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Your search by 'Social Issues' identified 49 films

ACORN and the Firestorm
USA 2017 84 min.

Once America's largest grassroots community-organizing group, ACORN became a major player in the 2008 presidential election that resulted in Obama's victory. It also became a lightning rod for controversies that reverberate throughout today's toxic political atmosphere, as this documentary shows.

USA 2017 90 min.

The ancient Chinese game called Go is said to have more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe—making it an epic battleground for human versus artificial intelligence. This fascinating documentary invites you to a challenge match between a famed Go master and a computer program.

USA 2016 6 min.

Cleveland, Ohio, attempts to overcome its nickname—The Mistake by the Lake—by launching a bunch of balloons.

California Dreams
USA 2017 83 min.

DFF regular Mike Ott's latest genre-bender follows five real people in rural California striving—more or less—to realize their dreams of Hollywood stardom. As with many of his films (e.g. DFF39's co-directed Actor Martinez), the vérité result is hypnotic, funny and agonizing by turns.

Chocolate Spokes
USA 2017 5 min.

Gregory Crichlow left his architecture job in 2011 to start a bicycle shop in Five Points, a traditionally African-American and Latino neighborhood in Denver. Servicing residents’ bikes keeps the doors open, but hand-building steel frames is what inspires him.

Commodity City
USA 2017 10 min.

This observational documentary explores the daily lives of vendors who work in the largest wholesaler complex in the world: the Yiwu Markets in China.

Corniche Kennedy
France 2016 94 min.

Marseilles makes a fittingly edgy backdrop for this French drama of first love careening toward danger. When a shy girl starts hanging out with the cool kids down by the shore, she delights in discovering lives so different from her own. Then the harsh realities of race and class begin to intrude.

Diary in a Marble
Poland 1993 110 min.

Two brothers in wartime Silesia are pushed in different directions: one into the Polish army, the other into the Nazi party—and, eventually, the arms of his sister-in-law. This tragicomic family saga from tribute guest Jan Kidawa-Blonski doubles an allegory of contemporary Polish history.

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?
USA 2017 90 min.

In this brave documentary, filmmaker Travis Wilkerson returns to his Alabama home to turn the camera on his own family's darkest secrets. Decades ago, his great-grandfather killed an African-American man but was never charged, due not least to a culture of racism that persists today.

Iran 2017 89 min.

This taut Iranian drama takes place in Tehran over the course of one long winter's night. Sara, bleeding and in need of medical care, claims she has been raped. When treatment is refused, a nightmarish, deception-filled journey for help begins, with the 19-year-old's health increasingly at risk.

Diving Monkeys
USA 2017 4 min.

Decaying 16mm footage of monkeys in a zoo provides a poetic meditation on our relationship to caged animals—at once voyeuristic and compassionate.

France 2017 117 min.

This dramatic biopic explores a remarkable year in the life of jazz virtuoso Django Reinhardt—when he defied Nazi orders and fled to the Swiss border, joining other refugees from the Holocaust. Even as his music exhilarates, his plight raises questions about artists’ moral obligation to society.

The Dragon Defense
Colombia 2017 80 min.

Named for a famous chess move, Natalia Santa’s bittersweet, empathetic drama follows three old friends in Bogotá whose threadbare lives testify to the consequences of poor decision making. At the crossroads of middle age, they must determine whether it’s too late to take a chance on a new strategy.

The Dundee Project
USA 2016 17 min.

Mark Borchardt—the director of Coven and the subject of American Movie (DFF23)—steps behind the camera once again for this documentary about an annual UFO festival in rural Wisconsin, which he experiences as equal parts sky-watching and heavy drinking with eccentric locals.

France 2017 123 min.

Félicité’s life is upended when her son is badly injured in an accident. Needing money to save him, she sets out on a breakneck race through the streets of electric Kinshasa in Franco-Senegalese filmmaker Alain Gomis’s fierce, music-filled drama, winner of the Silver Bear at this year’s Berlinale.

