Oct 27 2023 - Nov 02 2023


A one-of-a-kind movie that shows how our charitable traditions and prejudices have suffocated the charitable sector and prevented it from leading the charge to truly change the world.


What if charity could be transformed from a gesture to an answer— to solving the world’s greatest problems? What if everything we’ve been taught about charitable giving is wrong? What if it’s undermining the very causes, we love the most? “Uncharitable” is a one-of-a-kind movie that shows how our charitable traditions and prejudices have suffocated the charitable sector and prevented it from leading the charge to truly change the world.

Based on the book, “Uncharitable,” by Dan Pallotta, which became one of the most talked-about TED talks of all time—changing everything from charity watchdog standards to the giving practices of America’s biggest foundations — Uncharitable follows the stories of four iconic American charitable efforts that were crippled or destroyed by old ideas. Step-by-step, and with a chorus of leading voices in the field, the movie shows how charity’s real power has been misunderstood and undermined by anachronistic ideas about frugality and deprivation and takes the viewer on a journey from sach-cloth and ashes to a place where unleashed, charities can play the leading role in creating an unimaginably beautiful world that works for everyone.

No topic is more crucial or timelier as we confront a world with increasingly complex problems, with the least of us left behind, and with the growing revelation that we are all interconnected and that our fate lies in our willingness to turn away from old ideas that have not worked and embraced radically new ones that can.

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Stephen Gyllenhaal


Dan Pallota, Edward Norton, Rudy Espinoza

Run Time

1 hour, 30 minutes



Distributed by



Assisted Listening






Many of the films shown at The Ross are not rated due to the prohibitive cost of acquiring a rating from the Motion Picture Association of America. Consequently, as many of these films contain graphic content, viewer discretion is advised.


OCT 27 | FRI

5:10, 7:10, 9:10 p.m.

OCT 28 | SAT

1:10, 3:10, 5:10, 7:10, 9:10 p.m.

OCT 29 | SUN

3:10, 5:10, 7:10 p.m.

OCT 30 | MON

5:10, 7:10 p.m.

OCT 31 | TUE

7:10 p.m.


5:10, 7:10 p.m.


5:10, 7:10 p.m.

Ray Bradbury once said, “We all have our stories to tell…only one apiece.” I’ve spent most of my life in movies and TV, folding as much as possible of that “one story I have” into whatever I’ve written or directed.

In narrative films or TV, you get to pick or write a script of your story with actors playing the characters. In documentaries, it slowly emerges (if you’re lucky) out of all the interviews with real people; the endless hours you spend in an editing room; the countless dead ends you find yourself confronting, until you finally stumble (if you’re lucky) upon what feels right.

For me, finding the story of Uncharitable was especially challenging, because it involved a big and important idea – with detailed instructions – about how the non-profit sector could become so robust and powerful that it could actually change the world. From the start, nearly seven years ago, I understood that this was going to have to be a film that was bigger than just the ideas and story of my friend, Dan Pallotta; I had watched him from afar as he worked to change the world for the better and then was destroyed for his massively successful efforts.

As I dug into production, I came to understand that the story was even bigger than the destruction of so many others – Steve Nardizzi, Jason Russell, Roxanne Spillet, who also mounted monumental successes in charity, only be brought down by small-mindedness and outdated ideas.

And it was even bigger than nearly everyone else (ten million people) working tirelessly (and generally thanklessly) in the charitable sector – real people with huge hearts, great hopes, and a willingness to work 24/7 to confront what they felt in their bones was profound injustice and the needless pain of their fellow human beings. Through rough cuts, a pandemic, and more interviews I came to see the outlines of a story of not only the damage done to the 99.9% of the wonderful folks trying their best to help others, but the damage done to the very concept of charity.

And that’s when the story of Uncharitable came into synchronicity with the “one story” I seem to have been charged with telling – a story that always starts with heroes setting out with the best of intentions, only to be struck down, devastated, and left with a sense of meaningless and despair. Something that, yes, I’ve had to wrestle with a bit in my own life, along with so many others who have struggled far more than me. In fact, pretty much all of us have been forced into some version of this story post-pandemic; caught in a new war every few years, school shootings, climate instability, nuclear annihilation, economic disparity, family strife, endless battles between right, left and center, and so on and so on, with a sense that as a species it looks like we’re doomed.

Upon realizing all this, I came to suspect that I might have something really important (and yes, exciting) to tell. A story. Not only involving a critical idea about the reasons for why the charitable sector has been hobbled since its beginnings and how it can finally be unleashed, but how human beings with flaws, dreams and bravery can face down destruction, cynicism and malice to bring about profound and life-saving change to a world that so desperately needs it.

That was a movie that I’d want to watch and that’s the movie I hope I’ve directed.

Stephen Gyllenhaal



$12.00 | Adults
$9.50 | Students
$8.75 | Children
$8.50 | Military
$8.75 | Seniors
$6.50 | Members
$5.00 | UNL Students


$10.00 | Adults
$9.00 | Students
$8.25 | Children
$8.00 | Military
$8.25 | Seniors
$6.00 | Members
$5.00 | UNL Students

Matinee priced tickets for all screenings TUESDAY and WEDNESDAY nights

  • Showtimes change on a regular basis and will not always be the same each day. Visit the individual film pages for a list of showtimes.
  • Children are 12 and under. Seniors are 60 and older
  • Students and Military must show a valid ID to receive discount
  • We accept cash, check, NCard, Visa, and Mastercard
  • The Ross Box Office opens 30 minutes before the first screening of the day
  • Assistive listening headsets and closed caption devices available for select titles. Check the individual film pages or inquire at the box office for details.

The event is finished.