Our top video picks for the fall semester
NEW RELEASE! In Behind the Shield, acclaimed journalist Dave Zirin tackles the myth that the NFL, America’s most powerful and influential sports league, was somehow free of politics before Colin Kaepernick and other players took a knee. Navigating a stunning excavation of archival footage and news media, Zirin traces how the NFL, under the guise of “sticking to sports,” has promoted militarism, war, and nationalism; glorified reactionary ideas about manhood and gender roles; normalized systemic racism and corporate greed; and helped vilify challenges to the dominant order as “unpatriotic” and inappropriately “political.”
|NEW RELEASE! Award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt’s acclaimed new documentary HAZING offers a deeply personal look inside the culture, tradition, and secrecy surrounding hazing rituals in fraternities and sororities, sports teams, marching bands, the military and beyond. Expertly weaving first-hand testimonies with insights from violence-prevention experts, the film provides a nuanced and empathetic portrait of a culture that can confer a sense of belonging even as it too often leads to violence, sexual degradation, binge drinking, institutional coverups, and debased notions of manhood.|
|NEW RELEASE! Filmmaker and media scholar Roger Stahl’s explosive new film Theaters of War provides smoking-gun evidence that in exchange for supplying producers with expensive onscreen hardware, the Pentagon and CIA have been allowed to scrub Hollywood scripts of anything that portrays the U.S. military and American-led wars in a critical light. Featuring media analysts, combat veterans, and Hollywood veterans like Academy Award-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone, this is an indispensable teaching tool for decoding war propaganda and deepening awareness about the dangers of U.S. militarism.|
Zeroing in on radical and decisive shifts in white male voting patterns since the 1960s, The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump explores how right-wing operatives have successfully framed Democrats as soft, Republicans as the party of “real men,” and conservatives as defenders of white male authority in the face of demographic change and struggles for equality. As investigations into the Capitol insurrection continue, and right-wing political figures continue to garner mainstream support, this film offers invaluable insights into the growing gender gap that has propelled these candidates and movements.
Healing from Hate: Battle for the Soul of a Nation, from award-winning filmmaker Peter Hutchison, is a remarkable portrait of a group of former skinheads and neo-Nazis who are now working on the front lines to de-radicalize violent extremists and stem the rising tide of white nationalism. Digging deep into the sense of alienation and humiliation that motivates so many young white men to join these movements, the film is an invaluable tool for helping students critically examine the social and cultural forces fueling far-right violent extremism, white supremacy, and the politics of hate.
In The Bystander Moment, pioneering gender violence prevention educator Jackson Katz explores the role played by bystanders – especially friends, teammates, classmates, and co-workers — in perpetuating sexual abuse and other forms of gender violence. Mobilizing archival material from news, sports, and entertainment media, Katz gives special attention to male peer-culture dynamics across race and ethnicity that help to normalize sexism and misogyny while silencing other men in the face of abuse. A vital tool in the fight to challenge and change social and cultural norms that lead to gender violence.
In Broken Trust, filmmaker Jill Yesko offers a stunning look at the emotional and physical abuse experienced by far too many young athletes. Drawing on courageous first-hand testimonies from Olympic and national-class athletes and coaches, the film reveals how victims are often ostracized for speaking out, how parents are pressured to keep silent, and how athletes are fighting back to change the system. An indispensable educational tool that encourages young people to think critically and ask tough questions about unjust institutional power.
In Digital Disconnect, renowned media scholar Robert McChesney shows how the democratizing potential of the internet has been radically compromised by the logic of capitalism and the unaccountable power of a handful of telecom and tech monopolies. Moving from the birth of the internet to today, the film explains how telecom monopolies like Comcast and Verizon have waged war on net neutrality, and breaks down how the surveillance-based business practices of internet giants like Google and Facebook have undermined journalism and made them allies of the national security state.
The award-winning Requiem for the American Dream features Noam Chomsky on one of the defining issues of our time: accelerating economic inequality. Combining Chomsky’s rare explanatory powers with breathtaking visuals and stunning motion graphics, the film dissects a long line of government policies that have benefited corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the vast majority of the population and traces the corrosive consequences for democracy. The result is both an extraordinary teaching tool and a remarkable piece of cinema.
In Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse, media scholar Sut Jhally argues that we cannot avert the coming climate catastrophe without first confronting the near-religious status of American consumerism and the immense cultural power of the advertising industry. Ranging from the birth of modern advertising to the full-scale commercialization of the culture today, the film shows how advertising taps into powerful emotions that blind us to the environmental costs of ever-accelerating rates of economic growth and global consumption.
Richard Chisolm’s Gun Show centers on artist David Hess, a sculptor who assembles mock assault rifles out of found objects, turns them into a traveling public art installation, and wends his way through urban centers and rural towns to get people thinking and talking about America’s deep-seated obsession with guns. The film, like the artist it profiles, derives much of its power from its openness to critical reflection and dialogue, its refusal to advocate a pre-determined ideological position, and its commitment to bridging cultural differences.