#SoReal - 28 July 2020

Something Solidarity

What happened to the revolution? Where do we march in the internet? These two films reflect on historic revolutionary attempts from the battle on the street to the factory.

The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott

Mixing archive footage with newly-shot material in an evocative video essay that reflects on the life and times of the critic, historian and activist E.P. Thompson.

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US: LUX Player UK: LUX Player

The Battle of Chile

An epic and gripping documentary about the political turmoil in Chile in the 1970s, leading to revolution and the deposition of its democratically elected socialist president, Salvador Allende; a decisive event not only in the history of Chile but of the Cold War itself.

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US: Youtube (Three parts) UK: Youtube (Three parts)

#SoReal - 18 July 2020

Something Safe

Navigating performance, community, permission and safety, this week's films offer a lens and a strategy to subvert oppressive entities in public.

The Giverny Document

Filmed on location in Harlem, USA and in Claude Monet’s historic gardens in Giverny, France, The Giverny Document is a multi-textured cinematic poem that meditates on the safety and bodily autonomy of Black women.

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US: Youtube UK: Youtube

No Data Plan

Living in the United States illegally for over 20 years, Miko Revereza takes the Amtrak train from Los Angeles to New York in this critical moment of hostility against migrants in the country he has come to know as home. The journey seems daring, perhaps reckless, yet urgent and necessary.

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US: IFFR Unleashed UK: IFFR Unleashed

#SoReal - 9 July 2020

Something Here

What is a community without images? What is a home without safety behind doors? This week's films offer community perspectives that flicker and glitch between being here and being heard.

A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message

Celebration is protest at Leeds West Indian Carnival. A look at forms of authority, ‘A Protest, A Celebration, A Mixed Message’ asks who is really performing. Following Mama Dread’s, a troupe whose carnival theme is Caribbean immigration to the UK, we are asked to consider the visibility of black bodies, particularly in rural spaces.

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US: Videoclub (Limited time) UK: Videoclub (Limited time)

The People's Account

A direct document of the Broadwater Farm Estate in Tottenham, the scene of serious rioting between police and the residents in 1984, from the point of view of the black community which lives there.

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US: Vimeo (free) UK: Vimeo (free)

#SoReal - 30 June 2020

Something Spoken

Words pass from a mouth to an ear, to a mind. What happens between is a mystery of articulation, and understanding. This week's films reflect on language, knowledge and communication with humour and spoken difficulty.

Atelier de Conversation

A dozen red chairs, an equal number of mutually disparate life stories. Just a room and a common language, however, become a means toward understanding as foreigners from all corners of the world meet each week at the Centre Pompidou in Paris for free lessons to hone their French.

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

The Faculties

Students of different careers prepare to take final exams. Botany, anatomy, sociology, medieval philosophy, criminal law, morphology, theoretical physics and piano. Each one uses their own abilities to cope with the situation of oral exposure, the most common evaluative practice in the National Universities of Argentina.

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

#SoReal - 22 June 2020

Something Somebody

Perhaps the most difficult terrain to know and accept is the surface and depth of one's own body. This week's films explore grounding interiors, complicated distances, and shifting self, in a world that is less than accepting.

Room For a Man

A young filmmaker who shares a Beirut apartment with his mother and pet dog attempts to reconstruct his identity by renovating his bedroom. But as the Syrian construction workers come and go in the freshly embattled household, new questions, old arguments and unexpected passions get stirred. What emerges is an intimate essay about the meaning of masculinity and a young man’s search for acceptance across two continents.

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US: Aflamuna (free) UK: Aflamuna (free)

The Joy of Life

A blending of documentary and experimental narrative strategies, combining stunning 16mm landscape cinematography with a bold, lyrical voice-over to share two San Francisco stories: the history of the Golden Gate Bridge as "suicide landmark," and the story of a butch dyke in San Francisco searching for love and self-discovery. The Joy of Life is a film about landscapes, both physical and emotional.

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US: Vimeo / iTunes UK: Vimeo / iTunes

#SoReal - 15 June 2020

Something Deep

As racist statues are rightfully submerged this week's pairing of films portray submersion as a rite of passage and water as a body for community.

