It’s Not Too Late to Add These Films to Your Fall Syllabus!
Use these films in your fall classes to help students think critically about the power & influence of media culture and some of the most high-stakes issues & debates of our time.
NEW RELEASE! In Behind the Shield, acclaimed journalist Dave Zirin moves beyond the insular world of pro football to examine the larger cultural and political influence of America’s most popular sports league. Navigating a stunning media archive, Zirin traces how the NFL, under the guise of “sticking to sports,” has promoted militarism and nationalism; glorified destructive ideals of masculinity and femininity; normalized systemic racism and corporate greed; and helped cast dissent as “unpatriotic.” The result is a film that’s less about sports, football, or even the National Football League, than about America itself.
NEW RELEASE! Award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt’s critically acclaimed new documentary HAZING takes a deeply personal look inside the culture, tradition, and secrecy of hazing rituals in fraternities and sororities, sports teams, marching bands, the military, and beyond. Drawing on a range of voices, the film provides a nuanced and empathetic portrait of a culture that provides a sense of belonging even as it too often leads to violence, sexual degradation, binge drinking, institutional coverups, and debased notions of manhood. An essential resource for classes and campus programming.
NEW RELEASE! Roger Stahl’s explosive new film Theaters of War exposes how a decades-long partnership between Hollywood, the Pentagon, and the CIA has enabled the U.S. military to shape the scripts of thousands of popular war epics and action movies. Featuring scores of clips from blockbuster films like Top Gun: Maverick and incisive commentary from propaganda experts, media scholars, combat veterans, and film industry insiders, Theaters of War is a great tool for encouraging critical thinking about how we consume Hollywood films and understand the human costs of war.
NEW RELEASE! Beyond the Straight and Narrow, the newest installment in Katherine Sender’s groundbreaking documentary film series, examines the cultural, economic, and technological forces that have paved the way for an increasingly complex range of queer and transgender representations on American television. The film also considers this expanding, progressively nuanced range of LGBTQ television characters and plotlines against the backdrop of a growing right-wing backlash against LGBTQ visibility in our schools, athletics, and public spaces.
COMING 9/8! In The Burden, filmmaker Roger Sorkin tells the story of how oil dependence has emerged as our greatest long-term national security threat, and how the U.S. military is uniquely positioned to bolster a clean energy economy that will strengthen our national, economic, and environmental security. The result is a powerful teaching and organizing tool – an excellent resource for courses that explore environmental issues, energy policy, and U.S. foreign policy, and for activists trying to raise awareness and build new coalitions to break America’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Killing Us Softly 4, the latest in Jean Kilbourne’s groundbreaking series, examines how the advertising industry glamorizes destructive ideals of femininity and manhood. Methodically dissecting how contemporary print and television ads create a misogynistic fantasy world of undernourished, oversexualized, and objectified women, Kilbourne sets these images within the real-world context of eating disorders, gender violence, and the ongoing political backlash against women’s equality. Since the original version first premiered more than 40 years ago, Killing Us Softly has become a staple in media literacy curricula around the world. 20% off through 9/20.
bell hooks, who passed away in 2021, was one of the most formidable and influential feminist cultural critics of our time. If you’re looking for an accessible introduction to her work, be sure to check out bell hooks: Cultural Criticism & Transformation. In the film, which we made with hooks in 1997 during one of the most prolific periods of her career, the celebrated author explores how popular culture reproduces dominant ideas about race, gender, and capitalism, and makes a convincing case for media education as a form of self-defense against unjust systems of power, oppression, and class domination. As relevant today as ever. 20% off through 9/20.
Tough Guise 2, the newest edition in Jackson Katz’s trailblazing exploration of masculinity, media, and violence, makes a powerful case that the ongoing global epidemic of gender violence can’t be understood without critically examining and disrupting regressive cultural norms of manhood. Since the first edition debuted almost 25 years ago, Tough Guise has become a go-to resource in college courses and gender violence prevention work for educators and activists looking to introduce key concepts in how dominant ideas about masculinity, and femininity, intersect with violence and power. 20% off through 9/20.
In Digital Disconnect, renowned media scholar Robert McChesney exposes how corporate capitalism has turned the internet against democracy. With breathtaking clarity, McChesney dissects how internet giants surreptitiously collect personal data and sell it to advertisers; how telecom monopolies collude with the national security state to advance mass surveillance programs; and how social media platforms filter people into ideological bubbles that prioritize partisan misinformation over real journalism. An invaluable and accessible introduction to the political economy of today’s digital media landscape. 20% off through 9/20.
In Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse, media scholar Sut Jhally makes the case that there’s no way to 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 U.S. media culture today, Jhally shows how advertising taps into powerful emotions that blind us to the costs of growing global consumption and endless economic growth. Ideal for courses that look at consumerism, corporate propaganda, and climate change. 20% off through 9/20.
The award-winning Requiem for the American Dream features the legendary 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 while destroying the American middle class and undermining the very functioning of democracy. At once an extraordinary teaching tool and a remarkable piece of cinema. 20% off through 9/20.
The Man Card: White Male Identity Politics from Nixon to Trump traces the American right’s deliberate, decades-long effort to win the votes of blue-collar white men by branding conservatives as tough-guy defenders of white male authority and power in the face of struggles for equality. Digging deep into radical shifts in white male voting patterns since the 1960s, the film offers timely insights into the growing gender gap, the rise of right-wing extremism, and the cultural dynamics that confront women who run for high office. An indispensable teaching tool as the 2024 presidential race heats up. 20% off through 9/20.
The Occupation of the American Mind explores how U.S. officials, Israeli officials, and an American lobbying effort propelled by evangelical Christians and right-wing pressure groups have helped slant U.S. media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Israel’s favor. The film places special emphasis on efforts to conceal the brutality of Israel’s illegal, decades-long occupation of Palestinian land and to cast pro-Palestinian solidarity and resistance as anti-Semitic. Sheds much-needed light on realities that continue to be pushed out of view in U.S. media coverage of the current “crisis of Israeli democracy.” 20% off through 9/20.
Award-winning filmmaker Peter Hutchison’s Healing from Hate tells the remarkable story of a group of former skinheads and neo-Nazis working on the front lines to de-radicalize violent extremists and fight white nationalism. With an eye on the social, cultural, and economic dislocations that often fuel far-right violent extremism, the film brings us face-to-face with the sense of alienation and humiliation that motivates so many young white men to join these movements. A powerful educational resource and a bracing antidote to the toxic politics of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and racism. 20% off through 9/20.
Miguel Picker and Chyng Sun’s bestselling film Latinos Beyond Reel explores how dehumanizing media representations of Latinx people have shaped public attitudes and government policies over time. Centering the voices of Latinx journalists, community leaders, actors, directors, scholars, and children, the film pays tribute to the diverse histories, cultures, and contributions of Latino/a people while also identifying and dissecting a longstanding pattern of retrograde, fear-inducing anti-Latinx stereotypes in American political discourse, news media, and popular culture. 20% off through 9/20.