Films for Justice Education and Action
A film series can be a great way to build community, spark engaging discussions, and motivate people to action.
American Winter – an award-winning portrait of the erosion of the middle class, challenges stereotypes of the families forced to turn to social services. The documentary follows the stories of eight families who struggle through our nation’s ongoing hard times. 90 minute DVD. $20 + S&H.
Cesar Chavez: History is made one step at a time. A biography of legendary civil rights and farm worker leader, Cesar Chavez, who organized, marched, fasted, and lead the United Farm Workers Union for many years, struggling against violence, greed, and indifference to make a better life for workers on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. Available from online bookstores. 102 minute DVD. $20 + S&H.
The Corporation (from the film's publicity): "Provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, The Corporation explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Taking its status as a legal "person" to the logical conclusion, the film puts the corporation on the psychiatrist's couch to ask "What kind of person is it?"The Corporation includes interviews with 40 corporate insiders and critics - including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore - plus true confessions, case studies and strategies for change." 145 minutes, $26.
Inequality for All is a documentary illustrating the predominant trend in our economy: the rich get richer, the middle class disappears, and the ranks of the poor grow larger.Inequality for All features Robert Reich, professor, best-selling author, and Clinton Administration cabinet member, as he demonstrates how the widening income gap threatens our families, communities, livelihoods, and the foundation of democracy itself. Reich describes how the massive consolidation of wealth by a very few has devastated the American economy. In this inconvenient truth for the economy, Reich uses humor, a wide array of examples and facts, and stories from struggling individuals and families to explain how economic inequality affects each of us. The film premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and was shown in theaters nationwide. Also see the JWM resource about what to do about inequality, A fair balance: reducing inequality in the U.S. and around the world. The solutions involve tax policy, trade policy, and strengthening workers’ right to form a union.
The End of Poverty traces the causes of poverty over the past 500 years. This thought-provoking and timely documentary reveals that poverty is not an accident. It began with military conquest, slavery and colonization that resulted in the seizure of land, minerals and forced labor. Today, global poverty has reached new levels because of unfair debt, trade and tax policies -- in other words, wealthy countries exploiting the weaknesses of poor, developing countries. 104 minutes.
Gold Fever is a documentary about the effect of gold mining on a remote indigenous area of Guatemala. The Canadian company, Goldcorp, has devastated the countryside and has made much of the land unusable. The film illustrates the devastating impact that resource extraction has made in just this one location. Similar acts of destruction are happening around the globe.(Note: Don't confuse this movie with another one, also titled Gold Fever, about the 19th century gold rush in the U.S.)
Numerous films by Michael Moore including Capitalism, A Love Story. This 2009 documentary both critiques and lifts up positive features of capitalism. It's focus is the 2007-8 economic downturn and its causes and consequences.
Read The Gospel According to The Wiz and Other Sermons from Cinema by Otis Moss, III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Moss shares some of his best sermons, based on these powerful films: The Wiz, 12 Years a Slave, The Butler, The Book of Eli, The Color Purple, Avatar, Flight, and For Colored Girls.
Immigration Films on immigration recommended by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) [3.91 MB]
How about a film series titled The Conscientious Projector! (This name comes from All Saints' Episcopal Church, Pasadena, CA.)
Many additional good films are listed here
If you have seen good justice-themed films that others might appreciate, please send the title, a short description of the film, and info on how to get a copy of the film to be added to this webpage.