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Screen Time: Week of October 17, 2022

By Kelsey Brown

A woman wearing a lavender hijab stands on a podium looking out at a crowd. Photo: Capital-K Pictures. Courtesy of POVScreen Time is your curated weekly guide to excellent documentaries and nonfiction programs that you can watch at home.

Now more than ever, people are reclaiming narratives to ensure their voices are heard. Misrepresentations and tropes about marginalized groups in the media have been an issue since its inception. These documentaries are giving power back to the people and allowing often skewed stories to be steered straight. 

From POV, Nausheen Dadabhoy’s An Act of Worship, an IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund grantee, reflects on the experience of Muslim people in the US over the past 30 years. Intimate accounts of the ignorance they’ve faced and the struggles they’ve overcome help create a portrait of the resistance and resilience Muslim people have cultivated to preserve their culture and identity. An Act of Worship premieres October 17 on POV, and will stream on through November 16. 

Margaret Brown’s Descendant follows the quest for justice by the descendants of enslaved African people who were illegally brought to Alabama after slavery was abolished. The documentary doesn’t just aim to share the history that has been ignored, but also draws attention to the contemporary issues that have arisen as a result. The Africans who were forced into Alabama created a vivacious community called Africatown, which, in recent years, has been surrounded by heavy industry, spewing out their pollutants and chemicals. In tracking the search for the sunken ship Clotilda within a larger framework of excavating a long-buried history, Descendant insists on the preeminence of the past to reckon with the realities of the present. Watch on Netflix this Friday, October 21.  

In pursuit of making the major leagues, POV’s The Last Out follows the journey of three Cuban baseball players who “leave their families and risk exile to chase their dreams of playing in the United States.” The documentary highlights the lengths that athletes go to make pro and the lies that scouters lead with that make them willing to. Available for streaming on PBS.

From America ReFramed comes La Manplesa: An Uprising Remembered, which documents a community’s response to the lethal police shooting of Daniel Gomez in Washington D.C. The documentary goes into how gentrification and the migration of white people into Mount Pleasant led to the violence that unfolded, as well as the collective response of Latinos to the violence. Watch now on the WORLD channel. 

POV’s Accepted, from director Dan Chen, follows four high schoolers who attend a prep school in Louisiana that is known for sending students to Ivy Leagues. After a New York Times article broke about the controversial methods that the founder uses to instigate students' success, perspectives about the school, and higher education, began to shift. Available on PBS.