“Documentaries have the ability to bring us a broader, more deeply engaged and more nuanced view of a fractured world… We have an ever more urgent need for the stories of people’s real-world experiences that are brought to us by brave documentary filmmakers.” – The Hollywood Reporter

The importance of cinema and storytelling has never been more vital. Movies have the power to inspire, connect, and educate audiences worlds apart. While it’s difficult to quantify the impact of a single work of nonfiction, change starts here and the aspiration to show another side of its inhabitants is an achievable goal for any filmmaker. By turning their camera on various forms of social injustice, historical atrocities, political movements, and those rare individuals seeking to just do good, a nonfiction filmmaker often finds themselves recording history in the present tense as it unfolds.

With the 32nd edition of the Human Rights Watch Film Festival (HRWFF) currently in progress through May 27th (taking place entirely in a virtual setting), this week’s edition of our Community Corner asked what documentary feature to tackle a social issue has had the most impact on you. Popular mentions included Dawn Porter’s John Lewis: Good Trouble, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing, and Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County, USA.

A full list of recommendations submitted by community members from across the globe can be found below, as can a special discussion between HRWFF programmers John Biaggi and Ariel Ottey previewing this year’s festival lineup. To learn more about each film and accompanying live Q&A, check out the full schedule here.

HRWFF does not want the cost of entry to these films to be a barrier for participation in these events.  If the price of buying a ticket to any of the films in the festival would prevent you from participating, please email the following address (filmticket@hrw.org) + an auto-reply email will send you a free ticket code. They have set aside a set # of tickets per film on a first come first-served basis. Once the free tickets are no longer available, the code will no longer work. For anyone that purchases a ticket, we appreciate your support. Your ticket purchase enables us to make tickets free for those who might otherwise be unable to watch. This also allows the festival to support the filmmakers for sharing their work in our festival and for the festival to cover the cost of hosting the films online.

To see what’s playing and coming soon to our theaters and the FLC Virtual Cinema (and to familiarize yourself with our reopening health and safety protocols), join our online community on InstagramTwitter, Facebook, or Letterboxd, and don’t miss a thing by subscribing to the weekly newsletter.

Do you have more suggestions to add to the list? Share with us on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, and stay tuned for more conversations on cinema.