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.

Current Film Screenings

Cartel Land (2015), dir. Matthew Heineman

Nobody Speak (2017), dir. Brian Knappenberger

Do Not Resist (2016), dir. Craig Atkinson

Vessel (2014), dir. Diana Whitten

Documented (2013), dir. Jose Antonio Vargas

Trashed (2012), dir. Candida Brady

Past Film Screenings

Summer/Fall 2018

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

Whose Streets? (2017), dir. Sabaah Folayan

Meth Storm (2017), dir. Craig RenaudBrent Renaud

Zero Days (2016), dir. Alex Gibney

Private Violence (2014), dir. Cynthia Hill

Summer/Fall 2017

Above All Else (2014), dir. John Fiege

The Divide (2015), dir. Katharine Round

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

Killswitch (2014), Ali Akbarzadeh

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

Spring 2017

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

Code Black (2014), dir. Ryan McGarry

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

Starving the Beast (2016), dir. Steve Mims

Southwest of Salem (2016), dir. Deborah Esquenazi

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

Fall 2016


Under the Stack

True Cost


Fall 2015

The Homestretch

Triple Divide 

Shadows of Liberty 

No Sanctuary: Big Business and Family Detention 

This Changes Everything

"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.