BLOG

TOPIC: Race & Ethnicity

“Nobody Was Listening”: Finding Light in a Dark Stairwell

Filmmaker Ursula Liang‘s previous documentary 9-Man was about the fascinating titular sport that originated among Chinese immigrant communities in the United States and Canada, and was set in mostly Boston, Washington and Toronto. Her new film Down a Dark Stairwell takes Liang and her crew down a darker storyline, but as the Massachusetts native Liang … READ MORE

“Coded Bias” Explores Blurring of Real and Imagined Artificial Intelligence

Shalini Kantayya has directed visually eye-catching and memorable work for both National Geographic TV with Breakthrough, a series profiling trailblazing scientists transforming the future) and the documentary Catching the Sun, about the race for a clean energy future, a New York Times Critics’ Pick executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. For her second feature-length documentary, Coded … READ MORE

Coded Bias” Asks: Are Our Faces Being Used Against Us?

By Christina Sturdivant Sani Coded Bias begins with MIT researcher Joy Boulamwini’s quest to find out why facial recognition technology inaccurately viewed her beautifully-hued brown face. After viewing the documentary with my friend India, a UX designer, and my husband Hamzat, the retail director at a Washington, D.C.-based boutique that centers around Black artisans, we were … READ MORE

Who Was Mr. SOUL?

If you’re of a certain generation and familiar at all with the late ’60s and early ’70s groundbreaking public TV show SOUL!, you may recognize the name Ellis Haizlip, but he’s not exactly a household name. The groundbreaking producer and co-host of the show is also filmmaker Melissa Haizlip’s late uncle. While Ellis Haizlip sadly … READ MORE

Listen Up: How Music Was the Heart of SOUL!

by Nick Dedina Today we take it for granted that Black culture is mainstream American culture. But, before the age of hip-hop, cable TV, the internet, streaming, and mobile phones, African Americans basically had to crowdsource their own entertainment guide.  Forget about Black stories being told—so few Black artists were even accepted on TV that … READ MORE

How SOUL! Helped Pave the Way for Black Cultural Programming

By Ade D. Adeniji Mr. SOUL! explores America’s first Black variety television show SOUL!, which ran from 1968 to 1973, and was steered by pioneering Black producer and host Ellis Haizlip. Many have likely seen the pristine sets of SOUL! and not even know it. The series featured legendary black musicians, artists, athlete-activists, and thinkers … READ MORE

Telling the Story of Gender, Politics, and Violence in America Through the Eyes of Women Police Officers

In addition to her documentaries Still Doing It: The Intimate Lives of Women Over 65, and Suicide On Campus, a web documentary produced in conjunction with The New York Times Magazine, Deirdre Fishel‘s previous film CARE peeled back the curtain of a topic Americans often avert their eyes away from, the largely hidden world of … READ MORE

How Jared Leto and 92 Film Crews Captured 24 Hours in America

In some ways, you’d think Jared Leto, Oscar-winning actor, movie star, and frontman for Platinum-selling band (with his brother Shannon) 30 Seconds to Mars, would not need much of an introduction. But now you can add another hat, with a new, heartfelt project for Leto, which is in some ways as ambitious as anything he’s … READ MORE

Honor Hispanic Heritage Month with Eight Unique Documentaries

By Lola Méndez Hispanic Heritage Month has been honored annually in the United States since 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson first launched it as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to last the four weeks from September 15th to October 15th. Hispanic Heritage Month commemorates the histories, cultures, and contributions … READ MORE

“Your Vote Is Your Voice”: Best Films About Voting Rights

The right to vote is one of the most fundamental rights in a Democracy, and yet who has been allowed to vote in America has been a battle that’s been bitterly waged for decades.  Two new documentaries; John Lewis: Good Trouble, about the legendary Civil Rights activist and Congressman; and American Experience’s two-part series The … READ MORE

Young Musicians Play Ancient Instrument in the “Olympics of the Pipe Organ”

The Montreal-based filmmaker Stacey Tenenbaum‘s joyful film The Art of the Shine, which aired on PBS, took the director all over the world, from New York to Toronto, Paris to La Paz, Bolivia, to look at the forgotten profession of shoe shining. Now with her film Pipe Dreams, she brings the world to her hometown, … READ MORE