What's Up Docs? Dig deeper, think broadly, ignite your imagination

What's Up? Docs!


EXCITING NEWS! Thanks to the generous support of Discovery Communications, the WHAT’S UP? DOCS! spring season will be FREE and open to the public.

The Documentary Center at GW offers our sincere appreciation to Discovery Communications for allowing us to expand and engage our audiences with this season’s exciting lineup of films and post-screening conversations.

What's Up? Docs! is a thought-provoking, crash course in non-fiction film curated in a way that only one of the top university documentary programs in the nation can offer.

What: A new, curated, monthly Fall and Spring series of feature-length and short documentaries hosted by The Documentary Center at the George Washington University (GW). Each screening will be followed by a post-screening Q&A with a noted author, scholar, film critic, film director, or documentary forward-thinker

When: Screenings are held the second Thursday of every month from 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.

Where: Marvin Center Amphitheater on GW’s campus, 800 21st Street, NW, at the corner of 21st and H Streets, 3rd floor. The GW campus is easily accessible via the Foggy Bottom/GWU Metro. Parking is available in the Marvin Center garage.




Spring 2017

Theme: What do you Believe? - A Priest, A Rabbi, A Physician, And A Lawyer Walk Into A Movie Theater



Monday, February 27, 2017

Capturing the Friedmans
Directed by Andrew Jarecki, 2003, 1h 47 min
The Friedmans were a normal middle-class family when Arnold Friedman and his son Jesse were accused of shocking crimes. The film follows their story through unique footage of the family in crisis, shot inside the Friedman house. Winner of the Sundance Grand Jury Prize, Capturing the Friedmans reveals provocative questions about truth, justice, family, and – ultimately - truth.




Thursday, March 9, 2017

Directed by Dan Krauss, 2016, 24 min
The realities of death are not easy to confront. That much is clear in Extremis, a documentary short exploring the harrowing decisions families must make for their loved ones in urgent end-of-life cases relying on machine-based life support. Directed by Oscar- and Emmy-winning filmmaker Dan Krauss (The Kill Team), Extremis takes the viewer into the ICU unit of an Oakland, California public hospital where the filmmaker attempts to intimately examine "the intersection of science, faith, and humanity." 

Our special guests for the post-screening conversation are Marion Danis, MD, NIH’s Division Chief on Ethics and Health Policy, and philosopher and bioethicist, David DeGrazia, PhD (*Dr. Danis is serving in her personal capacity).

Thursday, April 13, 2017
Directed by Thomas Lennon, 2016, 1h 25 min
At a time when religious hatreds dominate the world’s headlines, this film, sweeping in global reach and yet intensely intimate, explores faith as primary human experience: how it is used to navigate the milestones and crises of private life. Shot by 40 filmmaking teams from around the world. 

This screening will be followed by a discussion with several prominent D.C. religious leaders moderated by Sister Maureen Fiedler, creator and host of Interfaith Voices. Our post-screening panel features: Rabbi Gerry Serotta (Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington), Reverend Dr. Carol Flett (Washington National Cathedral) and Imam Talib Shareef (The Nation's Mosque).


Fall 2016

The theme for our Fall 2016 series was "Roots: Films that Defined the Documentary Form." Our features included:

  • Gimme Shelter, a landmark documentary that followed the Rolling Stones on their notorious 1969 U.S. tour. Directed by Albert Maysles, David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin, it has been called the greatest rock film ever made. This screening was followed by a discussion with Mark Jenkins, Music and Film Critic for The Washington Post, Slate, Time Out New York, and NPR. 
  • The Times of Harvey Milk, an Oscar-winning film as groundbreaking as its subject. One of the first feature documentaries to address gay life in America, it's a work of advocacy itself, bringing Milk's message of hope and equality to a wider audience. Directed by Rob Epstein. Our special post-screening guest was Dr. Harry Benschoff, author of "Queer Images: A HIstory of Gay and Lesbian Film in America." 
  • Primary, The "Granddaddy of Political Documentary." This landmark film chronicles the 1960 Wisconsin primary between the two Democratic front runners vying for presidential nomination - John F. Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey. Dr. Paul Stekler, Emmy, Peabody, duPont-Columbia, and Sundance Jury Award-winning political documentary filmmaker and the Chair of the Department of Radio, Film, and Television at the University of Texas at Austin joined us for the post-screening conversation.
  • Hearts and Minds, a startling and courageous film that unflinchingly confronted the US' involvement in Vietnam at the height of the war and the controversy that surrounded it here at home. Linda Dittmar, editor of From Hanoi to Hollywood: The Vietnam War in American Film leads a post-film discussion. 



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