores the question of whether the ...Show More

The Cost of Making Champions

01:39 | Jun 22nd, 2018

The documentary “Love Means Zero” profiles the controversial tennis coach Nick Bollettieri and his broken relationship with Andre Agassi. Filmmaker Jason Kohn frames the story around three classic tennis matches that defined their careers. Like a gre...Show More

You Are What You Eat

01:42 | Jun 15th, 2018

Based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer, the documentary “Eating Animals” challenges us to think more carefully about what we eat and where it comes from. Narrated by Natalie Portman and directed by Christopher Quinn, the film profiles both indepen...Show More

Who Was Fred Rogers?

01:51 | Jun 8th, 2018

The documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” profiles the Presbyterian minister-turned-children’s TV host Fred Rogers. Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (“20 Feet From Stardom”) draws upon the vast archive of “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” and inte...Show More

Inside the New York Times on Trump

01:46 | Jun 1st, 2018

The four-part Showtime series “The Fourth Estate” looks at the reporters and editors covering the Trump administration in its first year. Oscar-nominated director Liz Garbus (“What Happened Miss Simone?”) chronicles the changing nature of journalism ...Show More

A Profile of André Leon Talley

01:29 | May 25th, 2018

The Gospel According to André profiles the highly quotable arbiter of taste from Vogue magazine. Filmmaker Kate Novack explores his journey as a rare black man in the predominantly white world of fashion. Talley pays tribute to his grandmother who ra...Show More

Wim Wenders Profiles the Pope

01:49 | May 18th, 2018

In the documentary “Pope Francis: A Man of His Word,” filmmaker Wim Wenders interviews the pontiff on an array of topics. Wenders explores the meaning of the first Pope to name himself after St. Francis of Asissi who took a vow of poverty and stresse...Show More

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Formative Years

01:54 | May 11th, 2018

The documentary “Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat” profiles the artist long before he broke auction records for an American artist. Filmmaker Sara Driver combines archival footage with new interviews of Basquiat’s peers f...Show More

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has a Sense of Humor

01:56 | May 4th, 2018

The documentary RBG examines the career of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, demonstrating her courage and humor. Filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen deliver both a legal history and a personal portrait, including a study of Ginsburg’s ear...Show More

Remembering Robert Kennedy

01:53 | Apr 27th, 2018

The 4-part Netflix series “Bobby Kennedy for President” traces the political education of the candidate who was assassinated in 1968. Filmmaker Dawn Porter combines a wealth of archival footage with new interviews with Kennedy associates such as John...Show More

When Rape Kits Go Untested

01:44 | Apr 20th, 2018

The HBO documentary “I Am Evidence” investigates the crisis of hundreds of thousands of rape kits that went untested across the United States. Actress and advocate Mariska Hargitay teams with directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir to focus on the...Show More

Amazing Grace Jones

01:47 | Apr 13th, 2018

In the documentary “Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami,” filmmaker Sophie Fiennes combines performance and intimate observation to profile the singer, model and icon. “Bloodlight” is the red light outside a recording studio and “Bami” is a Jamaican fla...Show More

The Rise and Fall of ACORN

02:02 | Apr 6th, 2018

The documentary “ACORN and the Firestorm” traces the 40 year history of community organizers brought down by a right wing attack. Filmmakers Rueben Atlas and Sam Pollard show how a simple lie travels faster than a complicated truth. — Thom Powers and...Show More

Another Wall Street Time Bomb

01:46 | Mar 30th, 2018

The documentary “The China Hustle” tells a story of global financial corruption that could be a ticking time bomb for Wall Street. Director Jed Rothstein teams with executive producer Alex Gibney for a film that’s alternately funny, infuriating and t...Show More

Gloria Allred Is Ready to Fight

01:33 | Mar 23rd, 2018

The documentary “Seeing Allred” profiles the attorney Gloria Allred and her legal crusades on behalf of women and minorities. Filmmakers Sophie Sartain and Roberta Grossman follow Allred as represents accusers of Bill Cosby, Donald Trump and others. ...Show More

