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Filmography - Washington DC: Documentaries M-Z

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of January 2017.

Washington DC Filmography - Documentaries M-Z

Titles available on DVD and streaming video (and one VHS tape) as of January 2017. 

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications.

Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the library catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. To find titles acquired after this filmography was last updated, use keyword searching in (

This filmography is focused on people, places, and events in and around the Washington, DC area. Media Services also has many videos related to the federal government, politics, policy, and the news media that are not not included here. To browse some of those holdings look under "political science" on the Filmographies by Academic Area page or search the catalog at See also Film Genres: American Political Movies.



The march of the bonus army. 2006. 1 videodisc (30 min.). In 1932, in the darkest days of the Depression, unemployed World War I veterans marched on Washington, D.C., looking for an advance on the bonus compensation promised to them years earlier. After camping throughout Washington for two months, the veterans were driven out by force. The U.S. Army, under the command of General Douglas MacArthur and his officers Dwight Eisenhower and George Patton, drove the veterans from Washington and burned their camps and the Bonus Army had become a poltiical liability for President Herbert Hoover. In 1936, Congress finally agreed to pay the Bonus and nearly four million veterans benefited. The epic march set in motion a string of events that influenced the rights of veterans, including WWII's GI bill, plus the rights of citizens to assemble and petition the government.  DVD 4753 and Streaming video.;571220

Martin Luther King: "I have a dream" speech. The black history collection. 2005. 1 videodisc (60 min.). I Have A Dream contains King's entire inspirational speech in Washington D.C. on August 28, 1963. DVD 5210

Maya Lin, a strong clear vision. 1994. 1 videodisc (ca. 83 min.). Reveals the origins of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and tells the story of its 21 year old creator, a Yale architecture student. Lin's plan was selected from over 1,000 different designs. And what began as one of the country's most bitterly disputed monuments became one of the world's most inspirational and frequently visited memorials. DVD 2781

Michelle Rhee. Roosevelt Institute presents. 2011. 1 streaming video file (48 min.). Michelle Rhee, former Chancellor of DC schools and CEO of Students First takes part in a panel discussion on education reform. Streaming video.

Minority Health. 2007. 1 streaming video file (24 min.). Healthy living presents special challenges for members of minorities living in lower-income neighborhoods-particularly senior citizens. This program examines those challenges, and the health problems that can result, by focusing on African-Americans and Latinos. Host Dr. Kevin Soden speaks with Dr. Terrance Fullham about difficulties faced by older African-Americans, including obesity and limitations on access to health care, highlighted by a case study of the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Then, Dr. Mark Hathaway leads the discussion on health issues facing Latinos, which are further complicated by language barriers. A thought-provoking perspective on minority rights and social inequality in America's urban areas. (24 minutes). Streaming video.

Minor Threat dc space, Buff Hall, 9:30 Club. 2003, 1 videodisc (92 min.). DVD 4394

The music district. 1995.  1 videodisc (57 min.). The video swings to the beat of four vibrant but little known African-American musical groups flourishing in Southeast Washington, D.C., within blocks of the centers of the national power. Members and fans of four bands (Legendary Orioles, The four echos, Junk Yard Band, Kings of Harmony) discuss their origins and support within their community.   DVD 9605

The nine lives of Marion Barry. 2010.  1 videodisc (78 min.). Many people remember Marion Barry as the philandering, drug-addled mayor of the nation's capital. He's the poster boy for corruption, a pariah. Yet to others, Marion Barry is a folk hero who has dominated Washington, D.C. city politics for over 40 years. Today, Barry is once again in the political limelight. Who is Marion Barry, really? A hero? A scoundrel? For the first time, The Nine Lives of Marion Barry reveals the complete unforgettable story.  DVD 9730

The other city. 2010.  1 videodisc (90 min.). "Not far from the White House, the Capitol, and the National Mall lies a part of Washington, DC that the tourists never see and the mainstream media virtually ignores. At least three percent of DC is HIV positive, a staggering rate higher than parts of Africa. Behind all the stories of heartbreak, loss, and struggle there are also the incredible, encouraging stories of the people behind grassroots movements to extend education, combat stigmas, and spread hope."--IMDb.  DVD 8649

A Personal Journey with Maya Lin, Artist and Architect. 2003. 1 streaming video file (30 min.). Sculptor, architect, and designer Maya Lin catapulted to prominence when, as a senior at Yale University, she was chosen to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. In this program, Bill Moyers talks with her about her upbringing and multifaceted career. (27 minutes). Streaming video.

A place to be the construction of the East Building of the National Gallery of Art 1968-1978. 2004. 1 videodisc (57 min.). "A Place to Be documents the design and construction of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the realization of the monumental art commissioned to occupy the building's public spaces." --taken from film's website. DVD 3507

Public memory: a film about American memorials. 2003.  1 videocassette (68 min.). Discusses the design, meaning and purpose of public memorials built to commemorate wars and tragedies. This documentary asks: why do some memorials move us, why are others forgettable, what do they really mean, and all memorials still relevant today? The program covers a specific group of memorials, including: the Oklahoma City National Memorial, the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Pan Am Flight 103 Memorial Cairn, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and plans for the first African-American lynching monument (the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial), among others. Examines what we can learn from controversial memorials and the many complex issues involved in memorializing the victims of crimes against humanity and terrorism.  VHS 7737

Punk's not dead. 2007, 1 videodisc (96 min.).  Follows the evolution of punk music from its anarchic roots to its use as a corporate marketing tool and its acceptance into popular culture, to its reinvention in today's underground scene. Combines interviews (including DC musician Ian MacKaye) and commentary with live performances and behind-the-scenes anecdotes.  DVD 4396

Restoring Dyke Marsh. 2008 American University School of Communication MFA Thesis Projects. 2008. 1 videodisc (30 min.). "Restoring Dyke Marsh is about Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve and the people who have a stake in both preserving and restoring this irreplaceable wetland habitat to its original conditions. Next are three interstitials (think of them as a commercial break). And finally, Cutting-Edge Conservation is a 10 minute documentary that profiles the innnovative research projects being done at the Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center in Front Royal, Virginia." --taken from the filmmaker's website. DVD 6356

Re-Storying the Anacostia River. 2012, 1 videodisc (10 min).  A compelling case is made that the best way to serve the continuing clean up of the Anacostia River is to change how we talk about it. The hope is that by changing the story of the Anacostia from that of a dirty, polluted mess to that of a valuable, beautiful wild place that is an asset to the community, an unconscious shift will take place resulting in the community at large taking a greater role in the protection of the river.  DVD 2846 and Streaming video.

