2020 Festival Alums Streaming Now!
Last updated: 10/13/2020
Our programming team curates an exceptional selection of non-fiction films each festival year, and 2020 was no different despite the in-person event’s cancelation. While we couldn’t gather together to watch these films in downtown Durham earlier this year, many of the selections are now available to stream. We hope our audiences will enjoy exploring these titles.
We’ll be sure to keep this list updated as more festival films are released. Looking for more films to stream? Keep an eye out on our Virtual Screening Room page for more film selections and filmmaker Q&As!
Live in or near Durham? Consider stopping by the Carolina Theatre to pick-up a bag of popcorn for your next movie night!
Boys State | Directors: Amanda McBaine, Jesse Moss
Stream: Apple TV+
This film dramatically captures the political motivations and strategic calculations of a group of young men who, among a thousand other Texas high school students, take part in a weeklong exercise to build a representative democracy from the ground up.
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn | Director: Ivy Meeropol
Candid interviews with colleagues and acquaintances trace the infamous late lawyer’s life and career, from his early days as a prosecutor in the still-controversial espionage trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg—director Ivy Meeropol’s grandparents—to his work with Senator Joseph McCarthy to his role as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer and mentor.
Desert One | Director: Barbara Kopple
In 1980, the United States attempted a daring, ultimately disastrous military operation to rescue American hostages in Tehran, Iran. Desert One revisits this crucial historical moment, examining the failed mission through the recollections of on the ground participants, political stakeholders, and those personally impacted by the outcome, including officers, soldiers, hostages, President Carter, and others.
Dick Johnson is Dead
Dick Johnson Is Dead | Director: Kirsten Johnson
As a way of preparing herself and her aging father for letting go, filmmaker Kirsten Johnson imagines various ways that he might die, staging and filming the scenarios in intricate, painstaking recreations. Intimate conversations between parent and child infuse their poignant, funny, and wildly imaginative journey.
Feels Good Man
Feels Good Man | Director: Arthur Jones
Stream: Across digital platforms
When indie comic artist Matt Furie’s creation Pepe the Frog is co-opted by the alt-right, the formerly carefree amphibian becomes an involuntary symbol of hate. Feels Good Man documents the trajectory of Pepe’s online renown to explore an illustrator’s quest to reclaim his character and the liabilities of our cyber culture.
The Fight | Directors: Elyse Steinberg, Josh Kriegman, Eli Despres
Stream: Most VOD platforms
In this on-the-ground film composed of four timely and wrenching narratives, five ACLU lawyers work tirelessly to defend civil liberties. Whether reuniting a parent and child separated at the border or fighting for reproductive rights, voting rights, or the right of a transgender soldier to keep his job, these underappreciated warriors of the courtroom battle on, often at personal cost.
The Infinite Race
The Infinite Race | Director: Bernardo Ruiz
Love Fraud | Directors: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady
For two decades Richard Scott Smith seduced women by preying upon their profound desire for companionship in order to commit identity fraud and theft, leaving them emotionally and financially devastated. This four-part series shares the stories of Smith’s wives as they come together, with the help of a bounty hunter named Carla, to reclaim their savings and their dignity.
The Mole Agent
The Mole Agent | Director: Maite Alberdi
In this astutely shot thriller, octogenarian Sergio is a newly minted spy planted between the walkers and lunchtime gossip of a Chilean nursing home to report on the well-being of a fellow resident. And the cameras? There to film an ordinary story about the organization, or so it seems. This tale navigates the charming rapport between characters while weaving together profound truths about aging, loneliness, and compassion.
Mucho Mucho Amor
Mucho Mucho Amor | Directors: Cristina Costantini, Kareem Tabsch
Legendary Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado graced the airwaves for decades, donning elegant robes and broadcasting his charming, comforting presence to millions of viewers. A foundational figure in Latin American television, his popular shows were a cultural mainstay until he mysteriously disappeared in 2007. Now, with this intimate invitation into Mercado’s world, the dynamic, gender-fluid icon returns to the screen in a humorous and touching examination of a life fully lived.
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life | Director: Ric Burns
Stream: Virtual Cinemas
Through interviews, immaculate archival materials, and direct access, a spirited tribute to esteemed neurologist and author Oliver Sacks emerges. The film spans the story of Sacks’s life from birth to his battle with terminal cancer, profoundly weaving personal and professional endeavors into a celebration of his numerous groundbreaking contributions to science and society.
The Painter and the Thief
The Painter and the Thief | Director: Benjamin Ree
After two works by Czech artist Barbora Kysilkova are stolen from her solo show in Norway, the police find the thieves, but not the paintings. At the trial, Kysilkova forges a connection with one of the defendants when she asks him to pose for a portrait. As the two confront the complications of their pasts and presents, their precarious friendship evolves in unexpected ways.
Riafn | Director: Hannes Lang | The Franklin Humanities Institute Award Winner
Farmers and shepherds in the Alps rely on a distinct communication style, a steady stream of call and response that echoes off the mountainsides. A condensed pictorial symphony, this short offers a glimpse into a blissful form of connection far removed from the reaches of technology.
Softie | Director: Sam Soko
Affable and spirited Boniface Mwangi (nicknamed “Softie”) is running for political office in Kenya. Through longitudinal access to the election’s lead-up and Softie’s life at home, this beautifully edited journey engages with what it means for a man of integrity to choose between fighting for country or for family. The film excels in illustrating the joys and pains of an activist’s push for real change.
Spaceship Earth | Director: Matt Wolf | Closing Night Film
Biosphere 2, conceived as a self-sustaining laboratory mimicking Earth’s ecology and resources, was a massive geodesic enclosure built in the Arizona desert. In 1991, an eight-person crew of “biospherians” undertook a two-year experiment to live inside the dome. Part science-fiction, part co-op—and inadvertent precursor to reality television—the experiment yielded unexpected results both inside and outside the bubble.
Tutwiler | Director: Elaine McMillion Sheldon
Stream: PBS Frontline
This short film follows inmates at Alabama’s notorious Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women as they prepare to give birth. With the support of a group of doulas, and one another, they navigate pregnancy, labor, and the profound loss of being separated from their newborns.