Humanities Institute

Controversy and Conversation

Our Controversy & Conversation film series is a partnership between the Humanities Institute of the University of Texas at Austin and the Austin Public Library. On the first Thursday of each month, an award-winning documentary film on a controversial social topic of the day is screened at the Terrazas Branch of the Austin Public Library and is followed by a community discussion of the issue. Directors of the documentaries and community leaders are frequently present to participate in the discussion and answer questions. The Humanities Institute features blog posts related to past and upcoming films and the Austin Public Library hosts interviews on its Controversy & Conversation series of its podcast Volumes. Below is a list of current and past film screenings.

Stay tuned for the Spring 2019 film list

Current Film Screenings

Trashed (2012), dir. Candida Brady

Documented (2013), dir. Jose Antonio Vargas

Vessel (2014), dir. Diana Whitten

Do Not Resist (2016), dir. Craig Atkinson

Nobody Speak (2017), dir. Brian Knappenberger

Cartel Land (2015), dir. Matthew Heineman

Past Film Screenings

Spring 2018

Private Violence (2014), dir. Cynthia Hill

Zero Days (2016), dir. Alex Gibney

Meth Storm (2017), dir. Craig RenaudBrent Renaud

Whose Streets? (2017), dir. Sabaah Folayan

Water & Power: A California Heist (2017), dir. Marina Zenovich

Fall 2017

The Return (2016), dirs. Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway

Killswitch (2014), Ali Akbarzadeh

It Happened Here (2014), dir. Lisa F. Jackson

The Divide (2015), dir. Katharine Round

Above All Else (2014), dir. John Fiege

Spring 2017

How to Die in Oregon (2011), dir. Peter Richardson

Southwest of Salem (2016), dir. Deborah Esquenazi

Starving the Beast (2016), dir. Steve Mims

How to Change the World (2015), dir. Jerry Rothwell

Code Black (2014), dir. Ryan McGarry

DamNation (2014), dir. Travis Rummel and Ben Knight

Fall 2016


True Cost

Under the Stack


Fall 2015

This Changes Everything

No Sanctuary: Big Business and Family Detention

Shadows of Liberty

Triple Divide

The Homestretch

"Thank you for making excellent choices in documentaries to get me thinking! They are so worthwhile and thought provoking." - C&C Participant

"I enjoyed the conversation at the end. I'm not one to speak up but it was nice hearing ideas from different people." - C&C Participant

HI Director Pauline Strong, former HI Program Coordinator Melissa Biggs, and APL Librarian Andrew Murphy discuss the Controversy & Conversation film screening series on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission Webinar Series, offering practical advice about fostering academic partnerships with community libraries.