Documentaries You Can Watch Today to Educate Yourself on Black Lives Matter

As a community at FF2, we are devastated by the tragic events that have occurred in the past month, and over centuries before that. We want to honor and remember George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sandra Bland, Chantel Moor, Elijah McClain, Erik Salgado, Layleen Polanco, Atatiana Jefferson, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and the many, many other victims of police brutality and anti-Black racism. 

At FF2, we are committed to practicing anti-racism within our content and within our creative team. Over the years, we have watched countless stunning performances by Black actors, have listened to hours of wonderful music composed by Black musicians, and we have seen, reviewed and loved countless films by Black female filmmakers. We believe in the importance of these stories, and we will fight for them. We recognize that the film industry is riddled not only with misogyny but with anti-Blackness, so we will take specific action to help Black female filmmakers combat these barriers within the film industry, barriers which we find unacceptable. We have always, and will always, listen to, uplift, and learn from the voices of Black artists. Today and every day. Today and every day, Black Lives Matter. 

Here is a list of informative documentaries that we have reviewed in the past few years with the links to their reviews. They are great resources if you’d like to learn more, too.

13thwritten and directed by Ava DuVernay

Rachel A. Kastner writes: “Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th is one of the most masterful documentaries released this year. It compels its viewers to sit upright, and pay close attention to every percentage, statistic and fact handed to them in this in-depth look at the American prison system, and its inextricable ties to racial inequality in the United States. 13th is overwhelming. Jam-packed with important information, and tens of brilliant interviewees, it is simply a must-see.”

Decade of Fire, written and directed by Gretchen Hildebran and Vivian Vázquez Irizarry 

Katherine Cutler writes: “During the 70’s and early 80’s, the Bronx was burning. The documentary, Decade of Fire, explores the history of this chaotic time, delving deeper and uncovering the many factors that have put the Bronx at risk.”

Gideon’s Army, written and directed by Dawn Porter

Jan Lisa Huttner writes: “Terrific doc follows 2 young Black attorneys (Brandy Alexander & Travis Williams) who have taken on the difficult role of Public Defender. With all the odds stacked against them, they still fight for clients who often have no one else in their corner.

The mechanics are mind-blowing & it becomes clear that our great “adversarial justice system” really is rigged to benefit those with $$.

Kudos to filmmaker Dawn Porter & her team for bringing us this important story about the important work of the Southern Public Defender Training Center!”

I Am Evidence, directed by Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir

Malin Jörnvi writes: “‘It is the system that is criminal.’ I Am Evidence is a timely and regrettably unsurprising exposure of a justice system that continually prioritizes other cases above the violation of women’s bodies. Horrifying and captivating, co-directors Trish Adlesic and Geeta Gandbhir’s documentary is so well put together that commenting on the technical aspect is close to impossible—I was too engaged in the message to notice the frame.”

The New Black, written and directed by Yoruba Richen

Jan Lisa Huttner writes: “Terrific new documentary unravels the full range of Black responses to the 2012 campaign for Marriage Equality in Maryland. Focus is on the local activists who were personally campaigning Pro & Con.

Altho funding by White Catholic & Mormon churches was critical in getting the issue on the ballot in the first place, they remain is in the background, while Black Pastors in Maryland move to the foreground (even though Black activists like Julian Bond & Al Sharpton come to Maryland to help support Marriage Equality as a Civil Right).

Yoruba Richen’s doc (co-written with Erin Casper) is highly recommended by both me & Rich.”

Say Her name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, directed by Kate Davis

Julia Lasker writes: “Directed by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner, Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland is a riveting documentary about a young Black woman, Sandra Bland, who is sent to jail for a traffic violation and found hanged in her cell three days later. Say Her Name is a compelling exposee of our country’s ongoing struggle with police brutality and racially-motivated violence.”

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the important movies there are to see, so once you’re done with these, here are some resources to find more films to watch: 

Here are some lists of places to donate:

And a list of petitions to sign:

Black Lives Matter.

© FF2 Media (6/17/20)

Tags: 13th, Black Lives Matter, Documentary Films, I am evidence, say her name, the new black

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As an associate for FF2 Media, Julia writes reviews and features for films made by women. She is currently a senior at Barnard College studying Psychology. Outside of FF2, her interests include acting, creative writing, thrift shopping, crafting, and making and eating baked goods. Julia has been at FF2 for almost 4 years, and loves the company and its mission dearly.
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