Holy Air
Israel 2017 81 min.

In this Israeli comedy, Adam is a failure as an entrepreneur. But for his family's sake, he gives it one more go—and the “holy air” he sells to Nazareth's tourists takes off. With everyone from mobsters to politicos on the take, however, he must now decide whether success is just a lot of hot air.

Home Truth
USA 2017 72 min.

In 1999, Jessica Gonzales's three young daughters were killed after being abducted by their father. Determined to make sure their deaths were not in vain, the Colorado mother sought justice and became an advocate for domestic-violence victims in the process. This is her story.

Belgium 2016 14 min.

An ironic caricature of life in the quiet Flemish suburbs, which reflects the current European zeitgeist.

Human Flow
Germany 2017 140 min.

In recent years, over 65 million people around the globe have fled their homes to escape famine, drought and war. This documentary epic by world-renowned Chinese artist Ai Weiwei gives powerful visual expression to both the staggering scale and the profoundly personal impact of the refugee crisis.

I Was a Dreamer
Italy 2017 97 min.

After eight years in prison, Mirko returns home to Rome, where he's tempted to resume his criminal past—but a community organizer has other plans for him. This captivating character study examining one man's search for redemption was based on the real-life experiences of lead actor Mirko Frezza.

In a Nutshell
Switzerland 2017 6 min.

An attempt to capture the world in a nutshell—from a seed to war, from meat to love, from indifference to apocalypse.

Swaziland 2017 77 min.

The lives and extraordinary imaginations of five orphans at a storytelling workshop in Swaziland are captured in this enchanting, moving and highly acclaimed documentary from Colorado filmmakers Aaron and Amanda Kopp.

Los Olvidados
Mexico 1950 85 min.

This 1950 classic from famed Spanish Surrealist Luis Buñuel—screening as part of a three-film retrospective of great Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa—tells the story of a gang of slum kids who become delinquents as a defense against poverty and the cruelty of life on the city streets.

A Memory in Khaki
Qatar 2016 104 min.

Syrian filmmaker Alfoz Tanjour weaves his personal narrative together with those of other Syrians to create this emotional documentary about the years of silence and terror under an oppressive state that led to the implosion of their homeland—and the start of their revolution.

Monument | Monumento
USA 2017 12 min.

At Friendship Park, a unique meeting place along the US-Mexico border, family members and loved ones from both countries can see and speak to one another through a meshed fence. But they cannot touch.

The New Fire
USA 2017 84 min.

The good news: there's a new solution to global warming. The bad news: it's equally catastrophic. Or is it? In this provocative documentary, David Schumacher shows how young engineers are fighting climate change with the weapon of nuclear power—while fighting fears of the weapon itself.

New Neighbors
USA 2017 10 min.

How far will a mother go to protect her children?

No Man's Land
USA 2017 81 min.

Filmmaker David Byars had remarkable access to the protesters occupying Oregon's Malheur National Wildlife Refuge during their 2016 armed standoff with the feds in 2016. This gripping documentary views the insurrection from the inside as it examines what draws Americans to the edge of revolution.

The Outsider
USA 2017 18 min.

As the black sheep in her own family, a young woman hopes meeting her boyfriend’s family will fill her need to belong. Then she learns about his 100-plus relatives and their confusing cultural traditions.

Poles Apart
United Kingdom 2017 12 min.

In a harsh Arctic landscape, a hungry polar bear has to decide if a naive Canadian grizzly bear is food or friend.

Quality Time
Netherlands 2017 85 min.

Dutch director Daan Bakker's sly, strange tragicomedy about a quintet of 30-something misfits is told in five parts—all employing their own inventive visual and narrative styles to convey a sense of the dislocation, dysfunction and absurdity roiling the lives of Koen, Stefaan, Kjell, Karel and Jef.

USA 2017 104 min.

This quiet yet hard-hitting documentary captures 10 years in the life of a working-class African-American family in North Philadelphia as they struggle, suffer, survive and, above all, support one another.

