5 Documentaries that progressives will love

Graphic - Documentaries to watch
Documentaries remain one of the most powerful storytelling methods that progressives have used to not only share important information, but also influence people’s hearts and minds. With the plethora of online and on demand video services available, it has never been easier to watch and enjoy this powerful medium.

Here are five documentaries that I would absolutely recommend you watch, enjoy, learn something from and potentially be inspired to action.

Before the Flood (2016)
1 hour 35 min | Directed by Fisher Stevens

“Before the Flood” is a documentary from Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens that premiered on the National Geographic Channel in the fall of 2016. In the film, DiCaprio travels around the world to demonstrate the impact of climate change.

Climate change is one of the most critical problems facing the planet, and the film makers seek to use DiCaprio’s star power, which they acknowledge has downsides, to demonstrate the damage climate change is causing our planet now and its future impact. The film itself is a call to action ending with an interview between President Barack Obama and DiCaprio.

Available to stream on Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.

1 hour 40 min | Directed by Ava DuVernay

13th documentary

Slavery was constitutionally barred in the United States following the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865. This amendment also codified the use of involuntary servitude as a form of punishment, something that has been abused since its passage.

The Netflix-original “13th” tells the story of the link between the economics of racism and the 13th Amendment. As criminal justice reform continues to be discussed as a critical issue, it is more important than ever we understand the history and underlying racism at the heart of our criminal justice system.

Available to stream on Netflix.

Reel Injun
1 hour 15 min | Directed by Neil Diamond, Catherine Bainbridge and Jeremiah Hayes

Reel Injun documentary

Since the invention of film, Native Americans have played a critical role in American cinema. From John Wayne’s westerns to “The Revenant,” they have served as both villains and protagonists. But their portrayals often play to the worst stereotypes.

In “Reen Injun,” Neil Diamond – who himself is Cree – travels through both film history and this country to explore these depictions on film and ask critical questions about the damage these depictions might have caused the Native American community.

Progressives should be mindful about how people of color are portrayed, even in films we love, and challenge Hollywood to do a better job.

Available to stream or buy on Amazon or Google Play.

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
14 hours | Directed by Ken Burns

The Roosevelts documentary

Theodore Roosevelt created the National Park Service and founded the Progressive Party, whose platform provided the blueprint for many of the causes we fight for today.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency marks perhaps the greatest period of progressive advancement we have seen as a nation, and Eleanor Roosevelt remains one of the most prominent and powerful progressive woman ever to serve as first lady.

Famed documentarian Ken Burns tells the story of the family that perhaps promoted more progressive change in the United States than any other. The New York Times called the film “[Burns’] most ambitious and deeply moving documentary since ‘The Civil War.’”

The film will surely give you a new perspective on these progressive leaders.

Available to buy or stream on Amazon, Google Play or iTunes.

Favela Rising
1 hour 20 min | Directed by Matt Mochary and Jeff Zimbalist

Favela Rising documentary

Favela Rising tells the story of Anderson Sá and the AfroReggae movement in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Sá is a former drug dealer who witnessed his first murder at 10-years-old. After renouncing his life of violence and crime, he sought to bring peace and music to children of communities that have been terrorized for years by providing young people with instruments and other ways out of crime. Ultimately he helped form a band that worked to spread word of their movement.

The film provides a real and inspirational story, proving there can always be hope, even in some of the most challenging and economically impoverished communities.

Available to stream on Amazon, Hulu or iTunes.

Have a documentary you would recommend to a fellow progressive that didn’t make our list? Let us know on Twitter @CREDOMobile.