Recommended Documentaries

Recommended Docs

  • Public

This is a topic where you can say which documentary has really impressed you, and why people should see it. Can be a recent one or an all-time favourite. Can't be your own though, sorry...

We also have a Documentary Films topic for our Professionals where the debate is private and possibly more controversial. This topic here is for recommendations to the documentary-interested public.

This topic is for praising the work of others, not your own. If you want to beat the drum for your own documentary, please don't do it here. Enthusiasts use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

John Burgan
Host

It's a film many here on The D-Word appreciate. Why would you recommend it?

George Henry
Pro

I'd recommend it because it's damn interesting. The filmmaker actually enlisted homeless subjects and trained them to use the camera equipment. It's set in the "Freedom Tunnel",which in this context is an ironic name. There was a whole underground subculture down there. You haven't seen it yet? Or you just wanted my opinion?

John Burgan
Host

Well the purpose of this Public Topic is to recommend films to a wider public so it's of interest to hear why a particular film has been chosen. As it happens, it's been on my watch list for years but I've yet to see it.

George Henry
Pro

Go watch it then what are you waiting for? Movies don't age like wine. They don't go bad either.

Niam Itani
Host

I am seeking recommendations/suggestions for biographical (better) or autobiographical documentaries about people in a SCIENTIFIC discipline.

Perfect suggestions would be films made by other people about a scientist after their death. ((Astronauts, Engineers, Mathematicians, Physicists, Chemists, etc...))

John Grabowska
Pro

The Day After Trinity, about Oppenheimer and the Manhattan Project, prod/dir Jon Else.

Niam Itani
Host

Thanks for the suggestions. Will check these out :)

Tiago Pavan
Pro

"ELENA, a film by Petra Costa" – This documentary is getting a lot of attention here in Brazil. It's the most watched documentary of the year over here (> 50.000 viewers).

Doug Block
Host

I met Petra at the Tribeca Film Festival a little over a year ago and first heard about it there. Sounded fascinating. Hope it finds its way to the U.S. (and NY City).

David Banco
Fan

There has never been a straight forward fact based presentation in either movies or documentaries on Combat PTSD. I attempted to air one on public television in Arizona and it was pulled for reasons of to much factual content?????????? Anyways, I live in Virginia now I am going to put together another one, is there anyone out there that would like to help? Thank you. I just joined The D Word today and I hope to meet some of you incredible folks in order to learn more about the business.

John Burgan
Host

Good to hear from you, David. As this Topic is primarily to recommend films that have impressed you, your request would probably have been better placed in Introduce Yourself Topic, but as it's here now we'll leave it.

John Burgan
Host

Here's a short film with no dialogue, Stories about a Man by Polish filmmaker Bogdan Dziworski – this is one of those works that lives somewhere between documentary and fiction; make your own mind up.

John Burgan
Host

This is the true story of Kendrick, a young, black calf roper grafting through the local, all-white rodeo circuits in the southern United States. He practices and competes relentlessly, with dreams of one day making it to the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas.

Winner of "Best Documentary" and "Best Cinematography" at the One Club One Screen Awards. Official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, 2013 SXSW Film Festival, and the 2013 True/False Film Festival.

The film is currently being developed into the feature documentary "Rookie" (working title).

FEATURING:
Kendrick Domingue

CREDITS
Directors – Ewan McNicol & Anna Sandilands
Producers – Ewan McNicol & Anna Sandilands
Editors – Marco Perez & Ewan McNicol
Story Producer – Apryl Richards
Sound Recordist – Steven Bechtold
Assistant Editor РChlo̩ McLennan
Marketing & Publicity – Eli Martin
Colorist – Jeff Tillotson at Lightpress
Sound Design – John Buroker at HEARby Sound
Music Score – Madrona Music
Music Supervision – Cary LoGrande at Audiosocket
'That L'Argent (remix feat. Tucka) – Lil' Nathan & The Zydeco Big Timers

"The Roper" was Produced and Developed by Lucid Inc. http://lucidinc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/LucidInc

https://twitter.com/todayislucid

Andy Schocken
Pro

Thanks for the link, John. Reminded me of this scene in Planet Earth (right down to the hats).

