Documentaries to Watch for Black History Month

Documentaries to Watch for Black History Month

In celebration of Black History Month, we are highlighting a selection of award-winning independent documentaries that showcase Black stories and voices. These films are available in a variety of streaming and purchase options for schools, non-profits, community organizations, libraries, and corporations. We hope you will utilize these important educational resources year-round to spark critical dialogue in your community or organization! Check out the full collection here


TIME FOR ILHAN is an Emmy® Award-winning documentary that shadows Ilhan and her scrappy group of dedicated campaign staffers throughout the entire campaign’s dramatic uphill battle. A fresh and timely take on the old story of the American Dream, the film offers an inspiring, stereotype-busting portrait of the rise of one of America’s brightest new political stars, and a vision of what is truly possible for women and New Americans in politics today.

Ilhan Omar, a young, hijab-wearing mother of three, takes on two formidable opponents in a highly contested race for a seat in the Minnesota State Legislature. If successful, she will become the first Somali-American lawmaker in the United States. Similar to the classic tale of David and Goliath, Omar, who is up against a 43-year incumbent, is the "outsider"- a Muslim, refugee, woman of color - seeking to challenge the party’s status quo while simultaneously defying lingering gender norms within her own Muslim community. 

Amidst a landmark class-action lawsuit over illegal policing quotas, Emmy® Award winner CRIME + PUNISHMENT chronicles the real lives and struggles of a group of black and Latino whistleblower cops and the young minorities they are pressured to arrest and summons in New York City. A highly intimate and cinematic experience with unprecedented access, CRIME +PUNISHMENT examines the United States' most powerful police department through the brave efforts of a group of active-duty officers and one unforgettable private investigator who risk their careers and safety to bring light to harmful policing practices which have plagued the precincts and streets of New York City for decades.

A MAN AND HIS TRUMPET: The Leroy Jones Story follows Jones's life journey as he came up playing on the streets of the Saint Bernard Projects, quickly establishing himself as one of NOLA’s most sought after trumpeters, founding the legendary Fairview Baptist Brass Band and Hurricane Brass Band, which lead to the revival of the brass band scene in New Orleans. Leroy Jones eventually catches the ear of Harry Connick Jr. and ends up becoming Connick’s solo trumpeter, touring and recording with the Harry Connick Big Band for over 20 years. A decade after the storm that nearly destroyed his beloved city, Jones is navigating life as both a world-renowned musician and a citizen amidst a rapidly changing New Orleans.

ALWAYS IN SEASON explores the lingering impact of more than a century of lynching African Americans and connects this form of historic racial terrorism to racial violence today. The film centers on the case of Lennon Lacy, an African American teen who was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on August 29, 2014. Despite inconsistencies in the case, local officials quickly ruled Lennon’s death a suicide, but his mother, Claudia, believes Lennon was lynched. Determined to find answers about what happened to her son, Claudia moves from paralyzing grief to leading the fight for justice.

As the film unfolds, Lennon’s case, and the suspicions surrounding it, intersect with stories of other communities seeking justice and reconciliation. A few hundred miles away in Monroe, Georgia, a diverse group of reenactors, including the adult daughter of a former Ku Klux Klan leader, annually dramatize a 1946 quadruple lynching to ensure the victims are never forgotten and encourage the community to come forward with information that might bring the perpetrators to justice. As the terrorism of the past bleeds into the present, the film asks: what will it take for Americans to begin building a national movement for racial justice and reconciliation?

AMERICAN JUSTICE ON TRIAL tells the forgotten story of the death penalty case that put racism on trial in a U.S. courtroom in the fall of 1968. Huey P. Newton, Black Panther Party co-founder, was accused of killing a white policeman and wounding another after a predawn car stop in Oakland. Newton himself suffered a near-fatal wound. As the trial neared its end, J. Edgar Hoover branded the Black Panthers the greatest internal threat to American security. Earlier that year, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy rocked a nation already bitterly divided over the Vietnam War. As the jury deliberated Newton’s fate, America was a tinderbox waiting to explode.

