American Studies

American Studies

THE HOTTEST AUGUST
THE HOTTEST AUGUST
What does the future look like from where we are standing? The focus of this extraordinary documentary – filmmaker Brett Story’s follow-up to her critically-acclaimed The Prison in Twelve Landscapes – is one city over one month (New York during August 2017), a month heavy with the tension of a new President, growing anxiety over rising rents, marching white nationalists, and unrelenting news of wildfires and hurricanes. Empathetic and incisive, The Hottest August offers a kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation at a unique moment in time.
THY KINGDOM COME
THY KINGDOM COME
Initially intended as brief episodes for Terence Malick's To The Wonder which captured Javier Bardem (a parish priest in the film) talking with real-life residents of an Oklahoma town, this documentary project grew in scope as the townspeople, wholly aware that Bardem was a fictional priest, chose to share personal details of their lives. Thy Kingdom Come is a revelatory work in which unscripted conversations, shot by photographer and filmmaker Eugene Richards in beautiful widescreen, come to reveal the complexity of life in this small oil town.
ANGRY WHITE MEN: American Masculinity in the Age of Trump
ANGRY WHITE MEN: American Masculinity in the Age of Trump
Based on the acclaimed book by sociologist Michael Kimmel, Angry White Men offers crucial insights into why so many white American male voters seem to be so full of rage and hell-bent on smashing the political order. Drawing on extensive research, Kimmel elucidates the seismic economic, cultural, and political shifts that have transformed the American social landscape.
BLUE NOTE RECORDS: Beyond the Notes
BLUE NOTE RECORDS: Beyond the Notes
One of the most important record labels in the history of jazz — and, by extension, that of American music — Blue Note Records has been home to such groundbreaking artists as Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, and Art Blakey. Through rare archival footage, current recording sessions and conversations with jazz icons and today’s groundbreaking musicians, this thrilling documentary reveals a powerful mission and illuminates the vital connections between jazz and hip hop.

SWARM SEASON
SWARM SEASON
The extinction of honey bees on a remote volcanic island of Hawaii, indigenous cosmology, and a secret NASA project intersect in this gorgeous, thought-provoking documentary. With an artist's eye for details and plenty of time for amazement, Swarm Season draws fascinating parallels between the micro- and macrocosm, and challenges our understanding of nature, the world and ourselves.
TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT
TONY CONRAD: COMPLETELY IN THE PRESENT
From performing in Jack Smith’s legendary Flaming Creatures to creating a series of groundbreaking experimental films to playing a pivotal role in the formation of The Velvet Underground, Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present, twenty-two years in the making, examines the pioneering life and work of artist, musician, and educator, Tony Conrad.
LETHEM
LETHEM
A multi-faceted portrait of the life and work of bestselling author Jonathan Lethem, whose acclaimed novels include The Fortress of Solitude, Gun With Occasional Music, and Motherless Brooklyn, Lethem considers the cultural influences that inform his writing and features interviews with family members, friends, and the author himself.
LIFE AND NOTHING MORE
LIFE AND NOTHING MORE
Winner of the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award, Antonio Méndez Esparza's (Aquí y allá) powerful second feature presents another sensitive portrait of a struggling family - a single mother raising her two children when her 14-year-old son has a brush with the law. Life and Nothing More employs documentary-style realism in this snapshot of race, class and the bonds of family in contemporary America.
AND WITH HIM CAME THE WEST
AND WITH HIM CAME THE WEST
Filmmaker Mike Plante (Be Like an Ant) thoughtfully explores the relationship between the Wyatt Earp legend and the emergence of filmmaking as a popular medium. Featuring a wealth of clips from film adaptations of Earp’s life, alongside insightful interviews, Plante demonstrates the mutability of historical record and the power of moving images to shape our national mythology.
A BREAD FACTORY
A BREAD FACTORY
Hailed as "a major new work by a singular American artist" by The New York Times, A Bread Factory is the latest feature from acclaimed filmmaker Patrick Wang (The Grief of Others, In The Family), a wondrous, inventive and outright dazzling film about a community arts center, aptly named the Bread Factory, in a small upstate town that appears to be at the center of some major social and cultural changes.
THE GRIEF OF OTHERS
THE GRIEF OF OTHERS
At once literary and gently cinematic, Patrick Wang's (A Bread Factory, In The Family) second feature is based on Leah Hager Cohen’s critically acclaimed novel. After suffering a tragic loss, a family welcomes an unexpected visitor into their lives and find themselves growing more alert to the hurt, humor, warmth, and grief of others.
IN THE FAMILY
IN THE FAMILY
The Independent Spirit Award-nominated debut of acclaimed filmmaker Patrick Wang (A Bread Factory, The Grief of Others), In The Family is a heartfelt story woven around child custody, two-Dad families, loss, interracial relations, the American South, and the nature of what it means to be in a family, all explored with ambitious and rewarding nuance.