John Burgan
Host

Brilliant! While we're at it, here's the ultimate parade film...Defilada shot in North Korea in 1988 by Polish director Andrzej Fidyk. English subtitles available (click on captions) – for some reason the link sometimes starts half way through the film, but you can scroll back to the beginning.

Elizabeth Westrate
Pro

Any suggestions for docs that focus on the history of the Israel/Palestine conflict? I know the basics but I am seeking a broader understanding. Thanks!

John Burgan
Host

For another important historical angle, you could check out D-Worder Rachel Leah Jones excellent "Ashkenaz"

Elizabeth Westrate
Pro

Great, I'm gonna make some popcorn and fill my brain. (Fill it with knowledge, that is. Not popcorn.)

Tanner Wolfe
Pro

Hi. I'm looking for any docs done in Cuba in the last 5 years or so. Any topic. And I'm curious about any piece with especially good cinematography.

Hanna Aneröd
Pro

If anyone here is on Pinterest (or want to join) I've started a group board where people can give tips on docs and indie films they like. I haven't found any other group board for docs and hopes it will grow big because it's great spreading docs and indies more. It's also possible to add a Indiegogo or Kickstarter project one believe in.

http://www.pinterest.com/healthymeyou/documentaries-and-indie-films/

Doug Block
Host

Thanks, Hanna. I'm really keen on learning more about Pinterest. I'm pretty clueless. When I have a moment to come up for air, I'll be in touch about joining your group.

Hanna Aneröd
Pro

Pinterest is great for those who like the visual side of things. If Twitter are for word-lovers I guess Pinterest is for the eyes. It's pretty easy once you have some time over to get into it.

Will Paice
Pro

Just returned from the Sheffield (UK) Doc/Fest. What an amazing event! I was mostly in meetings and at industry sessions, but I did catch a couple of great films, one of which was "Regarding Susan Sontag", directed by Nancy Kates with beautiful cinematography by Sophie Constantinou. Due for broadcast later this year.

Malkia K. Lydia
Pro

Hello all. I had the good fortune of attending the INPUT conference last month in Helsinki. I've been meaning to share about the goodies I saw. Two of the most moving documentaries I've seen in a long time, although very different from each other were Shosh Shlam's Web Junkie (about the treatment camps established in China for young people addicted to internet games) and Anne Rizzo and Thomas Sipp's Super Fungi: Can Mushrooms Help Save The World (the title is the best description.) Mannnnnn! Had me contemplating the history and future and meaning of human life and all those other places I go when I am moved by great art and powerful stories. There was also a very sweet, compelling web series out of Colombia that matches beautiful animation with brief oral histories, called Old Folks' Tales Good, good stuff.

Nell Carden Grey
Pro

In reply to Tanner Wolfe's post on Sat 17 May 2014 :
I don't think it's finished yet (they just did a Kickstarter that ended in May), but Havana Motor Club by Bent-Jorgen Perlmutt is a Cuba film.

Also Unfinished Spaces looks great. Always a little tripped out by how much Fidel Castro reminds me of my Abuelo (Cuban grandfather).

Elizabeth Yoffe
Pro

"The Square" was really an excellent documentary. One of the best I've seen recently. Also, was amazed by how strong "Gimme Shelter" was after seeing it again recently. It absolutely stands the test of time.

Elizabeth Yoffe
Pro

Another great doc I just saw: "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me". Really beautifully done.

Bill Kerrigan
Pro

I just returned from a shoot in Saskatchewan.
The flight is long enough to watch a couple of films, but after looking at the selection list, which included Hollywood blockbusters… I had no interest in any of them except for one.
After landing, I discovered the other two crew members choose to watch the same film.

Thank you Doug Block… we loved 112 Weddings!
http://dogwoofglobal.com/films/112-weddings

Romeo Fabian
Fan

Amazing documentary I just watched called BARZAN. Follows an Iraqi refugee in Seattle who is accused of being a terrorist by the US Government after the 9/11 attacks.

The film isn't out yet but will be available on iTunes, Amazon, and cable VOD September 2nd. Definitely worth checking out!

