In-Theater Film Roster
Appalachia’s cultural identity is intrinsically linked to coal, for better or for worse. This documentary blends folklore, history, and first-hand accounts to thoughtfully examine what the future might look like as coal’s grip on the region loosens. The film uses magical realism to elevate its storytelling and provide a nuanced look at the realities of life in Appalachia. Directed by a West Virginia native, King Coal is a reclamation of the region’s stories as told by one of its own.
Runtime: 80 minutes.
Recommended for grades 7-12.
Sub-themes: cultural identity, environmentalism, Appalachia, the human condition
This documentary film reckons with and redefines the American pioneer by following three West Virginians—a blacksmith, a seamstress, and a hospital chaplain—as they creatively navigate hardship. O Pioneer weaves contemporary and archival footage, poetic vignettes, and dream-like animation to showcase Appalachia and the strength of its people, challenging viewers to accept a new narrative about the region and redefine their own challenges as they are inspired by the people featured in the film.
Runtime: 73 minutes.
Recommended for grades 7-12.
Sub-themes: Walt Whitman, Appalachia, cultural identity, overcoming adversity
The Cure for Hate-New!
Tony McAleer is a former Skinhead and Holocaust denier who went on to create the anti-hate activist group Life After Hate. Profoundly aware and deeply ashamed of the lineage of hate he’d once promoted, Tony traveled to Auschwitz to bear witness to the inconceivable ravages of the Holocaust and inform his personal work against the rise of extremist politics. This film documents Tony’s journey as he explores the conditions that allowed for the rise of fascism in the 1930’s; shines a light on how men get into, and out of, violent extremist groups; and underscores the danger of allowing hate to be left unchecked.
This is a perfect opportunity to have high school students consider the lessons of the Holocaust for their lives today and may include a visit from the filmmaker and film subject.
Runtime: 84 minutes. Recommended for grades 9-12.
Sub-themes: the Holocaust, antisemitism, hate groups, making a difference
Repairing the World: Stories from the Tree of Life
This powerful film documents Pittsburgh’s all-community response to hate in the aftermath of the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history. Through the voices of survivors, family members, diverse Pittsburgh residents and leaders, the film highlights unity in a moment of crisis, the resilience of a vibrant city, and a community working together to show what it means to be “stronger than hate.”
Runtime: 80 minutes. Recommended for grades 8-12.
Sub-themes: antisemitism, gun violence, resilience, “Stronger than Hate”
ENVIRONMENT & STEM
Still A Black Star
Japanese, English, with English subtitles
This feature film follows the extraordinary journey of Japanese artist/activist Mago Ngasaka as he traces the flow of waste from the world’s wealthiest nations to a vast e-waste dump in the Agbogbloshie slum in Accra, Ghana, where it is burned to recover precious metals while poisoning the people and devastating the land. We love that Mago partners with the people of the slum to draw attention to and transform their community through art, using waste in innovative ways to wake up the first world to the global e-waste epidemic. Virtual school visits by filmmakers Kern and Kip Konwiser may be available.
Runtime: 96 minutes. Recommended for grades 8-12.
Sub-themes: cultural and class differences, art for social justice, environmentalism, e-waste
HOLOCAUST & GENOCIDE
Norwegian, with English subtitles
This docudrama is based on a true story of 10-year-old Gerda and her brother Otto, whose parents are in the Norwegian resistance during World War II. After Gerda and Otto’s parents are arrested, the siblings are put in the position of helping two Jewish children flee from the Nazis into Sweden.
Runtime: 90 minutes. Recommended for grades 6-8.
Sub-themes: courage, resistance, friendship, bystanders versus upstanders, coming of age
French, with English subtitles
Thirteen-year-old Fanny grows up fast as she is forced to parent a group of younger children on the run from the Nazis. This beautifully shot, heartfelt film highlights a young person’s resolve, bravery, and compassion in the face of great risk.
Runtime: 90 minutes. Recommended for grades 6-12.
Sub-themes: courage, resistance, friendship, bystanders versus upstanders, coming of age, survival
Holocaust Short Film Program
English, German, French, with English subtitles
This program of short films has been specially curated to introduce students to little known stories of the Holocaust that humanize the history, instead of focusing solely on dates and numbers. The selection includes documentary, narrative, and animated films. These short films are easily adapted to classroom screening and at-home viewing due to their individual lengths of 7-25 minutes, but may also be presented as a program of 90 minutes. We also can customize the film selection for younger and older audiences.
Recommended for grades 6-12.
Sub-themes: the power of one person to make a change, coping with adversity, response to evil, resistance, survival, effects of trauma
Inside Hana's Suitcase
Czech, English, with English subtitles
The arrival of Hana Brady’s battered suitcase to the director of the Holocaust Museum in Tokyo prompts the director and her students to uncover the details of Hana’s life. As small children, Hana and her brother, George, were sent to Theresienstadt for being Jewish after the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939. Children from Japan, Canada, and the Czech Republic, along with George Brady, who survived the Holocaust, describe Hana’s story, creating a film of astonishing power and hope.
Runtime: 60 minutes. Recommended for grades 6-8.
Sub-Themes: bullying, children and children’s rights, Japanese culture, persistence, teamwork, tolerance
Light of Hope
Spanish, with English subtitles
This film tells the inspiring story of Elisabeth Eidenbenz, the director of the Elne maternity home—a refuge for pregnant women fleeing the Spanish Civil War and Vichy refugee camps in the 1930s and 40s. Based on a true story.
Runtime: 60 minutes. Recommended for grades 9-12.
