Freedom Riders

In 1961 segregation seemed to have an overwhelming grip on American society. Many states violently enforced the policy, while the federal government, under the Kennedy administration, remained indifferent, preoccupied with matters abroad. That is, until an integrated band of college students—many of whom were the first in their families to attend a university—decided, en masse, to risk everything and buy a ticket on a Greyhound bus bound for the Deep South. They called themselves the Freedom Riders, and they managed to bring the president and the entire American public face to face with the challenge of correcting civil-rights inequities that plagued the nation.

Veteran filmmaker Stanley Nelson’s inspirational documentary is the first feature-length film about this courageous band of civil-rights activists. Gaining impressive access to influential figures on both sides of the issue, Nelson chronicles a chapter of American history that stands as an astonishing testament to the accomplishment of youth and what can result from the incredible combination of personal conviction and the courage to organize against all odds. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Ready or not, change was coming to America. The fault lines were no longer ignorable—cities were burning, Vietnam was exploding, disputes raged over women’s rights, gay rights, and civil rights. Many of the youth that came of age in the Sixties were set on tearing down the world that Dick and Jane built and reconstructing their own American Dream. A new revolutionary culture was emerging, and it sought to drastically transform the system. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense would, for a short time, put itself at the vanguard of that change. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]

Freedom Summer

In 1964, despite the best efforts of local civil rights activists, Mississippi remained virulently committed to segregation, underscored by the systematic exclusion of African Americans from the political process. In response, Robert Moses of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee developed a campaign to bring a thousand volunteers—primarily enthusiastic young white supporters—to the state to encourage voter registration, provide much-needed education, and convene a more representative delegation to attend the Democratic National Convention. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance Film Festival]

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

Featuring never-before-seen footage, this documentary delivers a startling new look at the Peoples Temple, headed by preacher Jim Jones who, in 1978, led more than 900 members to Guyana, where he orchestrated a mass suicide via tainted punch.