Sundance Now



Films Explore Hot-Button Issues Including the Working Poor, Voting Rights, Bail Reform, Gun Control and Gentrification

May 11, 2016 (New York, NY) – SundanceNow Doc Club (, AMC Networks’ boutique, ad-free streaming video on demand service, today announced the debut of Take 5, a new original series of five short documentaries on some of today’s highly relevant issues. The premiere collection, Take 5: Justice in America, will be viewable for free, to both Doc Club members and the general public, on May 17, 2016.

Take 5: Justice in America features commissioned work from a group of carefully selected, talented filmmakers with a passion for impactful, socially conscious storytelling.

“We believe short form documentaries have tremendous untapped power,” said Paul Rehrig, EVP Digital & Business Development, AMC Networks. “They are fast becoming the op-eds of the future – an accessible, shareable and provocative way of getting to the heart of issues that affect us all.”

Marcus Lee, General Manager of SundanceNow Doc Club, added: “Thanks to our group of talented filmmakers, Take 5 is off to a great start, focusing on tough issues that are highly relevant to this year’s Presidential election. We look forward to tackling other important and thought-provoking topics in the future, contributing to the conversation and honoring diverse points of view.”

The premiere collection Take 5: Justice in America is executive produced by Joyce Deep and consists of five short films:

A HUG FROM PAUL RYAN, from the team of Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce (The Art of the Steal), follows Tianna Gaines-Turner, one of America’s working poor and a member of Witnesses to Hunger, after her testimony at the 2014 House Budget Committee’s “War on Poverty” hearing. Sharing a personal moment with Congressman Paul Ryan, then House Budget Committee Chairman, Tianna hoped her voice, representative of millions of Americans, would be a call to action. One year post-hug, has anything really changed?

THE NEW FIGHT FOR VOTING RIGHTS from Rachel Lears (The Hand That Feeds) turns the spotlight on North Carolina’s new voting law. One of the most restrictive in the nation, it disproportionately affects minorities, young people and the elderly. Why are so many states making it harder to vote, and what are the consequences for our democracy?

LIMBO exposes and questions an element of America’s criminal justice system, focusing on problematic bail regulations that discriminate against the poor and destroy young people’s futures. With pretrial defendants making up 60% of today’s prison population, America is spending $14 billion a year on keeping 500,000 people incarcerated. Film maker Razan Ghalayini (Entrapped) meets some of those caught in limbo and a surprising advocate for bail reform.

WHO WILL SURVIVE AMERICA follows film maker Sheldon Candis (LUV). Unable to understand his country’s love affair with guns which results in a death every 17 minutes, he sets out to buy a handgun in a state with the some of the toughest guns laws in America. It proves to be an easy process. Too easy…

Finally, as gentrification changes the nature of cities across America, DEGENTRIFY AMERICA, from film maker Nelson George (A Ballerina’s Tale), examines this national trend and its impact on Crown Heights, Brooklyn. The film explores the growing displacement of the working class as activists battle to stem the tide.

SundanceNow Doc Club, from AMC Networks, launched in 2014 and has quickly established itself as the go-to platform for curated documentary films. Part of the service’s mission is helping its members discover vital non-fiction films that have fallen out of the public eye; films like Shoah, Joyce at 34, and the Drew Associates Collection. Doc Club’s guest curators, including Anthony Bourdain, Susan Sarandon, Alex Gibney and Ira Glass, lend their unique perspective and passion for documentaries with handpicked selections of their favorite non-fiction films.

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To download Take 5: Justice in America sizzle reel:


Director Biographies

Don Argott & Sheena M. Joyce

Directors Don Argott and Sheena Joyce joined forces in 2002 when they created 9.14 Pictures. Rock School (2005), 9.14’s first feature-length documentary, was selected for Sundance Film Festival and South by Southwest. Since then, Argott and Joyce have collaborated on nearly a dozen other documentary and scripted films, including The Art of the Steal (2009) and Slow Learners (2015). Upon completing A Hug For Paul Ryan for SundanceNow Doc Club, Argott and Joyce began development of two new feature-length docs and a new comedy film.

Sheldon Candis

Sheldon Candis made his directorial debut in 2012 with LUV, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. As a young filmmaker, Candis continues to impress audiences with the scope of his work, which ranges from short docs and docu-series to television series and feature-length docs. As writer, producer and director, Candis is drawn to politically charged topics, leading him to create Who Will Survive America, which focuses on gun control, and Crooked Smile, a call to action video that challenges America’s war on drugs. He is set to pen Throw Like Mo, the bio-pic on baseball star Mo’ne Davis, for Walt Disney Studios.

Nelson George

As a Brooklyn native, Nelson George infuses his films and books with black American culture. Having produced films for over two decades, he made his directorial debut in 2001 with One Special Moment, a scripted romance film. Since then, documentaries have been the focal point of George’s work, the most notable being Finding The Funk (2013) and A Ballerina’s Tale (2015). When he isn’t behind the camera, George can be found writing his next non-fiction book.

Razan Ghalayini

Razan Ghalayini received international attention for Noor, a student film she created while studying at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Since graduation Ghalayini has experimented with different artistic styles including short docs, feature docs, and short form digital content. Her film We Are Giant looked at non-violent resistance through the lens of the Syrian and Libyan revolutions, and premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Entrapped, Ghalayini’s most recent documentary, questions an FBI entrapment operation and was selected for the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Currently, Ghalayini works on the new late night show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

Rachel Lears

Rachel Lears is a filmmaker, writer and musician based in Brooklyn, New York. Her first film Birds of Passage (2010) toured the international film festival circuit, and circulated throughout Uruguay multiple times with a sponsorship from the Ministry of Education and Culture. Her most recent feature-length documentary, The Hand That Feeds (2014), was showcased at Full Frame Film Festival and DOC NYC. Drawing on her anthropological and ethnomusicological studies, Lears’ work often gives a voice to the voiceless, from migrant workers in New York City to struggling songwriters in Uruguay.

Executive producer, Joyce Deep

Joyce Deep is veteran of multiple U.S. Presidential campaigns and social issue mega events. She is also longtime strategic communications, brand and political consultant for Robert Redford and Sundance. Joyce developed and produced Take 5 on behalf of SundanceNow Doc Club.

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