Movies, Resources

Resource Spotlight: InstantFlix

If you subscribe to our monthly newsletter, you know that we’re excited about InstantFlix, a free streaming service that lets you use your library card to watch movies anytime, from any device. InstantFlix is chock-full of independent short films, festival favorites, and classic TV shows—but it’s also a great resource for documentaries. The selection is always growing and changing, so it’s worth checking in periodically to see what’s new. Here are a few that piqued our interest:

Unmistaken Child (105 minutes, 2008)

“In Nepal, the venerable monk Geshe Lama Konchog dies. One of his disciples, a youthful monk named Tenzin Zopa, searches for his master’s reincarnation.”

The Botany of Desire (116 minutes, 2009)

“Featuring Michael Pollan and based on his best-selling book, this special takes viewers on an eye-opening exploration of the human relationship with the plant world. The program shows how the apple, the tulip, marijuana and the potato – evolved to satisfy our yearnings.”

The First Sea (61 minutes, 2013)

“An NGO invites Wafaa and Raneen, along with a group of other young West Bank
Palestinians, to spend a day at the beach – in Israel. Although they live nearby, an
impenetrable barrier has always made it impossible for them to go there. Is this trip
a fantasy or a window on the future?”

Closure (77 minutes, 2013)

“A transracial adoptee finds her birth mother and meets the rest of a family who did not know she existed, including her birth father. A story about identity, the complexities of transracial adoption, and most importantly, closure.”

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (85 minutes, 2011)

“Documentarian Marshall Curry investigates the darker side of the fight for our environment in this documentary about the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a radical group of activists that has gone to extreme lengths to protest against deforestation. The film focuses on Daniel McGowan, a former member of ELF who was sentenced to life in prison when he was found guilty of acts of environmental terrorism after he participated in the firebombing of several Oregon-based timber companies.”

The Line (44 minutes, 2012)

“From Emmy Award-winning producer Linda Midgett, The Line is a groundbreaking documentary chronicling the new face of poverty in America.”

Art & Copy (89 minutes, 2012)

Art & Copy, a powerful new film about advertising and inspiration, reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time—people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry.”

Buster Keaton Rides Again (56 minutes, 1965)

A National Film Board of Canada documentary about the filming of Buster Keaton’s The Railrodder (1965).

Bowling Blind (35 minutes, 2010)

Bowling Blind chronicles the ups and downs of the Metropolitan Blind Bowling League. The league, comprised of mostly low-income, minority New York City residents, are the Bad News Bears of bowling. They bowl on a small, two-lane alley in the basement of Visions Selis Manor on 23rd street in Manhattan (where most of the bowlers live). The lanes frequently break down and are in dire need of repair. But this doesn’t stop the Metropolitans. For 30 weeks a year, this ragtag team of bowlers keeps on rolling. Bowling Blind follows the league as they raise money and bowl their way to the national tournament.”