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Untold Stories: Films to Watch

As part of BIMA’s Untold Stories online festival, staff put together their recommendations for must-watch films featuring stories that bring light to stories, histories, and experiences that have often gone untold. These stories inspire, empower, and educate through the art of storytelling.

Learn more about the Untold Stories festival here.

Crip Camp
A groundbreaking summer camp galvanizes a group of teens with disabilities to help build a movement, forging a new path toward greater equality.
Available to watch on Netflix.

Black Is The Color
The “Harlem on My Mind” fiasco is emblematic of the barriers Black artists have faced when it comes to having their work exhibited and collected. Black is the Color highlights key moments in the history of African-American visual art, from Edmonia Lewis’s 1867 sculpture Forever Free, to the work of contemporary artists such as Whitfield Lovell, Kerry James Marshall, Ellen Gallagher, and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Available to watch on Prime Video.

The Sit-In: Harry Belafonte Hosts the Tonight Show
In early 1968, as riots rock American cities and the Vietnam War escalates, the legendary entertainer and activist Harry Belafonte takes over `The Tonight Show’ for one week. With a guest list that includes Bobby Kennedy, Aretha Franklin, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sidney Poitier, Belafonte introduces a fractured, changing country to itself for five historic nights.
Available to watch on Peacock.

Mala Mala
Winner of the audience award for documentary film at the Tribeca Film Festival, “Mala Mala” tells the story of three non-binary individuals living and working in Puerto Rico.
Available to watch on Vimeo.

Joe’s Violin
In the award-winning short documentary film, Joe’s Violin, a donated musical instrument forges an improbable friendship between 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Joe Feingold and 12-year-old Bronx school girl Brianna Perez, showing how the power of music can bring light in the darkest of times and how a small act can have a great impact.
Available to watch on the New Yorker.

On the Way to School
They live in the four corners of the Earth and share a common thirst for learning. Instinctively, they know their survival and their happiness rest on knowledge and education. Jackson, Zahira, Samuel and Carlito are the heroes of On the way to school, a feature-length adventure documentary about four young schoolchildren forced to surmount a multitude of obstacles in order to get to school. On taking their amazing paths that lead to learning, they will leave childhood behind and begin a journey fraught with pitfalls and surprises.
Available to watch on Prime Video.

Waste Land
Located just outside Rio de Janeiro, Jardim Gramacho, Brazil, is the world’s largest garbage landfill. Modern artist Vik Muniz works with the so-called catadores, the men and women who pick through the refuse, to create art out of recycled materials. Muniz selects six of the garbage pickers to pose as subjects in a series of photographs mimicking famous paintings. In his desire to assist the catadores and change their lives, Muniz finds himself changed as well.
Available to watch on PBS.

Ron Stallworth is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman, into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.
Available to watch on Prime Video.

Short Term 12
Calm and competent, Grace is a young counsellor at a California care unit for at-risk teens. However, her cool facade begins to crack in the pressure cooker atmosphere as she and some of the unruly residents are reminded of past and present abuses.
Available to watch on Prime Video.

From Executive Producers Jason Momoa and Brian Mendoza comes this new film, which follows the stories of Native Americans on the frontlines of a growing movement to reconnect with spiritual and cultural identities that were devastated by genocide. An Indigenous chef embarks on a ambitious project to reclaim ancient food ways on the Apache Reservation; in South Dakota a gifted Lakota high school student raised on a buffalo ranch is proving her tribe’s Native wisdom through her passion for science; and a group of young men of the Yurok tribe in Northern California are struggling to keep their culture alive and rehabilitate the habitat of their sacred salmon. All these stories combine to show how the reclaiming and recovery of ancient food ways is a way forward for Native Americans to bring back health and vitality to their people.
Available to watch on Vimeo.

Learn more about the Untold Stories festival here.