At his trial, Newton and his maverick defense team led by Charles Garry and his then rare female co-counsel Fay Stender, defended the Panthers as a response to 400 years of racism and accused the policemen of racial profiling, insisting Newton had only acted in self-defense. Their unprecedented challenges to structural racism in the jury selection process were revolutionary and risky. If the Newton jury came back with the widely expected first-degree murder verdict against the charismatic black militant, Newton would have faced the death penalty and national riots were anticipated. But Newton’s defense team redefined a “jury of one’s peers,” and a groundbreaking diverse jury headed by pioneering Black foreman David Harper delivered a shocking verdict that still reverberates today.

AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY tells the story of Grace Lee Boggs, a Chinese American woman in Detroit, who died in October 2015 at 100 years old, has a surprising vision of revolution. A writer, activist, and philosopher rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompassed the contradictions of America’s past and its potentially radical future. This Peabody Award-winning documentary plunges us into Boggs’ lifelong practice of igniting community dialogue and action, work that traverses the major U.S. social movements of the last century: from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements and beyond.

Angela Davis, Bill Moyers, Bill Ayers, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Danny Glover, Boggs’s husband James Boggs, and a host of Detroit comrades across three generations help shape this uniquely American story. As she wrestles with a Detroit in ongoing transition, contradictions of violence and non-violence, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., the 1967 rebellions, and non-linear notions of time and history, Boggs emerges with an approach that is radical in its simplicity and clarity: revolution is not an act of aggression or merely a protest. Revolution, Boggs says, is about something deeper within the human experience — the ability to transform oneself in order to transform the world. More than ten years in the making, this interdisciplinary film has broad educational appeal.

In BLACK ENUF*, a Queer oddball seeks approval from Black peers despite a serious lack of Hip-Hop credentials and a family that ‘talks white’. The quest for a Black Card (undeniable acceptance of their racial identity) takes them from Missouri, to New York, and halfway around the world. This animated documentary examines the expanding black identity through a personal journey. The filmmaker interweaves stories from their great-grandmother’s autobiography, interviews of family & friends, and hand-drawn memories. Tongue-and-cheek humor makes such a heavy topic easier to digest. The visuals mix Monty Python style cut-outs, infographics, watercolor, and a variety of illustrative styles. We’re all on a quest for acceptance.

BLURRING THE COLOR LINE is a personal family story told alongside memories from the larger Chinese and Black communities in Georgia, which opens up uncomfortable but necessary conversations around anti-Black racism and the deeply rooted structure of white power and Chinese patriarchy. Which fountain did the Chinese drink from? Where did they sit on the bus? What did it mean to be Chinese in Black spaces during segregation? Follow director Crystal Kwok’s personal journey of discovery, as she digs into the ways her grandmother’s family navigated life as grocery store owners in the black neighborhood of Augusta, Georgia. An important entrance into all of our connected histories which many of us never knew or dared speak about.

BORN THIS WAY is an intimate portrait of the underground gay and lesbian community in Cameroon— where more people are sent to prison for homosexuality than any other country in the world. This award-winning documentary follows several LGBT youth both inside and outside the walls of The Access Center, a safe haven for LGBT Cameroonians, located in an unmarked building on Doualaʼs busiest street. As the locus of gay rights advocacy in Cameroon, the Center functions as a site of hope, culture, and celebration for those living with the constant fear of losing their job, home, and family. Without stereotyping the African gay experience, BORN THIS WAY tells the unique stories of LGBT Cameroonians with candor and dignity. The film elucidates an African country at the crossroads of tradition and modernity, while also highlighting the struggle for universal human rights, the desire for companionship, and the necessity of community.

CLARISSA’S BATTLE follows single mother and activist Clarissa Doutherd as she works tirelessly to build a powerful coalition. The coalition’s goal is to make local, state and national leaders understand a desperate need shared by families, parents and children across the country, from low-income to middle. What these families need is simple on the surface: child care and early education funds. Enough to allow parents to continue to work. Enough to keep families off the streets. Enough to give their children a chance at a productive, successful future. This film documents the movement for child care access, but also the tenacity of a woman who experienced the shock of financial insecurity after the birth of her son, and her determination to stop it from happening to anyone else. It’s about the struggle experienced by millions of families unseen and unspoken of by their communities. It is about what happens when a woman rises to grasp her power and says, “Enough.”