When a Sex Cult Moves In

01:51 | Mar 16th, 2018

The Netflix series “Wild Wild Country” looks back on the controversial religious leader Bhagwan Rajneesh who was accused of leading a sex cult in rural Oregon. Sibling filmmakers Chapman and Maclain Way team with executive producers Jay and Mark Dupl...Show More

Remembering War Photographer Chris Hondros

02:04 | Mar 9th, 2018

War photographer Chris Hondros took iconic images in Liberia, Iraq, Egypt and elsewhere before he was killed in Libya in 2011. Now his longtime friend Greg Campbell pays tribute to his career in the documentary “Hondros.” This is the 150th edition of...Show More

Policing in a Time of Crisis

01:45 | Mar 2nd, 2018

The eight-part Netflix series “Flint Town” spends a year inside the police department in the Michigan city reeling from a water crisis. The filmmaking trio of Zackary Canepari, Drea Cooper and Jessica Dimmock cut through the sensationalism to highlig...Show More

The Rise of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

01:48 | Feb 23rd, 2018

The new documentary “Tell Them We Are Rising” tells an expansive story of historically black colleges and universities - known as HBCUs. Filmmakers Stanley Nelson and Marco Williams cover multiple eras from Reconstruction to Civil Rights to the prese...Show More

Black Lives on Film

01:48 | Feb 16th, 2018

St. Clair Bourne was a pivotal figure in putting black lives on film, from the 1970s to his death in 2007. As founder of the Black Documentary collective, he also mentored generations of black filmmakers. Now a retrospective at the Metrograph provide...Show More

A Saloon Owner Tries to Save the World

02:04 | Feb 9th, 2018

The documentary “The Peacemaker” profiles Boston bar owner Padraig O’Malley, who’s known in the world of international diplomacy for his skills at negotiating in conflict zones. Filmmaker James Demo follows O’Malley to war torn cities in Northern Ire...Show More

The Challenge of Police Reform

01:56 | Feb 2nd, 2018

In the documentary “The Force,” director Peter Nicks embeds with the Oakland police force for two years during a period when leaders tried to reform after past abuses of power. While there are many documentaries about law and order, few bring the dep...Show More

The Life of Lorraine Hansberry

01:38 | Jan 26th, 2018

Lorraine Hansberry, the playwright best known for “A Raisin in the Sun,” gets a long overdue biography in the documentary “Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart.” Filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain spent 14 years on the film, and delivers a complex portrait of Hans...Show More

Obama’s Ticking Clock

01:55 | Jan 19th, 2018

In “The Final Year," filmmaker Greg Barker follows key members of President Obama’s foreign-policy team over the course of their last year in office. As we watch Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Ambassador Samantha Power and others at work, their ap...Show More

The Magic of the Met

02:07 | Jan 12th, 2018

Susan Froemke’s documentary “The Opera House” looks back on the history of New York’s Metropolitan Opera, focusing on the 1966 opening of its current home at Lincoln Center. The history encompasses larger than life characters including New York’s mas...Show More

Prince in His Prime

01:53 | Jan 5th, 2018

The performance film “Prince: Sign O the Times” came out in 1987, but was out of distribution for over 25 years. Now it’s back, on platforms such as iTunes and Showtime. The visuals are very much an '80’s period piece with an abundance of neon, smoke...Show More

The Vietnam War, In 10 Parts

01:49 | Dec 29th, 2017

One of the most ambitious documentaries of the year is PBS’ 10-part series “The Vietnam War” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The series puts an emphasis on the voices of participants from both the American and Vietnamese sides. — Thom Powers a...Show More

Recy Taylor Refused to be Silent

01:32 | Dec 15th, 2017

The film “The Rape of Recy Taylor” documents the case of a black woman who was gang-raped in Alabama in 1944 and defied the Jim Crow south by speaking out, with the support of Rosa Parks and others. Filmmaker Nancy Buirski reconstructs the events wit...Show More

A Quest for Stability in North Philly

01:42 | Dec 8th, 2017

The documentary “Quest” follows 10 years in the life of the Rainey family in North Philadelphia as they operate a community music studio in a neighborhood challenged by economic instability. Filmmaker Jonathan Olshefski creates a memorable portrait o...Show More

