Some Streaming Recommendations: Short Documentaries

Daniel Hautzinger
Eva Davis leans against a telephone pole, the buildings of of East Lake Meadows appear behind her. Atlanta, GA. September 8, 1986.
Eva Davis leans against a telephone pole, the buildings of of East Lake Meadows appear behind her. Atlanta, GA. September 8, 1986

On Tuesday, March 24, WTTW and PBS air two documentaries on issues that have long been intractable in American society. East Lake Meadows: A Public Housing Story (8:00 pm or via streaming) casts a critical eye on housing for the poor by narrating the history of a doomed Atlanta housing project. At 10:00 pm or via streamingFrontline looks at the NRA, its influence, and pushback against it, in NRA Under Fire.

Plus, Monday evenings feature POV documentaries; on March 23 at 10:00 pmThe Rescue List tells the story of two children rescued from enslavement by fishermen in Ghana. 

POV also has a wide variety of short films available to stream any time for free online. Here are some of the series they offer.

POV Shorts

Apollo Earthrise. Photo: Courtesy NASA

While the documentaries POV airs on WTTW and PBS are long-form, the series also features numerous shorter films packaged together, from one about the first image captured of Earth from space to stories about African American efforts to preserve history

Individual Short Films

Chaporazzi

If you want even shorter form, try these, which run as short as eight minutes but don't stint on storytelling, detail, or impact. The media coverage of El Chapo's trial; a unique event feature over a million balloons in Cleveland; the story of a gay man from Ghana; and more.

StoryCorps Shorts

You're My Line StoryCorps Animated Short with POV

StoryCorps records and preserves the voices of everyday people, one conversation at a time. Together with POV, they have animated several of those stories of humanity. 

Longer-Form Films

Photo: Nina Weinberg DoranPhoto: Nina Weinberg Doran

Last but not least, you can stream a few longer-form documentaries, including one about an all-female volunteer emergency medical services corps in a Hasidic enclave in Brooklyn