Ellin Jimmerson
Pro

In reply to Hanna Aneröd's post on Fri 23 May 2014 :

Hanna, I'm quite interested in your Pinterest page. I've been trying to figure out how to make use of Pinterest, too. I'm a little confused, however, as there are images of narrative films as well as docs. Also, you mention "tips", but I don't see any. Am I confused (as I usually am) ?

Kim Beamish
Pro

Love verite docs, work'n on one now. However about to check a bucket list item soon and climb Kiliminjaro and am trying to think of the best way I could possibly turn this into more than just a mates climb a mountain clip. Any thoughts on travel docs, bucket list stories done well? Strange request but I'd be interested in any thoughts. Things like "180 Degrees South", or any docs or shorts out there.

Thanks in advance for all of your help, thoughts suggestions or resources.

Tanner Wolfe
Pro

LA people: Los Angeles Plays Itself at Cinefamily for a few more days.

Sheila Canavan
Pro

Just saw #chicagogirl @ Napa Valley Film Fest - best film we have seen this year. We could not understand why we had not heard of it. 

Thomas Michael Conner
Fan

I would recommend this film for anyone interested in global warming, ocean travel and nuclear power.


New film chronicles the life death and resurrection of historic ship

Once Upon A Nuclear Ship, a new documentary by filmmaker Thomas Michael Conner, tells the story of the NS Savannah the world's first nuclear powered merchant ship that was once the diamond in the crown of the US merchant fleet.

Imagined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955 and built by the New York Shipbuilding Corp in Camden NJ from 1957 to 1962, the Savannah sailed the oceans of the world for 9 years before being taken out of service in 1971. In her brief lifetime she visited 77 ports of call hosting 1.5 million visitors and proved that a nuclear powered merchant ship carrying cargo and passengers was a viable option to smokestacks spewing soot and other contaminants into the air and laid the groundwork for a future that never came to be.

It's a story best told by the men who "were there when it happened" and although many of these pioneering seamen have sailed into the sunset, Conner tracked down some key players and let them tell the story in their own words. It's a story he too knows well because he was a member of the health physics (radiation protection) staff and was there from the day the reactor split it's first atom then sailed on the ship until the end of 1964. The NS Savannah was the only merchant ship requiring a special department for the assessment of radiological hazards.

Once Upon A Nuclear Ship follows the Savannah through all of her trials and tribulations from the keel laying to her decommissioning and abandonment to her resurrection in 2006.

Today, the NS Savannah sits beside a dock in Baltimore MD while a small group of passionate people led by Erhard Koehler and Jon Stouky of the US Maritime Administration are busy preserving the history and technological know how that produced the Savannah in the first place. Stouky like Conner was involved with the Savannah since the New York Ship days in Camden and is currently the project's Nuclear Advisor. Future plans include using the ship as a Maritime Museum.

Once Upon A Nuclear Ship is being released on DVD through TCL Communications, Inc and is available on it's own website http://nssavannahdocumentary.com. Future plans include making it available via download or streaming.

Contact: Tom Conner
517-546-9230
tom@nssavannahdocumentary.com

Doug Block
Host

Tom, congrats on getting your film made and out there.  However, if you read the header of this topic, it clearly states:

This topic is for praising the work of others, not your own. If you want to beat the drum for your own documentary, please don't do it here. Enthusiasts use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

Yannesh Meijman
Pro

Great work from a very talented young director, Lance Oppenheim. An intriguing story about a former-top NFL player trying to work his way back to the top. I love how visual the documentary is.

Jeremy Pevar
Pro

I have been away from the D-Word for quite a while, but thought I'd check in to see what folks here were saying about the recent HBO documentary series, "The Jinx."  I have searched the site for conversations on this film and come up empty.  How has this not been a hot topic over the past several weeks?  Not since "The Thin Blue Line" have I seen a doc where the film makers were able to coax a confession from a previously un-repentent murderer.  Although, in "The Jinx" Robert Durst didn't realize that he was making a confession.