Ama San

The film follows the everyday lives of three women of different ages who have dived together in the sea around a small fishing village on the Shima peninsular for 30 years. Shot between the silent, underwater world and rural life on land, this film is a unique portrait of a tradition that is not expected to survive much longer.

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

Ten Meter Tower

A 10-meter diving tower. People who have never been up there before have to choose whether to jump or climb down. The situation in itself highlights a dilemma: to weigh the instinctive fear of taking the step out against the humiliation of having to climb down. Ten Meter Tower is an entertaining study of the human in a vulnerable position.

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US: Youtube (free) UK: Youtube (free)

#SoReal - 8 June 2020

Something Unseated

Through weeks of vital turbulence, displayed rupture, and solidarity with black lives, it's equally vital to reflect upon, unsettle and upturn your own seat of power. At every strata: from the Chair of the Board to a chair of cardboard on the street, there is a necessary struggle to overcome. These two films portray the distance of relational understanding, and the will or lack of, for some humans to progress.

The Task

In this studied staging the filmmaker creates an immersive three-day Group Relations conference—an intricate feedback apparatus designed to surface and reflect upon unconscious group phenomena—around which he conceived a complex filming structure. Twenty-eight participants representing a cross-section of Chicago participate in small and large group encounters, the group enacts a temporary institution whose purpose is to study itself and examine the identities, roles, desires and biases that individuals import into the group.

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US: Direct - PW: doublebind UK: Direct - PW: doublebind

The Color of Fear

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.

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US: Vimeo (free) UK: Vimeo (free)

#SoReal - 2 June 2020

Something Material

As objects move, constructions fall, and out of their ruins a new spectacle of the scaffold is bolted in place. This week's poetic pairing traces movements and histories through objects, and material culture in the country of Lebanon.

The Drift

This film traces the shifting economies of objects in contemporary Lebanon. The film moves between three main characters: the gatekeeper of the Roman temples of Niha in the Beqaa Valley; a young mechanic from Britel, a village known for trading automobile parts; and an archaeological conservator working at the American University of Beirut.

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US: Chisenhale (Free) UK: Chisenhale (Free)

Taste of Cement

A portrait of workers in exile. An empathetic encounter with people who have lost their past and their future, locked in the recurring present. This essay documentary portrays Syrian construction workers building new skyscrapers in Beirut on the ruins caused by the Lebanese civil war. At the same time their own houses are being bombed in Syria.

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

#SoReal - 26 May 2020

Something Hospital

A healthy human eye can distinguish and be lit up by 17,000 different colours, but so often the minds behind them fall to an illness: discriminating the difference of a few. These films look behind the thick skin of sick power to reveal a skeleton of human care.

I am Somebody

A short political documentary by Madeline Anderson about black hospital workers on strike in Charleston South Carolina. This was the first half-hour documentary film by an African-American woman in the film industry union.

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US: Youtube UK: Youtube

Midnight Family

In Mexico City's wealthiest neighbourhoods, the Ochoa family runs a private ambulance. As they try to make a living in this cutthroat industry, they struggle to keep their financial needs from compromising the people in their care.

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US: Amazon / Youtube UK: Curzon Home / Amazon

#SoReal - 19 May 2020

Something Radiant

Some doors open again, and fields of light pour through porous windows. The simple joy of outward seeing, of glancing movements in changing light, coincidence of colour, and broken shadows hit the eye with a warm radiance. Here are moments of cinema for retinal reverie.

blk boy flight (me & my cousins)

JOY. in a word, a film expressing JOY. Showing that there are other coins and other sides to the blk. boy. man. narrative than have been and are being shown.

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US: Vimeo (free) UK: Vimeo (free)

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Intimate and personal moments from the lives of the black community of Hale County, Alabama, forming an emotive impression of the historic South, trumpeting the beauty of life and consequences of race, while simultaneously existing as a testament to dreaming - despite the odds.

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US: YouTube / iTunes / Amazon UK: Amazon

#SoReal - 14 May 2020

Something Displaced

Sometimes a movement is required to stay where we are. These images offer a lens of refracted belonging, shifting grounds, and poetic presence. Take a seat and be stirred.

Dislocation Blues

An incomplete and imperfect portrait of reflections from Standing Rock. Cleo Keahna recounts his experiences entering, being at, and leaving the camp and the difficulties and the reluctance in looking back with a clear and critical eye. Terry Running Wild describes what his camp is like, and what he hopes it will become.

