Friday, March 1, 2019

The Treasures of Kanopy

The SCC Library has recently added the mighty Kanopy to our growing stockpile of digital resources. This streaming video service offers 30,000 movies and documentaries, available for free to all SCC students, staff, and faculty.

To help spread the word about Kanopy, we asked members of our Library staff to browse the Oscar winners, HBO documentaries, Criterion classics, Great Courses, world cinema, and other collections and share their personal Treasures of Kanopy. Here's a few selections they found.

Julie Gilmore’s Treasures

This documentary was recently made into a movie with Steve Carell, but the original seems more compelling.  After being severely beaten and suffering from PTSD, Mark Hogencamp made a miniature WWII village and brought it to life with dolls and photography.  His work has become well known and influential throughout pop culture.

Tell Them We Are Rising
Originally shown on PBS, Tell Them We Are Rising explores Historically Black Colleges and Universities, their history and where they are going in the future.  I'd love to know more about HBCUs and why people choose to attend and support them.  And I'm excited to explore more documentaries on Kanopy, letting me learn and enjoy at the same time. 

Lady Bird
This won a ton of Oscars last year, and I still haven't seen it.  Everyone I know who has seen this movie has loved it, and I am excited that Kanopy has critically acclaimed movies to watch on demand.  
Jillian Collier’s Treasures

Ex Libris: The New York Public Library
This award-winning documentary by Frederick Wiseman goes behind the scenes of New York City's public library system. With its 92 locations across Manhattan and surrounding boroughs, the New York Public Library is one of the largest institutions of knowledge in the world and also one of the most democratic. NYPL serves an extremely diverse group of communities and everyone is welcome. This film explores the library's inner workings and reveals the principles that guide its operations; including the library's commitment to the American ideal of an individual's right to be informed. This documentary film runs almost three and a half hours, so I haven't finished it yet, but it's definitely on my watchlist!

Miss Representation
This film, first released in 2011, "challenges the media's limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself." Packed with compelling interviews from teenage girls and some of America's most influential female leaders, this 90 minute film is a must see for anyone interested in topics surrounding gender equality, mass media, and representation. The Kanopy library also includes documentary films on how media representation affects young boys (The Mask You Live In) along with many other interesting titles in the areas of Media Studies and Popular Culture.

Truth, Justice, and the American Way
This hour-long video is a segment of a longer PBS documentary about the history of superheroes and comics in America. Hosted by Liev Schreiber and filled with interviews from experts on the topic, this film gives a fun and informative look at how superhero characters came into popularity at an important moment in U.S. history. Other videos in the series discuss other aspects of the topic, but this one was my favorite, since it showed the beginning of superhero comic's popularity in America and how their content related to the historical context. 
Barbara Scala’s Treasures

Kedi: The Cats of an Ancient City
This documentary follows the lives of individual cats in Istanbul—their travels through the day, their friends, and the perils they face. There is stunning footage of Istanbul, a beautiful city, and of course, lots of beautiful cats who navigate through their city with amazing gymnastic ability.

Dark Money
I read the book, Dark Money by Jane Mayer, and it was really eye-opening. I want to watch the PBS documentary Dark Money that continues the exploration of the effect of corporate money in our elections and how it challenges our democracy.

In Pursuit of Silence
 I also want to watch the documentary In Pursuit of Silence. Silence is getting rarer and more precious in our noisy, chaotic world. Stores and restaurants are all filled with loud music and noise. This documentary is about how necessary silence is to our mental and physical well-being, which I think is a fascinating concept.
Ashley Holt’s Treasures

I’ve been interested in the legendary conceptual artist Joseph Beuys for decades, but I never knew this documentary on Beuys existed until finding it on Kanopy. Beuys told a lot of wild stories about his own life in interviews, attempting to explain his weird fascination with felt and coyotes, so I’m hoping this film will help separate some of the myths from the true history of the man. And maybe this documnetary will help me brush up on my German!
Hal Ashby was an American film director who left a legacy of highly influential films made over a very short period. From Harold and Maude to The Last Detail to Shampoo to Being There, Ashby’s films have inspired generations of filmmakers and are considered some of the best films of the last century. Ashby’s career marks the rise and fall of the “auteur” period in Seventies Hollywood, where visionary directors were given the freedom to showcase their personal vision and just as quickly had that freedom restricted again.

Othello (Orson Welles)
Filmed in fits and starts over the course of several years, and at great personal expense of the director, Orson Welles’ screen adaptation of this Shakespeare classic is a true masterpiece. Of all the treasures of Kanopy, I’m most excited that it includes a huge number of titles from the Criterion Collection. Criterion restores the great works of cinema to present them in the highest possible quality, from Chaplin to Bergman, and we can watch them for free on Kanopy!

Set up your account at and find your treasures today!

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