DECADE OF FIRE tells the story of the South Bronx that you’ve never heard before, and offers us a roadmap for building the American communities we want and truly deserve.In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire. Abandoned by the city government, nearly a half-million people were displaced as their close-knit, multi-ethnic neighborhood burned, reducing the community to rubble. While insidious government policies caused the devastation, Black and Puerto Rican residents bore the blame. In this story of hope and resistance, Bronx-born Vivian Vázquez Irizarry exposes the truth about the borough’s untold history and reveals how her embattled and maligned community chose to resist, remain and rebuild. 

EARTH, WATER, WOMAN spotlights the Fondes Amandes Community Re-Forestation Project in Trinidad and Tobago, and its charismatic leader Akilah Jaramogi, in their ongoing efforts to transform barren hillsides into a vibrant, healthy ecosystem. A micro solution for the macro problem of climate change, this documentary urges young viewers everywhere to examine their relationship to Mother Earth. Three decades ago Akilah, a Rastafarian woman, settled on a barren, deforested hillside, blighted with floods in the rainy season and fires in the dry season. Together with her late husband, Tacuma, they started a family and reforested over 150 acres, restoring health to the hills and the watershed just outside the capital city of Port-of-Spain. When her husband died, Akilah continued this work, initiating the Fondes Amandes Community Reforestation Project (FACRP), training community members as stewards of the forests and waters. Today Fondes Amandes is a thriving village atop a flourishing forest of 150 acres where residents have planted about 60,000 seedlings over the past 30 years. The community is regularly visited by international dignitaries and Akilah is heralded as the Wangari Maathai of Trinidad & Tobago.

In the award-winning documentary EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL, Darius Clark Monroe turns the camera on himself in order to present a more accurate image of one African American man against the backdrop of this country’s ongoing criminalization of his peers. Now a graduate of NYU Film School, Monroe Clark crafts an intricate and emotionally complex narrative of his own trajectory from straight-A student to bank robber, while ultimately reflecting on the racial and economic factors that surround his crime as he searches for answers and seeks forgiveness.

 One afternoon in the mid-1990s, a 16-year old Darius donned a skeleton mask and, along with two accomplices, robbed a Bank of America in Stafford, Texas. Concerned for his mother’s welfare and devastated by the escalating financial crisis his family faced after being robbed themselves, Darius believed $30,000 would ease his family’s burden. Instead, soon after the crime, he is arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. Years after he is released, Darius returns to his old neighborhood to make amends with family and friends, along with classmates, teachers, law enforcement officials and most importantly the innocent victims in the bank on the fateful day of the robbery.

EVOLUTION OF A CRIMINAL seamlessly integrates reenactments of Darius’s crime with evocative interviews of all those impacted by his actions. As the film progresses, we learn more about the cycle of poverty and imprisonment his family and community have faced for generations. And yet, despite the systemic racism that contributed to Darius’s actions, he does not seek pity, but rather forgiveness and understanding. Some of those affected by Darius’s crime are hesitant to offer absolution, while others freely do so.  At the same time, viewers are asked to consider their willingness to take another look and examine their own prejudices and assumptions. While too many Black men remain voiceless and tragic statistics, in the retelling of his story, this powerful filmmaker manages to present a deeply honest portrait of his own profound evolution as a human being.

FATHER’S KINGDOM is the untold story of the remarkable civil rights pioneer Father Divine – who had over a million followers worldwide and is considered the link between Marcus Garvey and Martin Luther King – but is neglected by historians because he claimed that he was God incarnate. 

Father Divine was born in poverty, the son of emancipated slaves, and went on to become one of America's most controversial religious leaders. Father Divine's movement was dedicated to integration and communal living and was an innovator in desegregating neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and the ballot box in the 1930s and '40s, through his radical program of empowerment. He commanded hundreds of properties and businesses, all funded by the work of his thousands of followers. At the same time, he preached that he himself was an incarnation of God and that by following his rules of purity and celibacy, his followers could live forever in “heaven on earth.” But scandal, suspicion, and racism lead to clashes with the law for him and his movement. Though he was once a celebrity and was decades ahead of his time fighting for civil rights, he has largely been written out of history because of the audacity of his religious claims, and doubt about his motives.

