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...

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. Fans use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

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.

Natalie Forde
Fan

CELEBRATING STORYTELLERS ON THE FRONT LINES OF TODAY’S GLOBAL ISSUES: 4th SOCIAL IMPACT MEDIA AWARDS (SIMA) FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
35 Documentary Features, Shorts and Impact Videos in the running for the Best of Global Impact Cinema

LOS ANGELES (January 12, 2016) – The Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA), an annual international documentary awards and traveling series known for curating the best global impact cinema, announced finalists for the 2016 SIMA Awards this morning.

“Watching SIMA entries is like having x-ray vision into the state of the contemporary world,” said SIMA Executive Director Daniela Kon. “In contrast to the negativity and fear that saturates so much of mainstream media’s coverage of social issues, our finalists capture humanity’s resilience and creativity. I’m in awe of the inspiring work we get to champion in 2016.”

This year’s films explore the role of women and artists in the Arab Spring (The Trials of Spring; Nefertiti’s Daughters), the rule of law in Guatemala (Burden of Peace), the refugee crisis in Jordan and France (Salam Neighbor, Transit Zone), creative activism in South Africa and Sweden (The Mahoyo Project), racial injustice in the United States (Southern Rites), the reality of the global fashion industry (The True Cost), and a Ukrainian pastor rehabilitating drug-addicted street kids in the Terrence Malick-produced feature documentary Crocodile Gennadiy, among others.

Finalists were selected from 255 entries, submitted from 96 countries around the world. The 35 films are now eligible for entry into SIMA’s Traveling Series, and move on to the final judging round, where they will compete for awards and cash prizes of $500 - $1000 per category. Winners will be announced on February 9, 2016 and showcased in Los Angeles at Skirball Cultural Center from April through August 2016.

List of SIMA 2016 finalists: http://simaawards.org/2016-finalists/
More information: www.simaawards.org

ABOUT SIMA
SIMA is a nonprofit Impact Media Agency supporting and exhibiting creative works of visual storytelling that inspire activism, compassion and social transformation. Through the annual SIMA AWARDS and year-round FILM PROGRAMS, SIMA provides a catalyst for these important works, and serves as a film reserve for educators, journalists and screening partners worldwide.

The SIMA Awards are sponsored by DEEDA Productions, The Angel Station, G-Technology, and VENA CAVA.

Anne Molinas
Pro

I recently saw The Gleaners and I by Agnès Varda. It was both entertaining and very moving. A wonderful mix of historical and current social context, an interesting and varied group of people, great landscapes, and personal commentary by Varda. My husband and I totally identified with the impulse to not waste, use and reuse what’s available. It was really fascinating and beautiful. I recommend it.

 

I also like a documentary a saw quite a few years ago on PBS that has stayed with me, Maquilapolis: City of Factories, by Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre, about women who work in the maquilas in Tijuana, the conditions in the factories and how they live and how they organized to fight some environmental and health issues. A lot of the footage was taken by the women who were given cameras and who narrate what they are filming. The story was interwoven with an interesting and creative choreography by the women on the physical landscape, that relates to the activities they do in the factories. I really liked it.

John Burgan
Host

This is a discussion, rather than a documentary.

TimesTalks - Werner Herzog and Joshua Oppenheimer (discussion starts around 32.48)

Two of the leading filmmakers of our time look at the evolution of the documentary and its role in presenting new perspectives to the world. Interviewed by New York Times Op–Docs producer and curator Kathleen Lingo.
 

 

Natalie Forde
Fan

The Best Global Impact Documentaries: 2016 Social Impact Media Awards Winners Announced

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9, 2016 -- Documentary aficionados yearning for a truly global look at the year's best films should search no further than the Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA), who announced their 2016 winners this morning.

The winning films take viewers on a journey around the world, from the magical Omo Valley of Ethiopia (Omo Child: The River and the Bush) to the war-torn desert of Afghanistan (Tell Spring Not To Come This Year). The power of the individual took center stage, with an unsettling portrait of child rights renegade Gennadiy Mokhnenko winning Best Feature Documentary (Crocodile Gennadiy, from Steve Hoover and Danny Yourd). Kim Longinotto brought home Best Director for her intimate portrayal of Brenda Myers-Powell, a former prostitute on a quest to make a change in the gritty back streets of Chicago (Dreamcatcher).

"We're proud to champion an extraordinary range of global stories and filmmakers every year, especially in the midst of a national debate on diversity in the film industry," said SIMA Executive Director Daniela Kon. "These films are exemplary in their ability to intimately and creatively capture the depth and potential of human nature."

SIMA 2016 Winners were selected from 35 finalists by SIMA's esteemed Jury, comprised of top industry professionals working in media, education, film and international development. "SIMA's films don't just speak to the human condition, they sing and shout it," said Juror David Craig, Assistant Professor at USC's Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism. "[SIMA films are] visual storytelling that can affect your mind, body, and soul."

Select Winners will be showcased in Los Angeles at the Skirball Cultural Center from April through August 2016.

List of SIMA 2016 Winners: http://bit.ly/SIMA2016winners
More information: www.simaawards.org 

ABOUT SIMA
SIMA is a nonprofit Impact Media Agency supporting and exhibiting creative works of visual storytelling that inspire activism, compassion and social transformation. Through the annual SIMA AWARDS and year-round FILM PROGRAMS, SIMA provides a catalyst for these important works, and serves as a film reserve for educators, journalists and screening partners worldwide.

The SIMA Awards are sponsored by DEEDA Productions, The Angel Station, G-Technology, and VENA CAVA.

