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Diversity Video Resources

Documentary Movies

  • Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequality, by Shakti Butler
    This new film and learning program asks America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequity. With moving stories from racial justice leaders including Amer Ahmed, Michael Benitez, Barbie-Danielle DeCarlo, Joy DeGruy, Harley Eagle, Ericka Huggins, Yuko Kodama, Peggy McIntosh, Rinku Sen, Tillman Smith and Tim Wise.

  • Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible, by Shakti Butler
    Use this groundbreaking film and conversation guide in your organization to help bridge the gap between good intentions and meaningful change.  Featuring stories from white men and women on overcoming issues of unconscious racism and entitlement

  • Vocabulary of Change: In Conversation with Tim Wise and Angela Davis, by Speaking Out
    Through bold discourse, wit, and an optimism of the will, Angela Davis and Tim Wise call for new vocabularies - a different kind of fluency and a different quality of literacy. With a shared reverence for historical memory and today's activism, they invoke the power of a new language to restore clarity and to unify global communities.

  • If These Halls Could Talk, by Lee Mun Wah
    In If These Halls Could Talk, Lee Mun Wah demonstrates how to create a sense of community in the classroom, how students can get to know each other more personally, and how classroom check-ins can promote a deeper understanding and friendship with one another. He also demonstrates how to deepen a classroom discussion within minutes, as well as how to mediate conflicts between students.

  • The Color of Fear, by Lee Mun Wah
    The Color of Fear is an insightful, groundbreaking film about the state of race relations in America as seen through the eyes of eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino and African descent. In a series of intelligent, emotional and dramatic confrontations the men reveal the pain and scars that racism has caused them. What emerges is a deeper sense of understanding and trust. This is the dialogue most of us fear, but hope will happen sometime in our lifetime

  • Last Chance for Eden, by Lee Mun Wah
    This is a documentary about nine men and women discussing the issues of racism and sexism in the workplace. They examine the impact of society's stereotypes on their lives in the workplace, in their personal relationships and within their families and in their communities. In the course of their dialogue, they also explore the differences and similarities between racism and sexism - an area that has seldom been researched, but has heatedly become a very important issue needing to be understood and dealt with.

  • Stolen Ground, by Lee Mun Wah
    This film is about six Asian American men who struggle against racism and their anguish and pain at the trauma of assimilation towards themselves and their families. A must-see film for those striving to better understand the "model "and the pressures of blending into the American culture.

  • Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes featuring Byron Hurt, by Media Education Foundation
    This documentary explores the issues of masculinity, violence, homophobia and sexism in hip hop music and culture, through interviews with artists, academics and fans. Hurt's activism in gender issues and his love of hip-hop caused him to feel what he described as a sense of hypocrisy, and began working on the film.

  • Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Videos featuring Sut Jhally, by Media Education Foundation
    Dreamworlds 3, the latest in Sut Jhally's critically acclaimed Dreamworlds series, takes a clarifying look at the warped world of music video. Ranging across hundreds of images and stories from scores of music videos, Jhally uncovers a dangerous industry preoccupation with reactionary ideals of femininity and masculinity, and shows how these ideals have glamorized a deeply sexist worldview in the face of the women's movement and the fight for women's rights. In the end, Dreamworlds 3 challenges young people to think seriously about how forms of entertainment that might seen innocuous and inconsequential can be implicated in serious real-world problems like gender violence, misogyny, homophobia, and racism.

  • The Bro Code: How Contemporary Culture Creates Sexist Men, by Thomas Keith- Media Education Foundation
    Filmmaker Thomas Keith, a professor of philosophy at California State University, Long Beach, provides an engrossing look at the forces in male culture that condition boys and men to dehumanize and disrespect women

  • White Like Me by Tim Wise
    In this completely revised, “Remix” version of his highly-acclaimed memoir, White Like Me, Tim Wise explores how racial identity and whiteness influence the lives of white Americans, by examining how they have impacted his own life. Wise examines what it means to be white in a nation created for the benefit of those who are “white like him,” and how privilege seeps into every institutional arrangement, from education to employment to the justice system. Importantly, he also discusses the ways that white privilege can ultimately harm its recipients in the long run and make progressive social change less likely.

