Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight

Sponsored by Mary Strauss

Davy Rothbart

In 1999, 9-year-old Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his Washington, D.C., family began to film their daily lives in America's most dangerous…

Jacqueline Olive

In the small town of Bladenboro, N.C., 17-year-old Lennon Lacy was found hanging from a swing set on Aug. 29, 2014. Despite inconsistencies in the…

Roger Ross Williams

Helmed by Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Roger Ross Williams, “The Apollo” chronicles the unique history and contemporary legacy of the New York…

Tricia Regan

In 1980, autism was a relatively rare disorder, diagnosed in one in 10,000 children in the United States. Today, it is one in 150. “Autism: The…

Alex Horwitz

In “Autonomy” — which premiered at SXSW — celebrated journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell (“The Tipping Point,” the new “Talking to Strangers”)…

D.W. Young

Antiquarian booksellers — whose job requires the disparate skills of a scholar, a detective, and a businessperson — have personalities and…

Chelsea Hernandez

In Texas, construction workers face the deadliest conditions in the country. “Building the American Dream” follows three immigrant families who…

Carin Goeijers

On the run from an arranged marriage with an elderly man, Becky arrives in Europe — via Libya — from her native country of Nigeria. Becky could…

Brian Schodorf

Much is said about the violence that plagues Chicago’s hyper-segregated communities. But what is known about the systems that created them, the…

Jonathan Schienberg

Jamil Sunsin is the only person in his family born in the U.S. His parents and sister came from Honduras and lived in the U.S. for a decade before…

Sophie Guerra & Clement Guerra

Four indigenous environmental leaders embark on an extraordinary trans-continental adventure, traveling from the Canadian plains to deep into the…

Judith Helfand

Chicago suffered the worst heat disaster in U.S history in 1995, when 739 residents — mostly elderly and black — died over the course of one week…

Marco Williams

When the Martha Graham Dance Company commissions famed choreographer Andonis Foniadakis to create a new piece, his fluid, improvisational style…

Alla Kovgan

Alla Kovgan’s “Cunningham” — which screened at the prestigious Toronto and New York film festivals — provides an immersive view of Merce…

Gretchen Hildebran & Vivian Vazquez

In the 1970s, the Bronx was on fire. Left unprotected by the city government, nearly a half-million people were displaced as their close-knit,…

Urooj Yazdani

Eleven-year-old Humera lives in the small, impoverished Pakistani fishing village of Cashma Goth with her mother and sisters. Because her father…

An exploration of the many varieties of art, from tattooing to quilting to cartooning to beading to painting.

A program that explores the black experience from a multiplicity of perspectives.

An eclectic selection of films — from the comedic to the deadly serious — that explore religion in its many manifestations.

A collection of real-life stories told through a variety of animated techniques.

A sampler of films from students in the Jonathan B. Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism, which applies…

A nonfiction "The Handmaid's Tale," this program relates stories of sexual abuse and violence against women around the globe.

A wide-ranging program of films that explore science, technology, and cyberspace.

Nonfiction standouts from the 2019 St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase.

Stories in which women excel in diverse athletic endeavors, from running and boxing to automobile racing and samurai sword-handling.

Cindy Meehl

A founding father of integrative veterinary medicine, Dr. Marty Goldstein and his colleagues in South Salem, N.Y., have created a mecca for…

Megan Wennberg

“Drag Kids” is an intimate journey into the lives of four child drag queens from around the world. As an art form, drag has always been about…

Danielle Beverly

Iconic Chicago record store Dusty Groove has been buying vinyl collections for 20 years. But how can you put a price tag on something so personal…

Haka Puai te Kainga

The iconic statues and sensationalized "mysteries" of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) have drawn the interest of the world for centuries, attracting…

John Presley

First-time Missouri filmmaker John Presley provides an illuminating profile of world-class bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland. Routinely hailed…

David Barnhart

“Flint: The Poisoning of an American City” traces the history of the city’s interaction with the Flint River — from the continued abuse and…

Kevin McKiernan

“From Wounded Knee to Standing Rock” tells the intertwined stories of Willard Carlson, a Yurok Indian fisherman who fought at Wounded Knee, S.D.,…

David Charles Rodrigues

The Tribeca 2019 Audience Award winner, “Gay Chorus Deep South” follows the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus as it embarks on a tour of the American…

Amy Goldstein

This highly entertaining documentary about British singer/songwriter and actress Kate Nash — a star of Netflix’s “GLOW” — is a kaleidoscopic,…

David Hambridge

A distressing account of extinction in real time, “Kifaru” follows the lives of two young Kenyan recruits who join Ol Pejeta Conservancy's rhino-…

Sean Mullin

In “Kings of Beer” — directed by Sean Mullin (“Amira & Sam,” the winner of SLIFF’s 2014 New Filmmakers Forum) — a diverse group of elite…

Kathy Bruner

An alternative school in small-town Indiana is the last, best chance for struggling teens to earn a high-school diploma. For Devin, Hannah, Zariah…

Aliza Rosen

This charming, droll, and sometimes moving documentary is built around the personality of comedian and podcaster H. Alan Scott, who is preparing…

Sylvia Nagel & Sonya Winterberg

“Made in Auschwitz” focuses needed attention on a little-known aspect of the Nazis’ ghastly experiments, detailing the efforts of gynecologist…