FREEHELD
FREEHELD
Academy Award Winner for Best Documentary Short Subject. For 20 years, Lt. Laurel Hester protected the residents of Ocean County, NJ. As she dies from cancer, her request for her pension to be transferred to her domestic partner is denied by local officials. Adapted into a major motion picture starring Ellen Page and Julianne Moore, Cynthia Wade's (Grit) landmark work, which chronicled Laurel's final fight for justice, is as urgent today as it was ten years ago.
BISBEE '17
BISBEE '17
Named the best film of the year by The New York Times, Robert Greene’s extraordinary Bisbee ‘17 radically combines collaborative documentary, western, and musical elements to recreate a mass deportation of striking miners (mostly Mexican and Eastern European immigrants) that occurred in 1917. Greene confronts issues of immigration, unionization and environmental damage while linking a tragic moment in American history to our own turbulent times.
A LAND FOR WAR
A LAND FOR WAR
In 2009, artist Enid Baxter Ryce discoved hundreds of wall paintings that were drawn by soldiers who'd been stationed at the abandoned Fort Ord military base. Her documentary presents and discusses these remarkable, long-hidden murals, offering unique insight into the soldiers' lives, alongside archival training footage from the Vietnam era (when Fort Ord was active) and portraits of the homeless veterans occupying the land today.
TRIPLE CONSCIOUSNESS: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu
TRIPLE CONSCIOUSNESS: Films by Akosua Adoma Owusu
Akosua Adoma Owusu is a Ghanaian-American filmmaker, producer and cinematographer whose award-winning work addresses the collision of identities, and themes such as feminism, queerness and African immigrants interacting in African, white American, and black American culture. This edition presents thirteen of her short films.
DREAM OF A CITY
DREAM OF A CITY
Between 1958 and 1960 Walter Hess and Manny Kirchheimer shot black and white 16mm film from Wall Street to midtown New York to the Delaware River. The footage was left unedited. Nearly 60 later, Kirchheimer took up the challenge of editing it, adding music and sound that would mesh with the surrealism of the material. The result is a dynamic and compact symphony of a city.
WILLIAM EGGLESTON IN THE REAL WORLD
WILLIAM EGGLESTON IN THE REAL WORLD
A new edition of the landmark documentary, William Eggleston in the Real World – from Michael Almereyda, director of Escapes, Marjorie Prime, Experimenter, and Hamlet, among others – is a brilliant and intimate look at the renowned photographer, whose hallucinatory Faulknerian images were featured in the Museum of Modern Art's first one-man exhibition of color photographs.
WORLDS OF URSULA K. LE GUIN
WORLDS OF URSULA K. LE GUIN
An essential documentary exploring the remarkable life and legacy of the late feminist author Ursula K. Le Guin, best known for her classic Earthsea series and masterworks of science fiction such as The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed; with reflections from literary luminaries including Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, and more. 
MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END
MR. FISH: CARTOONING FROM THE DEEP END
A political cartoonist known for his subversive and often controversial art, Mr. Fish’s work can be seen in publications like Harper’s, The Nation and the LA Times. In this revealing documentary, we are introduced to the dangerously funny cartoonist as he struggles to stay true to his creativity in a quickly changing political and economic climate.
THE ORGANIZER
THE ORGANIZER
Before its infamous demise, ACORN had been the largest community organization in the US, a national political powerhouse for the poor that transformed lives and communities. Featuring a wealth of archival footage, this is a comprehensive portrait of the organization and its founder, Wade Rathke, as well as an exploration of that much maligned & misunderstood occupation -- community organizing.
RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE
RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE
Louisiana has suffered from hurricanes, flooding and oil spills, but nothing has been as insidious as the nutria. This giant swamp rat, known for its orange buckteeth, is prone to tunneling and eating plant roots, threatening the fragile wetlands. Rodents  follows the sometimes peculiar efforts of Gulf residents as they try to defend their imperiled land from this invasive species. 
ERIE
ERIE
In this landmark documentary, celebrated filmmaker Kevin Jerome Everson presents a series of single-take, black-and-white sequences filmed in and around Lake Erie to draw a profound connection between Black migration from the South to the North and the economic hardships currently facing working class communities.
GOFF IN THE DESERT
GOFF IN THE DESERT
One of the most inventive and iconoclastic American architects, Bruce Goff’s work, which comprised mostly churches and private homes, combined the harmony of nature with the innovation of modern construction. Directed by Heinz Emigholz, Goff in the Desert presents sixty-two buildings by Goff, who was never formally educated as an architect.
FOOD EVOLUTION
FOOD EVOLUTION
Amidst a polarized debate marked by passion, suspicion and confusion, this fascinating documentary – narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson and directed by Oscar-nominee Scott Hamilton Kennedy – explores the controversy surrounding GMOs and food. Travelling from the cornfields of Iowa to banana farms in Uganda, Food Evolution brings a fresh perspective to one of the most critical issues facing global society today.
