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Screen Time: Week of June 22

By Tom White

From David France's 'The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson,' now streaming on Netflix. Courtesy of Netflix

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

Time for Change: We Won’t Be Defeated, a multi-pronged event airing June 24 on ESPN, wiill examine black athletes’ experiences with injustice and the unifying role that sports continues to play in bridging the divide between law enforcement and people of color in America. The evening will center around the Time for Change discussions, and will be augmented by three documentaries: The 16th Man showcases the South African "Springbok" National Rugby Team and its impact on South Africa's transition from apartheid to beginning cooperation  Giants of Africa tells the story of Masai Ujiri, currently the President of Basketball Operations for the Toronto Raptors and in 2010 became the first African-born general manager for a major North American sports team, the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. The Australian Dream features Australian Football League (AFL) player and Australian Aborigine Adam Goodes, who transformed he’s experienced into advocacy work for indigenous people.  T

Premiering June 25 on the Luminal Theater virtual site, BLK Docs, in partnership with Speller Street Films and Seed&Spark, presents Christopher Everett's Wilmington on Fire, which tells the story of a massacre in 1898 of middle-class African-American citizens in Wilmington, NC, at the hands of an armed mob of white supremacists. The massacre marked the end of the Reconstruction Era and the beginning of the Jim Crow era.

Now streaming on, Stanley Nelson's Boss: The Black Experience tells the story of African American entrepreneurship, where skill, industriousness, ingenuity and sheer courage in the face of overwhelming odds provide the backbone of this nation's economic and social growth. The film includes a section on the 1921 Tulsa Massacre, which destroyed what was billed "Black Wall Street," a thriving African American business community.

Streaming on Netflix, David France's The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson focuses on the legendary fixture in New York City's gay ghetto, who along with fellow trans icon Sylvia Rivera, founded Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), a trans activist group based in the heart of NYC's Greenwich Village. The film tracks the mystery behind Johnson's death. In 1992, she was found floating in the Hudson River, and the NYPD pegged her death as a suicide, a claim that her comrades have always firmly rejected. 

Now streaming on Vimeo, (In)Visible Portraits, from Oge Egbuonu, shatters the too-often otherizing of Black women in America and reclaims this narrative through the words of Black scholars and activists, celebrating the extraordinary heritage of exceptional Black women and igniting hope for the next generation.

Premiering June 24 on Netflix, Athlete A, from Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, dives into the toxic culture of abuse in the world of women's gymnastics—a culture defined by fear, silence, intimidation. Centered around one of the greatest scandals in the history of sports, the film follows a team of reporters from The Indianapolis Star as they began investigating claims of abuse in USA Gymnastics in 2016. Two years later, an Olympic doctor is behind bars, dozens of coaches have been banned, and hundreds of female survivors are speaking out.

In a little change-up in Screen Time, attorney Steven Beer and producer Dan Halperin recently hosted a four-part series of webinars entitled Best Practices for Documentary Filmmaking, covering legal issues, marketing and distribution, and featuring, among other guests, filmmaker and IDA Board member Joe Berlinger. All four episodes are available for streaming.