WAMU 88.5 : The Kojo Nnamdi Show

Movies Making A Difference

Many documentary filmmakers pour their passion into a movie, hoping to spark discussion, action, or even legislation. Filmmakers who want to make a difference are getting savvier about how they get their message out, both on screen and in promoting their films and connecting with those in power. We explore social action documentaries.

A Closer Look At Select AFI Docs

Best Kept Secret

Best Kept Secret

Graduation is a bittersweet prospect for the special education students in Janet Mino's high school classroom. Erik, Rahamid, Kareem, among others, have found an unexpected haven in a Newark, New Jersey public high school where a fiercely dedicated staff supports students with autism and learning disabilities. Looming over the students, however, is a ticking clock where at the age of 21 they will "age out" and be thrust into a world with little resources and support. – SS

Gideon's Army

Gideon's Army

In this smart, insightful documentary, filmmaker Dawn Porter sheds light on the plight of one of our country's most valuable and unsung warriors: the public defender. Following a small group of dedicated public defenders in the South, GIDEON'S ARMY highlights the daily battles they face within a flawed legal system where a defendant's very life can be on the line. Overworked and underpaid with little support, these committed individuals sacrifice a great deal in the name of justice. – AP

Lost For Life

Lost for Life

Is it right for juvenile offenders to receive lifetime prison sentences without parole? This thought-provoking film explores the complex issue with input from both the perpetrators – all charged with first degree murder – and the victims' families. As they revisit the often shocking details of their brutal crimes, it is easy to dismiss the killers as hopeless. Is it possible, however, for some of them to truly change and make a meaningful contribution to society as free men? – AP

I Learn America

I Learn America

At the International High School at Lafayette, a New York City public high school dedicated to newly arrived immigrants from all over the world, five teenagers confront adolescence, strive to master English, adapt to families they haven't seen in years and create a future of their own in a new land. Through these five vibrant young people, their stories and struggles, we "learn America." – JMD

Let The Fire Burn

Let The Fire Burn

On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia's municipal authorities battling the black liberation group MOVE dropped incendiary, military-grade explosives onto an Osage Avenue row house. The ensuing six-alarm inferno killed five children and six adults, destroying 61 homes. This absorbing yet unfathomable saga is adeptly retold without commentary, using archival footage including previously withheld materials. Filmmaker Jason Osder recreates a chilling saga of simmering fanaticism and purposeless destruction, recalling the seminal event of his suburban Philly childhood. – TM

NPR

Costume Designer Colleen Atwood Took Unlikely Path To Hollywood Royalty

Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood knows tough times. A single mom at 17 who once worked at a French fry factory to make ends meet is Hollywood royalty today. A favorite of director Tim Burton, Atwood is now costume designer for his adaptation of the darkly comic, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children and the upcoming Harry Potter prequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
NPR

Carnegie Deli Says It Is Closing Down Its Landmark NYC Restaurant

As news of the closing rippled far beyond the deli's home turf in Manhattan Friday, hundreds of people responded with sadness and disbelief.
NPR

The VA Will Now Pay For Fertility Treatment For Wounded Vets

Congress has reversed a law passed in 1992 that prohibited the Department of Veterans Affairs from paying for IVF for veterans and their families, after mounting political pressure.
NPR

The United Nations Is Launching A Space Mission

The U.N. is planning to send its first spacecraft into orbit, packed with scientific experiments from countries that can't afford their own space programs.

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