Sub-themes: the power of one person to make a change, heroism, perseverance, survival, strong women
For nearly 50 years, Nicholas Winton kept secret how he saved the lives of 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. Today there are more than 6,000 descendants of the children Winton saved, 26 of which are featured in this moving documentary.
Runtime: 90 minutes. Recommended for grades 7-12.
Sub-themes: the power of one person to enact change, heroism, perseverance
Once in a Lifetime
French, with English subtitles
A dedicated history teacher enrolls a group of unruly inner-city kids in a national competition whose theme is child victims of the Holocaust. The students are resistant, but a visit to the classroom by a Holocaust survivor moves the bar just enough for some of them to begin the journey to self-enlightenment.
Runtime: 100 minutes. Recommended for grades 9-12.
Sub-themes: role models and mentors, teamwork, overcoming differences, coping with adversity
La Rafle / The Roundup
French, with English subtitles
This acclaimed French epic depicts the true story of the mass arrest and detainment of the Jews of Paris in the summer of 1942, later known as the Vel d’Hiv Roundup. La Rafle is a sensitive exploration of this long taboo subject in France and its effects on the French authorities, Jewish victims, and the city of Paris. The exquisite beauty of Paris during war time is brought to stirring life by French stars Mélanie Laurent and Jean Reno.
Runtime: 120 minutes. Recommended for grades 8-12.
Sub-themes: altruism, tolerance/intolerance, determination, victims/oppressors, hardship, survivalTrailer
Run Boy Run
Polish, German, Russian, Yiddish, with English subtitles
This film tells the extraordinary true story of a Polish boy who seeks the kindness of others in his solitary struggle to outlast the Nazi occupation and keep alive his Jewish faith.
Runtime: 100 minutes. Recommended for grades 7-12.
Sub-themes: family ties, loss, bystander/upstander, perseverance, bravery, survival, resistance movement
German, with English subtitles
This film portrays a woman who is a Holocaust survivor. While set in the present, we learn about the woman’s story through flashbacks. Her history weighs heavily on her as she ages, but she unexpectedly receives help from a young man who has troubles of his own. This is a story about survival and support across generations.
Runtime: 90 minutes. Recommended for grades 11-12.
Sub-themes: lingering effects of survival, mental illness, post-traumatic stress, inter-generational relationships, self-worth
FRENCH, WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
In a gripping true tale of survival against all odds, Valiant Hearts follows six Jewish children in 1942 who were hidden in the Chateau de Chambord, along with priceless artwork from the Louvre Museum. There they are aided by Rose, a conservator at Paris’s Jeu de Paume Museum and a member of the resistance, who is documenting the theft of art by Nazi officers. Rose and the children face almost unimaginable circumstances while learning about friendship, solidarity, and doing what’s right. Their unforgettable story brings this moment in history to life.
Runtime: 92 minutes. Recommended for grades 9-12.
Sub-themes: resourcefulness, hope, friendship, upstanders
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
German, Swiss German, French, with English Subtitles
Based on the semi-autobiographical book by Judith Kerr, this film tells the story of Anna, whose life suddenly becomes dangerous in 1933. When her father goes missing one day, Anna realizes everything in Europe will change, beginning with her home and family. She, along with her mother and brother, must quickly move first to Switzerland, then to France, to be with her father, a prominent writer who opposes Hitler. From then on, Anna encounters life as a refugee, not speaking the language, not knowing the customs, missing friends and loved ones, and facing xenophobia, poverty, and hunger. This is a story of resilience of body and spirit and of family.
Runtime: 120 minutes. Recommended for grades 7-12.
Sub-themes: refugees, survival, coming of age, coping with adversity, responsibility
HUMAN RIGHTS & SOCIAL JUSTICE
Day of the Western Sunrise
Japanese, with English subtitles
On March 1, 1954, the United States detonated the thermonuclear bomb Castle Bravo in the Pacific Ocean, catching the fishing vessel Lucky Dragon No. 5 in the blast. In this locally produced film, traditional Japanese animation methods illuminate the story, and Japanese survivors discuss their experience and how it has affected their lives.
Screening this film may be accompanied by a virtual visit from the filmmaker.
Runtime: 75 minutes. Recommended for grades 8-12.
Sub-themes: nuclear proliferation, foreign policy, climate change, generational legacies
A Focus on Disabilities: Short Films that Highlight Diversity and Inclusion
Included in this short film program are stories of people with physical, intellectual, and mental disabilities. The viewer will understand the obstacles faced by and the resilience of people with disabilities and their communities. These short films are easily adapted to classroom screenings and at-home viewing due to their individual lengths of 3-33 minutes but may also be presented as a program of 90 minutes.
Recommended for grades 8-12.
Sub-themes: accommodations for people with disabilities, acceptance of differences, perseverance, the human condition
Topowa! Never Give Up
Topowa! is the inspirational story of 12 talented young street children as they embark on a musical journey from the Katwe slum in Uganda to the iconic Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London and on to a residency at the world-famous Cheltenham Music Festival. This film showcases how great art can break down barriers between classes, cultures, and levels of privilege, empowering the next generation of musicians to follow their dreams.
Runtime: 83 minutes. Recommended for grades 6-12.
Sub-themes: resourcefulness, persistence, hope, cultural and class differences, inspiration
My Sister Liv
This documentary follows two inseparable sisters, Liv and Tess, as they are growing up and Liv struggles with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. The film is an honest look at the effects of social media on teenagers and how family members cope with the loss of a loved one from suicide. Tess makes it her life’s mission to break down the stigma around mental health and uses the documentary to begin conversations.
Runtime: 71 minutes. Recommended for grades 9-12.
Sub-themes: identity, family relationships, healing and hope