Picks of the Week is Women and Hollywood‘s newest resource. W&H writers are often asked for recommendations, so each week they’ll spotlight the women-driven and women-made projects—movies, series, VOD releases and more—that they’re most excited about. (Sign up for the Women and Hollywood newsletter at womenandhollywood.com to get each week’s picks delivered to your inbox!)
Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell
Thirty years in the making, documentary “Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell” continues to follow one of the most indelible subjects of “Streetwise,” a groundbreaking documentary on homeless and runaway teenagers. Erin Blackwell, aka Tiny, was introduced in filmmaker Martin Bell, photographer Mary Ellen Mark, and journalist Cheryl McCall’s earlier film as a brash 14-year-old living precariously on the margins in Seattle.
Now a 44-year-old mother of 10, Blackwell reflects with Bell on the journey they’ve experienced together, from Blackwell’s struggles with addiction to her regrets to her dreams for her own children, even as she sees them being pulled down the same path of drugs and desperation. Find screening info here.
Find screening info here. (Opens in NY)
This Changes Everything
Told first-hand by some of Hollywood’s leading voices in front of and behind the camera, documentary “This Changes Everything” takes an incisive look into the history, empirical evidence, and systemic forces that foster gender discrimination and thus reinforce disparity in our culture. Most importantly, the film seeks pathways and solutions from within and outside the industry, as well as around the world.
Find screening info here. (Screening in Select Theaters July 22 Only)
The Great Hack
What do we give up when we tap that phone or keyboard and share ourselves in the digital age?
Directed by Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, documentary “The Great Hack” uncovers the dark world of data exploitation, offering astounding access to the personal journeys of key players in the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data scandal. Data has surpassed oil as the world’s most valuable asset. It’s being weaponized to wage cultural and political warfare. People everywhere are in a battle for control of our most intimate personal details. “The Great Hack” forces us to question the origin of the information we consume daily.
(Opens July 24) (Also Available on Netflix)
On Her Shoulders
During their 2014 genocide of the Yazidi people, ISIS killed Nadia Murad’s older brothers and mother. The terrorist group captured Nadia, raped her, and enslaved her—and did the same to thousands of other Yazidi women. Nadia managed to escape and, as documentary “On Her Shoulders” chronicles, became the voice of the Yazidi people and a symbol of the world’s refugee crisis. She’s addressed the UN, visited fellow Yazidi refugees, and advocated to the press and international governments on behalf of her people. Nadia is a hero, but one living in the real world. Despite the global acclaim and the Nobel Peace Prize, her home is gone and so are most of her loved ones. The world is still largely indifferent to the plight of refugees, and even sympathetic governments are slow to approve and enact any change. Yet Nadia has vowed to continue her work until all Yazidis have a peaceful, safe home to call their own.
Directed by Alexandria Bombach, “On Her Shoulders” is honest about social justice: it’s frustrating and moves at a glacial pace, but must be attained. Nadia is willing to give up everything for it, and so should we. (Rachel Montpelier)
(Premieres July 22 on PBS)
Who Killed Garrett Phillips?
On Oct. 24, 2011, 12-year-old Garrett Phillips was murdered in his home in Potsdam, a small town in upstate New York. Police quickly zeroed in on a suspect in this unthinkable crime: Oral “Nick” Hillary, a black man in the mostly white community who was a soccer coach at Clarkson University and the ex-boyfriend of Garrett’s mother, Tandy Cyrus.
Directed by Liz Garbus and written by Karen K.H. Sim, this two-part documentary looks at the case from the initial investigation through the arrest and numerous legal twists and turns that culminated in Hillary’s trial for murder five years after the crime.
(Premieres July 23 on HBO)
After a massive alien artifact lands on Earth, Niko Breckinridge (Katee Sackhoff) leads an interstellar mission to track down its source and make first contact.
(Premieres July 25 on Netflix)