Streaming Films and Documentaries on Voting and Elections in the United States and Beyond

by Emily Walsh

While the 2020 presidential election votes are still being counted, this list of streaming documentaries and feature films at the AU Library dives into elections and voting behaviors in America and other countries around the world. Enjoy this collection of 15 videos to help take your mind off of the news and learn more about American politics and democracy. To find more streaming videos on similar issues and topics, please visit the Library’s off campus streaming guide.

Breaking the Wall of the Polling Booth : How Electoral Psychology Enlightens Democratic Citizenship

Documentary

What do citizens think about in the polling booth? Despite the latest technological innovations in electoral methods, the voter’s mind has been neglected by academia. Michael Bruter of the London School of Economics aims to fill this gap with his current project funded by the European Research Council. Having published widely in the fields of political behavior, political psychology, identity, public opinion, extremism, and social science research methods, In this Falling Walls lecture, Bruter explores how voters think in 15 countries – combining surveys, interviews, experiments, and direct observation, including innovative techniques such as “election diaries,” “polling station observers,” and “emotional” questions on favorite animal, color, or drink – toward understanding more about the role of personality and emotions in the vote. His project is expected to have a significant impact on our awareness of political identity and electoral decisions, including specific topics like psychology of extremism, voters’ identity, and young people’s participation.

Capturing the Flag

Documentary

A tight-knit group of friends travel to Cumberland County, North Carolina – the 2016 ‘poster child’ for voter suppression – intent on proving that the big idea of American democracy can be defended by small acts of individual citizens. What they find at the polls serves as both a warning and a call to action for anyone interested in protecting the ‘One Man, One Vote’ fundamental of our democracy.

The Elected: Presidency and Congress

Documentary

In an adversarial climate of polarization and power confrontations, how can the U.S. government get anything done? In part one of this program, correspondent Hedrick Smith examines the obstacles to bipartisan compromise between the Clinton administration and Congress as well as the difficulties parties have in disciplining their own members in Congress. In part two, Mr. Smith probes the rise and fall of Newt Gingrich’s Republican Revolution in Congress. Smith goes behind the scenes to get Vice President Gore; Clinton executives Leon Panetta and George Stephanopoulos; Congressional leaders Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, Dick Gephardt, and Tom Daschle; Democratic loyalists and rebels; Republican freshmen and incumbents; and academic experts to divulge how serious miscalculations torpedoed hopes for both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Free Vote for France

Documentary

This World War II-era newsreel includes the following segments: 1. France holds its first free municipal elections since liberation. 2. Occupation forces in Heidelberg print a newspaper and distribute it to eager citizens. 3. A French ship is loaded with grain and potatoes in Canada; airplanes drop food to the Dutch in a UN operation. 4. German surrenders are received by General Montgomery from Admiral Friedeburg and by General Walter Smith from General Jodl; General Eisenhower speaks.

Generations : American Women Win the Vote

Documentary

For 72 years, from 1848 -1920, generations of women – from every state and every party, of every race and every religion – fought for the right to vote. The 19th Amendment was introduced in Congress 42 years before the House and Senate could muster the 2/3 majority to pass it. And that vote was just the beginning of another round of state battles – the final battle for ratification. This film, covering 72 years of suffrage history, describes the struggle the suffragists faced. Would women gain the right to vote before the 1920 presidential election?

Gerrymandering

Documentary

Gerrymandering is defined as the carving up of a state into districts in a way that allows one political party to gain more clout than another. It has also been called the most effective way to manipulate an election’s outcome short of outright fraud. Focusing on the fight to pass Proposition 11 – drafted to give redistricting power to a bipartisan rather than legislative group – this documentary explores the ethical implications of gerrymandering and looks at some historical examples of how the practice has been used.

Kill Chain: The Cyber War On America’s Elections

Documentary

In advance of the 2020 Presidential Election, Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America’s Elections takes a deep dive into the weaknesses of today’s election technology, an issue that is little understood by the public or even lawmakers. From directors Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels and Sarah Teale, the team behind HBO’s 2006 Emmy®- nominated documentary Hacking Democracy, Kill Chain again follows Finnish hacker and cyber security expert Harri Hursti as he travels around the world and across the U.S. to show how our election systems remain unprotected, with very little accountability or transparency. Hursti’s startling journey is supplemented by candid interviews with key figures in the election security community, as well as cyber experts and U.S. senators from both parties.

