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American Studies Fall 2015 Documentary Film Series

Sep 4, 2015

Please join us for the Department of American Studies Fall 2015 Documentary Film Series.

The series is a showcase of critically acclaimed independent documentary films and award-winning features centering on some of the most vital issues of our time.  These intriguing films offer in-depth investigations of climate change, militarism, civil rights, immigration, sovereignty, and labor organizing.  Discussion to follow (time allowing).  Admission is free.  All are welcome.

Date:    See schedule below

Time:    5:00 p.m.

Place:   Kuykendall 307


For more information:


September 3: Elemental
(2013) Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee and Gayatri Roshan

“Elemental” tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most pressing ecological challenges of our time. The film follows Rajendra Singh, an Indian government official gone rogue, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges River, now polluted and dying.

September 9: Let the Fire Burn
(2014) Jason Osder

A  history of the conflict of the City of Philadelphia and the Black Liberation organization, MOVE, that led to the disastrously violent final confrontation in 1985.

October 1: Freedom Riders
(2011) Stanley Nelson

The film chronicles the story behind hundreds of civil rights activists called the Freedom Riders who challenged the racial segregation of the American interstate transport and by traveling together in small interracial groups and sitting where they chose on the buses and trains to demand equal access to terminal restaurants and waiting rooms, and to bring racial segregation national attention.

October 14: Who is Dayani Cristal?
(2014) Gael García Bernal

An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a real-life human drama.  The search for identity leads us back across a continent to seek out the people left behind and the meaning of a mysterious tattoo.

October 15: Harlan Country, USA
(1976) Barbara Kopple

Oscar-winning documentary film covering the “Brookside Strike,” an effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company-owned Eastover Coal Company’s Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in Harlan County, southeast Kentucky in 1973.

October 21: Fog of War Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
(2003) Errol Morris

A film about the life and times of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara illustrating his observations of the nature of modern warfare.

November 4: Why We Fight
(2005) Eugene Jarecki

A documentary film about the military-industrial complex. The title refers to the World War II-era eponymous propaganda movies commissioned by the U.S. Government to justify their decision to enter the war against the Axis Powers.

November 5: 99%: The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film

A film about the Occupy Wall Street movement directed by Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read, Nina Krstic, and co-directed by Katie Teague, Peter Leeman, Aric Gutnick, Doree Simon, and Abby Martin.  The project features the work of more than 100 collaborators who contributed approximately 18 terabytes of film footage from dozens of American cities. Commentators include Naomi Wolf, Matt Taibbi, and Micah White.

November 18: Merchants of Doubt
(2014) Robert Kenner

A documentary that looks at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.

November 19: Noho Hewa: The Wrongful Occupation of Hawai‘i 
(2008) Anne Keala Kelly

In the Hawaiian language, hewa means “wrong” and noho means “to occupy”. This documentary is a contemorary look at Hawaiian people, politics and resistance in the face of their systematic erasure under U.S. laws, economy, militarism, and real estate speculation. It is a raw, unscripted story that makes critical links between seemingly unrelated industries, and is told from the perspective of Hawaiians.

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