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URBAN STUDIES

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16 Acres

The rebuilding of ground zero is the most architecturally, politically, and emotionally complex urban renewal project in recent American history. The struggle to develop these 16 acres has encompassed 11 years and over $20 billion.

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American Reds

Weaving powerful and compelling personal stories told by American Communists with objective historical sources and analysis, American Reds: "What Must We Dream Of?" illuminates the epic story of the rise and fall of the American Communist Party.

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Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country.

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Buying Sex

Buying Sex is a timely examination of the ongoing and global debate about prostitution laws. Would decriminalizing prostitution free sex workers to take more control over their activities or give the buyers of sex (as well as illicit sex-trade business owners) power to exploit the sale of sexual services?

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Chet Zar: I Like to Paint Monsters

Enter the foreboding world of Chet Zar, an influential figure in the Dark Art Movement, where apocalyptic industrial landscapes are inhabited by monstrosities. Sometimes gruesome, periodically funny, but always thought-provoking, Zar's art is as enigmatic as it is frightening.

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Evergreen: The Road to Legalization

After a 40 year nationwide 'War on Drugs,' the state of Washington has become a key battleground in the fight to legalize marijuana. But many marijuana advocates are vehemently opposed to I-502, the law that will legalize cannabis.

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Every Three Seconds

Every three seconds someone in the world dies from factors related to extreme poverty - 30,000 people a day and 10.5 million a year. The sheer magnitude can be overwhelming, causing people to ask "What can one person do to make a difference?"

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Hole in a Fence, A

Chronicling the changing fortunes of Red Hook, Brooklyn, A Hole in a Fence explores the complicated issues of development, class and identity facing one of New York City's most unique neighborhoods.

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Indian Point

Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant looms just 35 miles from Times Square. With over 50 million people living in close proximity to the aging facility, its continued operation has the support of the NRC, yet has stoked a great deal of controversy in the community.

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Know How

Written and acted by young people in New York's foster care system, Know How presents stories from their own lives. Five characters' worlds intersect as they confront loss, adulthood, and bureaucracy in this tale about transience and perseverance.

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Levitated Mass

Prominently displayed outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, land artist Michael Heizer's Levitated Mass gained worldwide recognition during its installation in 2012.

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Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter

Miss Hill: Making Dance Matter tells the inspiring and largely unknown story of Martha Hill, a woman whose life was defined by her love for dance, and who successfully fought against great odds to establish dance as a legitimate art form in America.

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More Than the Rainbow

Chronicling the life and times of street photographer and former taxi driver Matt Weber, More Than the Rainbow is a poetic celebration of the world's greatest city and the individuals who walk its streets.

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Population Boom

In Population Boom, acclaimed director Werner Boote traverses the globe to examine the myths and facts about overpopulation. Speaking with everyone from demographic researchers to environmental activists, Boote comes to a surprising conclusion.

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PS Dance!: Dance Education in Public Schools

Narrated by Paula Zahn, PS Dance! captures what happens when students at five NYC public schools add dance to their daily studies. The journey is one of imagination, curiosity, hard work and discipline.

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Sex Trade, The

Part investigative report and part editorial, The Sex Trade is a behind-the-scenes analysis of a rapidly growing business featuring incisive comments from experts and enlightening interviews with current and former sex workers.

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Sukkah City

Sukkah City chronicles the architecture competition created by Joshua Foer and Roger Bennett that explored the creative potential of the ancient Jewish sukkah and created a temporary exhibition of 12 newly designed sukkahs in the heart of New York City.

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Surviving Progress

Based on the best-selling book A Short History of Progress, this documentary explores the concept of progress in our modern world, guiding us through a sweeping but detailed survey of the major "progress traps" facing our civilization in the arenas of technology, economics, consumption, and the environment.

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Tricked

Tricked is a documentary that uncovers one of America's darkest secrets. Modern-day slavery is alive and well in the United States, as thousands of victims are trafficked across the country to satisfy America's $3-billion-a-year sex trafficking industry.

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Vandal

Vandal is the story of a wayward young man named Cherif who comes of age in the world of graffiti art after he discovers a local gang who roam the night in the shadow of a mysterious and legendary tagger.

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When Justice Isn't Just

Directed by NAACP Image Award winner David Massey, this dynamic documentary features legal experts, local activists, and law enforcement officers delving into ongoing charges of inequality, unfair practices, and politicized manipulations of America's judicial system.

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You Don't Need Feet to Dance

This documentary reveals the extraordinary life of Sidiki Conde, who lost the use of his legs to polio at age fourteen. Today, he balances his career as a performing artist with the almost insurmountable obstacles of life in New York City.