Today, Father’s few remaining followers live as a communal family on a magnificent estate outside Philadelphia. As time and mortality confront the followers, they struggle to preserve Father’s legacy. Through unprecedented access to this unique and reclusive community, the film explores the line between faith and fanaticism, between a religion and a cult. Father's revolutionary ideas on race and identity still resonate today.

HUNGRY TO LEARN introduces the faces behind an American crisis — college students so strapped to pay tuition that they don’t have enough money to eat or a place to live. A lack of food is just a symptom of a bigger problem, the American Dream of a college education slipping out of reach. It is the story of how colleges, once places for children of privilege, opened their doors to students of limited means but failed to provide enough financial aid to allow these new students to graduate without making painful choices. This documentary is not just about the devastating hunger crisis unfolding on American campuses, it is about what can — and should — be done about it.

INNER WOUND REAL is an animated short documentary that relays the story of three BIPOC folks who self-injure, then find new ways to cope. Each participant’s story has its own distinct visual style. The chapters are independent puzzle pieces that together form the 15-minute film. Everyone self harms in some way, such as smoking, excessive drinking, or eating unhealthy foods, yet self-injury carries a unique stigma. While most media depictions of self-injury focus on able-bodied white cis-women, this project focuses on three individuals: an Indian cismale, a Black transgender non-binary person, and a Filipinx queer femme who all find solace in the arts. The variety of family backgrounds and identities show how this practice spans across racial, ethnic, and gendered groups.

In INVENTED BEFORE YOU WERE BORN, white siblings Jonathan and Rachel Knight discover they are descendants of Kentucky slave holder Richard Bibb. Confronting this family history leads to meeting black descendants of the people enslaved by their ancestor. Joined by African American journalist and historian Le Datta Grimes, they set off on a journey to share the stories of descendants and cousins linked by enslavement and the inheritance of Bibb’s resources. Their efforts culminate in a powerful family reunion in Kentucky at the site that represents both bondage and freedom.

K-TOWN 92 shares the reflections of Hector Tobar, Tammerlin Drummond, and John Lee, who in 1992, were young reporters of color covering the civil unrest for the Los Angeles Times. Twenty-five years later, they revisit the sites, stories and impressions of those tumultuous events and reflect on the media coverage they helped to create. When the LA riots/uprising/civil unrest exploded in 1992 following the acquittal of four LAPD officers who beat Rodney King, images of destruction beamed across the globe with little context as to why these events had occurred. TV news focused on African Americans, Latinos, and Koreans as both victims and perpetrators of violence, and footage of the “first multicultural riots” locked each group within a stereotype. In this film, Peabody award-winning filmmaker Grace Lee asks viewers to consider whose voices get to tell the story of the Los Angeles uprising.

KING IN CHICAGO emphasizes King's understanding of the link between the goals of the Civil Rights Movement and the social injustice of poverty. In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Chicago Freedom Movement grappled with many of the same problems that are in the headlines today - the corrosive effects of pervasive racism and persistent poverty. Americans usually recall or learn about Dr. King's leadership in confronting southern racism in Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. Far less discussed is his prophetic leadership in 1966 confronting northern racism and poverty as part of the Chicago Freedom Movement. Candid interviews with Jesse Jackson, James Bevel, Michael Pfleger, and others, period photos and stirring traditional music by Rutha Harris shine a light on their struggle for justice. The voices of our interview subjects’ sound cries of alarm and hope as they reflect on the legacy of the Chicago Freedom Movement and Dr. King.