Fifty Years of Rolling Stone

02:02 | Dec 1st, 2017

“Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge” is a 2-part HBO documentary tracing the history of the magazine’s most memorable articles. Filmmakers Alex Gibney and Blair Foster weave new interviews with classic footage from the worlds of rock n roll, politi...Show More

Baltimore Lives Matter

01:55 | Nov 24th, 2017

Actress Sonja Sohn is best known for role in "The Wire” as the police officer Kima. Now she gets behind the camera for the HBO documentary "Baltimore Rising” following activists and police officers after the death of Freddie Gray. — Thom Powers and R...Show More

Jerry Garcia’s Frankenstein Creation

01:50 | Nov 17th, 2017

Filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev explores the history of the Grateful Dead from the psychedelic sixties to the death of band leader Jerry Garcia in 1995. The six-part film on Amazon goes beyond the scope of the average rock documentary to capture the legacy of...Show More

Sammy's Song

01:44 | Nov 10th, 2017

Sammy Davis Jr. had multiple talents as a singer, dancer and actor. He broke down color barriers from Broadway to Las Vegas, even doing impressions of white actors in the 1940s. Long seen as Frank Sinatra's sidekick in the Rat Pack, the documentary "...Show More

Joan Didion Looks Back

01:48 | Nov 3rd, 2017

Joan Didion, now in her 80s, had long resisted being profiled in a documentary. But she couldn’t say no when the director was her nephew, the actor Griffin Dunne. They have a warm rapport as she tells the stories behind her novels, essays and screenp...Show More

Leaving the Fold

01:37 | Oct 27th, 2017

The Netflix documentary “One of Us” follows three members of New York’s Hasidic Jewish community who want to explore a more secular way of life. Oscar-nominated filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp) stay with their subjects for over a ...Show More

Life and Work Among The Chimps

01:40 | Oct 20th, 2017

The documentary “Jane” plays like a romantic epic traversing Jane Goodall’s early days studying chimpanzees in Tanzania. Filmmaker Brett Morgen draws upon a rediscovered archive of gorgeous 16 mm footage from the 1960s, combined with a new candid int...Show More

Health Care for Undocumented Workers

01:54 | Oct 13th, 2017

The HBO short documentary "Clinica de Migrantes” profiles a Philadelphia clinic, Puentes de Salud, that delivers free health care to undocumented workers. Filmmaker Maxim Pozdorovkin covers both the clinic's doctors and patients, reminding us of thei...Show More

Transforming Lives Through Art

01:36 | Oct 6th, 2017

In “Faces Places,” the eminent French filmmaker Agnès Varda teams with the street artist JR (known for his recent mural on the Mexican border). They take a wondrous journey of making art and transforming lives in villages across France. This late car...Show More

Race, Death and Justice on Long Island

01:58 | Sep 29th, 2017

In April 1992, a 24-year-old unarmed black man named William Ford was shot by a white teenager during an argument in a Long Island auto body shop. But a grand jury called it self-defense, and declined to file charges. The victim’s sibling, Yance Ford...Show More

Battling a Mysterious Illness

01:53 | Sep 22nd, 2017

In " Unrest," filmmaker Jennifer Brea chronicles the mysterious illness Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, better known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, including her own moving struggle. Victims not only suffer multiple disabilities, but also from medical confu...Show More

Frederick Wiseman at the Library

01:55 | Sep 15th, 2017

After 50 years of making films about institutions, Frederick Wiseman’s latest is “Ex Libris - The New York Public Library.” The documentary covers multiple angles - from serving patrons to soliciting funds - to make an eloquent case for the library’s...Show More

Back to School in Ireland

01:47 | Sep 8th, 2017

Nicely timed for September, the documentary "School Life” is set at Headfort boarding school in County Kells, Ireland. Filmmakers Neasa Ní Chianáin and David Rane aren’t entering any debate over education. Instead, the film plays as a light comedy as...Show More

A Contest to Win a Baby

02:07 | Sep 1st, 2017

Nearly one in six American couples are unable to naturally conceive a baby and carry it to term. The documentary “Vegas Baby” follows the contestants in a controversial contest to win in-vitro fertilization treatment. Filmmaker Amanda Micheli shines ...Show More