  • The Race to Nowhere
    This documentary looks at the impact of too much homework and emphasis on standardized tests. Can education really be one size fits all?

  • Teached
    This education documentary by a Teach for America alum who looks at inequality in education for urban, minority youths.

  • Waiting for Superman
    A look at the journey of promising students through a school system that limits their academic growth potential. A review of public education.

  • The Lottery
    At Harlem Success Academy, one of the top charter schools in New York, spaces are so limited that good luck may be the key to getting in. The Lottery features four families anxiously hoping for a spot in the school’s first-grade class.

  • American Teacher
    Based on the best-selling book Teachers Have It EasyAmerican Teacher is a film directed by Academy Award-winning director Vanessa Roth and produced by Dave Eggers. Under the narration of Matt Damon, the film highlights the struggles teachers face, from taking second jobs to purchasing supplies for their classrooms. The documentary emphasizes another problem: 46 percent of teachers quit before their fifth year.

  • Brother Outsider
    A profile of civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, a gay, black activist who worked behind the scenes of the civil rights movement, most notably as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington. By Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer.

  • The New Public
    This story of a small public high school in Brooklyn is not just a good educational film. It transcends the genre in its capturing of the lives and human drama of educators, kids and parents. This film has an emotional impact because of its extraordinarily intimate scenes and the way the viewer connects to each of the featured individuals.

  • The Graduates
    This two-part film is also extremely powerful in its capturing the stories of six Latino teens from across the country and the obstacles they have to overcome in order to attend college or follow other routes to leading successful lives. There are kids featured in this film that have never been matched by any mainstream fictional film about education.

  • The Brooklyn Castle
    This film focuses on five members of the chess team at a poorly-funded inner-city junior high school, I.S. 318 in Brooklyn, where 65 percent of the students live below the Federal poverty level. The school leads the nation in scholastic chess and, as the warmly engaging principal says, "At this school, the geeks, they are the athletes!" It is a unique and memorable film.

  • American Promise
    This film has already won an award at the Sundance Film Festival. It covers 13 years in the lives of two middle-class African-American students, best friends, and their parents in Brooklyn, New York, as they go through Dalton, a highly prestigious private school. Chronicling their very divergent paths from kindergarten through high school, American Promise goes beyond the genre of educational films in looking at issues of race, class and opportunity.

  • Go Public: A day in the life of a American school district
    This 90-minute documentary that explores events during one day in the Pasadena Unified School District. For this unique film, fifty small camera crews followed teachers, students, principals, volunteers, and others across 28 public school campuses. The result is a compelling window into this district’s daily struggles and successes.

  • Teach
    This film profiles four very different elementary, middle, and high school teachers and their public school classrooms. Filmed during the 2013 school year, this year-in-the-life story follows the struggles and achievements of these educators as they mentor their students to overcome challenges and do their best.

  • The Best Kept Secret
    Administrators at John F. Kennedy High School, in Newark, N.J., a public school dedicated to students with special needs, answer the phone by saying, “This is John F. Kennedy High School, Newark’s Best Kept Secret.” Directed by Samantha Buck, This film tells the story of three young men living with autism, their families, and the efforts of JFK High teacher Janet Mino to help her students transition into life beyond school.

  • First Generation
    This film tells the story of four high school students - an inner city athlete, a small town waitress, a Samoan warrior dancer, and the daughter of migrant field workers - who set out to break the cycle of poverty and bring hope to their families and communities by pursuing a college education. This documentary explores the problem of college access faced by first generation and low-income students and how their success has major implications for the future of our nation.

