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Screen Time: Week of March 15, 2021

By Tom White

From Olga 'Busy Inside.' Courtesy of WORLD Channel. A woman from the film swings on  a swing in the middle of a playground; her head is upside-down as she faces the camera.

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

Premiering March 16 on WORLD Channel as part of America ReFramed, Olga Lvoff’s Busy Inside explores the intricacies and complexities of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)—formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, a condition that fascinates and puzzles modern psychiatry. The film introduces viewers to those who live with DID, bringing viewers into their inner world.

Premiering March 18 on discovery+, Groomed, from Gwen van de Pas, tells the powerful story of the filmmaker’s return to her hometown in search of answers about the man who sexually abused her as a child. To understand her ongoing traumas, van de Pas travels to meet survivors, psychologists, and even a convicted sex offender. What begins as an exploration into grooming becomes a dramatic journey where the filmmaker faces unexpected revelations in her case, finally finds her anger, and boldly confronts the evil we’d rather ignore. 

Premiering March 22 on Independent Lens, Shalini Kantayya’s Coded Bias reveals the groundbreaking research of MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini, proving that facial recognition algorithms have the power to disseminate racial bias at scale. As a result, this past June,  IBM, Amazon and Microsoft announced they would pause the sale of facial recognition to police.

Premiering March 15 on Instagram Stories, Otherly, an unprecedented collaboration between POV Spark and the National Film Board of Canada, is a series of short documentaries about finding one’s place in the 21st century. Seven female, non-binary and genderqueer creators have crafted stories about family relationships, LGBTQIA+ identities and a search for freedom and independence.

Streaming on Topic, Martha: A Picture Story, from Selona Miles, profiles New York City-based photographer Martha Cooper who, for the past 50 years, has been documenting the raw, vibrant power of underground street art.

Streaming for free through March 19 on Maysles Documentary Center’s website is the curated series (Re)Considering Harlem: Legacies and Futures. Featuring work by William Graves, Woodie King Jr., Sidney Meyers, Larry Bullard and Carolyn Y. Johnson, and Karen D. Taylor, this series explores how the mythologies of Harlem reconcile (or do not) with its realities, how the ghosts of Harlem’s storied past find their way into its present. The aim of the series is to consider (and reconsider) Harlem, its visuals, its narratives, its legacies, and its futures. These words are plural and always have been.