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Documentary of the Week

WNYC

Technology has made non-fiction film easier to make, more available and more popular than ever before. Here, WNYC selects the best documentaries as they come to screens of any size.

Location:

New York, NY

Networks:

WNYC

Description:

Technology has made non-fiction film easier to make, more available and more popular than ever before. Here, WNYC selects the best documentaries as they come to screens of any size.

Language:

English


Episodes
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'Queen of the Deuce' profiles the grandmother who ran porn theaters

5/24/2024
'Queen of the Deuce' profiles Chelly Wilson, a Greek Jewish immigrant grandmother who ran multiple adult film theaters around New York City's 42nd Street. Filmmaker Valerie Kontakos evokes the 1970s era when adult film was on an upswing with Wilson at the center.

Duration:00:01:37

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'A Time to Stir' looks at Columbia University in 1968

5/10/2024
'A Time to Stir' is a 10-part oral history film focusing on the Columbia University student strike of 1968. Filmmaker Paul Cronin interviewed hundreds of participants to bring multiple fresh perspectives that still resonate today. Hear the director interviewed on Pure Nonfiction.

Duration:00:02:21

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Is 'The Contestant' the most bizarre documentary of the year?

5/3/2024
'The Contestant' explores the early days of reality TV in Japan when a man named Nasubi spent over a year naked in isolation living off prizes from magazine sweepstakes while 30 million viewers tuned in to watch. Filmmaker Clair Titley interviews all the main players in the story and explores what happened to Nasubi after he became famous.

Duration:00:01:39

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'Uncropped' profiles photographer James Hamilton

4/26/2024
'Uncropped' profiles the the photographer James Hamilton who has an eclectic career spanning street scenes, celebrity portraits, war coverage and more. Filmmaker D.W. Young crafts the documentary as a love letter to a bygone era of New York journalism.

Duration:00:01:40

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'Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story' profiles a Chinatown hero

4/18/2024
'Photographic Justice: The Corky Lee Story' profiles the New York photographer who dedicated himself to covering the Asian American community for five decades. Filmmaker Jennifer Takaki chronicles the emergence of Asian American activism through the lens of Lee.

Duration:00:01:48

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'Kim's Video' is film history as a heist movie

4/5/2024
Filmmakers Ashley Sabin and David Redmon explore the mystery of what happened to the famous collection of VHS tapes and DVDs from New York's beloved rental store Kim's Video that closed in 2008. The documentary is made with the same outlaw spirit as the original store known for its bootleg editions.

Duration:00:01:50

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Exploring the career of Paul Simon

3/29/2024
'In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon' explores six decades of the musician's career while following him in the studio for the making of his recent album, 'Seven Psalms.' Filmmaker Alex Gibney delivers a wealth of insight into a monumental career.

Duration:00:02:07

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'Carol Doda Topless at the Condor' profiles a trail blazer

3/22/2024
'Carol Doda Topless at the Condor' profiles the San Francisco dancer who broke taboos with nude performances starting in 1964. In this documentary from filmmakers Marlo McKenzie and Jonathan Parker, feminist scholars unpack questions of empowerment and exploitation.

Duration:00:01:34

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'Frida' profiles the Mexican painter in her own words

3/14/2024
'Frida' profiles the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo by drawing upon her own words from diaries, letters and interviews. Filmmaker Carla Gutierrez taps into a rich archive of visuals and collaborates with Mexican animators to bring movement to Kahlo's autobiographical paintings.

Duration:00:01:54

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'A Revolution on Canvas' profiles Iranian artists in exile

3/7/2024
'A Revolution on Canvas' explores the complicated history of Iranian artists Nicky Nodjoumi and Nahid Hagigat who are exiled in the United States. Their daughter Sara Nodjoumi and her co-director Till Schauder revisit hard choices made over art, revolution and family.

Duration:00:01:48

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'God Save Texas' challenges preconceptions about the state

2/29/2024
The HBO series 'God Save Texas' presents three films bringing fresh perspectives on the state, inspired by the book by Pulitzer Prize winner Lawrence Wright. In the episode 'La Frontera,' filmmaker Iliana Sosa reflects on her hometown of El Paso.

Duration:00:02:04

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'Breaking the News' follows the journalism team at The 19th*

2/22/2024
'Breaking the News' follows the start-up of The 19th*, a non-profit journalism outlet focused on people marginalized by gender and race. The film, streaming from PBS' Independent Lens, captures the organization's successes and internal struggles.

Duration:00:04:56

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'Island in Between' looks at tensions between Taiwan and China

2/15/2024
In 'Island in Between,' filmmaker S. Leo Chiang reflects on geopolitical tensions between Taiwan and China. He takes a personal journey to the Kinmen islands that are on the front lines of conflict between the two countries.

Duration:00:01:52

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'Bobi Wine: The People's President' follows a pop star turned politician

2/8/2024
'Bobi Wine: The People's President' follows a Ugandan pop star who enters politics to oppose the authoritarian regime that's held power for over three decades. The Oscar-nominated film covers several tumultuous years as Bobi Wine and his wife Barbie stand up to violence and intimidation.

Duration:00:01:58

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'The ABCs of Book Banning' listens to students

2/1/2024
'The ABCs of Book Banning' gives a platform to grade school students and others to reflect on what it means when titles are pulled off their library shelves. Filmmaker Sheila Nevins, a longtime executive at HBO and MTV, makes her directorial debut with this film that's nominated for an Oscar in the category of Short Documentary.

Duration:00:04:11

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Covering Ukraine in '20 Days in Mariupol'

12/8/2023
'20 Days in Mariupol' follows Associated Press cameraman Mstyslav Chernov in the Ukrainian city that was on the front lines of Russia's invasion. When most of the press corps pulled out of the city, Chernov stayed behind to capture footage. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage.

Duration:00:01:58

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'Deciding Vote' on legalizing abortion

12/1/2023
The short documentary 'Deciding Vote' looks back to 1970 when legalizing abortion in New York State hinged upon one assemblyman, George Michaels. Filmmakers Jeremy Workman and Rob Lyons explore what it took for Michaels to cast a vote that he'd knew would end his political career.

Duration:00:01:49

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'The Disappearance of Shere Hite' profiles the controversial sex researcher

11/16/2023
'The Disappearance of Shere Hite' explores the rise and fall of the sex researcher who emerged in the 1970s with best-selling books then faded into obscurity. Filmmaker Nicole Newnham draws upon a vast archive of footage and enlists Dakota Johnson to read from Hite's writing.

Duration:00:01:44

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Liv Ullmann in person at the DOC NYC festival

11/9/2023
'Liv Ullmann: A Road Less Travelled' profiles the actress-director-writer who will appear in person for the film's U.S. premiere at the DOC NYC festival on November 12. The film explores her journey as a storyteller and an activist for refugees.

Duration:00:01:54

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'Another Body' explores deepfake pornography

11/3/2023
'Another Body' explores the rising cases of non-consensual deepfake technology used in pornography, whereby an unsuspecting woman's face is digitally edited into explicit content. The film follows a college student who investigates her own victimization when she can't find justice from police.

Duration:00:01:58