LA BONGA is a symbolic journey through the jungles of the Caribbean to resurrect a place that only exists in memory. In an act of resistance, the festival lets the loss go, as it celebrates collective memory and community. On April 5, 2001, shortly after a nearby massacre at the hands of paramilitaries, two hooded strangers delivered a letter to the farming town of La Bonga. The note accused the people of sympathizing with the FARC, the largest guerrilla group in Colombia. They were given 48 hours to either leave or be forcibly removed. The entirety of La Bonga fled that same day. Prompted by the tenuous Colombian peace agreements of 2016 and led by the only person who has attempted to live there again––María de los Santos––the townspeople decide to resurrect a celebration honoring their patron saint. To do so, they must confront the jungle and face the realities of reconstructing a place that no longer is.

 offers a nuanced, often startling view of estranged nations through the lens of music and family. Virtuoso Afro-Cuban-born brothers—violinist Ilmar and pianist Aldo—live on opposite sides of a geopolitical chasm a half-century wide. Tracking their parallel lives in New York and Havana, their poignant reunion, and their momentous first performances together.

MANY LOVES, ONE HEART tells the story of the nascent LGBTQ movement in Jamaica by highlighting courageous members of the community and their allies, who have committed their lives to the Jamaican struggle for LGBTQ rights. Jamaica has frequently been cited for egregious homophobic violence by international press and human rights organizations. Challenging this often one-sided depiction, MANY LOVES, ONE HEART presents brave Jamaicans who are seeking to transform their island into a space of inclusivity where they can love freely. The documentary includes Spice, a gay, homeless youth with dreams; Mo, one of the first openly trans individuals in the Jamaica police force, who hopes one day to marry his partner; Dane, the Executive Director of J-FLAG, the leading LGBTQ human rights organization in Jamaica; and Father Sean Major-Campbell, who broke with much of the religious establishment to preach love, inclusion, and allyship with conviction and courage. Scenes of Jamaica’s second-ever PRIDE week depict the safe spaces carved out by the movement’s proponents, interspersed with provocative commentary by scholars and activists linking the movement for LGBTQ rights to the fight for emancipation from slavery. MANY LOVES, ONE HEART shares this homegrown Jamaican movement, celebrates their emerging victories and is an important resource for building global awareness of transnational human rights.

This award-winning short film highlights the rich history and vibrant present of New York’s acclaimed NUYORICAN POETS CAFÉ. Featuring veteran/founding poets like Miguel Algarin and Pedro Pietri, the film also showcases a new generation of wordsmiths, featuring Willie Perdomo and Carmen Bardeguez-Brown and includes poetry reading in the raucus Cafe’s open mic night and stylized renditions of iconic poems like Perdro Pietri’s “Puerto Rican Obituarty”. Puerto Rican cultural and literary traditions are explored, as is the unlikely mentorship of a young Willie Perdomo by a school custodian into the world of poetry.

ONE DROP OF LOVE uses the ever-changing racial categories on the U.S. Census as the historical backdrop to this interactive show. Throughout, the audience is asked to participate in defining and redefining these categories for themselves and one another. Fanshen parallels this history with her own, and her family’s, search for roots, identity and for justice. Audiences will travel from the 1700s to the present, to cities around the U.S., and to West and East Africa, to pursue more truth – leading to more justice – and then, perhaps to LOVE. The ultimate goal of the performance is to encourage the discussion of race and racism openly and critically, and to encourage a commitment to making the world more liberated for all.

African American youth challenge stereotype and barriers in this inspirational documentary shadowing six talented high-school students on an emotionally powerful, three-year journey of transformation in a racially biased city. With access to arts and academic mentors, and especially under the leadership of theater teacher and director Corey Mitchell, they are chosen to be the first high school permitted to perform The Color Purple—the Broadway musical adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. Arts education and the student's own perseverance become pathways out of poverty, homelessness, and gang-related violence. PURPLE DREAMS bears witness to the need for equitable and culturally relevant arts education, especially in underserved communities.

RIVER CITY DRUMBEAT chronicles generations of African American mentors in Louisville, Kentucky’s West End neighborhood and their work to empower children and teens through creative expression. For three decades, Edward “Nardie” White has been teaching ancestral Pan-African culture and drumming traditions in the River City Drum Corps in order to instill a foundation of purposeful resilience within his neighborhood youth. Against the backdrop of the American South, Mr. White’s drumline and its multi-generational network of support has been a lifeline for many young African Americans. Now in his sixties, he must step down to allow the drum corps to evolve with a new generation. In his final year as director he trains his successor Albert Shumake, a young artist whose troubled life was transformed by the drumline and Mr. White’s mentorship when he was a teen. During this transitional year, Mr. White and Albert reflect on the tragedies and triumphs in their lives and the legacy of the drum corps. Featuring powerful drumline performances and the stories of its parents, youth and mentors, RIVER CITY DRUMBEAT is a testament to the lasting impact of art, love and community.

