In 2005, Academy Award-winning director Jonathan Demme set out to document the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina and the rebuilding of New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward. When he met Carolyn Parker, what began as a historical documentary morphed into a vibrant character study of the courage and resiliency of this fearless matriarch and civil rights activist. "I'm Carolyn Parker: The Good, the Mad, and the Beautiful" is Demme's account of Parker's five-year crusade to rebuild her beloved neon-green house, her church, her community -- and her life.
Houda al-Habash, a conservative Muslim preacher, founded a Qur'an school for girls in Damascus, Syria, 30 years ago. Every summer, her female students immerse themselves in a rigorous study of Islam. A surprising cultural shift is underway -- women are claiming space within the mosque. Shot right before the uprising in Syria erupted, "The Light in Her Eyes" offers a portrait of a leader who challenges the women of her community to live according to Islam, without giving up their aspirations.
Through the eyes of funeral director Isaiah Owens, the beauty and grace of African American funerals are brought to life. Filmed at Owens Funeral Home in New York City's historic Harlem neighborhood, "Homegoings" takes an up-close look at the rarely seen world of undertaking in the black community, where funeral rites draw on a rich palette of tradition, history and celebration. Combining cinema verite with intimate interviews and archival photographs, the film paints a portrait of the dearly departed, their grieving families and a man who sends loved ones "home."