Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime… these sites are 100% the best ways for college students to sit back and “chill” when they have off time. Just because were sitting back and binge watching shows doesn’t mean that we can’t make it educational right? Here are 8 documentaries, short films, or tv series, that have to do with our constantly evolving society and the problems that occur with in it, many in relation to the internet or social media. Communications majors or even minors, enjoy some down time while still engaging in subjects you’re familiar with. And for the rest? Get in bed and get EDUCATED!

1. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Director: Alex Gibney

     Enron, an American energy corporation based out of Houston, Texas, conducted one of the biggest cases of accounting fraud in US corporate history. Poor accounting practices, conducted by the corporation’s financial officers (some of the wealthiest shareholders), led the corporation into debt. Following this the financial officers inflated their stock prices and falsely reported profits inevitably leading to bankruptcy. The repercussions of their criminal actions have permanently impacted corporate legislation (Sarbanes-Oxly Act). Click here to watch a trailer. 

2. 13th (2016)

Director: Ava Duvernay

     Directed by Ava Duverney (A Wrinkle in TIme), this documentary examines mass incarceration in the United States in relation to race and justice. Duvernay illustrates how slavery has continued into modern day America through the prison system, highlighting Jim Crow, the war on drugs, and mass incarceration which has increased through the 20th century. Click here to watch a trailer. 

3. Citizenfour (2014)

Director: Laura Poitras

     In 2013, Edward Snowden, former National Security Agency (NSA) employee leaked top secret NSA documents regarding information about the NSA wiretapping American citizen’s’ phones. While in Hong Kong, where he flew after leaving his NSA job, Snowden contacted the director of the documentary, Laura Poitras, through encrypted messages. After meeting up in Hong Kong, Snowden conducted interviews with Poitras and other US journalists, and finally released the information that would cause him to be one of America’s most notorious whistleblowers. Click here to watch a trailer. 

4. What the Health (2017)

Director: Kipp Andersen and Keegan Kuhn

This documentary follows the the journey of filmmaker Kip Andersen.The film show and uncovers the secrets behind the impacts on one’s health of both meat and dairy consumptions. Not only does this film question our societies choices but it questions our leading health practices and our pharmaceutical organizations. The overall goal of the movie was to show viewers that it is true that serious health problems are a result of consuming meat and dairy product that many in the industry won’t tell you and will hide from you. Click here to watch the trailer.

5. The Hunting Ground (2015)

Director: Kirby Dick

     Premiering at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, directed by Kirby Dick and produced by Amy Ziering, The Hunting Ground is about the incidents involving sexual assaults on college campuses in the United States. The documentary primarily focuses on two women who were former students at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. The importance of these women is that they filed a Title IX complaint against the university in response to their rapes while students at the school. This film shows the stories of many college students who after being sexually assaulted were ignored by their universities administrators. The introduction of the thought that college administrations aren’t taking care of these situations simply to minimize rape statistics is both enlightening and concerning, an important thought to consider. Click here to watch trailer.

 

6. Banking on Bitcoin (2016)

Director:  Christopher Cannucciari

     What is bitcoin? Bitcoin is a system that allows payments to be sent via the internet through users without going through a central authority. Although this sounds fine, since the creation of bitcoin in 2009, it has become an extremely disruptive technology. This documentary shows viewers the harms of its use, showing its history of the type of illegal activity it is used for, the biggest, to buy drugs on the “dark web.” It’s important to understand and inform ourselves of this new and hazardous technology and by watching Banking on Bitcoin one can do just this. Click here to watch trailer.

7. Wormwood: An American Conspiracy (2017)

Director: Errol Morris

     Wormwood is a six part docudrama season based on the life of Frank Olsen, who is a scientist and participated in a secret government biological warfare program. Wormwood is told through Eric Olson (son of Frank Olson), and the docudrama explores the causes leading up to the suspicious and mysterious death of Frank, who died in 1953. Click here to watch the trailer

8. Icarus (2017)

Director: Bryan Fogel

Icarus centers around filmmaker Bryan Fogel, who focuses on the topic of performance enhancing drugs and seeks to learn about the connection they have in sports. Fogel looks way back to 1968, and examines every sport while conducting interviews with those who had been connected and even helped facilitate the use of the drugs. In the end, what Fogel discovers is far more surprising and shocking than any could have imagined. Click here to watch the trailer.

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