Films Highlighting the Black Experience in America – Rodney Uhler
Hoop Dreams (Available on Hulu, HBO)
What was meant to be a breezy 30min television documentary ended up being an epic, three-hour, Sundance-winning, Oscar-nominated feature. Profiling the parallel “careers” of two 14 year old boys who are scouted in inner city Chicago during the late 80s for their basketball futures. Spanning their entire high-school careers, the films beautifully show how a few, slight, systematic shifts can dramatically alter the journey of their lives.
Whose Streets? (AVAILABLE ON Hulu, Kanopy)
A fast-paced, thrilling but tragic documentary chronicling the protests in Ferguson Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown. The film is made by the activists and residents of the city which provides both incredible footage and insight into the surrounding movement.
Do The Right Thing (Available on Amazon Prime)
Spike Lee’s masterpiece from 1989 is unnervingly relevant today. Taking place over a brutally hot summer in Brooklyn, heat and tensions reach boiling points as the murder of local DJ by the police splinters the neighborhood catching local pizza delivery boy (Lee himself) in the crosshairs. Smart and stylish, the film is less concerned with teaching you clear cut lessons as it is making you ask the hard questions.
13th (Available on Netflix)
A surprise but much-worthy opener for the New York Film Festival when it debuted in 2016. Ava DuVernay’s documentary takes an in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals our nation’s history of racial inequality. Featuring everyone from Cory Booker and Angela Davis to Grover Norquist, the film provides a thoroughly well-reasoned look at a complicated issue without ever sacrificing engaging filmmaking.
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Available on Netflix)
Stanley Kramer’s iconic 1967 film that takes the big issue of racism and examines it through an intimate, domestic lens. Armed with incredible actors (Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracey), the dynamics of a dinner are given greater meaning. The film about difficult conversations ended up sparking many difficult conversations both within the industry and by audiences.