Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

Eight powerful documentaries selected for Peabody 30

From left, Dolores Huerta of “Independent Lens: Dolores,” Kholoud Faqih of “Independent Lens: The Judge,” Lorraine Hansberry of “Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart,” and Keire Johnson and Bing Liu of “Minding the Gap” are among the eight Documentary Winners revealed by the 78th Annual Peabody Awards on April 16.

Stories highlight women’s rights and activism, the challenges of parenting children with mental illnesses, social media’s impact on democracy, and the political legacy of African American artists

The Peabody Awards Board of Jurors revealed today eight winners in the Documentary category for programs released in 2018. The honorees, part of the annual Peabody 30, include profiles of unsung activists like Dolores Huerta, Lorraine Hansberry and the “comfort woman” of World War II; insight into the challenges faced by parents of children living with mental health issues; the healing skateboarding provides for three young men transitioning into adulthood; and the powerful, unregulated influence of social media on democracy.

The Peabody Awards are based at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

The board also named Kartemquin Films winner of an Institutional Award for its commitment to unflinching documentary filmmaking and telling an American history rooted in social justice and the stories of the marginalized. Founded in 1966 in Chicago as a nonprofit collective, Kartemquin has served as a home for filmmakers to develop their craft and produce films that promote dialogue and democracy. Driven by the passionate belief that documentaries have an obligation to examine and critique society through the stories of real people, Kartemquin brought us the seminal film “Hoop Dreams” (1994), as well as this year’s “Minding the Gap.”

Proudly based outside of the major production hubs on the coasts, Kartemquin has fostered a community of socially responsible filmmakers, nurturing emerging talent through a commitment to a collaborative, mentorship-based model of filmmaking practice. Today, they have formalized their filmmaker development programs to train young documentarians in the Midwest, while acting as a leading advocacy organization for the entire field on issues such as fair use and defending public funding and broadcasts of documentary films.

Peabody Award winners, including Rita Moreno, recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award presented by Mercedes-Benz, will be celebrated on Saturday, May 18, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Ronan Farrow, a contributing writer for The New Yorker and an investigative reporter and producer based at HBO, will serve as host. The presenting sponsor is Mercedes-Benz, the official automobile of the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony. Variety is the exclusive media partner.

Forthcoming announcements include: Entertainment/Children’s & Youth on April 18; and News/Radio & Podcast/Web/Public Service programming on April 23.

Documentary winners are:

“A Dangerous Son” HBO Documentary Films and Moxie Firecracker Films (HBO)

A view into the myriad challenges parents face when raising children with mental health issues, the film shines a light on the link between mental illness and recent mass school shootings.

“Independent Lens: Dolores” A Carlos Santana Production, in association with 5 Stick Films, and THE DOLORES HUERTA FILM PROJECT LLC (PBS)

An exhilarating portrait of activist and community organizer Dolores Huerta that serves as a timely reminder of the power of collective action in service of social justice.

“Independent Lens: The Judge” A co-production of Three Judges LLC, Idle Wild Films Inc., and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) (PBS)

Filmmaker Erika Cohn chronicles the day-to-day challenges of the Middle East’s first female Sharia law judge, Kholoud Faqih, offering a rare glimpse into an oft-misunderstood culture and faith through the eyes of a strong Muslim woman, and demystifying fallacies around both subjects.

“Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart” Lorraine Hansberry Documentary Project, LLC in co-production with Independent Television Service and Black Public Media in association with The Film Posse, Chiz Schultz Inc. and American Masters Pictures (PBS/WNET/TV)

A tribute to Lorraine Hansberry’s life and career as an essayist, journalist and playwright, and fearless advocate for social justice, the film mines her rich archive of writing, diaries, letters, and personal effects, resulting in an intimate and powerful portrait of an innovative artist and radical activist.

“Minding the Gap” Hulu presents in association with Kartemquin, American Documentary | POV and ITVS (Hulu/PBS)

Through a patient, observational lens and devastating interviews, filmmaker Bing Liu lays bare the pain and eventual hope he and his skateboarding friends endure despite the challenges they face in this heartfelt presentation of the transition from boyhood to manhood.

“POV: The Apology” National Film Board of Canada, American Documentary | POV (PBS)

Writer/director Tiffany Hsiung follows the personal journeys of three surviving “comfort women,” forced into institutionalized sexual slavery during World War II, as they seize this last chance to set future generations on a course for reconciliation, healing, and justice.

“The Facebook Dilemma” FRONTLINE (PBS)

This in-depth investigation into the Silicon Valley giant reveals a corporation that willfully ignored warnings and shirked responsibility as it reveled in global success, exploiting user data and sowing social and political unrest in the process.

“The Jazz Ambassadors” Thirteen Productions LLC, Antelope South Ltd., Normal Life Pictures, in association with the BBC and ZDF in collaboration with Arte (PBS)

A momentous cultural achievement that looks at the important contribution of jazz music and musicians to Cold War diplomacy, American race relations, emerging black identities, and newly independent third world nations around the world. The film is also an inspiring tribute to jazz masters Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Dave Brubeck.

About Peabody Awards

The Peabody Awards honor the most powerful, enlightening and invigorating stories in television, radio and digital media. Each year, Peabody Awards are bestowed upon a curated collection of 30 stories that capture society’s most important issues—known as the Peabody 30. Honorees must be unanimously chosen by the Peabody Board of Jurors, a diverse assembly of industry professionals, media scholars, critics and journalists who each bring a unique perspective of what constitutes a story that matters. From major Hollywood productions to local journalism, the network of Peabody Awards winners is a definitive collection of society’s most important stories and storytellers, including winners that have ranged from Edward R. Murrow, Carol Burnett, and David Letterman to “The Sopranos,” “Sesame Street,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Serial.” The Peabody Awards were founded in 1940 at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and are still based in Athens today. For more information, visit to sign up for our newsletter or follow @PeabodyAwards on Twitter.