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US: Direct UK: Direct

Evaporating Borders

A lyrical essay in five parts, Evaporating Borders is told through a series of vignettes that explore the lives of political and economic refugees on the island of Cyprus. The film explores the themes of displacement, belonging, identity, and migration.

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

#SoReal - 6 May 2020

Something Division

A plasterboard perimeter, a barbed wire border, a stonewall separation: All of these man-made boundaries can fall to positive permeation.

Walled Unwalled

A performative film that presents narratives derived from legal cases based on evidence heard or experienced through walls.

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US: Youtube UK: Youtube

Border Fence

A documentary about borders, populism, fences, and absurd consequences.

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

#SoReal - 30 April 2020

Something Club

Day turns into night, and the night turns the day. As nightclubs hum silent, and bodies dance apart, this week's films shake the streams with a political art.

Everybody In The Place: An Incomplete History Of Britain 1984-1992

A re-evaluation of acid house, a musical phenomenon that owed its emergence to the social and political landscape of 1980s Britain.

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US: Youtube UK: Youtube


The story of Los Angeles’ black lesbian strip club scene and its genesis. Owned and operated by women, underground and illegal in nature, the club Shakedown is the darker, faster, younger iteration of this dance culture.

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US: Direct UK: Direct

#SoReal - 25 April 2020

Something Vignette

At a required distance our fragments of social interaction, of recognition, of coming to know other normalities, are ingested through minor observation and overheard conversations. These films of looking and listening create connection, and meaning through such chance encounter.

The Hottest August

A film about climate change, disguised as a portrait of collective anxiety.

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The Illinois Parables

Regional vignettes about faith, technology and exodus.

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

#SoReal - #SoReal - 20 April 2020

Something Inside

The kitchen, the dining room, the bedroom, and the bathroom. Move a chair from here to there, try a new recipe, and open a world from the inside out. Something Real is back in your inbox.

I Signed the Petition

A raw and humorous conversation between two friends about the effectiveness of publicly supporting the cultural boycott of Israel.

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US: The Atlantic UK: The Atlantic

Hotel Diaries - Dirty Pictures

Seated in a hotel room the filmmaker encounters a series of problems involving a ceiling, a video camera and the occupation of Palestine.

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US: Vimeo UK: Vimeo

#SoReal - Friday 13th January

Something Boutique

Avoid the January sales and pick up this 2 for 1 offer instead. Doyenne of documentary Agnès Varda and dearly departed Albert Maysles create beautifully eccentric tributes to local legends and their métiers - from the humble to the haute couture. Explore the shops that time forgot on a picturesque street in Paris and get to know nonagenarian fashion icon Iris Apfel as she struts her stuff down the sidewalks of New York.


An account of the daily lives of shopkeepers on a short stretch of the Rue Daguerre, a picturesque street in Paris.

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US: Fandor UK: Fandor


An affectionate portrait of Iris Apfel, the beloved 93-year-old New York style maven.

Dir. Albert Maysles

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US: Netflix / Vudu / Googleplay UK: Netflix

#SoReal - December 21st

Something Subzero

Our coolest subscribers will have spotted that Something Real has been put on ice for a spell. While our doc-endorsing digits thaw out fully in time for the New Year, wrap up warm to discover two frosty films brought in for you from the cold.

The Epic of Everest

The original record of Irvine and Mallory's doomed Everest expedition of 1924, crafted from beautifully restored footage and set to a specially commissioned new score.

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US: Fandor / Netflix UK: BFI Player

Village at The End of The World

A year in the life of a remote Inuit fishing village in Greenland, where a tiny community struggle for existence against environmental and economic adversity.

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US: iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes

#SoReal - October 21st

Something Streets

Where we grow, the spaces we share and the streets we walk shape who we are. We in turn decorate the character of that place. See this NYT article on a New York state of mind, and these incredible portraits of the city's people.

Los Sures

A beautiful, vibrant record of a largely Puerto Rican & Dominican community in South Brooklyn of the 1980s.

Dir. Diego Echeverria (1984)

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US: Amazon / Youtube / Googleplay / Vimeo on Demand UK: Vimeo on Demand

Field Niggas

An hour-long nocturne portrait of a Harlem street corner with near-hallucinatory intensity.