The Alpha Males of the Environmental Movement

01:48 | Aug 25th, 2017

The documentary "Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman" profiles the kind of American you don't usually associate with the environmental movement -- a Montana rancher, a Gulf Coast fisherman. Filmmakers Susan Froemke and John Hoffman explain the stories of thes...Show More

Exposing Russia’s Olympic Doping

01:47 | Aug 18th, 2017

In the documentary “Icarus," filmmaker Bryan Fogel, an amateur cyclist, engages Russian doping mastermind Grigory Rodchenkov for an experiment that has a dramatic twist. We follow in real time, through a web of intrigue and exile, as Rodchenkov expos...Show More

Warhol’s Brillo Box

01:57 | Aug 11th, 2017

In the documentary “Brillo Box (3¢ off),” filmmaker Lisanne Skyler traces the journey of Andy Warhol’s famous pop-art creation that her parents bought and sold. Through the ups and downs of Warhol's place in the art market, the film blends cultural h...Show More

In Baltimore, 'Step Is Life'

01:27 | Aug 4th, 2017

In the documentary “Step,” filmmaker Amanda Lipitz follows three Baltimore high school seniors who draw strength and lessons from their percussive dance group. The team called the Lethal Ladies seek to fulfill their goals in a regional competition. A...Show More

Spotlighting Native Americans in Music

02:08 | Jul 28th, 2017

The documentary "Rumble: Indians Who Rocked the World" explores a hidden history of Native American musicians who made an impact on rock, jazz, blues and more. Filmmaker Catherine Bainbridge profiles artists such as Link Wray, Charlie Patton, Mildred...Show More

The Frontal Assault on Backpage.com

01:49 | Jul 21st, 2017

The documentary “I Am Jane Doe” profiles victims of underage sex trafficking and their all-out legal battle the popular advertising website Backpage.com. Filmmaker Mary Mazzio examines how Backpage.com has used the First Amendment to battle the lawsu...Show More

Documenting the Death of Coral

02:05 | Jul 14th, 2017

Environmentalists report the world lost half its coral reefs in the last 30 years — and the pace is increasing. It’s one thing for someone to say that. It’s another to see it. In the film "Chasing Coral,” filmmaker Jeff Orlowski follows a team of res...Show More

Journalism as a Weapon of War

02:05 | Jul 7th, 2017

The documentary “City of Ghosts” profiles the Syrian activists from the group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently as they report on the takeover of their hometown by the Islamic State. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Matthew Heineman follows the key organi...Show More

Inside Elsa Dorfman’s Studio

01:53 | Jun 30th, 2017

The director Errol Morris is known for probing morally challenged men, in films like "The Thin Blue Line" and "Fog of War." His new film, “The B Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,” is a celebration of a woman who specialized in making picture...Show More

Billionaires vs the Press

01:48 | Jun 23rd, 2017

In the Netflix documentary “Nobody Speak: Trials of a Free Press,” filmmaker Brian Knappenberger looks at two cases in which American billionaires tried to silence their critics. His portrayals of the Hulk Hogan vs Gawker lawsuit and the purchase of ...Show More

Live with Otis, Janis & Jimi

01:54 | Jun 16th, 2017

D.A. Pennebaker’s “Monterey Pop” captures the landmark 1967 concert that kicked off the summer of love. Newly restored by Criterion for the 50th anniversary, the film features memorable performances by Otis Redding, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, The Wh...Show More

Who Killed Sister Cathy?

01:59 | Jun 9th, 2017

The Netflix documentary series “The Keepers” digs into the 1969 murder of a Baltimore nun named Sister Cathy Cesnik, a popular Catholic high-school teacher. Over seven episodes, filmmaker Ryan White connects the murder to accusations of rampant child...Show More

Who Was Gertrude Bell?

