During this time when our society is confronting matters of racism and inequity, many distributors, production houses, and other entities are making available films and resources pertaining to these issues.
At Bryn Mawr Film Institute, we believe that cinema can serve many functions, including raising awareness, generating empathy, and stimulating change. In the coming weeks, we’ll continue to update this page with additional resources as they become available, with the hope of helping to spark the conversations necessary to engage with these critical issues. At BMFI, we know that we have work to do if we are going to be part of the solution. We can start by highlighting some voices that need to be heard. It’s not the only thing we can do, and these resources are not exhaustive, but they are places to start.
BMFI has compiled a list of films worth seeing that discuss racism and injustice in Black communities. This list is not exhaustive, but it is a place to start. See the list and where you can stream each film here.
Spike Lee’s seminal 1989 film about racial tensions and police brutality in Brooklyn is available to stream for free on all platforms through Monday, June 29, courtesy of Universal Pictures and the American Film Institute. Watch a brand-new interview with Lee, recorded live on Thursday, June 25, on AFI’s YouTube channel.
This original, contemporary work produced by Opera Philadelphia, which follows five Philadelphia teenagers squatting in the condemned West Philly townhouse that was once the headquarters of the MOVE organization, is streaming for free as part of the Digital Festival O through August 31. The companion student guide is rich with information about opera as an art form, details behind this commissioned production, writing exercises crafted around themes presented in this opera, and pieces of Philadelphia history that provide context to the performance.
Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated exploration of the deep-rooted racial inequalities in America’s prison system is available to stream for free on Netflix’s YouTube channel.
This Oscar-nominated documentary composed of archival footage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has been newly restored by the Library of Congress to its complete three-hour version, which Kino Lorber has made available for free during the month of June.
This gripping film, which traces the years of clashes, political conflict, and racial tension between the MOVE organization and Philadelphia Police that culminated in one of the darkest days in Philadelphia’s history, is available to stream free during the month of June courtesy of Kino Lorber and Zeitgeist Films.
Filmmaker Yance Ford documents the convergence of racial injustice, grief, and family after the murder of his brother in this Oscar-nominated documentary, made available to stream free on Netflix’s YouTube channel.
Selma, Ava DuVernay’s 2014 dramatic telling of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 march for voting rights in Selma, Alabama, will be available to stream for free on all platforms for the rest of June, courtesy of Paramount Pictures.
Monsters and Men, Reinaldo Marcus Green’s 2018 debut feature about a police shooting of an unarmed black man, is streaming for free on YouTube courtesy of NEON Rated. The distributor also has provided a discussion guide to help facilitate deeper conversations about the film and its themes. Find the YouTube link and more information on the distributor’s site.
The Criterion Channel has lifted its paywall for select films that portray and explore Black lives, so you can view them without being a subscriber. Available films include works from filmmakers like Oscar Micheaux, Maya Angelou, Charles Burnett, Julie Dash, and many more. Read more about The Criterion Channel’s offer in this article from IndieWire.
PBS just announced an extensive schedule of streaming and broadcast programs that address race and racism in America. The line-up includes films with historical context by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Stanley Nelson, and rebroadcasts from series like Frontline, POV, and Independent Lens.
Filmatique, a boutique streaming service for contemporary arthouse and world cinema, has released an Anti-Racist Viewing Guide of the titles currently available in their library. Redeem your free, extended three-month trial of Filmatique with BMFI’s link.
Ava DuVernay’s production company has launched a new online learning initiative, ARRAY 101, which provides free learning guides as tools for furthering social justice. The first program is a supplement to DuVernay’s Netflix series, When They See Us. Lessons, tools, and activities are available for each episode, and designed for anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of social justice and advocacy, grade 9 and above.
This article from Vanity Fair scrubs the Netflix catalog for anti-racism films worth viewing. Spoiler: none of them is The Help.