Since debuting at last year’s New York Film Festival, “Vito,” Jeffrey Schwarz’s portrait of LGBT activist and film historian Vito Russo (“The Celluloid Closet”) has screened at a number of festivals, including opening both San Francisco’s Frameline last month and Los Angeles’ Outfest last week. On July 23, the doc receives huge visibility in its broadcast premiere on HBO. Inspired by the example of this multifaceted advocate, Indiewire‘s latest curated Documentaries page for Hulu presents five films exploring activists championing a wide range of causes. Watch all these docs for free now!
Arturo Perez Torres’ “Super Amigos” tells the story of individuals trying to make a difference by becoming real-life super-heroes – with a dash of lucha libre Mexican wrestling theatrics. Super Gay, Super Barrio, Super Animal, Fray Tormenta, and Ecologista Universal patrol the streets of Mexico City united in the fight against homophobia, gentrification, bullfighting, poverty and environmental abuses.
The subject of Ebrahim Mokhtari’s “Zinat, One Special Day” is also concerned with enacting change on the local level in her native Iran. A health care worker for over a dozen years, Zinat has already paved the way for women’s empowerment and now turns to local government. Together with her husband, she decides to run for the village council in the first local elections since the Iranian revolution.
In “The Least of These,” Clark Lyda and Jesse Lyda explore the Bush administration’s controversial practice of the detention of undocumented immigrant families. Discovering conditions that were inhumane for children, committed immigration attorneys and other allies set out to institute policy reform, despite the lack of cooperation of federal agencies.
As demonstrated in Risteard O’Domhnaill’s “The Pipe,” in the eyes of many of the citizens of the Irish coastal town of Rossport, the government is not just uncooperative, it’s actively working against them. Faced with a proposed natural gas pipeline that promises to damage their local ecosystem and their livelihood, a number of villagers engage in peaceful protests that are nevertheless met with violence from the police – but they refuse to back down.
Finally, Sam Green and Bill Siegel’s thought-provoking “The Weather Underground” perhaps suggests the limits of activism. Focused on The Weathermen, a controversial offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society, the film explores the evolution of non-violent idealism into radical revolutionary ideology, whose members were willing to use violence to effect change – with the ultimate goal of trying to overthrow the US government.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Indiewire @ Hulu Docs” is a regular column spotlighting the Iw-curated selections on Hulu’s Documentaries page, a unique collaboration between the two sites. Indiewire selections typically appear in the carousel at the top of the page and under “Featured Content” in the center. Be sure to check out the great non-fiction projects available to watch free of charge. Disclosure: Some of the selections are titles provided to Hulu by SnagFilms, the parent company of Indiewire.
ABOUT THE WRITER: Basil Tsiokos is a Programming Associate, Documentary Features for Sundance and a consultant to documentary filmmakers and festivals. Follow him on Twitter (@1basil1) and visit his blog (what (not) to doc).