Dir. Khalik Allah (2015)

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US: Vimeo (Free) UK: Vimeo (Free)

#SoReal - October 7th

Something Risky

Sharing stories from the frontlines continues to put journalists at risk from Syria to Russia and beyond. These two films question the dangerous boundaries of truth, trust and journalism.


A real-life thriller, (T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during a live FBI counterterrorism sting operation.

Dirs. Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe (2015)

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US: Netflix UK: Netflix

El Sicario, Room 164

Mexico's drug cartels are shockingly illuminated in this striking documentary. "El Sicario" is a frank portrait of an individual who was a hitman for 20 years.

Dir. Gianfranco Rosi (2010)

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US: Amazon UK: DocAlliance

#SoReal - September 26th

Something Talkies

It's been a busy few weeks in filmlandia with some directors collecting gongs at The Emmys and others launching Oscar campaigns at TIFF. Behind all this polished metal are people who love making and talking about film. Here are some to watch tonight.

Hitchcock / Truffaut

A love letter to cinema and two if its renowned talents. This illuminating documentary explores the art and influence of Alfred Hitchcock through his famed 1962 interview with French auteur François Truffaut.

Dir. Kent Jones (2016)

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US: HBO GO UK: Googleplay / Amazon / iTunes / Curzon Home

Life Itself

A documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert – a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent.

Dir. Steve James (2014)

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US: Youtube / Googleplay / iTunes / Netflix UK: Googleplay / Amazon / Netflix

#SoReal - September 7th

Something Refuge

The perilous state of existence for refugees trying to reach Britain has only worsened in recent weeks. These two stories document the trials of movement and recognition of migrants.

The Journey

A six-part documentary about the dangerous paths of Syrian asylum seekers in the E.U.

Dir. Matthew Cassel (2016)

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US: New Yorker UK: New Yorker


In this autobiographical work Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas becomes a crusader for immigration reform.

Dir. Jose Antonio Vargas (2013)

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US: Googleplay / Youtube / iTunes / Direct UK: Direct

#SoReal - September 3rd

Something Fontastic

A recent study suggests that our trust in the words we read is affected by how they are printed. Get to know your Arial from your Optima this weekend.


A film about a typeface that delves into the world of graphic arts and takes a deeper look into style changes and the controversies over the role of graphic designer since World War II.

Dir. Gary Hustwit (2007)

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US: Amazon / iTunes UK: iTunes


Artists and craftsmen meet at a museum and print shop in rural Wisconsin to practice modern designs and traditional techniques.

Dir. Justine Nagan (2009)

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#SoReal - August 24th

Something Tragic

New fabric of devastation and tragedy wraps our daily newspapers, but little time is given to regret, revisiting, and healing. These two visions playfully approach and address lingering historic wounds.

Sleepless Nights

A deeply moving documentary about reconciliation and justice in the Lebanon, bringing two people together whose lives have been changed forever by the civil war.

Dir. Eliane Raheb (2012)

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US: Direct UK: Direct


This playful documentary tells the story of an Israeli ex-soldier who participated in a revenge operation in which two Palestinian policemen were murdered, and who now seeks forgiveness for what he has done.

Dir. Avi Mograbi (2008)

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US: Distrify / DocAlliance UK: Distrify / DocAlliance

#SoReal - August 17th

Something Behind Bars

'In the great prison where I was then incarcerated, I was merely the figure and the letter of a little cell in a long gallery. One of a thousand lifeless numbers, as of a thousand lifeless lives.' – Oscar Wilde. Inspired by a series of prison reading events we are serving two lock and key docs.

Into the Abyss

A riveting examination of a horrible crime which probes the human psyche to explore why people kill and why the state kills.

Dir. Werner Herzog (2011)

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US: Sundance Doc Club / Amazon / iTunes UK: iTunes / Googleplay

Prison Valley

A town in the middle of nowhere with 36,000 souls and 13 prisons, one of which is Supermax, the new 'Alcatraz' of America. A prison town where even those living on the outside live on the inside.

Dirs. David Dufresne & Philippe Brault (2010)

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US: Arte Webdocs UK: Arte Webdocs

#SoReal - August 6th

Something Texan

Texas is a State of complexity and controversy. Dovetail these two deep south tales into your weekend for some poetically solid enlightenment.


