ALA Film and Media Round Table announces 2021 Notable Films for Adults list

For Immediate Release
Fri, 01/22/2021


Tiffany Hudson

Chair, Notable Films for Adults Committee

Film and Media Round Table (FMRT)

CHICAGO — The American Library Association (ALA) Film and Media Round Table: Notable Videos for Adults Committee has compiled its 2021 list of Notable Films for Adults, a list of 12 outstanding films released on video within the past two years and suitable for all libraries serving adults. Its purpose is to call attention to recent releases that make a significant contribution to the world of film. The list is compiled for use by librarians and the general adult populace.

The Notable Films for Adults Committee selected 12 outstanding titles from among 46 nominees for this year’s list of Notable Videos for Adults. The availability of closed captions (CC) and/or subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing (SDH) is preferred; inclusion of the same is indicated below.

Beyond the Bolex (2018, dir. Alyssa Bolsey) 94 minutes. Collective Eye Films. DVD. Available from Collective Eye Films. CC. Jewish immigrant Jacques Bolsey invented the Bolex (the first home movie camera) in the 1920s. Nearly a century later, his great-granddaughter, director Alyssa Bolsey speaks with camera collectors, historians and filmmakers who explain how Jacques inspired new generations of filmmakers.

Buddy (2018, dir. Heddy Honigmann) 86 minutes. Grasshopper Films. DVD. Available various distributors. Dutch with English subtitles. Director Heddy Honigmann takes a poignant look at the power of six service dogs and how these animals make an impact on the lives of their owners.

Creem: America’s Only Rock N Roll Magazine (2020, dir. Scott Crawford) 75 minutes. Greenwich Entertainment. DVD. Available from various distributors. CC, SDH. Traces one of America’s iconic rock music magazines from its origin as an underground newspaper in Detroit though its rise to national prominence.  A portrait of the publisher, editors, musicians, and fans that made it happen, their long ambition, and sometimes short lives.

For Sama (2019, dir. Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts) 100 minutes. Frontline (PBS). DVD. Available from various distributors. Arabic with English subtitles, SDH. Filmmaker Waad Al-Kateab’s personal account of how she met her husband and the birth of her daughter, for whom the film is named. Created from harrowing footage during the war in Aleppo, Syria. 

Feels Good Man (2020, dir. Arthur Jones) 92 minutes. Video Project. DVD. Available from Video Project. CC. Artist Matt Furie struggles to reclaim his creation, Pepe the Frog (now an Internet meme), which members of the alt-right have appropriated for their own odious purposes.

Float (2020, dir. Phil Kibbe) 81 minutes. Grasshopper Films. DVD. Available from Grasshopper Films. CC. The F1D is a class of delicate, slow-flying, long-duration, rubber- powered model aircraft designed to be flown in a large indoor space. Those who build and fly these model aircraft are an increasing rarity. A glimpse into a little-known and ethereal sport. 

Grit (2018, dir. Sasha Friedlander and Cynthia Wade) 81 minutes. Torch Films. DVD. Available from Torch Films. Indonesian with English subtitles. In 2006, six-year-old Dian and her mother survived a tsunami of mud caused by a natural gas drilling company's mistakes, leaving 60,000 people displaced. Given no compensation over ten years, Dian transforms into an activist ready to lead her community in the fight for justice.

Honeyland (2019, dir. Tamara & Ljubomir Stefanov) 87 minutes. Neon Films. DVD. Available from various distributors. Turkish with English subtitles. CC. One of the last beekeepers in Macedonia uses ancient traditions to cultivate honey to eke out a meager existence for herself and her ailing mother. The new neighbors, a large, loud family, attempt commercial beekeeping, disrupting her life and the delicate bee ecosystem despite her warnings.

John Lewis: Good Trouble (2020, dir. Dawn Porter) 96 minutes. Magnolia Home Entertainment. DVD.  Available from various distributors.  CC. Tells the story of John Lewis, the late U.S. Congressman from Georgia, covering six decades of his activism inside and outside of elected office.  Conviction, kindness, and courage are hallmarks of his many contributions toward civil rights and social justice in the United States.

N. Scott Momaday: Words From A Bear (2019, dir. Jeffrey Palmer) 83 minutes. American Masters (PBS). DVD. Available from various distributors. CC.  Pulitzer Prize-winner N.Scott Momaday’s poetry and writings have led to the renaissance of Native American literature. The film examines his life and uniquely captures the essence of Momaday’s work.

Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project (2019, dir. Matt Wolf) 87 minutes. Zeitgeist Films. DVD & Blu-Ray. Available from various distributors. English with English subtitles. CC. Follows the quest of librarian and activist Marion Stokes to protect the truth by obsessively recording and archiving television broadcasts 24 hours a day from 1979 to 2012 in her Philadelphia home.

Who Will Write Our History (2018, dir. Roberta Grossman) 95 minutes. Good Docs. DVD.  Available from Good Docs. CC.  In 1940, a secret group of Jewish journalists, scholars, and community leaders in the Warsaw Ghetto vowed to defeat the Nazi propaganda by documenting and collecting accounts from everyday life and burying the archive for future discovery.

The Notable Videos for Adults Committee members are:

Tiffany Hudson, Salt Lake City Public Library, Utah

Barbara Carlson, Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library, New York

Kate Jones, State University of New York at Oswego, New York

Brenda Kinzinger, Baltimore County Public Library, Maryland

Bryan McGeary, Penn State University, Pennsylvania

Molly Mooney, Columbia Basin College, Washington

Michael Pasqualoni, Syracuse University Libraries, New York

Melanie Zaskey, Southeast Florida Library Information Network, Florida

Michele Zwierski, Nassau Library System, New York