Press Contact: Natalie Forde, natalie@simaawards.org, 425-686-2373

 

Eric Rayl
Pro

I saw "Meet the Patels" last night and thought that it was decent.  Not the best doc I've ever seen, but I think that it is a good example of what can be done with hardly any resources, an old camera, and a lot of willpower.  Basically it's an Indian women who filmed her brother and his quest to find love in America (and with a lot of advice from his/her parents).

Nathaniel Torok
Pro

I first saw The Gleaners and I in grad school a few years ago and was totally blown away by it. I still think of it from time to time - what a beautiful film. 

I also remember sitting up late at night in the editing suites at my university watching as many documentaries as I could - and James Longley's films were a huge inspiration. I remember watching Iraq: In Fragments on DVD and then discovering Sari's Mother as well. There are specific sequences in Sari's Mother that will always stick with me - I can't recommend that short enough.

Doug Block
Host

Diego, it would be helpful if you explained a bit why you're linking to these docs rather than just posting the links. We presume you're recommending them, but why?

Diego M McCracken
Fan

when i see documentaries which i like i share them at many places, thanks for question i happy that this is one of the active forum

Niam Itani
Host

Who can recommend powerful Interview based documentaries to provide as "films to study" for a filmmaker looking to make a powerful interview based documentary (me)? My film is political/legal in nature so I am more interested in films that are close to politics. The Gatekeepers is a great example of what I am looking for more of.

Diego M McCracken
Fan

CLICK THE TITLE TO WATCH FULL DOCUMENTARY VIDEO AND DETAILS.

'Girl in the box' (1977) psycho Cameron Hooker who kept kidnapped hitchhiker in a tiny box 23 hours a day for SEVEN years is denied parole and told:'You'll spend 'at least' 15 more years in jail', Hooker, now 61, was sentenced to a 104-year prison term jail in 1985.

 

'Girl in the box' psycho Cameron Hooker who kept kidnapped hitchhiker in a tiny box 23 hours a day for SEVEN years is denied parole and told: 'You'll spend 'at least' 15 more years in jail'

 

A man branded the 'most dangerous psychopath ever encountered' after he kept a young hitchhiker as a sex slave for seven years has been denied parole.
Cameron Hooker, 61, was handed a 104-year sentence in 1985 for the kidnap, torture and rape of Colleen Stan.
The case made international headlines and Stan was known as 'the Girl in the Box' after it was revealed that she was forced into a coffin-like structure for 23 hours a day during for much of her captivity.
Despite Hooker's century-long jail term, he was allowed to request parole seven years earlier than under the normal rules, USA Today reported.
In an attempt to reduce its prison population, California has recently introduced the Elderly Parole Program which allows a parole hearing from inmates older than 60 who have served at least 25 years.
But the parole board at Corcoran State Prison, where Hooker is incarcerated, denied the request and have stated the inmate won't get another hearing for 15 years.
Luis Patino, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said Hooker had been given the longest delay period until his next parole hearing as the board found he was 'far from suitable' for being released.
In May 1977, Stan had been hitchhiking along Interstate 5 near Redding, California.
Despite the high risks involved - it just a few years after the arrest of a serial killer in Santa Cruz who preyed on young female hitchers - the then 20-year-old stick out her thumb and accepted a ride from a young couple traveling with a 7-month-old baby.
Colleen Stan was known as 'the Girl in the Box' after it was revealed that she was forced into a coffin-like structure for 23 hours a day during much of her captivity

Colleen Stan was known as 'the Girl in the Box' after it was revealed that she was forced into a coffin-like structure for 23 hours a day during much of her captivity

Stan was tortured, raped and left for days in a head box (right) or another coffin-like box under the couple's bed
Stan was tortured, raped and left for days in a head box (right) or another coffin-like box under the couple's bed
The Coffin-like box in which Colleen was held for up to 23-hours a day under Hooker and his wife's bed

The Coffin-like box in which Colleen was held for up to 23-hours a day under Hooker and his wife's bed
Within hours, she was tied up and naked in the basement of Hooker's home 30 miles away.
It would be the start of seven torturous years as a captive of the 'psychopath'.
Stan was starved, whipped and burned by Hooker, a 23-year-old lumber mill worker. He would tie her to the ceiling by her wrists or leave her for days with a 20-pound hinged wooden box around her head, blocking the outside world.
At other times she would be forced into another, coffin-like box under Hooker and his wife Janice's bed, or tied to a rack.
The specially-made torture device caused permanent damage to her back and one shoulder.
She was also forced to sign a 'slavery contract' which meant she had to do anything Hooker wanted, from sex to the more mundane such as household chores or looking after his children.
In 1978, Janice gave birth to a second baby on the water bed above Stan.
Hooker had convinced her that if she ever ran away a powerful organisation known as The Company would find her, and would hurt her family.
To avoid painful punishments, she said she tried to be a good slave and that due to this she was allowed out to jog, work in the yard, and care for the Hooker children alone in the mobile home.

 

Doug Block
Host

Wow, sounds like an uplifting, ennobling doc if ever I heard of one.  Your recommendations are elevating us to a whole new level here, Diego.

ondrea barbe
Pro

hello, excited to read through all these posts!  I wanted to know if anybody had suggestions of short docs, projects, etc of personal stories told by the director about family,passage of time and losing loved ones- .  I have seen so many- 2 that I appreciated for different reasons and also very different  "Time of Death" showtime, and Magie Steber Rite of passage -  let me know if anything comes to mind! thank you

 

Doug Block
Host

Well, my own 51BIRCH STREET fits that description. It's a feature doc, though.


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