By Kelsey Derby
TPT Passport is a fantastic resource for viewing your favorite TPT programs, but some of you may not realize the vast range of programming available to TPT members. We wanted to take a moment to highlight some modern documentaries.
If modern, (mostly) single episode documentaries are your thing, you’re in luck!
Check out a list of 16 modern documentaries available to watch now on TPT Passport. Happy viewing!
TPT Passport is a member benefit that gives you extended access to an on-demand streaming library of PBS and TPT shows, including full seasons of many favorites like World on Fire, Poldark, The Great British Baking Show, and many, many more. Make a qualifying donation so you can start enjoying TPT Passport on your computer or with the PBS Video App on your favorite streaming device, mobile device or Samsung smart TV!
HIGHLIGHT: Philly D.A. from Independent Lens
His promise to use the power of the District Attorney’s office for sweeping reform is what got civil rights attorney Larry Krasner elected. Now, that stubborn idealism threatens to alienate those he needs to work with the most.
Go inside the tumultuous first term of Philadelphia’s unapologetic D.A. and his team of outsiders as they attempt to change the criminal justice system from the inside.
This eight part series is available to binge now on TPT Passport.
POV presents an array of groundbreaking and distinctive perspectives on contemporary life as chronicled by some of America’ s and Europe’s most visionary non-fiction filmmakers.
Some notable POV documentaries include:
Softie follows political activist Boniface “Softie” Mwangi, a daring and audacious political activist, who decides to run for political office in Kenya after several years of fighting injustice in his country. But running a clean campaign against corrupt opponents becomes increasingly harder to combat with idealism alone.
Three generations of the Phadke family live together in their home in Mumbai. When the youngest daughter turns the camera towards her family, the personal becomes political as power structures within the family become visible, and eventually unravel. Cruel and comic in equal measure, the film examines the vagaries of affection across generations, tied together by something stranger than love.
We are the Radical Monarchs
Meet the Radical Monarchs, a group of young girls of color at the front lines of social justice. Set in Oakland, the film documents the journey of the group as they earn badges for completing units including being an LGBTQ ally, preserving the environment, and disability justice. We follow the two founders as they face the challenge to grow the organization, both pre and post the 2016 election.
This acclaimed Emmy Award-winning anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history. The series is supported by interactive companion Web sites and national publicity and community engagement campaigns.
Some notable Independent Lens documentaries include:
Premiering in 1968, Soul! was the first nationally broadcast all-Black variety show on public television, merging artists from the margins with post-Civil Rights Black radical thought. Mr. Soul! delves into this critical moment in television history, as well as the man who guided it, highlighting a turning point in representation whose impact continues to resonate to this day.
Feels Good Man
Feels Good Man is the story of how artist Matt Furie, creator of a once-benign comic character named Pepe the Frog, fought an uphill battle to reclaim his iconic creation from those who turned it into a symbol of hate. Feels Good Man is a thought-provoking, wild ride through an Internet that transformed an unlucky cartoon frog, and then the rest of the world.
9to5: The Story of a Movement
When Dolly Parton sang “9 to 5,” she was singing about a real movement that started with a group of secretaries in the early 1970s. Their goals were simple—better pay, more advancement opportunities and an end to sexual harassment—but as seen in 9to5: The Story of a Movement, their fight that inspired a hit would change the American workplace forever.
American Masters is an ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists. Consisting of more than 250 hours of programming to date, American Masters is a growing film library documenting the role important individuals, groups, and movements have played in the formation of our cultural identity.
Some notable American Masters documentaries include:
Laura Ingalls Wilder: Prairie to Page
An unvarnished look at the unlikely “Little House” series author whose autobiographical fiction helped shape American ideas of the frontier and self-reliance.
How it Feels to be Free
A documentary that tells the inspiring story of how six iconic African American women entertainers – Lena Horne, Abbey Lincoln, Nina Simone, Diahann Carroll, Cicely Tyson and Pam Grier – challenged an entertainment industry deeply complicit in perpetuating racist stereotypes, and transformed themselves and their audiences in the process.
Explore legendary choreographer Twyla Tharp’s career and famously rigorous creative process, with original interviews, first-hand glimpses of her at work and rare archival footage of select performances from her more than 160 choreographed works.
Praised as the “finest documentary series on television,” American Experience brings to life the compelling stories from our past that inform our understanding of the world today.
Some notable American Experience documentaries include:
The Blinding of Isaac Woodard
In 1946, Isaac Woodard, a Black army sergeant on his way home to South Carolina after serving in WWII, was pulled from a bus for arguing with the driver. The local chief of police savagely beat him, leaving him unconscious and permanently blind.
Based on the book The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies, The Codebreaker reveals the fascinating story of Elizebeth Smith Friedman, the groundbreaking cryptanalyst whose painstaking work to decode thousands of messages for the U.S. government.
One hundred years after the passage of the 19th Amendment, The Vote tells the dramatic culmination story of the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote, a transformative cultural and political movement that resulted in the largest expansion of voting rights in U.S. history.
For decades, Twin Cities PBS (TPT) has dived into the whitewater of bygone eras and emerged with insight about our shared past and values as Minnesotans. Tapping into TPT’s rich archive of historical stories and adding new ones to the fold, Minnesota Experience holds the mirror of history up to the modern moment as a force that can forever change who we are and who we want to be.
Some notable Minnesota Experience documentaries include:
Coming to Mni Sota
Coming to Mni Sota explores conflicts, contradictions and solidarity among the millions who have moved through, and to, Minnesota. For hundreds of years, the arrival of those from around the world has changed Minnesota’s identity and caused disruption for those already here. By examining our state’s narratives, communities reveal unique stories that lead to greater understanding.
Trailheads: The Oregon Trail’s Origins
Trailheads: The Oregon Trail’s Origins travels back to 1971 to tell the surprising story of how a college project from Bill Heinemann, Paul Dillenberger, and Don Rawitsch was donated to the state of Minnesota and its organization MECC and went on to become one of the most celebrated games of all time.
Citizen explores the multigenerational march of Minnesota women and all they hoped would come with the vote. From pioneering activists like Sarah Burger Stearns to Progressive Era leaders like Nellie Griswold Francis, the vote was seen as a mark of fuller citizenship and tool of change for concerns like healthcare, children, and women’s rights.
No matter what sort of content you’re looking for, TPT Passport has it all! Become a member today and start watching now.
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