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL SHORTS COLLECTION 2017
SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL SHORTS COLLECTION 2017
Six innovative, surprising short films selected from the Sundance Film Festival, widely considered to be the premier showcase for shorts, and the launchpad of many now-prominent independent filmmakers. Grasshopper is proud to present the 2017 collection, which includes two Jury Award winners and Come Swim, the directorial debut of actress Kristen Stewart.
DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?
DID YOU WONDER WHO FIRED THE GUN?
“In 1946, my great-grandfather murdered a black man named Bill Spann and got away with it.” So begins this acclaimed documentary which takes us on a journey through the American South – interweaving scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird and Rosa Parks’ investigation into the Recy Taylor case – to uncover the truth behind a horrific incident and the societal mores that empowered it.
GRAY HOUSE
GRAY HOUSE
From a women's correctional facility in the Pacific Northwest to a North Dakota oil field, Gray House deftly blends vérité footage, stunning landscapes, interviews with workers, and fictional elements – some of which involve actors like Denis Lavant (Holy Motors, Beau Travail) – for a prescient vision of modern-day America.
SHE STARTED IT
SHE STARTED IT
An essential documentary on women tech entrepreneurs, She Started It upends the popular perception of a male-dominated Silicon Valley. Featuring interviews with leading female CEO's and entrepreneurs, it follows four passionate, trailblazing young women as they strive to launch their companies in the ruthlessly competitive world of high tech start-ups.
AND WHEN I DIE, I WON'T STAY DEAD
AND WHEN I DIE, I WON'T STAY DEAD
Embodying the spirit of his poems, the new film from Billy Woodberry, director of Bless Their Little Hearts, is a vivid appreciation of Bob Kaufman, the legendary Beat figure, featuring interviews with his contemporaries, readings, rare photos and footage, and a soundtrack with the likes of Billie Holiday and Ornette Coleman.
MILWAUKEE 53206
MILWAUKEE 53206
MILWAUKEE 53206 is America’s most incarcerated zip code; 62% of adult males in this mostly African-American community have spent time in a correctional facility. This urgent documentary examines how decades of poverty, unemployment, and a lack of opportunity has contributed to the crisis of mass incarceration in this and other communities across the nation.
AFTER FIRE
AFTER FIRE
With intimate access to the lives of women veterans, After Fire is an observational documentary that throws a spotlight on the human toll of military service - including military sexual trauma, combat injuries and bureaucratic dysfunction - examining the challenges faced by the fastest-growing group of American veterans: women
FRAUD
FRAUD
Assembled from over 100 hours of home movies shot by an unknown man of his family over a period of 7 years and uploaded to Youtube, Fraud is a daringly innovative work – a found footage thriller – that reveals one family’s struggle for the American Dream and the nature of truth in the internet age.
KIVALINA
KIVALINA
This tender portrait of an Inupiaq Eskimo community who are living on an island that is disappearing into the sea is both an elegy to the indigenous cultures of the Arctic and a harrowing vision of climate change in America.
BE LIKE AN ANT
BE LIKE AN ANT
After returning from Vietnam, Paul bought a mobile home for his family. Unhappy with its construction, he decided to build his own house around it. 38 years, 4 floors and 100 windows later, Paul is nearly finished.
THE ILLINOIS PARABLES
THE ILLINOIS PARABLES
Filmmaker Deborah Stratman recounts eleven episodes in American history — from the violent eviction of the Cherokee to the invention of the nuclear reactor to the murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton — to consider how societies are shaped by belief and ideology.
THE RIDE
THE RIDE
This intimate, moving documentary follows young Lakota riders on a 300-mile trek on horseback through the South Dakota badlands, as they retrace the fateful journey of their ancestors that culminated at Wounded Knee.
JUKE
JUKE
A remarkable record of black life in the 1940s, as found in the films of Spencer Williams, the pioneering African American filmmaker. A new essay by Thom Andersen, director of Los Angeles Plays Itself.
BOONE
BOONE
The final year in the life of a small farm in Southern Oregon is vividly captured in this study of a way of life quickly disappearing due to strict government regulations and competition from corporate farms.
THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES
THE PRISON IN TWELVE LANDSCAPES
In this remarkable documentary, filmmaker Brett Story excavates the often unseen links and connections that prisons – and our system of mass incarceration – have on communities and industries all around us. Widely acclaimed, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes is an essential documentary, a portrait of our criminal justice system in which we never see a penitentiary.
DON'T BLINK - ROBERT FRANK
DON'T BLINK - ROBERT FRANK
One of the most influential artists of the 20th century, a documentary about Robert Frank, the legendary photographer and filmmaker behind the seminal book “The Americans” and landmark films like Pull My Daisy.