THE SPACE RACE – Review by Liz Braun

The history of Black astronauts in America is absolutely fascinating. And mostly unknown. The Space Race is an eye-opening National Geographic documentary from directors Lisa Cortes and Diego Hurtado de Mendoza that focusses on an unsung group of heroes — the Black pilots, scientists and engineers who were part of the U.S. space program. The filmmakers situate their story in the wider landscape of recent U.S. history; the space pioneers they interview for the film are, you know, actual rocket scientists, so this is a riveting watch. Even now, institutionalized racism in the U.S. is being strengthened by laws that will prevent the teaching of Critical Race Theory. As Charles Bolden says in The Space Race, “Black history is American history. We forget it at our peril.”

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THE SPACE RACE (Tribeca 2023) – Review by Leslie Combemale

Space Race, a new documentary released at Tribeca about the heretofore too hidden history of contributions to NASA and space exploration from the Black community. For anyone who is interested in American history or the space program, this film is a must-see. When asked what they hope this film might inspire in terms of conversation and action, Lisa Cortés had this to say. “I hope people will walk away from the film recognizing the importance of knowing your history. To feel inspired to advocate for these stories to be included in history books. No matter how much people try to rewrite or obliterate history, films like this are very important. They’re correctives to a narrative that has, at many times, excluded important contributions of people of color.”

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Lisa Cortes on LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING, Cultural Appropriation and the Legacy of Genius – Nikki Fowler interviews

Filmmaker Lisa Cortes’ brilliant biodoc Little Richard: I Am Everything, took years to make, but film is now on the fast track to public view — and to reminding music lovers about the legendary legacy of Richard Wayne Penniman, one of the music world’s most beloved pop culture icons. In her discussion with Nikki Fowler, Cortes shares her take on the life and career of Little Richard, the importance of memorializing one of the world’s most important and resonant creative geniuses, and the process of bringing his biodoc to the screen.

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LITTLE RICHARD: I AM EVERYTHING – Review by Nikki Fowler

Credit documentary film producer/director Lisa Cortes with brilliantly comprehensive and entertaining biodoc about music maker and pop cultural icon Richard Wayne Penniman, otherwise known as Little Richard, who was rarely credited during his lifetime for the enormous influence he had on global artistry and and social trends. Throughout most of his lifetime, Richard was not compensated fairly for his work, nor was he presented with awards that recognized his impact on music and worldwide culture. But, Cortes’ beautifully tantalizing and magical biodoc and tribute film about his life, replete with wonderful archival footage of Richard on and off stage, is like a long-awaited huge bouquet of flowers for the master music maker. You do not want to miss Little Richard: I Am Everything.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 15, 2021: ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY

The United States has never truly been a democracy, because it has never fully supported voting rights for all of its citizens. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope for the future. By focusing specifically on Stacey Abrams’ work and experiences in Georgia, All In reveals the path to true democracy — and, guess what? It works, but it’s hard.

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY – Review by Loren King

All In: The Fight for Democracy puts voter suppression and its attendant racism into historical context as the film traces its origins from Reconstruction to Jim Crow. The film cogently lays out, with fascinating historical footage and insightful interviews, how methods such as poll taxes, impassable “literacy” tests, gerrymandering and voter ID laws, right up to the gutting of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 by the US Supreme Court, systematically disenfranchised vulnerable voters around the country but especially in the South.

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Why is the United States, that supposed bastion of freedom and democracy, such an unfree, undemocratic mess? Haha and *LOLsob*. This is a trick question: there are many reasons for the sorry state of American affairs. But a really big one is the ongoing campaign to suppress the vote. And by “ongoing,” I mean basically since the founding of the nation.

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY – Review by Liz Whittemore

Directors Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus have presented audiences with a history lesson in a non-preachy, inspirational way. The immediate relevance of this film is palpable as our democracy is literally on the brink. It’s a doc that needs to be shown in every history class. It’s a doc that needs to be streamed to the country on loop, right now.

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ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY – Review by Martha K Baker

We are taught that democracy began with the Founding Fathers. It did not. Those men in knee britches granted suffrage to their fellows: White men. Men of property. 6% of the population. Over the next 200 years and change, the rest of the nation has had to fight for the vote. Directors Lisa Cortes and Liz Garbus balance newsreels and graphics with commentary to present a civics lesson worthy of studied absorption.

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