Films on Demand, a streaming video platform used by Media Services, has added the collections of California Newsreel to its catalog. California Newsreel is one of the oldest and most reputable social documentary groups. You might recognize them for producing Race: The Power of an Illusion, a documentary frequently used for classes at AU.
A few notable titles include...
The Language You Cry In (1998, 52 min.)
Spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles, this program recounts the remarkable saga of how a nursery rhyme sung by the Gullah people of present-day Georgia was confirmed to be of African origin. When 18th-century slavers sent human cargo from Sierra Leone to America’s coastal South, they also sent a trove of cultural information that had been passed from Mende mothers to their daughters for generations—including a particular song that had been carefully preserved because it was used in funeral rites. With the help of anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, linguists, and the singers themselves, the “nonsense lyrics” of the song found in Georgia were identified as those of the Mende dirge. Portions in other languages with English subtitles.
This is Nollywood (2007, 56 min.)
First came Hollywood, then Bollywood, and now Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming film industry, which released 2,000 feature features in 2006 alone. This program explains why Nigerian film production, little known outside its own country until recently, is becoming recognized as a phenomenon with broad implications for the cultural and economic development of Africa. Offering an close look at the technical, economic, and social infrastructure of the industry, the film follows a typical shoot from first day to last, while the director, producer, actors, crew members, and notables from the industry describe how it all works and why they do it.
Color Adjustment (1991, 88 min.)
This award-winning documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Marlon Riggs takes a close look at how network television absorbed deep-seated racial conflict and transformed it into the nonthreatening offerings of 20th-century primetime TV. Narrated by Ruby Dee, the film examines popular programs such as Amos ‘n’ Andy, I Spy, Julia, Good Times, Roots, and The Cosby Show, weaving clips from the shows with news coverage of the civil rights movement. Esther Rolle, Diahann Carroll, Tim Reid and other black performers discuss the impact their acting roles had in shaping race relations. With Norman Lear (All in the Family, The Jeffersons), David Wolper (Roots), Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and others.