  Almost Peaceful- Set during the largely unexplored period immediately following World War II, the film follows a group of mostly Jewish Parisians who attempt to restart their lives and rekindle their capacity for happiness in the shadow of unspeakable horrors.

America Betrayed- Narrated by Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss and featuring interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, scientists, and politians, this searing documentary exposes the rampant collusion, corruption and cronyism within the government agencies whose very purpose is to protect us.

American Teacher- While research proves that teachers are the most important school factor in a child's success, American Teacher reveals the frustrations facing today's educators.

Brick City- Brick City is a provocative and eye-opening documentary series that fans out around the city of Newark, New Jersey to capture the daily drama of a community striving to become a better, safer, stronger place to live.

Design is One- "If you can't find it, design it" is the motto of Lella and Massimo Vignelli, two of the world's most influential designers. Kathy Brew & Roberto Guerra's documentary brings us into the Vignellis' world, capturing their intelligence and creativity, as well as their humanity, warmth, and humor.

End of Time, The- Peter Mettler’s enthralling new film combines elements of documentary, essay, and experimental cinema to create a tour de force that challenges our conception of time - and perhaps the very fabric of our existence.

Fatherland- This rigorously structured and visually engrossing essay film explores Argentina's fractious modern history through the words of writers - both founding fathers and oppositional voices - who lay buried in Buenos Aires's famed Recoleta Cemetery.

House of Life- House of Life tells the story of The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, the site of layer upon layer of buried members of the once-vibrant Jewish community, and chronicles its history which is rich in lore, mysticism, tradition and philosophy.

How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?- A portrait of one of the world’s premier architects, How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? follows Norman Foster’s unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.

Island President, The- President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives is confronting a problem greater than any other world leader has ever faced - the survival of his country and everyone in it.

Life Apart, A- Seven years in the making, this extraordinarily intimate film takes us into the mysterious and joyous world of the Hasidic Jews, revealing a place few outsiders have seen and fewer yet could imagine.

Men at Lunch- Director Seán Ó Cualáin tells the story of "Lunch atop a Skyscraper", the iconic photograph taken during the construction of Rockefeller Center. Part homage, part investigation, Men at Lunch is the sublime tale of an American icon, an unprecedented race to the sky and the immigrant workers that built New York.

Moving Midway- Godfrey Cheshire's film about his family's Southern plantation - and the colossal feat of moving it to escape urban sprawl - is a thoughtful and witty look at how the racial legacy from the past continues into the present.

Our City Dreams- Filmed over the course of two years, Our City Dreams is an invitation to visit the creative spaces of five women artists. These women, who span different decades and represent diverse cultures, have one thing in common beyond making art: the city to which they have journeyed and now call home - New York.

Pressure Cooker- Wilma Stephenson runs an infamous Culinary Arts “boot camp” for students at Frankford High School in Philadelphia. A teacher for 40 years, Wilma can be blunt and cantankerous – but beneath her tough exterior is a person who cares passionately about getting the best out of her kids.

Pruitt-Igoe Myth, The- This documentary tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home.

Raw and the Cooked, The- Taiwan is known for one of the most diverse cuisines in Asia. A sumptuous exploration of the island’s culinary traditions and mix of cultures, the film begins in Taipei, circles the island, and then heads inland.

Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation- One of the most iconic structures ever built, Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia is a fascinating architectural project conceived by Antoni Gaudi in the late 19th century. More than 125 years after construction began, the basilica still remains unfinished.

September 11- Eleven acclaimed directors each make an 11 minute short film in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The result is a daring and moving global cinematic reply that "forces us to look at the entire event afresh." (The New York Times).

Something To Do With the Wall- In 1986, Ross McElwee and Marilyn Levine were making a film about the Berlin Wall. But in 1989, as the original film neared completion, the Wall came down. They returned to Berlin, this time to capture the radically different atmosphere of the city.

Somewhere in the City- This hilarious underground comedy deftly threads the overlapping stories of six strange but lovable residents of a NYC tenement apartment building. With Sandra Bernhard.

Tiny: A Story About Living Small- Through one couple's attempt to build a Tiny House with no building experience, this charming documentary raises questions about sustainability, good design, and the American Dream.

Top Hat and Tales: Harold Ross and the Making of the New Yorker- Narrated by Stanley Tucci, Top Hat and Tales chronicles the first 25 years of The New Yorker magazine, from its creation by Harold Ross in 1925 to his death in 1951.

Wetlands Preserved- This insightful and entertaining documentary tracks the history of Wetlands, the first-ever activist nightclub, a place that was as devoted to environmental and political issues as it was to great music.

We Were So Beloved- Between 1933 and 1941 thousands of Jews fled Nazi Germany and Austria for America. Leaving behind brothers, sisters and parents, more than 20,000 of them came together in Washington Heights in New York City.