Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick are Oscar-nominated investigative filmmakers, whose collective filmography has led to five congressional hearings and more than 35 policy reform laws passed in Congress. Their latest documentary feature, On The Record, is a searing examination of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons that finds itself at the intersection of the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements.
If you don’t see it, you can’t be it.
We are shaped and informed by the worlds we see reflected back at us in films -- against their complex palette we get to gauge, shape and measure our own values, and ideals.
Films provide us with a moral compass and aspirational goals; offer us dreams of who or what we could be. They take us beyond the confines of our narrow range of experiences, gifting us with expansive vistas into the intimate lives of others.
Films have the power to uplift, enlighten and catalyze change by introducing us to worlds and lives beyond our own and inviting us to empathize more fully with humanity in all its dimensions. As long as they don’t succumb to homogenization, autocratic ideologies or harmful prejudices, films can allow us to be our best selves.
As impact-driven filmmakers, here is our list of five films that have helped the world be more sane and just.
Citizenfour is a powerful wake-up call for transparency in government and the need for greater whistleblower protections. A chilling and enthralling narrative about the real stakes of defending democratic principles.
Get Out demonstrates the terror of racial prejudice, manipulating horror film conventions and expectations to provoke a visceral empathy for the actual horror experienced in everyday black America. The film potently depicts the subtle and pernicious ways that racism operates.
For a short-length documentary, A Girl in A River: The Price of Forgiveness is a remarkably impactful, immersive and effective film. Indeed, the doc's cultural and political power has been immense: The film singlehandedly spearheaded a change in laws surrounding its difficult subject matter: the issue of "honor killings" in Pakistan.
Parasite is a sophisticated critique of class and race wrapped in the guise of a taut psychological thriller. Bong Joon-ho expands the conception of what constitutes mass entertainment, neatly defying the expectations of genre and convention. The film also decisively proves that a global audience is willing to watch compelling stories regardless of the race or spoken language of its cast.
Welcome to Chechnya sounded the alarm on a human rights crisis that otherwise might have gone unnoticed in the west. The film take us on a first-hand journey through the wanton torture, imprisonment and slaughter of persons who identify as LGBTQ in Chechnya. Truly game changing, haunting and irrefutable.