For decades, two towns on opposite sides of the Texas-Mexico border have coexisted quietly, but encroaching drug-related violence threatens the peace.

Dirs. Bill and Turner Ross (2015)

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US: Fandor / Youtube / VUDU / Amazon UK: Netflix

Stop The Pounding Heart

Sara, a girl being home-schooled on a goat farm alongside her 11 siblings, finds her devout values challenged after she meets Colby, an amateur bull rider.

Dir. Roberto Minervini (2013)

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US: VUDU / iTunes / Youtube / Fandor UK: Amazon / Googleplay

#SoReal - July 28th

Something Diet

As summer stretches its jaw from eyefuls of ice-cream to BBQ banquets, diet fever is served up in new plans, books, and apps. Get your teeth into these two beefy shock docs!

That Sugar Film

This eye-opening film reveals what happens when actor and director Damon Gameau adopts a diet high in refined sugar for 60 days, to the detriment of his physical, emotional and mental well-being.

Dir. Damon Gameau (2014)

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US: Googleplay / Amazon / VUDU / iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes

Supersize Me

Morgan Spurlock subjects himself to a ridiculous diet based only on McDonald's menu three times a day for thirty days without exercising to try to prove why so many Americans are fat or obese.

Dir. Morgan Spurlock (2004)

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US: VUDU / Amazon / iTunes UK: Amazon / Netflix

#SoReal - July 21st

Something Singing

It's music festival season and fields are filled with bodies moved by summer sounds. If you aren't the outdoorsy type, pitch a tent in your living room, burn some gigabytes and stream these bangers.

20,000 Days on Earth

An inventive, lyrical ode to creativity and an intimate examination of the artistic process of musician and cultural icon Nick Cave.

Dirs. Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard (2014)

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US: Vimeo / Googleplay / Youtube / iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes / Curzon

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

This intimate and inventive portrait uses material from the Cobains' personal archives in an in-depth examination of the Nirvana frontman's childhood, music career and untimely death.

Dir. Brett Morgen (2015)

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US: HBO NOW / Amazon UK: Googleplay / Youtube / iTunes

#SoReal - July 13th

Something Black

Solidarity marches across the US and UK have illuminated protests after the latest police shootings of black men in US. Stay informed by watching these two moving stories of recent protest and injustice.

3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets

Reveals the deep racial prejudices and tragedies that ensue as a result through the murder of Jordan Davis and trial of shooter Michael Dunn.

Dir. Marc Silver (2015)

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US: HBO GO UK: Amazon / iTunes / Googleplay

Concerned Student 1950

A series of racist acts prompts three University of Missouri students to pick up cameras and take us inside a peaceful student movement whose protests brought down the college president.

Dirs. Adam Dietrich, Varun Bajaj, Kellan Marvin (2016)

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US: Field of Vision UK: Field of Vision

#SoReal - July 1st

Something Aborted

A legal case deciding the right to access abortion clinics in Texas concluded this week, prompting wider actions across America to repeal restrictions. These two hard-hitting docs explore the ethical and moral struggles of the right to abort.


A sea captain navigates through loopholes in international law to provide abortions on the high seas.

Dir. Diana Whitten (2014)

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US: iTunes / Amazon / Youtube / Netflix / Vimeo On Demand UK: Netflix / Vimeo On Demand

After Tiller

This controversial doc follows the only four remaining doctors in the United States who openly perform late-term abortions.

Dirs. Martha Shane & Lana Wilson (2013)

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US: iTunes / Vudu / Amazon / Youtube UK: iTunes

#SoReal - June 20th

Something Constitutional

This week we are saying flixit to the Brexit with a composition of two constitutional conundrums. Sit back and vote with your remote.


After Zimbabwe's disputed 2008 election results, political enemies are asked to write a new constitution and save their country from a bleak future.

Dir. Camilla Nielsson (2015)

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US: Netflix UK: iTunes / Googleplay / Amazon / Netflix

The War Room

A behind-the-scenes rollercoaster journey into Bill Clinton's campaign for President of the United States during the 1992 presidential election.

Dirs. D. A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus (1993)

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US: iTunes / Amazon UK: Youtube

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