Steve James’ Starz docuseries “America to Me” explores racial issues in our schools through students’ eyes

Steve James’ Starz docuseries “America to Me” explores racial issues in our schools through students’ eyes

Source:  IndieWire

In January, episodes of Steve James’ docuseries, “America to Me,” opened the Sundance Film Festival’s Indie Program and represented the new program’s first major sale ($5 million). Now Starz has released a trailer for the ten-part look inside an affluent-yet-segregated Chicago public school.

James — whose features have earned him Oscar nominations in the documentary (“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”) and editing (“Hoop Dreams”) categories — spent a year embedded inside Oak Park and River Forest High School, a scenic institution with benevolent teachers, every amenity imaginable, and one disquieting drawback. White students’ test scores are climbing while black students’ have stagnated.

While black staff members are anxious to address the chasm, the majority of the school’s board is white and appear unconcerned.

Thus a rift emerges among the same academic leaders trying to reconcile their students who refuse to commingle in the cafeteria, let alone on the cheerleading team.

“America to Me” premieres Sunday, August 26 on Starz.

Read the story at IndieWire. 

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Roger Ross Williams’ “American Jail” explores the destructive, cyclical aspects of the U.S. prison system

Roger Ross Williams’ “American Jail” explores the destructive, cyclical aspects of the U.S. prison system

Source:  IndieWire

After his last film, “Life, Animated,” became an audience favorite, director Roger Ross Williams’ new film, “American Jail,” is turning its attention to the U.S. prison system.

CNN has released the first look at the upcoming film, which examines the individuals and entities that benefit from the existing framework and will see Williams traveling outside the U.S. for potential solutions to the problem.

To illustrate the forces behind the “prison pipeline” that Williams’ film looks to document, “American Jail” features commentary from leading experts in this field of study and testimony from individuals currently serving sentences in American facilities.

“American Jail” premieres Sunday, July 1 on CNN.

Read the story at IndieWire.

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Netflix readies “Recovery Boys.” Doc follows four West Virginian men as they attempt to reenter society following years of opioid abuse.

Netflix readies “Recovery Boys.” Doc follows four West Virginian men as they attempt to reenter society following years of opioid abuse.

Source:  Realcreen

Netflix is readying the premiere of Academy Award nominee Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s feature documentary debut, “Recovery Boys.”

The film, which premiered at the 2018 Hot Docs Festival, provides an intimate look at the lives of four West Virginian men in the heart of America’s opioid epidemic as they attempt to reenter society following years of drug abuse.

Following rehab, they experience life’s trials and tribulations sober but struggle to find their place and purpose in society.

McMillion Sheldon was nominated for an Academy Award in 2018 in the Documentary Short Subject category for “Heroin(e).

“Recovery Boys” premieres on Netflix on June 29.

Read the story at Realscreen. 

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“What Haunts Us” is a painful study of a sexual predator and a community that should have done more to stop him

“What Haunts Us” is a painful study of a sexual predator and a community that should have done more to stop him

The chilling documentary “What Haunts Us,” about the rampant sexual abuse at a Charleston, South Carolina high school, is absolutely the stuff of nightmares and will linger far longer in its audience’s minds than most films about imagined terrors.

Filmmaker Paige Goldberg Tolmach, after seven of her former schoolmates at Porter-Gaud killed themselves, examines the molestation and rape of numerous boys by their teacher, Eddie Fischer, in the late 1970s and early ’80s.

“What Haunts Us” features interviews with survivors as well as archival footage of the man responsible for so much pain, but the director also reveals that the school and community could have done much more to stop him.

Read the story at the Los Angeles Times.

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Meek Mill and Amazon are developing a docuseries on the criminal justice system

Meek Mill and Amazon are developing a docuseries on the criminal justice system

Source:  Deadline

Rapper Meek Mill is ready to take on the criminal justice system.

Having just recently served time for violating probation — a sentence that caused an outrage among his fans and beyond — Meek is collaborating with Amazon Prime Video for a six-part documentary series that will follow his fight for exoneration while exposing flaws in the criminal justice system.

The untitled docuseries will put the spotlight on Meek’s life, career, and criminal justice odyssey while demonstrating the negative effects of long-tail probation on urban communities of color.

The series is expected to premiere in 2019 exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

Read the story at Deadline. 

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“Roll Red Roll” chronicles the story of a Stuebenville, Ohio high school sexual assault case that became internationally known

“Roll Red Roll” chronicles the story of a Stuebenville, Ohio high school sexual assault case that became internationally known

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

If there’s a more hideous phrase in the English language than “rape culture,” one would be hard pressed to name it.

Nancy Schwartzman’s documentary, “Roll Red Roll,” examines the phenomenon through the prism of the infamous 2012 rape of a teenage girl by the star players of a Steubenville, Ohio high school football team.

The film, which recently received its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, documents the case in such a powerful fashion that your feelings of outrage will persist long after the film is over.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter. 

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