Documentaries & Movies
When They See Us
Five teens from Harlem become trapped in a nightmare when they're falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park in 1989. This Netflix series created, co-written, and directed by Ava DuVernay is based on the true story.
400th Commemoration of Resistance to Slavery and Injustice film series
To highlight the perseverance of Africans from 1619 to the present day, the UC Berkeley Library has selected 40 films to acknowledge and commemorate the many voices that have contributed to American history. These films tell compelling historical narratives and appeal to a broad audience, forming a space for educators to use these resources to link our diverse history to the classroom.
Explore the world created by America’s First Peoples. The four-part series reaches back 15,000 years to reveal massive cities aligned with the stars, unique systems of science and spirituality, and 100 million people connected by social networks spanning two continents. (PBS)
Changing the Game
Transgender high school athletes from across the country compete at the top of their fields, while also challenging the boundaries and perceptions of fairness and discrimination.
Sorry to Bother You
In an alternate reality of present-day Oakland, Calif., telemarketer Cassius Green finds himself in a macabre universe after he discovers a magical key that leads to material glory. As Green's career begins to take off, his friends and co-workers organize a protest against corporate oppression.
Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family's ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.
Academy Award Best Picture 2017 A look at three defining chapters in the life of Chiron, a young black man growing up in Miami. His epic journey to manhood is guided by the kindness, support and love of the community that helps raise him.
Hale | Directed by Brad Bailey
Hale Zukas, 73, has had cerebral palsy since birth. He was one of the founding members of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, the first group of its kind in the world dedicated to advocate for the rights of disabled people. Berkeley is the birthplace of the disability movement, and the work started by Hale and others in the 1970's forever changed how the world looks at disability. (From IMDB)
A Fantastic Woman | Directed by SEBASTIÁN LELIO
"A FANTASTIC WOMAN is the story of Marina, a waitress and singer, and Orlando, an older man, who are in love and planning for the future. After Orlando suddenly falls ill and dies, Marina is forced to confront his family and society, and to fight again to show them who she is: complex, strong, forthright, fantastic." (Sony Pictures Classics). Academy Award Winner - Best Foreign Language Film 2018.
13th | Directed by Ava DuVernay
An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation's history of racial inequality. " More African-American men are incarcerated, or on probation or parole, than were enslaved in 1850, and the United States, which accounts for 5% of the world’s population, counts nearly a quarter of the world's incarcerated people." Time Magazine
Strong Island | Directed by Yance Ford
"Strong Island chronicles the arc of a family across history, geography and tragedy - from the racial segregation of the Jim Crow South to the promise of New York City; from the presumed safety of middle class suburbs, to the maelstrom of an unexpected, violent death." (Documentary)
The Vietnam War | by Ben Burns and Lyn Novick
In this 10-part 18-hour documentary is an immersive 360-degree narrative, Burns and Novick tell the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never before been told on film. The Vietnam War features testimony from nearly 100 witnesses.
Sins Invalid: An Unashamed Claim to Beauty
“Sins Invalid witnesses a performance project that incubates and celebrates artists with disabilities, centralizing artists of color and queer and gender-variant artists. Since 2006, its performances have explored themes of sexuality, beauty, and the disabled body, impacting thousands through live performance."
Hidden Figures | Directed by Theodore Melfi - Suggested by freshman Erik Partida
"HIDDEN FIGURES is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)-brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big." Rotten Tomatoes
From Incarceration to Education |
A documentary film about four formerly incarcerated students at UC Berkeley and their path to higher education and success.
Dolores |Directed by Peter Bratt
This documentary about Dolores Huerta is among the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87.
I Am Not Your Negro | Directed by Raoul Peck
Filmmaker Raoul Peck looks at James Baldwin's unfinished book 'Remember This House' and examines race in America through Baldwin's words and archival material. The film looks at black representation in Hollywood and beyond.
Almost Sunrise | Filmaker Michael Collins
The documentary follows two Iraq veterans, Tom Voss and Anthony Anderson, who struggle with depression upon returning home from service. Fearful of succumbing to the epidemic of veteran suicide, they seek a lifeline and embark on a 2,700-mile walk across America as a way to confront their inner pain.
The film captures an intimate portrait of two friends suffering from the unseen wounds of war as they discover an unlikely treatment: the restorative power of silence and meditation.
Raising Zoey | Directed by Dante Alencastre
With the help of her mother and the ACLU, 13-year-old Zoey fights for the right to self-identify at school in Los Angeles.
Sacred Water: Standing Rock
The people of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation of North and South Dakota fight to stop a pipeline from being built on their ancestral homeland. Directed and written by Michelle Latimer
Poor Kids | Produced by Jezza Neumann and Lauren Mucciolo
Through the stories of three families told over the course of half a decade, FRONTLINE explores what poverty means to children in America.
The Mask You Live In | Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Boys and young men struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America's narrow definition of masculinity.
The Black Panthers - Vanguard of the Revolution | Directed by Stanley Nelson
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is the first feature-length documentary to explore the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for black people, and the painful lessons wrought when a movement derails. (PBS)
Red State | Directed by Danielle Andersen and Jonathan Nelson
Right now, no matter where you stand on the political spectrum, it would be natural to want to scream. Filmmakers Danielle Andersen and Jonathan Nelson explore the anger and anxiety of the current moment in two minutes. From Topic - an ambitious new entertainment & storytelling studio from First Look Media, dedicated to working with creators at the forefront of culture.