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Six Documentaries to Build Awareness about Poverty


To Help Create Conversations

In Your Agency & In Your Community

Here are eight varied documentaries that can be used to build awareness about poverty and to generate ideas on how issues such as these could be addressed in your community.

PLEASE LET US KNOW if you have suggestions for other documentaries or perhaps movies that could also be used for this purpose.

Hungry For Health: A Journey Through Cleveland's Food Desert (2010)

This short documentary features a day in the life of Willa Sparks; a woman who overcomes the environmental obstacle of living in a food desert, an inner-city neighborhood without easy access to a grocery store.  Determined to give her family the healthy food that every person deserves, Willa takes an hour long bus ride at the first of every month to get to the closest grocery store.  If healthy food won’t come to her, as her neighborhood is infested with fast food restaurants and corner stores, then she will go to it.  Hungry for Health shows a close and personal view of how the challenge of food access affects many low-income community residents.

Waging a Living (2005)

Waging A Living is an 85-minute documentary, funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Ford Foundation, that chronicles the lives of four low-wage workers as they seek to attain genuine economic self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. It provides viewers with an unvarnished look at living paycheck to paycheck in the United States.  A discussion guide can be used as part of efforts to build community awareness - Waging a Living Fact Sheet.

A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains (2009)

ABC 20/20 reports on rural children living in poverty in Central Appalachia, including a high-school football star who sleeps in his truck, a 12-year-old who dreams of having her own bed, and an 11-year-old determined to save her mother's life.  View Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5

The Forgotten City (2007)

The Forgotten City is a soul stirring documentary taking place in Buffalo, New York exploring race relations, segregation, crime, and politics.  Through exclusive breathtaking footage and one-on-one interviews with many citizens and some of Buffalo’s most influential leaders, The Forgotten City exposes the bitter truth about Buffalo and all inner cities.  It challenges stereotypes, encourages change and shakes up the status quo. Buffalo was once a booming city; one of richest in the United States and is now a place where crime, racism and poverty plague a once great city.

This film is a personal journey of two young filmmakers who forged an unlikely partnership following a 2001 murder; one a friend of the victim and the other a friend of the murderer.  Instead of waging war, they embarked on a documentary film project that would take them into the heart of Buffalo’s most dispossessed communities and crime ridden streets.  The result of their exploration is a documentary film with a raw, hard-hitting, unblinking first-hand look at the way some of us really live in America.  This film brings to light the racial turmoil and economic hardships that have become the lifestyle of so many living in Buffalo’s inner city.

The Forgotten City, however, is not simply a film about the problems that plague Buffalo’s inner city; it can easily be the story of any American city and is a film that everyone should see.



CLICK HERE to go to InvisiblePeople.tv

The purpose of this vlog is to make the invisible visible.  It was created with the hope that these people and their stories connect with you and don't let go.  That their conversations will start a conversation in your circle of friends.  After you get to know someone by watching their story, please pause for a few moments and write your thoughts.  By keeping this dialog open we can help a forgotten people.  Go to InvisiblePeople.tv Blog.

Ten9Eight (2010)

America, a kid drops out of high school every 9 seconds.  Imagine if they didn’t.  This is the compelling question behind award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio's newest project TEN9EIGHT, a thought provoking film which tells the inspirational stories of several inner city teens (of differing race, religion, and ethnicity) from Harlem to Compton and all points in between, as they compete in an annual business plan competition.  Go to Ten9Eight for additional information.

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