Please Vote for Me

Documentary

Two males and a female vie for office, indulging in low blows and spin, character assassination and gestures of goodwill, all the while gauging their standing with voters. The setting is not the Democratic presidential campaign trail but a third-grade class at an elementary school in the city of Wuhan in central China. “Please Vote for Me” chronicles a public school’s first open elections for class monitor, a position normally appointed by teachers. Weijun Chen’s film examining human nature, China’s one-child policy and the democratic electoral process made the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ documentary feature shortlist.

TEDTalks, Carole Cadwalladr-Facebook’s Role In Brexit — And the Threat to Democracy

Lecture

In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK’s super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters — and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election — Cadwalladr calls out the “gods of Silicon Valley” for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?

Vote for Kibera

Documentary

Vote for Kibera is about the people of Africa’s largest slum who have decided, despite the harsh conditions, to transform their merciless environment into a better place to live. Will they make it through the tensions and violence accompanying the presidential elections?

Voting Matters

Documentary

More than 50 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most extensive pieces of civil rights legislation, people of color across the United States still are engaged in a battle to protect their right to vote. VOTING MATTERS follows one dynamic woman working tirelessly on the ground and in the courts to ensure that they are not denied this right. When a key section of the Voting Rights Act was struck down in 2013, several states with a history of racial discrimination immediately attempted to pass laws that further restricted voter rights. This came in the form of limiting the window for voter registration, purging voters with inactive histories and requiring more restrictive forms of ID. There are currently 23 states with such voter restrictions. This film follows civil rights attorney Donita Judge as she helps several voters in Ohio cast ballots even though they initially were turned away.

Voting: Right and Responsibility

Documentary

Why should I vote? Does my vote count? This program addresses these questions and reinforces the importance of voting to the political process.

What 80 Million Women Want

Feature Film

The women’s suffrage movement inspired this 1913 silent film classic, which features appearances by equal rights crusaders Emmeline Pankhurst and Harriot Stanton Blatch. As politicos work to deny women the right to vote, a young lawyer tells his activist girlfriend of government corruption that actively seeks to ensure that her voice is never heard.

Why Trump Won

Documentary

Fareed Zakaria examines how Trump’s own life story—a kid from Queens who crossed the bridge to scale the heights of wealth in Manhattan – yet never quite fit in with the city’s upper crust—helped him forge a powerful connection with Americans who felt they’d been left behind.

who are fighting to secure the integrity of the vote before November 2020.

The Youngest Candidate

Documentary

It’s a timeless story: an idealistic, disadvantaged citizen takes on the status quo and runs for public office. In this case, candidates in four separate races encounter more than just bigotry, sexism, and entrenched interests. They range in age from 18 to 20, which adds yet another barrier to overcome – because while most political machines covet the youth vote, it’s something else entirely when young people want power of their own. The contenders include Raul De Jesus, a mayoral candidate in Hartford, Connecticut; Ytit Chauhan, an Indian-American vying for a city council seat in Atlantic City; George Monger, who spearheaded a move to lower age requirements so he could run for the Memphis city council; and Tiffany Tupper, whose campaign for a school board post in suburban Pennsylvania shows remarkable grit and resolve

The Myth of Kanopy

We here at Media Services recently changed our Kanopy subscription. Before this semester, library users could watch any Kanopy film at any time, no questions asked. Though Kanopy looks (and markets itself) as the educational equivalent of Netflix or Amazon Prime, instead of paying a flat fee of x dollars/month, the library paid $150 per … Continue reading “The Myth of Kanopy”

We here at Media Services recently changed our Kanopy subscription. Before this semester, library users could watch any Kanopy film at any time, no questions asked. Though Kanopy looks (and markets itself) as the educational equivalent of Netflix or Amazon Prime, instead of paying a flat fee of x dollars/month, the library paid $150 per title.

The cost of Kanopy ate up most of our budget, which is why we switched to a request-only model for two Kanopy collections– Criterion and Kino Lorber. Now, when you want to watch a film from these collections, it has to be approved by our media librarian.