02:01 | Jun 2nd, 2017

The documentary “Letters from Baghdad” is a sweeping history of the Middle East in the early 20th century, told through the eyes of the British writer Gertrude Bell, who spent three decades in the region. Filmmakers Sabine Krayenbühl and Zeva Oelbaum...Show More

Teenager with a Megaphone

02:01 | May 26th, 2017

The film “Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” shows how the young organizer Joshua Wong rallied fellow students in 2012 to protest Chinese meddling in the school curriculum and how it snowballed into a powerful pro-democracy movement. Filmmaker Joe Pisc...Show More

Chinatown vs. the Government

01:38 | May 19th, 2017

Thomas Sung was inspired by “It’s a Wonderful Life” to establish the Abacus bank in New York’s Chinatown as a place for immigrants to get loans. But after the 2008 financial meltdown, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance Jr targeted Abacus bank fo...Show More

Dirty Tricks from Nixon to Trump

01:53 | May 12th, 2017

The documentary “Get Me Roger Stone” profiles the political operative who’s infamous for campaigning with dirty tricks from Nixon to Trump. The filmmaking trio of Dylan Bank, Daniel DiMauro and Morgan Pehme tell Stone’s history while following him ov...Show More

What was Julian Assange Thinking?

01:54 | May 5th, 2017

Laura Poitras is known for her Oscar-winning documentary “Citizenfour” about Edward Snowden. Now, in “Risk,” she gains access to Wikileaks leader Julian Assange and his associates, focusing heavily on his activities around the 2010 “Cablegate” leak o...Show More

Looking For Justice In War

01:59 | Apr 28th, 2017

Marcel Ophuls is best known for his epic documentaries “The Sorrow and the Pity” and the Oscar-winning “Hotel Terminus.” But he believes his best film is “Memory of Justice,” which has scarcely been available since its original release in 1976. Now M...Show More

Jane Jacobs vs Robert Moses

01:56 | Apr 21st, 2017

The author and activist Jane Jacobs changed the way we look at cities, emerging in the 1960s as the visionary opposition to her nemesis, the New York power broker Robert Moses. In “Citizen Jane: Battle for the City”, filmmaker Matt Tyrnauer tells the...Show More

The Life of John Coltrane

01:55 | Apr 14th, 2017

John Coltrane died too young, at the age of 40, in 1967. But the master saxophonist packed his years with enough musical innovation for several lifetimes. In the new documentary “Chasing Trane,” director John Scheinfeld tells Coltrane's story through...Show More

When Hollywood Went to War

02:02 | Apr 7th, 2017

The Netflix series “Five Came Back,” adapted from Mark Harris’ book, explores the Hollywood directors who made propaganda documentaries for the U.S. military during World War II. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg and directed by Laurent Bouzerea...Show More

Lessons from a Surveillance State

01:46 | Mar 31st, 2017

In the documentary “Karl Marx City,” filmmaker Petra Epperlein investigates a mystery from her East German childhood to discover if her father was an informer for the Stasi secret police. Watching the film, directed by Epperlein and her husband Micha...Show More

The Life and Death of Lee Morgan

01:49 | Mar 24th, 2017

The documentary “I Called Him Morgan” is a moody investigation into the life and death of the trumpet player Lee Morgan. In 1972, Morgan was shot and killed in a New York bar by his common law wife Helen. Swedish filmmaker Kasper Collins spent severa...Show More

A Family in Jerusalem

02:04 | Mar 17th, 2017

In 2010, filmmaker Danae Elon moved back to Jerusalem, the city of her childhood, with her family. Her late father Amos Elon, the acclaimed writer, had warned her not to move back. In this documentary “P.S. Jerusalem,” filmed over three years, she gi...Show More

Blazing A Trail for Black Women Filmmakers

01:58 | Mar 10th, 2017

If you were a black woman who wanted to make a film in the civil rights era, the doors were mostly closed. Madeline Anderson managed to overcome those obstacles. Now she presents three of her short films “Integration Report 1” (1960); “A Tribute to M...Show More

Unsettling History

02:10 | Mar 3rd, 2017

For 50 years, the Israeli settlements in the West Bank have been a key bone of contention for peace negotiations. Now a new documentary "The Settlers,” by the Israeli-American director Shimon Dotan, tries to unravel this complex history.  — Thom Powe...Show More

Maya Angelou's Vibrant Voice

02:01 | Feb 24th, 2017

In "Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise," the author, who died in 2014, remains vibrant and alive. Filmmakers Bob Hercules and Ruth Coburn Whack draw upon extensive interviews with Angelou that are frank, funny and inspiring — especially on the topic of o...Show More

Open Your Eyes to Jamaica Bay

02:02 | Feb 17th, 2017

For most New Yorkers, Jamaica Bay is just some place out by JFK airport. But the new documentary "Saving Jamaica Bay," directed by David Sigal, calls attention to the natural wonders that lie below the air traffic. The film honors the local residents...Show More

Who Designed That?