Alexander John Glustrom

Mossville, La., is a shadow of its former self. Once a community rich in natural resources and history, Mossville was founded by formerly enslaved…

Thiago Dezan, Graci Guarani, Leo Otero, Alexandre Pankararu & Marcelo Vogelaar

This powerful documentary uses young Guarani rapper Werá Jeguaka Mirim as the audience’s access point to a wide-ranging overview of the serious…

Lillian LaSalle

“My Name Is Pedro” explores what public education meant to South Bronx Latino maverick educator Pedro Santana — and what he, in turn, means to…

Werner Herzog

Told in Werner Herzog’s inimitable style, “Nomad” explores the creative and personal vision the filmmaker shared with legendary travel writer and…

Molly Stuart

Like all Israeli youth, Atalya is obligated to become a soldier. Unlike most, she questions the practices of her country’s military and becomes…

Harry Charalambos Mavromichalis

A revealing, unfiltered profile of Academy Award-winning theater and film actor Olympia Dukakis, “Olympia” includes the expected interviews with…

Uri Levi

In “Once Upon a Boy,” an Israeli family deals with the challenges of cerebral palsy, which affects one of their twin sons. Both ingratiatingly…

Puloma Basu & Rob Hatch-Miller

“Other Music” provides a highly entertaining tribute to/eulogy for Other Music, a much-loved NYC indie record store that evolved out of another…

Jan Haaken

Nearly one in four American women have an abortion during their lifetime, yet the doctors who perform this commonplace procedure are rarely talked…

Andrew Elizaga & Tia Young

Because of the steady exodus of African Americans from the rapidly gentrifying, historically black neighborhood of Seattle’s Central District, the…

Lisa Rhoden Boyd

In “The Voice Within,” inmates at the women’s prison in Vandalia, Mo., participate in a two-week Prison Performing Arts (PPA) workshop and take an…

LIsa Cortés & Farah X

“The Remix” tells the story of how hip-hop changed fashion, leading to the stratospheric rise of street wear around the world. The film takes…

Ai Weiwei

"The Rest" — by acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei — documents the plight of refugees who arrive in Europe, the world's purported bastion of human rights…

Bernard Attal

In 2014, Geovane, a young man from a poor neighborhood in Brazil, was arrested by the military police and never seen again. Assisted by the local…

Jeanie Finlay

Freddy is 30 and yearns to start a family, but for him this ordinary desire comes with unique challenges: He is a gay transgender man. Deciding to…

Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan's much-lauded short documentary (U.S., 2019, 28 min.) — which debuted at Tribeca and is one of the first films from…

Nicolas Champeaux & Gilles Porte

The year 2018 marked the centenary of the birth of South African leader Nelson Mandela, who seized center stage during a historic trial in 1963…

Leana Hosea

“Thirst for Justice” profiles three diverse women: Janene, a Navajo in Sanders, Ariz., where uranium mining has long contaminated the drinking…

Ben Scholle

In July 2002, Johnny Johnson was arrested and charged with the abduction and murder of 6-year-old Cassandra Williamson in Valley Park, Mo., and…

Michael Bertin

“Throw a Billion Dollars from the Helicopter” provocatively examines public financing of sports stadiums and arenas, a topic especially relevant…

Josh Aronson

“To Be of Service” shows the enduring costs of war through the lives of Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan war veterans. The documentary — directed by…

Guillaume Brac

The delightful “Treasure Island” follows the patrons and staff members of a water park in the Paris suburbs over the course of a summer season.…

Tom Shepard

“Unsettled” choncicles the journeys of four LGBTQ refugees who come to the U.S., specifically the “gay mecca” of San Francisco, to escape…

Yang Zhang

“Up the Mountain” offers a beguiling, visually gorgeous record of a year in the painting studio of Shen Jianhua in Dali, located in China’s Yunnan…

Agnès Varda

The final film from the late, beloved Agnès Varda is a characteristically playful, profound, and personal summation of the director’s own…

Bridgette Auger & Itab Azzam

“We Are Not Princesses” offers moving profiles of a half-dozen Syrian women refugees in Beirut who come together to tell their stories of love,…

Clayton Brown & Monica Long Ross

Amid protests and controversy, young-earth creationists and evolution denialists build an enormous, $120 million “life-size” Noah’s Ark in rural…

Mariam Ghani

“What We Left Unfinished” tells the incredible — and mostly true — story of five unfinished feature films from the Communist era in Afghanistan,…

Roberto Minervini

In the summer of 2017, a string of brutal police killings of young African-American men sends shock waves throughout the country. In New Orleans,…

Brian Rose

In November 2006, student Jesse Ross traveled to Chicago to participate in an academic conference. While attending a meeting, he rose from his…

Oren Rudavsky

In “Witness Theater,” aging Holocaust survivors tell their stories to high-school students in Brooklyn in a unique program led by a drama…

Marianna Yarovskaya

“Women of the Gulag” tells the compelling and tragic stories of some of the last survivors of the Gulag, the brutal system of repression that…

Andy Cohen & Gaylen Ross

Andy Cohen, who has served as a producer on an array of impressive documentaries — “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” “Hooligan Sparrow,” “Human Flow” —…

Kenny Dalsheimer

“You Gave Me a Song” offers a delightful profile of Alice Gerrard, a legendary bluegrass singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who plays —…