 

For those who haven't already seen this series, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Even before the jaw dropping off-camera "confession" that closes the final episode, this was a tour-de-force of the true crime genre.  Clearly Jarecki got incredibly lucky that Durst approached him about doing an interview in the first place, but luck isn't what makes the film so compelling.  This is first class film making.

Thoughts?

Doug Block
Host

Actually haven't seen, though obviously I've heard a great deal.  I do know Jarecki has been involved with the Durst case for over 10 years, and made a fiction film about him a few years ago that was somewhat sympathetic, so he clearly worked hard to gain access.

My only fear is that the success of "The Jinx" and "Serial" has raised the bar of expectations for crime docs, and that nothing less than a multi-part series with a huge payoff will do. 

Erica Ginsberg
Host

Haven't seen it. Not a big fan of crime docs so it didn't pique my interest (I didn't listen to Serial either even though it takes place in my state). I certainly have heard a lot about them both on social media and from word of mouth though.

Niam Itani
Host

Yeah, same thing for me. I heard a lot about both but not really something I'd rush to see -even with all that hype. 

Andrew James
Pro

Hey everyone. I'm currently in post on my film, Street Fighting Man. We are nearing completion. We have three subjects and are still wrestling with the structure. I'm looking for recommendations of other docs with either three primary subjects or multiple subjects. Just needing some inspiration as we work toward the finishing line! Thanks. :)

Erica Ginsberg
Host

I recently saw TOCANDO LA LUZ at Full Frame which handled the structure and arc of three characters very effectively.  May be hard to see right now unless you are attending festivals, but MADE IN L.A. and THE HOMESTRETCH also come to mind.

William Slap
Fan

I just finished "No No: A Dockumentary". It's on netflix, and produced by Arts + Labor (out of Austin I think).  It's the story of Dock Ellis and his affect on the MLB. Ostensiblly it's about how he pitched a no hitter while on acid (which is a great story in and of itself: here) but elegantly expands outwards from that event to show Dock as the radical, influential player he was. 

John Burgan
Host

Congratulations William, but it appears that you have overlooked the purpose of this Topic, outlined at the top of the page:

This topic is for praising the work of others, not your own. If you want to beat the drum for your own documentary, please don't do it here. Enthusiasts use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

Sarah George
Pro

JB - I think William meant he just finished watching "No No: A Dockumentary" - the film was actually made by D-Worder Jeff Radice!

Doug Block
Host

Indeed.  Ten lashes for our overenthusiastic topic cop!

John Burgan
Host

Whoops! Better hand myself in for re-education.

Apologies, William.

Gretta Wing Miller
Pro

And because Wm. mentioned it, we watched it last night. Can't get enough baseball and the montages are great! Brings on a kind of wistful remembrance of times past and what pitching a no-hit game on acid must have been like.…
Unfortunately, it abruptly stopped at 100 min: too sleepy to wonder whose screw up that was. Netflix? Or our wifi?

Babette Hoogendoorn
Fan

Hello everyone! I am a Berklee Master's student and I'm conducting a research on the interest in exclusive bespoke themes based on classical music, created for independent film and documentary makers and advertising agencies. This research is done to explain and analyse my thesis for which I want to set up a business plan for a music supervision company that is specialised in classical music and can make exclusive bespoke themes based on this music genre. I promise it won't take you long and your input is very much appreciated. Could you fill the survey out before the 10th of June please? Thank you so much! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7HQCHZ6

Doug Block
Host

Babette, we ask people not to double post on The D-Word and you asked this in the Mentoring Room, which is where it belongs.  This is for recommending documentaries.

Jason Osder
Pro

I think I mentioned this in the pros topic, but I am going to plug KEEP ON KEEPIN' ON here also. It has really stuck with me. GREAT characters. 

Mina Keshavarz
Pro

Hi Everyone

i would like to share my previous documentary film with all of you. " Unwelcome in Tehran" is a self-portrait documentaryon my decision to divorce. 

here is the link of this film : https://vimeo.com/115315458   and its password is : tehran89

John Burgan
Host

Mina - it's great to be able to see your work, but this is one of the very few topics where - as stated at the top - we ask that members share others' work here, but not their own. As such, your post belongs in either Public Classifieds or Shameless Self-Promotion


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