This article from Film Quarterly sums up the Kanopy conundrum quite nicely, and shows that the AU Library isn’t alone in our current predicament.

https://filmquarterly.org/2019/05/03/kanopy-not-just-like-netflix-and-not-free/

Correction 5/15/19- Updated to reflect that only two AU Kanopy collections are request-only. All other Kanopy collections we subscribe to are available for instant viewing.

A Tribute to Stan Lee

American pop culture lost one of its patriarchs today. Stan Lee, born in 1922, revolutionized the comic book industry, helping it to evolve from a niche industry into cultural force.  Lee built an incredible, interconnected world at Marvel Comics, and I don’t know where I’d be personally if I hadn’t had Uncanny X-Men to get me … Continue reading “A Tribute to Stan Lee”

American pop culture lost one of its patriarchs today. Stan Lee, born in 1922, revolutionized the comic book industry, helping it to evolve from a niche industry into cultural force.  Lee built an incredible, interconnected world at Marvel Comics, and I don’t know where I’d be personally if I hadn’t had Uncanny X-Men to get me through some rough patches. He was an impressive businessman, creator, and human, and he will be sorely missed.

There will be plenty of great eulogies and tributes in the days to come, but we here at Media Services know Stan Lee for his cameos in most of the Marvel movies. His brief performances always added a spot of levity to the most serious films, and he was always a delight to watch.

You can see Stan Lee in any of these films in Media Services:

Iron Man: DVD 2763

Iron Man 2: DVD 2764

Iron Man 3: DVD 11830

The Incredible Hulk: DVD 11915

Thor: DVD 10965

Thor: the Dark World: DVD 12292

Captain America: The First Avenger: DVD 10147

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: DVD 11478

Captain America: Civil War DVD 13578

Marvel’s The Avengers BLU 10501

Avengers: Age of Ultron: DVD 12895

Guardians of the Galaxy: DVD 11681

Deadpoool: DVD 13132

Ant Man: DVD 12892

Spider-Man: DVD 7121

Spider-Man 2: DVD 7122

Black Panther DVD 16090

Spider-Man 3: DVD 7123

The Amazing Spider-Man: DVD 6493

X-Men: DVD 1441

X-Men the Last Stand: DVD 1443

Smithsonian African American Film Festival

One of the great things about living in DC is that we have this incredible city right at our fingertips. Case in point: the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is hosting its first ever African American Film Festival. While you do have to pay to attend a film screening and a … Continue reading “Smithsonian African American Film Festival”

One of the great things about living in DC is that we have this incredible city right at our fingertips. Case in point: the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is hosting its first ever African American Film Festival. While you do have to pay to attend a film screening and a master class, the festival is also hosting a bunch of free events.

You can find more information here. We’ll also be adding the free events to our events calendar.

Hello There!

Hello, fellow film buffs! Allow me to introduce myself—my name is India, and I am… the new Tara. Tara bid Media Services adieu last month, and now I’m stepping into her role as the administrator and primary poster on this blog of ours. I’ll still be doing Random Movies on Mondays, commemorating my favorite film … Continue reading “Hello There!”

Hello, fellow film buffs! Allow me to introduce myself—my name is India, and I am… the new Tara. Tara bid Media Services adieu last month, and now I’m stepping into her role as the administrator and primary poster on this blog of ours. I’ll still be doing Random Movies on Mondays, commemorating my favorite film icons’ birthdays, and posting everything you ever wanted (or didn’t want to) know about the AU Media Collection.

In lieu of a stilted icebreaker in paragraph form, I’m going to list my top five things you can find in the AU Media Collection. In no particular order:

Jane Eyre – DVD 11799

Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back – DVD 1644

Band of Brothers – DVD 14080

Ever After: A Cinderella Story – DVD 190

Howl’s Moving Castle – DVD 2979

Hasta la vista, Molly

We have a bittersweet post to share today: after four years of service, Visual Media Collections Coordinator Molly Hubbs is leaving the AU Library. Molly has been an invaluable member of the Media Services team and a backbone of many of our ongoing projects, especially new acquisition processing and the push to digitize our VHS … Continue reading “Hasta la vista, Molly”

We have a bittersweet post to share today: after four years of service, Visual Media Collections Coordinator Molly Hubbs is leaving the AU Library. Molly has been an invaluable member of the Media Services team and a backbone of many of our ongoing projects, especially new acquisition processing and the push to digitize our VHS collection. Although we’re sad to see her go, we’re excited for her new and exciting opportunities. Best of luck, Molly!

