Through the Lens

Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin is one of the dance world’s most important figures. He can be demanding and intimidating, but professional dancers have pushed beyond their personal limits to express his unique movement language. It’s called “gaga.” Naharin says it’s about listening to the body before telling it what to do. Wednesday, we continue our series on documentary film with a profile of Naharin’s life and work. Director Tomer Heymann joins us to tell the fascinating story of an artistic genius.

Wednesday, we continue our Through the Lens series with a poignant film about the devastating impact economic inequality has had on America’s black working class. Utah-based filmmaker Andrew James’s documentary Street Fighting Men follows the lives of three men in Detroit as they struggle to build something lasting for themselves and future generations. James will join us to tell their stories of fighting to find steady ground in a community wracked by crime, violence, and dwindling opportunity.

The next documentary in our Through the Lens series is a true story of desperation, scams, and goat testicles. Director Penny Lane joins us to talk about John Romulus Brinkley, a man who claimed to have a cure for impotence and many other ailments in 1920s Kansas. He took to newfangled radio to tout his unorthodox treatments, but soon found his nemesis in one Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Lane’s film is called NUTS!

Thursday, we continue our Through the Lens series on documentary films with an on-the-ground account of the occupation last year of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. For 41 days, protestors and right-wing militia members, held the refuge hostage in open defiance of the federal government. Director David Byars’s film documents their ultimately quixotic demonstration, from its inception to its dramatic demise. His film is called No Man’s Land, and he’ll join us to talk about it.

Tuesday, we’re continuing our Through the Lens series with documentary director and editor Pedro Kos. His film Bending the Arc premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and it tells the story of doctors and activists on the front lines of a global health crisis. It profiles people like Paul Farmer who have to figure out how to heal patients with impossible afflictions in impossible conditions. We’re screening the film Wednesday night in partnership with the Utah Film Center.

God Knows Where I Am

In 2012, Linda Bishop was found dead in an abandoned house in New Hampshire after a brutal winter. She’d been living on apples and rainwater, and she’d kept a journal. She was a well-educated mother diagnosed with severe mental illness. Drawing from her journal, filmmakers Jedd and Todd Wider made a touching portrait of Bishop’s life and its challenges. Their documentary God Knows Where I Am is the next film in our Through the Lens series, and the Widers join us Tuesday to talk about it.


Kirsten Johnson’s 25-year career as a documentary film cinematographer has taken her around the world, often to regions of conflict. Her own film, Cameraperson, is a memoir of her life’s work assembled from a collage of cutting-room-floor footage. It’s also a keen examination of the dilemmas and blind spots that riddle documentary filmmaking. Johnson joins us Monday as we continue our Through the Lens series on documentary film with an exploration of what it’s like to be behind the camera.

Wednesday, we continue our Through the Lens series with Fred Peabody’s documentary film All Governments Lie. It’s inspired by the work of I.F. Stone, an investigative journalist and gadfly in the early 1950s to the `70s. Stone’s modern torchbearers—journalists like Matt Taibbi, Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman and others profiled in the film—produce their adversarial journalism outside mainstream media. Peabody joins us Wednesday to discuss the value of alternative news and the role of independent journalists.

Kino Lorber | TOWER

On August, 1, 1966, a lone gunman opened fire from the top floor of a tower at the University of Texas at Austin. It was America’s first mass school shooting, and civilians and law enforcement on the ground struggled to respond. When the gunshots were silenced, 16 people lay dead and dozens were wounded. In a new documentary film, director Keith Maitland revisits the events of that infamous day through the words of the people who lived it. Maitland joins us Thursday to talk about his film. It’s called TOWER.

Tuesday, we continue our Through the Lens series with a poetic and provocative documentary film about terraforming. That’s the idea of altering another planet and making it suitable for life. Director Ian Cheney’s film “Bluespace” is a kind of thought experiment, asking what it would take to reshape Mars in Earth’s image. In the end, it’s less about the red planet than it is about our own very blue planet. As Cheney says, “The more you study other worlds, the more we come to understand our own.”

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