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Screen Time: Week of April 12, 2021

By Tom White

From 'American Insurrection' (Dir.: Rick Rowley; Corr.: A.C. Thompson; Prods.: producers Karim Hajj and Jacquie Soohen), which premieres April 13 on 'FRONTLINE.' Courtesy of ProPublica/FRONLINE (PBS).

Screen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home. 


Premiering April 13 on PBS’ FRONTLINE, American Insurrection, a collaboration with ProPublica and University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, investigates the rise of far-right extremism in America—from the deadly Charlottesville rally in 2017, to a neo-Nazi group that has actively recruited inside the US military, to the assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Correspondent A.C. Thompson, director Rick Rowley and producers Karim Hajj and Jacquie Soohen explore how far-right groups were emboldened and encouraged by former President Trump, how individuals were radicalized and brought into the political landscape—and what the fears and concerns are going forward.

Opening April 16 in virtual theaters, Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts explores the life and work of artist Bill Traylor. Born into slavery in Alabama in 1853, he started creating in his late 80s, during the Great Depression, translating his memory and observations of a changing America into a trove of colorful modernist drawings and paintings that gained him national renown, as well as a retrospective at the Smithsonian Institute. The film is directed and produced by Jeffrey Wolf and produced by Sam Pollard, Daphne McWilliams, Jeany Nisenholz-Wolf and Fred Barron.

Streaming on Film Movement+ starting April 13 is Gospel According to Al Green. The 1984 documentary from Robert Mugge captures Green’s transition from hugely successful soul singer to gospel artist and preacher. Filmed in concert in Washington, DC, in rehearsal in his recording studio, in a service at his Memphis church, and in an extended interview, 

Opening April 13 on Metrograph Pictures' virtual site, Monk in Europe (1968), from Michael and Christian Blackwood, documents jazz master Thelonious  Monk on a two-continent/six-month tour. The film was broadcast on German television in 1968 and was not seen again until Michael Blackwood Productions remastered it in 2017 to commemorate the centennial of Monk’s birth Now, a new generation of audiences can behold a great American artist discussing and practicing his craft.

Premiering April 16 via Docuseek2, Downstream to Kinshasa, from director Dieudo Hamadi, follows a group of victims of the June 2000 Six-Day War between Ugandan and Rwandan armies. Although Uganda was found guilty of war crimes by the International Court of Justice,t the victims remain uncompensated decades later. So they decide to take matters into their own hands, traveling down the Congo river to voice their claims and seek justice in the Congo capital of Kinshasa.