  • American Teacher: The Teacher Salary Project
    This film encompasses the feature-length documentary film American Teacher, an interactive online resource, and a national outreach campaign that delves into the core of our educational crisis as seen through the eyes and experiences of our nation's teachers

Hollywood Films

  • Crash- a 2004 crime drama film co-written, produced, and directed by Paul Haggis. The film is about racial and social tensions in Los Angeles, California.

  • Rabbit Proof Fence- a 2002 Australian drama film directed by Phillip Noyce based on the book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. It is based on a true story concerning the author's mother, as well as two other mixed-race Aboriginal girls, who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, Western Australia, to return to their Aboriginal families, after having been placed there in 1931. The film follows the Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong, while being pursued by a white authority figure and an Aboriginal tracker.

  • Milk- is a 2008 American biographical film based on the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors

  • Gran Torino-  a 2008 film that portrays a racist Korean War veteran living in a crime-ridden Detroit neighborhood is forced to confront his own lingering prejudice when a troubled Hmong teen from his neighborhood attempts to steal his prized Gran Torino.

  • Bend it Like Beckham- A 2002 hit that tells the story of an independent-minded young woman discovers the joys of football, much to her family's chagrin, in this upbeat British comedy drama. Jess Bhamra (Parminder Nagra) is an 18-year-old growing up in West London, where her family has taken every effort to stay in touch with its Indian heritage. Great when talking about cross cultural relationships.

  • The Great Debaters- A based off true story 2002 film that revolves around the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) at historically black Wiley College to place his team on equal footing with whites in the American South during the 1930s, when Jim Crow laws were common and lynch mobs were a pervasive fear for blacks. In the movie, the Wiley team eventually succeeds to the point where they are able to debate Harvard University. Good for discussing disparities and inequalities in education.

  • Freedom Writers-  A 2002 drama based off  real life events. The main events depicted take place between 1993–1996, beginning with scenes from the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Erin Gruwell (Hilary Swank), a new, excited school teacher who leaves the safety of her hometown, Newport Beach, to teach at Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, a formerly high achieving school which has recently put an integration plan in place. Her enthusiasm is rapidly challenged when she realizes that her class are all "at-risk" high school students, also known as "unteachables", and not the eager-for-college students she was expecting

  • The Journey-y (Malayalam: സഞ്ചാരം Sancharram) is a 2004 Malayalam feature film written, directed and produced by Ligy J. Pullappally, inspired both by her short film Uli and a true story of two lesbian lovers in the South Indian state of Kerala.

  • A Day without a Mexican- a 2004 film directed by Sergio Arau. It offers a satirical look at the consequences of all the Mexicans in the state of California suddenly disappearing (with a mysterious "pink fog" surrounding the state preventing any communication or movement with the outside world). A series of characters show the apparent statistical impact of Mexicans on California's economy, law enforcement and education systems as well as the resulting social unrest.

  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding- a 2002 Canadian-American romantic comedy film written by and starring Nia Vardalos and directed by Joel Zwick. The film is centered on Fotoula "Toula" Portokalos, a middle class Greek American woman who falls in love with a non-Greek upper middle class "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant" Ian Miller.

  • Real Women Have Curves-  A 2002 Film that tells the story of Ana Garcia, a Mexican-American teenager living in an East Los Angeles barrio. While attending Beverly Hills High School, where she is an accomplished student, she works in near-sweatshop conditions in her sister's dress factory alongside her mother, Carmen (Ontiveros), who considers this to be her younger daughter's vocation. But Ana, encouraged by her teacher Mr. Guzman (George Lopez), has dreams of attending Columbia. Before achieving her goal, she must try to balance her mother's traditional view of women with her own contemporary ideas while dealing with self-image issues and exploring a new romantic relationship.

  • Good Fences- starring Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Ryan Michelle Bathe Ashley Archer and Mo'Nique, is a made-for-TV movie that debuted in 2003. It is about the stresses of prejudice on an upwardly mobile black family in 1970s Greenwich, Connecticut.

