Eye-opening Documentaries to Watch in 2020

Eye-opening Documentaries 2020

Looking for eye-opening documentaries to expand your understanding of the world that we live in? You’re in the right place.

Thanks to COVID-19 lockdown I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries and educating myself about the world we live in.

Here’s a short list of the docos that have opened up my eyes this year.


Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay’s examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.

This piercing, Oscar-nominated film won Best Documentary at the Emmys, the BAFTAs and the NAACP Image Awards. US Rating: TV-MA For mature audiences. May not be suitable for ages 17 and under.

Covid-19: is working from home really the new normal?

The covid-19 pandemic has accelerated a shift towards remote working. This could affect not just people’s working lives, but the shape of cities, gender equality and even how we measure time. Read more here.

How is Money Created?- Everything You Need to Know

With trillions of dollars being printed around the world, it’s time we take a look into how money is created.

The Toxic World of Self Help: Hustle Culture, Toxic Positivity, Addiction, and Fake Gurus.

The toxic world of self help: a world surrounded by toxic positivity, self help addiction, fake gurus, and hustle culture. It’s the side of ‘self-development’ that is often overlooked by those on the outside, and even those who are avid consumers of the industry.

In this video we take a dive into the dark side of self-help, and the traps that may lie in wait for those who enter this world.

Michael Moore Presents: Planet of the Humans

Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America.

This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late.

AlphaGo – The Movie

With more board configurations than there are atoms in the universe, the ancient Chinese game of Go has long been considered a grand challenge for artificial intelligence. On March 9, 2016, the worlds of Go and artificial intelligence collided in South Korea for an extraordinary best-of-five-game competition, coined The DeepMind Challenge Match. Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched as a legendary Go master took on an unproven AI challenger for the first time in history.

Directed by Greg Kohs with an original score by Academy Award nominee, Hauschka, AlphaGo chronicles a journey from the halls of Oxford, through the backstreets of Bordeaux, past the coding terminals of DeepMind in London, and ultimately, to the seven-day tournament in Seoul. As the drama unfolds, more questions emerge: What can artificial intelligence reveal about a 3000-year-old game? What can it teach us about humanity?

How San Francisco Erased a Neighborhood

With an explosion of tech companies and startups in recent decades, San Francisco has struggled with a massive affordable housing crisis. But the beginnings of that crisis go back much further than Silicon Valley.

In 1968, a group of predominantly Filipino elders in San Francisco launched a battle to protect their home from eviction. Called the International Hotel, their home ended up in the crossroads of a city prioritizing the “Manhattanization” of its downtown area. Their fight for their neighborhood would evolve into a nearly decade-long protest with thousands of supporters and become a symbol of the campaign for affordable housing for decades to come.

In the Vox series Missing Chapter, Vox Senior Producer Ranjani Chakraborty revisits underreported and often overlooked moments from the past to give context to the present. Join her as she covers the histories that are often left out of our textbooks.

Scientology and the Aftermath

In the 8-part A&E docu-series, Leah Remini, who quit the Church in 2013, follows other former Church members and share their stories.

Watch season 2 of the series for free on SBS (register for a free account to watch).

China: Power and Prosperity

As China has risen in prosperity, influence and military strength, what are the social, economic and political forces at play? Come along with PBS NewsHour as we travel around the globe to explore the emerging superpower and its relationship with the United States.

“China: Power and Prosperity” covers the country’s powerful leader, his signature foreign policy, U.S.-China trade and technology wars, how Chinese technology helps stifle dissent, and more. A collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, PBS NewsHour conducted more than 70 on-camera interviews in eight Chinese cities and across eight countries.

How is China’s New Silk Road transforming Vietnam and Laos?

Vietnam is struggling to plug its 100-billion-dollar infrastructure gap amidst growing nationalistic sentiment. In Laos, China has invested in everything from malls and development zones to a mega railway linking the land-locked country to China.

How is China’s trillion dollar project to connect the world transforming Indochina?

The Defiant Ones

The Defiant Ones tells the stories of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre — one the son of a Brooklyn longshoreman, the other straight out of Compton — and their improbable partnership and surprising leading roles in a series of transformative events in contemporary culture.

The series includes interviews with such music icons as Bono, David Geffen, Eminem, Nas, Stevie Nicks, Ice Cube, Gwen Stefani, Jon Landau, Tom Petty, Trent Reznor, Snoop Dogg, Bruce Springsteen, Diddy and will.i.am, as well as Dre and Iovine themselves, and is essential viewing for anyone interested in the history of hip-hop and modern pop.

All four episodes are available to stream on Netflix.

Spelling the Dream

An Indian-American competitor has won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee for the past 12 years straight, making the trend one of the longest in sports history. “Spelling the Dream” chronicles the ups and downs of four Indian-American students as they compete to realize their dream of winning the iconic tournament.

With fascinating perspectives from CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Fareed Zakaria, comedian Hari Kondabolu, ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi, 1999 Scripps National Spelling Bee winner, Nupur Lala, and others, the film explores the reasons behind this incredible winning streak and what it means for the community. A film by Sam Rega. Produced by Chris Weller and Sam Rega.

Spelling The Dream is available now on Netflix.

Finding Joe

In the early 20th century, while studying world mythology, Joseph Campbell discovered a pattern hidden in every story ever told and he called it “The Hero’s Journey”.

A truly inspirational film, FINDING JOE takes us on the ultimate hero’s journey: the journey of self discovery. As you slay dragons and uncover treasures, you just may find that the holy grail you seek is closer than you think.

If you’ve seen this film then you know how much of an impact it could make in the world!

A message from the Producer: “If you haven’t seen it then you are in for a treat! This is hope, courage and love all wrapped up in an 80 minute burrito of inspiration. I promise who ever you share this with thank you. Please share this with as many people as you can… the world needs this message now! With Maximum Love ~ Patrick Takaya Solomon”

Lost For Words

A heart-warming three-part series exploring Australia’s staggeringly low adult literacy rates. Jay and an expert literacy teacher will follow the journey of 10 adults who are given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change what has always been holding them back – reading, writing and spelling.

Australian Story Luc Longley: One Giant Leap

Full one-hour Australian Story documentary on former Chicago Bulls starting centre Luc Longley.

What documentaries have you watched this year that have opened your eyes to what’s happening in our world and consciousness? Let me know in the comments.

Featured Image by UnratedStudio from Pixabay

2 responses

  1. I have added every single one of these to my watch list. Thank you for compiling this Anfernee.

    1. anferneec Avatar

      No worries Sam! Let me know which one stands out the most once you’ve had a chance to watch.

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