Director's Cut: Five documentaries to inspire your activism

Last year, our Director Madeline hosted 'The Weekly' - a weekly blog post pertaining to feminist issues. This year, it is the 'Director's Cut'. Stay tuned for more blogs from our National Director and Founder, Madeline Price

Every so often, I have a week.

Now a week is not just like any regular week, a week is one that leaves you emotionally and physically exhausted.

A week might be where you have experienced too many instances of everyday sexism and microagressions to count.

A week might be where you watched waaay too many Law and Order: SVU episodes that did not have a happy ending and you're disillusioned by the Western world's justice system.

A week might be one filled with misogynist-fueled attacks of terror against groups of young women. 

This week has been a week.

Now, when I become disillusioned, or emotionally exhausted, or need something to re-inspire and reinvigorate my activism, I turn to documentaries. 

And these are my top five documentaries to re-inspire me to keep fighting the good feminist fight (and they are all on Australian Netflix!). 

The Hunting Ground

The Hunting Ground is a piercing, monumental exposé of rape culture on campuses, poised to light a fire under a national debate. In a tour de force of verité footage, expert insights, and first-person testimonies, the film follows undergraduate rape survivors pursuing both their education and justice, despite ongoing harassment and the devastating toll on them and their families. It inspires you to take action on sexual harassment and assault both on campus, but in everyday life.


Whilst many people would not consider a documentary series about the history of food to be very feministy, food history, cooking and the future of food security is intrinsically linked to gender roles. Explored through the lenses of the four natural elements – fire, water, air and earth – Cooked is an enlightening and compelling look at the evolution of what food means to us through the history of food preparation and its universal ability to connect us. Highlighting our primal human need to cook, the series urges a return to the kitchen to reclaim our lost traditions and to forge a deeper, more meaningful connection to the ingredients and cooking techniques that we use to nourish ourselves.

The True Cost

Filmed in countries all over the world, from the brightest runways to the darkest slums, and featuring interviews with the world’s leading influencers including Stella McCartney, Livia Firth and Vandana Shiva, The True Cost is an unprecedented project that invites us on an eye opening journey around the world and into the lives of the many people and places behind our clothes. It explores the environmental impacts of cheap clothing, the educational impacts and the social impacts upon the people who make cheap clothes.

She's Beautiful When She's Angry

She's Beatuiful When She's Angry resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971.   She's Beatuiful When She's Angry takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!).  Artfully combining dramatizations, performance and archival imagery, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution. 

Mission Blue

In addition to intersectional feminism, I am passionate about ecofeminism and the impact that environmental changes can have upon the worlds most vulnerable - women and children are the most likely to live in extreme poverty, women and children are impacted the most from climate change and so forth. And that is why I love Mission Blue. Mission Blue is a fantastic documentary which explores the life and work of oceanographer, marine biologist, and environmentalist Sylvia Earle. It views conservation in the light of the impact of women entering into the field.

Bonus: Last Chance to See

And because I can never stick to lists of five, my bonus inspirational documentary is Last Chance to See. This documentary Stephen Fry and zoologist Mark Carwardine head to the ends of the Earth in search of animals on the edge of extinction, which, although sounding like a saddening premise, is one of the most inspirational things you can watch. If species on the edge of extinction can be brought back to full populations, what can't we do?

But these are just the documentaries that inspire my activism - what inspires you after a week?