• Black Lives Matter protest after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the death of Trayvon Martin. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
For those moments when you wanna change the world but you know a can of Pepsi just won’t cut it.
Jenna Martin

18 Apr 2017 - 2:21 PM  UPDATED 1 Jun 2017 - 5:05 PM

We’re living in a time of huge political upheaval around the world. A time of protest, frustration and starkly opposing views tearing communities and entire nations apart. With all the things we’re meant to be fighting for, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of every important issue facing the world today.

Luckily, SBS On Demand has you covered. Its enormous library of social justice documentaries will get you swiftly up to speed on literally any topic. So without further ado, here’s a handy guide to just some of the amazing titles at your disposal.

If you want a refresher on LGBTQI issues…


Actress Ellen Page and her best friend, Ian, travel the world exploring LGBTQI culture and how it differs between nations. Visiting everywhere from Japan to Brazil, this series is full of amazing people, and their stories of struggle and triumph.

Here I Am

This doco looks specifically at the dilemmas facing LGBTQI people coming out within a religious setting, and examines how people reconcile their faith with their sexuality.

Survival of the Fabulous

Gay filmmaker Bryce Michael Sage sets off on a cross-country journey to try and find his own answers to the question of whether people are in fact born gay and why that would be, given the assumption that society needs heterosexuality in order to procreate and survive. It’s a pretty fascinating concept, blending Darwinism with homosexuality!


If you feel your environmentalism should go beyond taking part in Earth Hour once a year…

Food Inc.

A scary look at the hold big business has over the US food industry, with profit put before consumer health, the livelihood of farmers and the environment.

Greedy Lying Bastards

Examines the whole misinformation campaign around climate change as waged by the petroleum industry. This film exposes the people who are paid buckets of money in order to deliberately spread lies, and confuse the public and lawmakers. It also looks at the communities around the world who are suffering the most devastating effects from climate change - effects many of these companies claim aren’t happening.


If you know you’re ignorant when it comes to the hardships faced by Indigenous Australians…

Mabo: Life of an Island Man

A wonderful and award-winning documentary about a man so passionate about his land and his people, he took on the federal government… and won.


A look at the unique challenges facing an Indigenous community in remote central Australia.

Over the Edge

The struggles of Indigenous communities in remote areas are pretty well known. Less common are stories that focus on young Aboriginal kids in urban areas. This doco looks at exactly that, following a group of teenagers and young adults in Western Sydney, who are challenged by their addictions, lifestyles and circumstances.


If you agree that #blacklivesmatter but you feel you don’t know enough to properly take on your racist grandma at family gatherings…

Policing the Police

A journo is embedded in the Newark Police Department - one of the roughest, most crime-ridden districts in America - to witness firsthand the problems of racial violence and police brutality in the US. Tough but important viewing.


Murder on a Sunday Morning

A confronting look at the racial profiling at work by the police and justice system in the trial of a black American teenager accused of robbing and murdering an elderly white tourist at a Florida hotel.

Soundtrack for a Revolution

The story of the US civil rights movement as told through the awesome music of the time - the freedom songs, the protest anthems, and the pleas for peace, justice and equality that stirred a nation.


If you’ve realised there’s a whole world of sexuality that extends beyond what you learnt from Happy, Healthy Harold...

Sex in the World's Cities

A seriously sexy series looking at 14 major cities across the globe, and how sex, sexuality and sexual practices vary throughout. Prepare for some weird and wonderful insights into things you didn’t even know humans could possibly be into.

Sex Positive

The NYC gay scene of the 1970s as seen through the life and times of Richard Berkowitz, a pioneering AIDS activist. 

Orgasm Inc.

Until recently, it was a pretty radical idea for a woman to be allowed to, y’know, actually enjoy sex just as much as a bloke. As such, there’s not a lot known scientifically about the elusive female orgasm - how it happens, why it happens and how we can make it even better.


If you’re simply out of touch with world politics...

Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next

Possibly the most controversial outing yet from known provocateur Michael Moore as he visits a host of nations - like Italy, France and Germany - to try and sway national policies to better improve the prospects of everyday Americans. It’s a biting, satirical look at the selfish reasons behind much of America’s foreign policy and its self-appointed role as the world’s police.

Ghosts of Aleppo

A truly confronting, heartbreaking and necessary look at the devastation wrought upon the city of Aleppo - once a centre for art, culture and innovation, and now reduced to rubble and used as a pawn in the bloodiest civil war of our time.


If you literally can’t take all the violence and injustice in the world, and you just want a feel-good doco about puppies melting the heart of hardened criminals...

Prison Dogs

To check out the full range of eye-opening docos, check out the selection on SBS On Demand.


More on the Guide
10 docos that will shake you out of your comfort zone
Expand your worldview with these must-see documentaries, all now showing on SBS On Demand.
6 docos that’ll make you want to smash the patriarchy
Celebrate International Women’s Day with SBS On Demand.