MTV Documentary Films

ART AND KRIMES BY KRIMES
ART AND KRIMES BY KRIMES
While locked-up for six years in federal prison, artist Jesse Krimes secretly creates monumental works of art—including an astonishing 40-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel, and newspaper. He smuggles out each panel piece-by-piece with the help of fellow artists, only seeing the mural in totality upon coming home. As Jesse's work captures the art world's attention, he struggles to adjust to life outside, living with the threat that any misstep will trigger a life sentence.
ANGOLA DO YOU HEAR US? VOICES FROM A PLANTATION PRISON
ANGOLA DO YOU HEAR US? VOICES FROM A PLANTATION PRISON
This acclaimed documentary tells the story of playwright Liza Jessie Peterson, whose celebrated play "The Peculiar Patriot" was shut down mid-performance at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola Prison. It examines how one woman's play challenged the country's largest plantation prison and impacted the incarcerated men long after the record of her visit was erased by the institution's administration.
ASCENSION
ASCENSION
2022 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature. Nominated for Best Documentary by the Director's Guild, Producer's Guild, Independent Spirit Awards, and Gotham Awards, and winner of Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival, Ascension explores the paradoxical pursuit of wealth and progress in China. This extraordinary documentary follows factory workers, middle class consumers and elites as they chase the elusive "Chinese Dream.”
76 DAYS
76 DAYS
On January 23rd, 2020, China locked down Wuhan, a city of 11 million, to combat the emerging COVID-19 outbreak. Set deep inside the frontlines of the crisis in four hospitals, 76 Days tells indelible human stories at the center of this pandemic. These raw and intimate stories bear witness to the death and rebirth of a city under a 76-day lockdown, and to the human resilience that persists in times of profound tragedy.
LYNCHING POSTCARDS: TOKEN OF A GREAT DAY
LYNCHING POSTCARDS: TOKEN OF A GREAT DAY
From 1880 to 1968, over 4000 African Americans were lynched in the United States. Like picnics or parties, lynchings were often carnival-like events commemorated through photos and postcards. This film tells the story of how Black activists subverted these souvenirs, which were celebrations of white supremacy, in the fight against lynching.
ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN
ST. LOUIS SUPERMAN
2020 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject. Bruce Franks Jr., a Ferguson activist and battle rapper who was elected to the overwhelmingly white and Republican Missouri House of Representatives, must overcome both personal trauma and political obstacles to pass a bill critical for his community.
CODED: THE HIDDEN LOVE OF J.C. LEYENDECKER
CODED: THE HIDDEN LOVE OF J.C. LEYENDECKER
J.C. Leyendecker was one of the most prominent artists of his time, but his story is largely forgotten. Forced to keep his sexuality a secret, his coded imagery spoke directly to the gay community and laid the foundation for LGBTQ+ representation in advertising today.
HUNGER WARD
HUNGER WARD
2021 Academy Award Nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject. Filmed inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in conflict-ridden Yemen, Hunger Ward documents two women fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. With unprecedented access within a sensitive conflict-zone, the documentary reveals the bravery of deeply committed doctors working in the middle of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
AMERICAN SELFIE: ONE NATION SHOOTS ITSELF
AMERICAN SELFIE: ONE NATION SHOOTS ITSELF
From celebrated filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi comes a visceral cross-country journey during one of the most tumultuous years in history. Placing viewers directly within the most consequential events of our era, American Selfie raises critical questions about the stark divisions in how Americans feel, and asks if it's possible to ever find a way to a more perfect union.
BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING LEFT BEHIND
BEAUTIFUL SOMETHING LEFT BEHIND
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the SXSW Film Festival, Beautiful Something Left Behind captures the heartbreaking and even funny moments in the lives of children who have recently lost parents. The film works with participants in Good Grief, a holistic program aimed at supporting children through loss, work through questions about life and death in their open and curious minds.
R.I.P. T-SHIRTS
R.I.P. T-SHIRTS
Through the lens of a small t-shirt shop outside Washington D.C. and its young customers, R.I.P. T-SHIRTS intimately portrays the current spike in urban gun violence and its effect on Black youth in America.
FINDING YINGYING
FINDING YINGYING
Yingying Zhang, a 26-year-old Chinese student, comes to the U.S. to study. Within weeks of her arrival, Yingying disappears from the campus. Through exclusive access to Yingying’s family and boyfriend, Finding Yingying closely follows their journey as they search to unravel the mystery of her disappearance and seek justice for their daughter while navigating a strange, foreign country
BREE WAYY: PROMISE WITNESS REMEMBRANCE
BREE WAYY: PROMISE WITNESS REMEMBRANCE
A film by award-winning director Dawn Porter (John Lewis: Good Trouble, Rise Again: Tulsa and the Red Summer) that looks at how the art world responded to the death of Breonna Taylor by using art not only as a form of protest, but as a space to heal.
MY FATHER THE MOVER
MY FATHER THE MOVER
Winner of Best Short Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival. Alatha’s father calls himself a ‘Mover.’ Using African electronic Gqom beats he motivates kids in Khayelitsha, South Africa to find their superpowers. However, his daughter, Alatha, is still looking for her own powers. In an intimate moment together, this is all about to chang
THE MUSICIAN
THE MUSICIAN
Winner of Best Animated Short at the Tribeca Film Festival, The Musician is a gorgeous short work that follows a young musician and the love of his life, at the time of the attack of the Mongols, who are separated from one  another.
A LIFE TOO SHORT
A LIFE TOO SHORT
A Life Too Short is an exceptional documentary that examines the tragedy behind the killing of Pakistani women’s rights activist and social media star, Qandeel Baloch. Qandeel challenged conventional ideas with her open exclamations of women’s equality and agency.
GOING TO POT: THE HIGH AND LOW OF IT
GOING TO POT: THE HIGH AND LOW OF IT
Going to Pot: The Hight and Low of It is an insightful and amusing documentary that explores this rapidly growing industry through an irreverent approach to the misconceptions and promises of the marijuana explosion.
EACH AND EVERY DAY
EACH AND EVERY DAY
A powerfuly moving and urgent documentary film, Each and Every Day speaks with nine young people who recount what led them to attempt suicide or have suicidal ideation, and how they worked to reclaim their will to live. Shot during COVID-19, the film provides a message of hope and resilience.
SABAYA
SABAYA
With just a mobile phone and a gun, Mahmud, Ziyad and their group risk their lives trying to save Yazidi women and girls being held by ISIS as Sabaya (sex slaves) in the most dangerous camp in the Middle East, Al-Hol in Syria. Sabaya is a powerful and exceptional work of documentary.
17 BLOCKS
17 BLOCKS
In 1999, filmmaker Davy Rothbart met Emmanuel Sanford-Durant and his older brother, Smurf, during a pickup basketball game in Southeast Washington, D.C. Davy began filming their lives, and soon the two brothers and other family members began to use the camera themselves. Spanning 20 years, this story illuminates a national, ongoing crisis through one family's raw, stirring and deeply personal saga.