Top 10: Films on Demand, February 2014


Films on Demand is an online streaming video subscription available to all Clayton State students. Last month users were busy watching the following top 10 titles:

10. By River, By Rail: History of the Black Migration (22 mins)
In the early 20th century, blacks moved north in hope of a better life with little more than a prayer and the shirts on their backs. In this program, poet Maya Angelou, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, and a host of other African-Americans recount the story of the migration, of separated families, and of the hardships, prejudice, and struggle for acceptance in the North that resulted in disillusionment. Black luminaries include James Cameron, author of A Time of Terror; Jacob Lawrence, artist and creator of The Black Migration series; and Dr. Julius Garvey, son of Marcus Garvey, founder of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and the Back to Africa movement of the 1920s.

9. Black Is…Black Ain’t (87 mins)
Is there an essential black identity? In this documentary, acclaimed filmmaker Marlon Riggs explores the diversity of African American lifestyles and cultural expressions, even as many speakers bare their pain at having been called “too black,” or conversely, “not black enough.” Riggs brings viewers face-to-face with African-Americans young and old, rich and poor, rural and urban, gay and straight, while offering a powerful critique of sexism, homophobia, and colorism within the black community. Includes performances by choreographer Bill T. Jones and poet Essex Hemphill and commentary from noted cultural critics Angela Davis, bell hooks, Cornel West, and others.

8. Native American Religions (28 mins)
In this program, Dennis Wholey has a conversation about Native American religions with Suzan Shown Harjo, executive director of The Morning Star Institute in Washington, D.C. Topics of discussion include the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978; some common aspects of the approximately 300 remaining Native American religions being practiced in the U.S. today; the concepts of a supreme being and associated sacred beings as they exist in Native American culture; the prophecies of the Cheyenne prophet Sweet Medicine and the historical impact of North America’s settlers on the land’s indigenous peoples; and the pressing need for all Americans, non-native and native alike, to create a better future together.

7. A Question of Color (56 mins)
“I am a black American woman from an interracial background. I look white, I identify myself as black,” says filmmaker Kathe Sandler. “I made this film because I wanted to understand something that had a very dominant influence in my life.” In this documentary, Sandler digs into the often subconscious world of colorism, a caste system within the African-American community that deems the lightest skin tones to be the most beautiful and socially acceptable. Tackling a painful and taboo subject with great sensitivity, the film helps viewers understand the complex interplay between racial identity, culture, and self-image.

6. The Second American Revolution, Part 1 (57 mins)
For African-Americans, the 20th century was fraught with contrasts. There was the glowing promise of equality in the nation’s charters and there was the actual bigotry that shadowed and shrank that promise. In this program, Bill Moyers is joined by a distinguished couple who have long spoken for black aspirations—Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Together they re-create, in dramatic dialogue and often in original settings, the world of 20th-century black America, which was, in both its highs and lows, a world filled with signposts about America itself. This episode covers the African-American struggle from 1900 to 1920.

5. Slave Catchers, Slave Resisters (91 mins)
This A&E Special depicts the system of slave policing in America—enforced by militias, armed vigilante slave patrols, paid slave catchers, and federal law—and how escaped slaves and their supporters continued to struggle against overwhelming odds…and sometimes won.

4. Inferential Statistics (36 mins)
Who said statistics were boring? Using magic and circus motifs, this program demonstrates the significance of probability theory and the importance of using the correct test to analyze research data. Host Amy and her friend Matt the Magician guide viewers through the need to make probability statements, and along with a team of students, use juggling skills to explore choice of test. Setting significance levels, tests of difference, the sign test, degrees of freedom, Yates correction, expected frequencies, parametric tests, and plastic interval scales are explored.

3. Who Owns America? Economic Crisis in the United States (58 mins)
The United States, the world’s strongest economic power, is also the world’s largest debtor nation. Will America’s ever-increasing trade imbalance and economic deficit trigger a global economic calamity? This program travels from East Coast to West via the Rust Belt to check the financial pulse of the nation-and to capture in images the reality of an economic system spinning out of control. Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, economists Paul Krugman and Mark Brenner, and Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff as well as students buried in debt and skilled laborers who have lost their pensions give their points of view on topics such as the pernicious use of government debt to pay for tax cuts; the $4-billion-per-week war in Iraq; the off-shoring of mortgage debt to China; Wall Street’s love of lean production and its negative impact on the manufacturing sector; the unwelcome necessity of student loans in the face of a faltering job market; consumerism based on overextended lines of credit; and the steadily falling median income.

2. The Bill of Rights (69 mins)
It upholds freedom of speech and religion, guarantees a free press, grants the right to keep and bear arms, preserves the right of trial by jury, establishes states’ rights, and more. It’s the Bill of Rights. This program presents the ten key constitutional amendments that have defined the fundamental liberties that are the American birthright—and examines the controversies and challenges they have withstood.

and the number 1 Films on Demand video for February is:

1. The Judicial Branch (21 mins)
September 24, 1789—the first United States Congress establishes the basic structure of the federal judiciary. With this act, the American legal system becomes an entity entwined with our fundamental notions of democracy and fair government, equal in power and authority to the executive and legislative branches. This program guides viewers through the history of the judiciary and illustrates how it works in theory and practice. Topics include the main purposes of the judicial branch—specifically, interpreting the law, determining if laws are unconstitutional, and applying the law to individual cases; the various divisions and levels of courts, such as lower, appellate, and specialized courts; the unique powers of the Supreme Court; summaries of famous Supreme Court cases; and more.

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