Check out FILMAKERS LIBRARY, a multidisciplinary international collection of over 1,400 documentaries, 1974 to the present. The collection, from Alexander Street Press, can be streamed via computer and is a growing one (8 titles from 2014 so far).
“Topical coverage is diverse and relevant across the curriculum—anthropology, race and gender studies, human rights, globalization and global studies, multiculturalism, international relations, criminal justice, the environment, bioethics, health, political science and current events, psychology, arts, literature, and more. Titles originate from independent filmmakers and prominent producers alike. Select content partners include HBO, CBC Learning, BBC, the Dramatists Guild, Journeyman Pictures, and IFC Films/Sundance Selects. Newly added, exclusive titles from Oscilloscope Films, First Run Features, and Zeitgeist Films include award winners and film-festival favorites, all hand selected for their caliber and relevance to academic audiences.” —Publisher’s description
Navigating the database is a delight with the flexible, intuitive interface that affords searching on words and phrases in the metadata as well as in “fulltext/transcripts.” Indeed, “live” transcripts run beside the video as it plays. I couldn’t help duck into Something Wonderful May Happen: New York School of Poets and Beyond, a refreshing distraction to have running in one’s office on a sober weekday!
These independent documentaries are on a wide range of browsable topics. Titles of note for communication studies include: Baghdad Blogger (2006), The Compassionate Eye: Horace Bristol, Photojournalist (2007), Cyberwar in Egypt (2013), Cyberwar in China (2013), Ethnic Cleansing: The Media and World Opinion (2001), Primetime War (2000), No Sex, No Violence, No News (2001), Reporting on the Times: The New York Times and the Holocaust (2013), Cinema Korea (2009), 30 Seconds of Gold: Advertising on Chinese TV (2006), The Machine That Made Us (2009), The Forgotten Man: Private Bradley Manning and the Wikileaks Controversy (2011), Our Nation: A Korean Punk Rock Community (2002), Out of Print (2013), Indie Game (2012), What Killed Kevin? (2012), and o.com: Cybersex Addiction (2006).
I plan to make time soon for Fanny Bräuning’s No More Smoke Signals (2009), having seen the first few minutes.
Synopsis: Kili Radio, the “Voice of the Lakota Nation,” is broadcast out of a small wooden house in the vast countryside of South Dakota. There, people converge to speak to the community about daily concerns and in doing so, strengthen their sense of identity. Daily existence on America’s poorest reservation is hard. We meet people like Roxanne Two Bulls, who’s trying to start over again on the land of her ancestors after a difficult life nearly destroyed by alcoholism; and Bruce, the white lawyer who for thirty years has been trying to free an American Indian militant who’s been fighting for equal rights for his people. Everything comes together at Kili Radio. Instead of sending smoke signals the radio station transmits its own signals across a vast and magnificent landscape with a delightful combination of humor and melancholy. We hear native hip hop and complaints about broken windshields. Some of their pride has been restored with the radio broadcast; the listeners now feel that it really is acceptable to be Lakota.