The right to the main hall. 2010, 1 videodisc (30 min., 34 sec.).  A short documentary about Islamic feminism and the accomodation of women in the mosques in the Washington, DC area.  Fatima Thompson, a Muslim Convert, started a pray-in movement to regain the right for the women to pray in the main prayer hall behind the men.  THESIS DVD 27

Rosebud Film Festival finalists 1992. 1998, 1 videodisc (111 min.).  This volume includes Wake up: A profile of Positive Force, a short documentary about the social movement associated with the early DC punk scene. DVD 7343

Saint Elizabeth's Hospital : a brief history. 2010. 1 streaming video file (9 min., 18 sec.). A brief documentary on the historic Washington, DC hospital, Saint Elizabeth's. Streaming video.

Salad days : a decade of punk in Washington, DC (1980-90). 2014. 1 videodisc (90 min.). It examines the early DIY punk scene in the Nation's Capital. It was a decade when seminal bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Government Issue, Scream, Void, Faith, Rites of Spring, Marginal Man, Fugazi, and others released their own records and booked their own shows-without major record label constraints or mainstream media scrutiny. Contextually, it was a cultural watershed that predated the alternative music explosion of the 1990s (and the industry's subsequent implosion). HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 12581

Shooting back : photography by homeless children in Washington, DC. 1990. 1 videodisc (30 min.). A look at the life of homeless children through photographs taken by homeless children. DVD 11938

The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian Native Voice. 2002. 1 streaming video file (28 min.). The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.; New York; and Suitland, Maryland, amply demonstrates that Native American history and culture are part of the shared cultural heritage of all Americans. This program spotlights cherished items in the museum's collection-including perhaps the oldest depictions of human beings in the Western hemisphere. Go behind the scenes to the museum's storage facility where artifacts are arranged by tribe and given traditional-style care. A viewable/printable educator's guide is available online. (28 minutes). Streaming video.

Spellbound. 2004. 1 videodisc (97 min.). Follows the lives of eight young Americans who share one goal: to win the 1999 National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. The Bee is as intense a competition as any Olympic match, for both the spellers and their families. The unbearable pressure becomes even more extraordinary when it is felt by ordinary teenagers. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 706

Thievery Corporation live at the 9:30 Club. 2011, 1 videodisc (101 min.).  Thievery Corporation performs live at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Techno music.  DVD 4392

Throwaway people. 1990. 1 videodisc (58 min.). An investigation of the economic, social and political forces that have produced the Black American underclass in Shaw, a crime-ridden neighborhood of Washington, D.C.  Observes that, following the Civil Rights legislation of the 1960s and the riots of 1968, the stable Black middle class moved out of the area. Explores the following themes: economic decline, addiction to crack and other drugs, lawlessness, teen-age pregnancy, and the long and desperate search for employment on the part of those without specialized skills. DVD 7398

Thug life in D.C. 1999. 1 videodisc (71 min.). Focuses on Aundrey Bruno, a teenager awaiting trial in the D.C. Detention Facility. He faces up to 115 years for shooting a police officer. Includes interviews with his mother and younger brother, as well as the warden of the D.C. Detention Facility and her staff. This is a preservation copy of an archived VHS tape. It’s restricted from use by the public outside the AU library. DVD 9536

Two Trevors go to Washington. 2000. 1 videodisc (34 min.). An incisive and entertaining account of the April 16, 2000 International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings and protests in Washington, D.C. as experienced through the eyes of two opposing South Africans, both veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle, who differ strongly on economic issues. On the inside is South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, the champion of South Africa's conservative economic policy introduced in 1996. On the streets: Johannesburg activist Trevor Ngwane who joined the protestors in the streets to call for immediate debt forgiveness and the closure of the international financial institutions. DVD 3190

Voices of opportunity. 2012, 1 streaming video file (13 min).  This video details the importance of the United Planning Organization as a changing force in creating change in the lives of people who, due to social-economic circumstances, would not have had the same opportunity to succeed otherwise.  DVD 2845 and Streaming video.

A wider circle. 2011, 1 streaming video file (8 min).  A Wider Circle tells the story of this organization whose mission is simple: to help children and adults lift themselves out of poverty. It focuses on the volunteers of all ages that make this organization tick providing furniture, bedding, linen, non-perishable foods and personal items to needy families free of charge, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.  DVD 2861 and Streaming video.

Without Bias. 2010. 1 videodisc (165 min.). 30 for 30. The second segment on the disc: "When rising superstar Len Bias dropped dead two days after being selected as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, he forever altered our perception of casual drug use... Director interviews Bias' closest teammates, friends and family in an effort to determine exactly what happened on that fateful night."--Container.  This disc also includes Muhammad & Larry and The legend of Jimmy the Greek. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 7902

WWII Memorial: A testament to freedom. 2004. 1 videodisc (60 min.). Connects the process of erecting the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC, with the stories of the people who experienced and lived through the war. DVD 4754