01:50 | Feb 10th, 2017

In the new Netflix series “Abstract: The Art of Design” we meet eight designers from the fields of graphics, architecture, clothing and more. You may not know their names, but you’d recognize their work. In one episode, the artist Christoph Niemann w...Show More

James Baldwin for Our Times

02:04 | Feb 3rd, 2017

James Baldwin died in 1987, but his quiet rage speaks eloquently to our times. In the Oscar-nominated documentary “I Am Not Your Negro," director Raoul Peck creates a film essay from Baldwin’s words, using footage from past and present with narration...Show More

Robert Frank on Image-Making

01:59 | Jan 27th, 2017

In the documentary “Don’t Blink: Robert Frank,” we spend quality time with the New York photographer and filmmaker, now in his 90s. While Frank has been a reluctant interview subject in the past, director Laura Israel gets him to open up about his in...Show More

The Boys Behind Madonna

01:57 | Jan 20th, 2017

Twenty-five years ago, Madonna's Blonde Ambition tour and documentary "Truth or Dare" signaled a new era of sexual expression. Now, in the new documentary "Strike a Pose," directed by Ester Gould and Reijer Zwaan, her seven male dancers reflect on th...Show More

Sidney Lumet Looks Back

02:54 | Jan 13th, 2017

Sidney Lumet started his career as a child actor in New York’s Yiddish theater and became one of the most prolific filmmakers of his generation, with classics such as “12 Angry Men,” “Serpico” and “Network.” In 2008, he sat for an expansive and probi...Show More

At Home with Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

02:50 | Jan 6th, 2017

The documentary "Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds" captures the unbreakable bond of the mother-daughter Hollywood duo. Directors Alexis Bloom and Fisher Stevens get candid access as Reynolds faces retirement from show busines...Show More

“Titicut Follies” Turns Fifty

02:10 | Dec 30th, 2016

Frederick Wiseman’s 1967 directorial debut “Titicut Follies” was a searing expose of Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane. The film proved so controversial that the Massachusetts government sought to have it banned and tied it up in c...Show More

Discovering a Princess in New Orleans

02:14 | Dec 23rd, 2016

In the documentary “Presenting Princess Shaw,” director Ido Haar follows the aspiring singer Samantha Montgomery as she pours out her original songs onto YouTube for a few dozen followers. Unbeknownst to her, the composer Kutiman watches her videos f...Show More

Truth to Power in China

01:40 | Dec 16th, 2016

Chinese feminist Ye Haiyan (aka Hooligan Sparrow) has a reputation for her viral campaigns in support of sex workers. In the film “Hooligan Sparrow,” filmmaker Nanfu Wang follows the activist as she campaigns for justice in the southern province of H...Show More

Mmmm, Tastes Like...Fraud

01:52 | Dec 9th, 2016

The documentary “Sour Grapes” investigates a massive fraud perpetrated on wine collectors. Filmmakers Jerry Rothwell and Reuben Atlas look at the case of Rudy Kurniawan, who was known for having an uncanny palate to identify wines. He applied his tal...Show More

She'll Take You There

02:01 | Dec 2nd, 2016

The Staples Singers topped the R&B charts with songs like “I’ll Take You There” and “Respect Yourself.” The documentary “Mavis!” profiles the group’s lead singer Mavis Staples, now in her 70s. She recounts her winding musical journey that passed thro...Show More

When Loving Was Illegal in Virginia

01:48 | Nov 25th, 2016

Richard and Mildred Loving were an interracial couple whose marriage was outlawed in their home state of Virginia. In 1967, their case -- Loving vs. Virginia -- went all the way to the Supreme Court. Hope Ryden, a pioneering woman documentary maker, ...Show More

Subway Obsession

01:47 | Nov 18th, 2016

Winner of the 2016 DOC NYC festival Metropolis Award, "Off the Rails" is a fascinating character portrait of Darius McCollum, who has Asperger's syndrome and a notorious habit of impersonating New York subway and bus drivers. Director Adam Irving fol...Show More