Roadside Attraction
USA 2017 10 min.

Palm Beach International Airport's newest snowbird has become one of the fastest-growing roadside attractions in the United States.

Canada 2017 15 min.

Recent immigrants to Canada break the routine of their construction job by observing the neighbors from a unique, precarious and ephemeral vantage point.

See You Yesterday
USA 2017 16 min.

Two teenage prodigies in Brooklyn build makeshift time machines to save the brother of one from being wrongfully killed by a police officer.

Serenade for Haiti
USA 2016 71 min.

A classical-music school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, thrived despite decades of entrenched poverty and political strife—until the catastrophic earthquake of 2010 destroyed it. Filmed over seven years, this inspiring documentary shows how a stunned and devastated community worked to pick up the pieces.

2017 10 min.

After a flood, the fish are stuck in trees, in danger of drying out. They scream sharply, disturbing the inhabitants of a nearby cave.

Sollers Point
USA 2017 101 min.

This gritty drama follows small-time drug dealer Keith from the confines of house arrest back onto the tense streets of Baltimore. Although he wants to make a new start, the allure of criminal life in his depressed neighborhood may be impossible to withstand.

The Sweet Hereafter
Canada 1997 112 min.

Set in a small Canadian town where the locals are reeling from the tragedy of a fatal school-bus crash, Atom Egoyan's quietly heartbreaking meditation on loss and healing took the Grand Prix at Cannes and garnered two Oscar nominations upon its release in 1997.

United Kingdom 2016 5 min.

Some things can only be understood with maturity. New light is shed on childhood cultural misunderstandings when a Chinese mother and her British-born daughter speak as adults for the first time.

True Conviction
USA 2017 84 min.

Jamie Meltzer's now-inspiring, now-devastating documentary follows three wrongfully convicted exonerees as they form a detective agency that investigates the cases of fellow prisoners—all while grappling with their own experiences of injustice and trying to rebuild their personal lives.

Until the Birds Return
France 2017 113 min.

Algeria’s past and present collide in the lives of a beleaguered property developer, an ambitious neurologist plagued by wartime secrets and a young woman torn between destiny and desire in this character-driven drama, which offers a compelling glimpse into the soul of a contemporary Arab society.

Denmark 2016 80 min.

An open casting call for an erotic film based on real-life sexual experiences takes a curious turn when 100 women show up and begin to take command of the auditioning process in this Danish documentary, by turns amusing, frank and contemplative.

Vigilante: The Incredible True Story of Curtis Sliwa and The Guardian Angels
USA 2016 88 min.

In this forceful tribute to community self-defense, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa vividly narrates his remarkable escapades as a vigilante in the crime-ridden New York City of the '70s and '80s, touching on everything from the crack epidemic to his own attempted assassination.

Waiting for Hassana
Nigeria 2017 10 min.

In 2014, 276 teenage girls came together for exams in Chibok, Nigeria. By dawn, nearly all had disappeared, and their school was burned to the ground. Jessica, an escapee, shares her haunting account of a friendship violently interrupted by Boko Haram.

Germany 2017 119 min.

This slow-burning thriller follows a crew of German construction workers building a hydroelectric plant in rural Bulgaria, where tensions mount when they start mixing with the locals. In the rising tide of xenophobia, can they learn to trust one another—or is the stage being set for a showdown?

Whiskey Fist
USA 2016 11 min.

A branding intern loses the life he once had after an encounter with a mysterious blonde and her whiskey bottle. Magical realism ensues.

Wild Roses
Poland 2017 90 min.

While her husband is working abroad, Ewa secretly gives birth to a baby she then puts up for adoption in this unsparing drama about a woman trapped by circumstances and her own web of deceit, by which director Anna Jadowska explores the expectations placed on women in Polish society today.

Romania 2016 20 min.

Lacking proper identification, a 50-year-old man risks being separated by the authorities from his underage daughter, who has just had a baby.

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