Want to be a media librarian? Kino Lorber’s here to help

Allow us to toot the horn of our own profession for a second. If you’re interested in becoming a librarian who works with film, the American Library Association has a scholarship with your name on it. ALA has partnered with classic and art house film distributor Kino Lorber to offer an annual $1000 award for … Continue reading “Want to be a media librarian? Kino Lorber’s here to help”

Allow us to toot the horn of our own profession for a second. If you’re interested in becoming a librarian who works with film, the American Library Association has a scholarship with your name on it.

ALA has partnered with classic and art house film distributor Kino Lorber to offer an annual $1000 award for a prospective library science Masters degree student interested in “work[ing] professionally as a media librarian in an academic institution.” The scholarship includes a paid trip to New York City to learn about film distribution at a festival from the Kino Lorber folks – a great hands-on opportunity that uniquely fits the media librarian sub-profession.

We’re glad to see Kino Lorber giving back to the library world. Richard Lorber himself shares in anecdote in ALA’s press release about how librarians helped him find films to use for his teaching. We certainly hope the AU Library’s collection and librarians have been so helpful, and this scholarship is a little boost to keep those sorts of services going in the future.

In the latest casuality of physical film, the Air and Space Museum goes digital

The transition from physical to digital projection has been a long time coming, even if Tarantino has tried his best to keep the format around. This Sunday, another stalwart – the IMAX theater at the National Air and Space Museum – retired their 70mm projector. When Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last month, so … Continue reading “In the latest casuality of physical film, the Air and Space Museum goes digital”

The transition from physical to digital projection has been a long time coming, even if Tarantino has tried his best to keep the format around. This Sunday, another stalwart – the IMAX theater at the National Air and Space Museum – retired their 70mm projector.

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens debuted last month, so many people insisted on seeing it at the Air and Space Museum because of the quality of the 70mm projection. But as The Washington Post points out, the aging equipment hasn’t changed much from 1976 and requires intensive labor to setup. The projectionists and “hipsters” (not our words, see the article) might enjoy the feel of film stock, but for a theater that regularly shows so many different films, digital is simpler and faster for everyone involved.

Film projection will always have a place, even if just in specialty theaters. The Air and Space Museum’s transition feels like a bigger change, though, because of how many people have gone through that theater.

(Also, look at how chunky that projector is! Holy moly!)

National Film Registry’s 2015 picks include Top Gun and sneezing

Every year, the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress picks 25 notable films for permanent preservation, ensuring that everyone will have long-term access to these works. Every year includes a mixture of historical items and more current movies, like last year’s selection of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the first film with an … Continue reading “National Film Registry’s 2015 picks include Top Gun and sneezing”

Every year, the National Film Registry in the Library of Congress picks 25 notable films for permanent preservation, ensuring that everyone will have long-term access to these works. Every year includes a mixture of historical items and more current movies, like last year’s selection of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and the first film with an all-black cast.

For 2015, the National Film Registry once again cast a wide net. Ghostbusters, L.A. Confidential, The Shawshank Redemption, and Top Gun are surely the most well-known, but as usual, the odder choices are probably the most exciting. Of great interest is the Spanish language version of Dracula, produced alongside the 1931 Bela Lugosi classic using the same scripts, sets, and costumes. Other highlights include the New Deal working-class ode Our Daily Bread and an early educational film about menstruation that still had to sanitize its contents.

And finally, at long last, the National Film Registry is preserving Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (above), the first copyrighted film and the subject of many running jokes about the subject matter of early video recordings. It may be the most famous sneeze in history – though it’s not clear how you’d measure that.

The AU Library has copies of most every film in the Library of Congress’s 2015 list, though several are included on compilation discs with other early cinema. Record of a Sneeze is a rare case where you might be better served with a GIF.

We’re back next week

GIF via IWDRM Hi everyone! We wanted to apologize for the radio silence in the past two weeks. We’ve been very busy preparing ourselves and our staff for the coming semester. Look forward to regular posts returning next week. Welcome to all the university’s incoming freshmen!

GIF via IWDRM

Hi everyone! We wanted to apologize for the radio silence in the past two weeks. We’ve been very busy preparing ourselves and our staff for the coming semester.

Look forward to regular posts returning next week. Welcome to all the university’s incoming freshmen!