After the Legend

01:39 | Nov 11th, 2016

Kenny Anderson was a basketball star from his high school days in Queens. His mother called him “Mr Chibbs” — a play on “cheeks.” In the documentary “Mr Chibbs,” director Jill Campbell follows Anderson after his career as an NBA All-Star. He copes wi...Show More

The DOC NYC Festival Opens With a Portrait of Jane Jacobs

04:19 | Nov 10th, 2016

The DOC NYC film festival begins today. Over the past seven years, it’s become America’s largest documentary festival. Over 200 films are screening this year at three locations in Chelsea and Greenwich Village. Thom Powers is DOC NYC's founder and ar...Show More

The Fight to Save Elephants

02:06 | Nov 4th, 2016

The documentary The Ivory Game plays a like a global thriller as it follows activists on the front lines to save elephants. Filmmakers Kief Davidson and Richard Ladkani embed with African security forces fighting poachers and the Wildleaks activists ...Show More

Werner Herzog Gets Volcanic

02:05 | Oct 28th, 2016

Filmmaker Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man, Cave of Forgotten Dreams) joins volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer to study volcanoes around the world. They travel from Indonesia to Iceland and even to North Korea, exploring the mystery, science and history of la...Show More

The Loophole in the End of Slavery

01:52 | Oct 21st, 2016

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) turns to documentary with “13th,” a film essay about the Constitution’s 13th amendment, which abolished slavery with the loophole clause “except as a punishment for a crime.” The film interviews African-American autho...Show More

Captive in Syria

01:50 | Oct 14th, 2016

The documentary “Theo Who Lived,” directed by David Schisgall, profiles the freelance American journalist Theo Padnos, who spent nearly two years held captive by Islamic fundamentalists in Syria. Fluent in Arabic, Padnos could communicate with his ca...Show More

A Tale of Two Cities in Chelsea

01:51 | Oct 7th, 2016

New York City’s shifting tides of gentrification are vividly revealed in the HBO documentary Class Divide. Director Marc Levin (Brick City) focuses on West Chelsea, where the Elliott housing project is located across the street from the Avenues priva...Show More

Are the Police Becoming an Army?

01:56 | Sep 30th, 2016

How are American police forces becoming more militarized? In the documentary Do Not Resist, director Craig Atkinson travels the country from Ferguson, Missouri to Washington, D.C., to observe the rise of armored equipment, SWAT teams, aerial surveill...Show More

John McAfee on the Run

01:57 | Sep 23rd, 2016

John McAfee made millions with his anti-virus software, then moved to the jungles of Belize in a compound set up like a modern-day “Heart of Darkness.” After his neighbor was murdered in 2012, Belize police sought him for questioning and he fled the ...Show More

When America Almost Nuked Itself

01:48 | Sep 16th, 2016

Based on the book by Eric Schlosser, the documentary Command and Control plays like a thriller about an accident in a nuclear bomb facility in 1980. Filmmaker Robert Kenner (“Food, Inc”) tells a gripping story set in Arkansas when Bill Clinton was go...Show More

Two Takes on J.T. Leroy

01:52 | Sep 9th, 2016

How should we interpret the dramatic rise and fall of literary sensation J.T. Leroy? Two documentaries offer different perspectives. “Author: The J.T. Leroy Story,” directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, profiles the writer Laura Albert who invented the orphane...Show More

Fighting for Labor

01:50 | Sep 2nd, 2016

Walter Reuther rose up from working on the Ford assembly line to become president of the United Auto Workers. The documentary Brothers on the Line traces his rise along with his brothers Roy and Victor as they fought labor battles in the Depression, ...Show More

Robbing a Bank in the Dog Days of August

01:51 | Aug 26th, 2016

In The Dog, filmmakers Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren profile John Wojtowicz, the larger-than-life bank robber portrayed by Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon.” While the famous fiction film only captured one day in his life, this documentary explores...Show More

Werner Herzog's Sci Fi Reality

01:49 | Aug 19th, 2016

Werner Herzog has explored extremes of human behavior in films like Grizzly Man and Cave of Forgotten Dreams. His new documentary Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World explores the internet, artificial intelligence and where modern technolog...Show More

