Netflix Releases 10 Documentary Films and Series for Free on YouTube

Netflix has unlocked a selection of educational documentary films and series — available now for free on YouTube — saying it’s a way to help teachers and students during the COVID-19 quarantine. The 10 titles include Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” covering the mass-incarceration of people of color in the U.S.; nature docuseries “Our Planet,” narrated by Sir David Attenborough; “Knock Down the House,” featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; and select episodes of “Babies”.

Netflix says it has previously allowed teachers to screen documentaries on the streaming service in their classrooms. But with many schools shut down, the company has opened up the 10 titles for free after receiving requests from educators. They’re now available on Netflix’s YouTube channel (with the playlist available at this link).

“We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world,” the company said in a blog post. Netflix also is making available educational resources with each title, including study guides and Q&As with some of the creators behind the documentary projects. (More info is available on the company’s website at this link.) Here’s the list of Netflix documentary films and docuseries currently free on YouTube:

“13th” (Film): 
The title of Ava DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” DuVernay lays out the progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry. The film features archival footage and interviews with activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men.

“Abstract: The Art of Design” (Season 1):
The series goes inside the minds of the world’s greatest designers, showcasing the most inspiring visionaries from a variety of disciplines whose work shapes our culture and future.

“Babies” (5 Episodes):
Filmed over the course of three years, the landmark series follows 15 international families in their babies’ first year of life and features the work of leading scientists worldwide.

“Chasing Coral” (Film):
Documentary follows a team — an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists — as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events of coral reefs as they happen.

“Explained” (7 Episodes):
Produced in partnership with Vox Media Studios and Vox, series explores current events and social trends across politics, science, history and pop culture.

“Knock Down the House” (Film):
Director Rachel Lears explores the 2018 midterm elections in the U.S. through the lens of four working-class women who run for Congress — including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

“Our Planet”:
Eight-part documentary series from the creators of “Planet Earth” provides a never-before-filmed look at the planet’s remaining wilderness areas and their animal inhabitants, filmed in 50 countries across all the continents of the world. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

“Period. End of Sentence.” (Short Film):
Director Rayka Zehtabchi tells the story of women in a rural village outside Delhi, India, who learn to manufacture and market their own sanitary pads.

“The White Helmets” (Short Film):
Follows three volunteer rescue workers in Aleppo, Syria, and Turkey in early 2016 trying to save civilians affected by the war from director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara.

“Zion” (Short):
Portrait of Zion Clark, a young wrestler born without legs who grew up in foster-care homes, for whom wrestling became the only constant in his childhood. Directed by Floyd Russ.