SAY HIS NAME: FIVE DAYS FOR GEORGE FLOYD captures how community members perceived the immense changes in their city and offered support to one another.On Memorial weekend in May of 2020, police were called to Cup Foods on 38th and Chicago in South Minneapolis for a report of a counterfeit money transaction. The world watched the acts that transpired as former police officer Derrick Chauvin, aided by three others, pinned George Floyd down by his neck for over nine minutes, murdering him in front of onlookers that broadcasted the tragic scene live to the world. Minneapolis, the country, and the world would forever change, as a global uprising against systemic racism ensued, the epicenter at the Third Precinct Police station in Director’s Cy Dodson’s longtime neighborhood, revealing an immersive observation of unrest in the days between the killing of George Floyd and the charges filed against police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Filmed over a seven-year period that began before the earthquake of 2010, SERENADE FOR HAITI (Serenad pou Ayiti) illustrates the incredible power of music, art, and education to hold together one community through tragedy, upheaval, and uncertainty. The documentary captures a rare view of Haiti, a complex and widely misunderstood country, and finds a story of transcendence and great humanity as the students and teachers of the Sainte Trinité Music School turn to music and education to unlock the power of their own lives. Devotion to each other and to the possibilities that the future still holds for them are expressed in the footage of children rehearsing in the rubble and in the rich musical heritage they have inherited.

Directed by the award-winning documentary filmmaker Owsley Brown (Night Waltz: The Music of Paul Bowles; Music Makes a City), the film probes the fragile connections that bind generations as faculty and students commit to maintaining and passing down the musical legacy of their troubled country. Featuring the vivid cinematography of Marcel Cabrera and sound design by Academy Award winner (Apocalypse Now), Richard Beggs (Children of Men; Lost in Translation; The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), the film ventures deep into the streets of urban Port-au-Prince and journeys into Haiti’s diverse and beautiful rural regions. The soundtrack features the compositions of Haiti’s important classical composers whose work has until now been largely undiscovered by international audiences.

THE FIRST RAINBOW COALITION charts the history and legacy of a groundbreaking multi-ethnic coalition that rocked Chicago in the 1960s. Comprised of activists from the Black Panthers, the Young Patriots (southern whites), and the Young Lords (a former Puerto Rican street gang), Chicago’s Rainbow Coalition (1969-1971) united poor Blacks, Whites, and Latinos to openly challenge police brutality and substandard housing in one of the most segregated cities in America.

Bridging past and present, The First Rainbow Coalition examines the legacy of the Rainbow Coalition, exploring how contemporary problems that displace the poor in urban areas, such as gentrification and the relationship between the police and poor and minority communities, are fundamentally linked to the defining issues around which the Rainbow Coalition was organized. A thought-provoking film that sparks new dialogue about the 1960s, The First Rainbow Coalition provides an unparalleled platform for contemporary discussions on race and class in an increasingly divided United States.

THE FIRST STEP reveals an intimate portrait of an activist’s isolation and internal struggles while attempting to be a bridge builder in a time of extreme polarization, what it takes to make change in a divided nation, and the lives of frontline activists fighting for their communities. In a divided America, advocate Van Jones controversially works across party lines on landmark criminal justice reform and a more humane response to America's addiction crisis. Facing fierce opposition from both political parties in a climate where bipartisanship has become a dirty word, Jones and his team enlist the support of justice-impacted individuals, faith leaders, grassroots activists and cultural figures — including Kim Kardashian — to pass legislation that would fix some broken aspects of the justice system and bring thousands of incarcerated people home early. The bill’s champions immediately find themselves navigating a high-stakes game of political chess in Washington, D.C. Their quest brings them face-to-face with progressive champions like Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, U.S. Senators Kamala Harris and Bernie Sanders, as well as conservative figures like U.S. Senator Rand Paul, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner — and ultimately, Donald Trump himself. While trying to pass the bipartisan bill through a deeply polarized Congress, Jones is condemned by the right for his progressive beliefs — and by the left for working with conservatives.

