Documentary & Biopic

‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ Highlights the Need for Social Acceptance of LGBTQ People in China and Globally

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Often, when we talk about LGBTQ rights, we focus on legal battles – criminalization, marriage equality, adoption, and civil rights – but Sophia Luvara’s new documentary reminds us that social acceptance and cultural attitudes are just as important. ‘Inside the Chinese Closet’ follows Andy and Cherry, a gay man and a lesbian woman who struggle to reconcile their desire to live truthfully with their families’ expectations of them.

‘Starless Dreams’ Offers an Intimate Look at Iran Through Its Juvenile Detention Centers

Starless Dreams

In ‘Starless Dreams,’ we learn about the lives of teenage girls inside Iran’s juvenile detention centers, but we also learn how director Mehrdad Oskouei attempts to change hearts and minds in his own country. It’s an attempt that’s packaged for his fellow citizens rather than foreigners and, watching the film as an outsider is a complicated, multilayered experience.

‘Making a Murderer,’ ‘Fantastic Lies,’ and the Uneasy Exculpation Narratives by Women Directors

Making a Murderer

What is most remarkable and perhaps most subversively compelling about both ‘Making a Murderer’ and ‘Fantastic Lies,’ and about the intentions and directorial choices of their respective creators, is that neither documentary endeavor chronicles the sagas of particularly defensible — or even, to some, at all likable — men.

I’m a Lilly – And You’re Probably One Too: All Women Face Gender Discrimination

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I’m a woman director who’s been working in Hollywood for nearly 3 decades. I was compelled to bring Lilly Ledbetter’s story to the big screen because her David-and-Goliath battles with an entrenched, American corporation resonated for me politically, professionally, and personally. The truth is that, while Lilly’s life and mine may seem worlds apart, we are both female workers in male-dominated industries — and gender discrimination hurts the same everywhere.

A Joyful ‘Mavis!’ Plus Q & A with Director Jessica Edwards

Mavis Staples documentary

Director Jessica Edwards includes plenty of the Staples’ less familiar music (which still sounds fresh and striking: I predict most people who see this documentary will quickly add a Staples Singer channel to their Spotify and Pandora selections) as well as photos and TV clips from their appearances stretching back to the 1950s. Although Pops had a smooth, clear voice, Mavis usually had the lead vocal even at the beginning. Like Amy Winehouse her style and virtuosity were already an adult’s when she was still a young teen.

Moonfaze Feminist Film Festival: Her Story Illuminated

The Pink Sorrys

Writer/Director/Actress and Moonfaze Film Festival Founder Premstar Santana has taken on the challenge of not waiting for Hollywood to feature feminist cinema. She is creating the platform that elevates feminist viewpoints from marginalized voices that rarely get the opportunity to shine.

’10 Days in a Madhouse’ Chronicles Nellie Bly’s Investigative Journalism

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The story of Nellie Bly, a pioneering female journalist and investigative reporter, has been translated into a feature film. ’10 Days in a Madhouse’ (the screenplay is adapted from her book ‘Ten Days in a Mad-House,’ which was a collection of her news articles) debuts nationwide on Nov. 20.

Johanna Hamilton’s ‘1971’: A Thrilling Portrait of Activism

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Bonnie offers a very different take, one that speaks volumes about her resoluteness, level of engagement and selflessness: “We felt that just because we were parents didn’t mean that we could remove ourselves from responsibility, that that would have been kind of a cop-out. We decided that we weren’t going to be content when we continued to see things that really disturbed us.”

‘The True Cost’: An Ethical Look at an Exploitative Industry

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The collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Savar, Bangladesh on the April 24, 2013 is one of the tragedies of our time. More than 1,100 garment workers lost their lives and many more were injured. The majority of them were young women. It was, in fact, nothing less than industrial murder.

In Which I Attempt to Convince the World to Watch All Things Tig Notaro

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I had never heard anything like this sketch; I was enthralled. The timing. The repetition. The silence. Such gorgeous pauses. In a world where it feels like we need to fill every space with some yammering, to hear someone on stage using silence–to be brave enough to use it–made me take notice of this person Tig. And not just me. ‘The New York Times’ ran a piece about her 13-minute paean to Taylor Dane.

Straight Outta Women: NWA Biopic and Lack of Female Representation

Clip from Murder She Wrote (YouTube)

Director and Compton native F. Gary Gray and the two rappers, who also serve as the film’s producers, made sure to include some of their best male comrades like Snoop Dogg and Tupac, but there are no signs of the women they helped bring into the music scene.

‘A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile’: Telling the Story of the Hoax Heard ‘Round the Blogosphere

A Gay Girl in Damascus doc

Directed by Sophie Deraspe, ‘A Gay Girl in Damascus: The Amina Profile’ begins as a love story, turns into a story of fearless resistance, collapses into terror, and then transforms into the investigation of a…man who breaks strangers’ hearts.