Life under quarantine has plenty of people watching documentaries. That’s understandable, since most of us have extra time on our hands, and losing ourselves for hours in the absurdity of the American big cat community (Tiger King) and the intense competitiveness of Michael Jordan (The Last Dance) is much more real and interesting than watching shows about normal people doing everyday things. Here are four documentaries with all-too-real stories that are much better than fiction.
Watch girls skate to freedom
Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) tells the story of a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, that offers young girls the chance to get an education while learning to skateboard, all in a place where they aren’t even allowed to go outside. While all the skateboarding is cool to watch, the amazing part of this Oscar-winning documentary, which was executive produced by Molly Thompson DC’87, is the girls’ quest for freedom and opportunity in a culture where they have neither.
Remember a championship season
Long before collegiate women’s basketball tournaments were carried on ESPN, the Rutgers women’s basketball team, coached by Theresa Grentz, brought home the university’s only national championship. It was in 1982, the final year of the AIAW tournament, when Rutgers upset a heavily favored Texas team that came into the tournament on a 32-game winning streak. Forgotten Champions celebrates a team with an unstoppable desire to win.
Understand how substance abuse starts
Creighton Drury RC’92 executive produced The First Day, which tells the story of former NBA player Chris Herren’s long struggle with heroin addiction, which began with drinking beer in the eighth grade. The documentary changes the substance misuse conversation from the tragic outcomes of addiction to the reasons why young people turn to drugs and alcohol in the first place. According to Drury, who’s CEO of Center on Addiction, “Nine in 10 people who have substance use disorder or addiction begin using substances before the age of 18.”
Come face to face with food insecurity
Executive producer Soledad O’Brien casts a light on the issue of food insecurity on college campuses in Hungry to Learn. The documentary follows four college students who frequently face the cruel choice of eating or paying their tuition. Their stories of navigating incredible challenges with scant resources help break down the stigma associated with food insecurity while suggesting a better way forward.