UPROOTED is a feature-length documentary celebrating the African history, lineage, and future progressions of jazz dance. With a stellar cast of leading industry experts, award-winning choreographers, and legendary performers, this groundbreaking documentary goes back to the roots in Africa and follows the evolution of this incredible dance form through every single decade and genre. Exploring and commenting on political and social influences, the film addresses topics such as appropriation, racism, socialism, and sexism. UPROOTED includes special appearances with Debbie Allen, George Faison, Chita Rivera, Camille A. Brown and Thomas F. DeFrantz and showcases the works of the Nicholas Brothers, Pepsi Bethel, Jack Cole, Katherine Dunham, Bob Fosse and Gene Kelly.

Photographer Ernest Withers shot over a million images, capturing the stars of Negro League Baseball and Memphis music alongside the everyday celebrations and sorrows of his tight-knit community. An intrepid journeyman for the Black press and often uncredited source for the white mainstream, he chased stories throughout the south and behind the scenes, drawing the world's attention to the civil rights movement from the Emmett Till trial through the King assassination and beyond. After his death, Withers was exposed as an FBI informant who'd provided photos and information about activists who'd welcomed him into their inner circle. THE PICTURE TAKER explores his motives and digs beyond the headlines that threaten to reduce a complicated life into a sensational sound bite. THE PICTURE TAKER raises questions about community, power, and patriotism in times of great social upheaval, and the lens through which we judge history. Neither saint nor sinner, loyalist nor traitor, Withers' choices and the record he left behind provide an invaluable map of the roads this country has traveled, and how far it has yet to go.

WE HAVE REACHED THE MOMENT follows Vic’s journey as he tries to explain to his climate-denying father the impacts of the climate crisis on their own disenfranchised communities. Adding to this deeply emotional challenge is Vic’s concurrent gender transition, shifting their relationship from father-daughter to father-son, for which there is no instructional manual. Vic ultimately, like any son or daughter, desires unconditional acceptance, love, and support from his parent…but how do we connect with loved ones when their belief systems undermine our very identity and right to a healthy future?

Vic Barrett was just 12-years-old when Hurricane Sandy hammered his native New York City. "It's easy to feel like nature can't really touch you when you're in a concrete city. But in that moment, I realized the actions that perpetuate climate change were a direct cause of how that storm affected us." Since then, Vic has spoken to the United Nations, testified before Congress, and become one of 21 plaintiffs on the landmark U.S. constitutional climate change lawsuit Juliana v United States. His message has traveled far, but he has one important audience he still struggles to reach: his own father.

What does it mean to be young, Black, and a Democrat in the American South? WHILE I BREATHE, I HOPE follows South Carolina politician Bakari Sellers as he runs to become the first African American candidate elected statewide in over a century. The film begins by following Sellers as he makes his 2014 bid for Lieutenant Governor, through the Charleston Shootings, and during the removal of the Confederate flag in 2015. Through his experiences, this timely film offers audiences a window into the legacy of race in politics in the United States today.

Filmed from 2017-2020, WOMEN IN BLUE follows Minneapolis’ first female police chief Janeé Harteau, as she works to reform the Minneapolis Police Department by getting rid of bad cops, retraining the rest, diversifying the ranks, and promoting women—who statistically use less force than their male counterparts—into every rank of leadership. The film focuses on four women in Harteau’s department, each trying to redefine what it means to protect and serve.  After a high-profile, officer-involved shooting forces Chief Harteau to resign, the new, male chief selects only men as his top brass. The women left behind must grapple with working to rebuild community trust, in a department where women have lost power.

WOMEN IN BLUE offers an unprecedented view into the inner workings of the MPD, chronicling a department—and a community—grappling with racism and a troubled history of police misconduct long before an MPD officer killed George Floyd in May of 2020. The film reveals the limitations of police reform through incremental change and asks questions that apply well beyond the city of Minneapolis.  Could increased gender equity and more women—especially Black women—contribute to greater public safety?