2022 ALA Notable Films for Adults
by Michael Pasqualoni, Librarian for Newhouse School of Public Communications and Chair of the Notable Films for Adults Committee
The American Library Association (ALA) Film and Media Round Table: Notable Films for Adults Committee has compiled its 2022 list of Notable Films: 12 outstanding titles released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults. Its purpose is to call attention to recent releases that make a significant contribution to the world of film. The availability of closed captions (CC) and/or subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) is preferred.
Below are the list of selected films with links when a title is currently available to Syracuse University NETID holding faculty, students or staff via a library streaming video database. See also the SU Libraries Video Guide for more information about video collections available at the university libraries.
Alice Street available at SU via Kanopy (2020, dir. Spencer Wilkinson) 70 minutes. Endangered Ideas Media. DVD. Available from The Video Project. CC. Artists Pancho Peskador and Desi Mundo form a partnership to tackle a four-story mural in the heart of Oakland, California. Situated at a unique intersection where Chinese and Afro-Diasporic communities face the threat of displacement and gentrification, the mural takes shape while overcoming numerous obstacles. The community rallies around the mural, which becomes a source of neighborhood pride and a spark to protect cultural arts.
Belly of the Beast available at SU via Kanopy (2020, dir. Erika Cohn) 81 minutes. ITVS International. DVD. Available from Women Make Movies. CC. Filmed over seven years, with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from current and former incarcerated women, this film exposes a pattern of inadequate health care, sexual, and coercive sterilization targeting women of color in California’s women’s prisons.
Colectiv (Collective) (2020, dir. Alexander Nanau) 109 minutes. Alexander Nanau Productions. DVD. CC. After a fire in a Romanian nightclub, burn victims begin dying in hospitals of wounds that were not life threatening. Journalists investigate a dysfunctional and corrupt medical system in Romania. Copy on Blu-ray is being ordered for SU Libraries collections.
The Donut King available at SU via Kanopy (2020, dir. Alice Gu) 94 minutes. Logan Industry. DVD. Available from various distributors. CC. Tells the story of Ted Ngoy, a Cambodian immigrant in southern California living the American Dream by starting a family business of donut shops.
How It Feels To Be Free (2021, dir. Yoruba Richen) 113 mins. YAP film. PBS American Masters. DVD. Available from PBS. CC. SDH. A celebration of six iconic African American women entertainers who were trailblazers that changed American culture through their films, fashion, music, and politics. They challenged the entertainment industry’s racist stereotypes and inspired a new generation. Copy on DVD is being ordered for SU Libraries collections
Missing in Brooks County (2020, dir. Lisa Molomot and Jeff Bemiss) 81 & 60 minutes. ITVS (Independent Lens). DVD and educational streaming. CC. Available from Good Docs. Family members search for loved ones in a heartbreaking chronicle of deprivations and the frequent deadly results that face undocumented immigrants as they cross harsh territories on foot within one of the poorest areas of south Texas. Features the role of human rights advocates, rancher border patrols, and forensic anthropologists. Copy on DVD is being ordered for SU Libraries collections.
Mr.Soul! Available at SU via Academic Video Online (2018, dir, Melissa Haizlip and Sam Pollard) 104 minutes. Shoes in the Bed Productions. Educational streaming. Available from Film Platform. CC. An inspiring documentary that follows the groundbreaking PBS television program “Soul!” and its pioneering creator Ellis Haizlip. Airing in the wake of the Civil Rights Movement, “Soul!” was revolutionary era programming that from 1969 until 1973 depicted Black artistry and life in a way not yet seen on television. Mr. Soul! is a celebration of and an ode to Blackness.
Orchestrating Change Available at SU via Docuseek2 (2020, dir. Margie Friedman and Barbara Multer-Wellin) 85 minutes. Orchestrating Change, LLC. DVD and educational streaming. Available from Bullfrog Films. CC. SDH. Follows the Me2/Orchestra and its award winning conductor, the world’s only orchestra created by and for people living with mental illness and their supporters, as they combat stigmatization through their performances. Copy on DVD is being ordered for SU Libraries collections.
The Reason I Jump (2020, dir. Jerry Rothwell) 82 minutes. Vulcan Productions. DVD, Blu-ray and educational streaming. Available from various distributors. CC. SDH. Based on the groundbreaking book written by Naoki Higashida, the film creates an immersive experience for all viewers, through the lens of what autism feels like for five non-verbal youth and their families. Copy on DVD is being ordered for SU Libraries collections.
Sisters Rising (2020, dir. Willow O’Feral and James B. Heck) 59 minutes. Haptic Pictures. DVD and educational streaming. Available from Women Make Movies. CC. Six Native American sexual assault survivors advocate for tribal sovereignty against the backdrop of ongoing violence against Indigenous women in the United States. Copy on DVD is being ordered for SU Libraries collections.
Stray (2020, dir. Elizabeth Lo) 73 minutes. Magnolia Pictures. DVD. Available from various distributors. CC. Provides a quiet commentary on human society through the eyes of three stray dogs as they separately wander the streets of Istanbul. Their journeys merge as they bond with a group of young Syrian migrants whose experiences mirror their own. Copy on DVD is being ordered for SU Libraries collections.
Street Gang: How We Got To Sesame Street (2021, dir. Marilyn Agrelo) 107 minutes. HBO Documentary Films. DVD. CC. SDH. Available from various distributors. This documentary takes a nostalgic look at the beloved children’s educational program Sesame Street. Street Gang explores the innovative creation of a children’s television show that would portray inner city life, while educating and entertaining children like never before. The film chronicles Sesame Street’s popularity and legacy. Copy on DVD is being ordered for SU Libraries collections.