ae-logoLast time I was in New York I stayed with my friend Kibra Yohannes. She thought I should write an article about documentary films that have inspired me for the website of the organization she works for. Next thing I know I’m hearing from Kasmore Rhedrick, the web editor for Arts Engine. The philosophy of Arts Engine is “that the work of independent media makers is crucial to the enrichment of society and culture.”


Media That Matters is a program of Arts Engine that “helps media makers, educators, librarians, nonprofits, and activists use documentaries and shorts to encourage action and inspire dialogue on contemporary social issues.”

Right up my cul-de-sac.

Media That Matters has a feature called The Shortlist in which they ask filmmakers, writers, activists and others to discuss films that inspire them. I’m honored to be included among a group of people who have inspired so many others with their work and their art.

And good grief, it ain’t easy to narrow down the documentaries that have inspired me into a manageable size. So I decided not to overthink this and to go with films–some well known, some not–that have truly impacted and informed my own thinking and writing.

Check out my Shortlist here and let me know what you think. What films would make your shortlist?

To Kibra and Kas, thank you. I appreciate the opportunity and look forward to seeing you next time I’m in New York.