The Man Who (Un)Dressed Marilyn Monroe

01:54 | Aug 12th, 2016

You probably never heard of Orry-Kelly, but you would know his work as a fashion designer for Marilyn Monroe, Bette Davis, Ingrid Bergman and others. In the documentary “Women He’s Undressed,” filmmaker Gillian Armstrong (“Little Women”) explores the...Show More

From Flint to the Olympics

02:00 | Aug 5th, 2016

Flint’s boxing sensation Claressa Shields was nicknamed "T-Rex" for her short arms and ferocious fight. In the documentary "T-Rex," filmmakers Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari follow Shields, at age 17, along with her hometown coach Jason Crutchfield...Show More

Sharon Jones Makes a Comeback

02:01 | Jul 29th, 2016

Sharon Jones performs a revivalist style of soul music with The Dap-Kings. The new documentary Miss Sharon Jones! follows her over a year as she battles cancer and prepares for a comeback show at New York’s Beacon Theatre. Two-time Oscar winning dire...Show More

Fatherhood with a Ticking Clock

01:38 | Jul 22nd, 2016

When football player Steve Gleason is diagnosed with the paralyzing disease ALS, he and his wife Michel Varisco adapt to a new life. In “Gleason,” director Clay Tweel chronicles their struggles to cope with the illness, raise a new son and start a fo...Show More

Tracking a Deadly Computer Virus

01:50 | Jul 15th, 2016

In the documentary Zero Days, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney investigates the top secret world of cyber warfare. He speaks with anonymous sources at the National Security Agency and other former U.S. government officials on the record to explore ...Show More

TV's Hit Maker

01:57 | Jul 8th, 2016

At the age of 93, Norman Lear still has the energy and curiosity of a 9-year-old. Oscar-nominated filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady (“Jesus Camp”) trace the ups and downs of his career from creating the hit TV shows “All in the Family,” “Maude,...Show More

Disney Characters Help with Autism

01:35 | Jul 1st, 2016

The documentary “Life, Animated” chronicles how journalist Ron Suskiind learned to communicate with his autistic son Owen from Disney films. Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams follows Owen as an adult as he moves out from his parents home. Th...Show More

A Ticklish Matter

01:50 | Jun 24th, 2016

New Zealand filmmakers David Farrier and Dylan Reeve grew intrigued by online videos of grown men participating in tickle competitions. But when they contacted the production company, Jane O’Brien Media, they receive a torrent of homophobic attacks a...Show More

Understanding the O.J. Case Like You Never Did Before

02:05 | Jun 17th, 2016

Despite the saturation coverage of O.J. Simpson's murder trial, director Ezra Edelman proves there is a lot more to understand about this story. His new ESPN documentary spans five episodes, examining the full scope of Simpson’s football and acting c...Show More

Yo-Yo Ma Seeks Meaning in Music

02:00 | Jun 10th, 2016

In "The Music of Strangers," Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville ("20 Feet From Stardom") profiles several members of the Silk Road Ensemble, the international music group founded by Yo-Yo Ma. Their stories take place against the back drop of uphea...Show More

38 Witnesses in Kitty Genovese Case. Plus One.

01:52 | Jun 3rd, 2016

In the documentary The Witness, director James Solomon follows Bill Genovese as he investigates the notorious 1964 murder of his big sister Kitty. The New York Times famously reported that 38 people witnessed the crime without calling the police. But...Show More

Going to Court for Animal Rights

01:36 | May 27th, 2016

Steve Wise is a crusading attorney trying to change human minds over animal rights. In the documentary "Unlocking the Cage," filmmakers DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus follow Wise and the Nonhuman Rights Project as they file a lawsuit on behalf of fo...Show More

The Real Life Good Wife

01:49 | May 20th, 2016

Directors Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg follow New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner as he spirals down from the top of the polls over a sexting scandal. The film's candid portrait of Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin won it the Sundance Grand ...Show More

Keeping Faith in Cleveland

02:03 | May 13th, 2016

Cleveland holds a sports record as the only city with three professional teams that hasn’t won a championship in 50 years. Director Andy Billman explores the history of Cleveland’s fans keeping their faith in the ESPN documentary BELIEVELAND. — Thom ...Show More