  • The Visitor- a 2007 American immigration film written and directed by Thomas McCarthy and produced by Michael London and Mary Jane Skalski. Executive producers were Jeff Skoll and Omar Amanat. The screenplay focuses on a lonely man in late middle age whose life changes when he is forced to face issues relating to identity, immigration, and cross-cultural communication in post-9/11 New York City.

  • The Namesake- a 2006 film that depicts the struggles of Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli (Irrfan Khan and Tabu), two first-generation immigrants from West Bengal, India to the United States, and their American-born children Gogol (Kal Penn) and Sonia (Sahira Nair). The film takes place primarily in Kolkata, India; New York City; and various New York state suburbs.

  • The Joy Luck Club- a 1993 film that tells the story of four older women, all Chinese immigrants living in San Francisco, meet regularly to play mahjong, eat, and tell stories. Each of these women has an adult Chinese-American daughter. The film reveals the hidden pasts of the older women and their daughter's lives shaped by the clash of Chinese and American cultures as they strive to understand their family bonds and one another.

  • Slum Dog Millionaire- A 2008 British drama that is set and filmed in India, the film tells the story of Jamal Malik, a young man from the Juhu slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Kaun Banega Crorepati in the Hindi version) and exceeds people's expectations, thereby arousing the suspicions of cheating; Jamal recounts in flashback how he knows the answer to each question, each one linked to a key event in his life.

  • Precious- A 2009 film that tell the story of obese and illiterate, 16-yar-old Claireece Precious Jones (Gabourey Sidibe) lives in the New York City ghetto of Harlem with her dysfunctional and abusive mother, Mary (Mo'Nique). She has been raped by her father, Carl (Rodney "Bear" Jackson), resulting in two pregnancies. She suffers long-term physical and mental abuse from her unemployed mother. The family resides in a Section 8 tenement and survives on welfare. Her first child, known as "Mongo", which is short for Mongoloid, has Down syndrome and is being cared for by Precious' grandmother, though Mary forces the family to pretend Mongo lives with her and Precious so she can receive extra money from the government. Following the discovery of Precious' second pregnancy, she is taken out of school. Her high school principal arranges to have her attend an alternative school, which she hopes can help Precious change her life's direction. Precious finds a way out of her traumatic daily existence through imagination and fantasy. In her mind, there is another world where she is loved and appreciated.

  • Avatar- is a 2009 American[7][8] science fiction action film written and directed by James Cameron, The film is set in the mid-22nd century, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush habitable moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system.[9][10][11] The expansion of the mining colony threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na'vi – a humanoid species indigenous to Pandora. The film's title refers to a genetically engineered Na'vi body with the mind of a remotely located human, and is used to interact with the natives of Pandora.[12]

  • Good Hair- a 2009 comedy produced by Chris Rock. The film focuses on African American women's hair, including the styling industry surrounding it, the acceptable look of African American women's hair in society, and the effects of both upon African American culture.[3]

  • Mississippi Masala- a 1992 classic film directed by Mira Nair. The film is set primarily in rural Mississippi, the film explores interracial romance between African Americans and Indian Americans in the United States.

  • Have you heard from Joburg?- a 2011 film that hronicles the history of the global anti-apartheid movement that took on South Africa’s entrenched apartheid regime and its international supporters who considered South Africa an ally in the Cold War.

  • The Help is a 2011 American drama directed by Tate Taylor. Featuring an ensemble cast, the film is about a young white woman, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson during Civil Rights era America (the early 1960s). Skeeter is a journalist who decides to write a book from the point of view of the maids (referred to as "the help"), exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families.

  • Southern Beasts of the Wild- a 2012 film that tells a powerful story of a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphan hood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.

  • 42-  A 2013 film that tells the story of two men-the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey-whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line.

  • The Butler- Lee Daniels' 2013 movie  tells the story of a White House butler who served eight American presidents over three decades. The film traces the dramatic changes that swept American society during this time, from the civil rights movement to Vietnam and beyond, and how those changes affected this man's life and family.

  • 12 Years as a Slave-  This 2013 film tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery.