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Recommended Documentaries

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.

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Jake van Vuuren
Thu 30 May 2013Link

I have 10 favorite docs on my site. Not my Top 10, just docs that's worthy of checking out!
http://www.jakevanvuuren.com/docs.html


John Burgan
Tue 4 Jun 2013Link

A classic short now made available online by the Criterion Collection, Alain Resnais' 1956 Toute la mémoire du monde


George Henry
Thu 6 Jun 2013Link

Anyone else seen Dark Days?

Edited Thu 6 Jun 2013 by George Henry

John Burgan
Thu 6 Jun 2013Link

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


George Henry
Thu 6 Jun 2013Link

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?

Edited Thu 6 Jun 2013 by George Henry

John Burgan
Thu 6 Jun 2013Link

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
Thu 6 Jun 2013Link

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

Edited Thu 6 Jun 2013 by George Henry

John Burgan
Thu 6 Jun 2013Link

I'll bear that in mind.


John Grabowska
Thu 6 Jun 2013Link

Professor Burgan, your equanimity is admirable.


John Burgan
Sun 9 Jun 2013Link

It comes with the territory.

Meanwhile, another great offer from Doc Alliance – a clutch of films streaming for free by French master filmmaker Nicolas Philibert – including the celebrated ”Etre et Avoir”

http://dafilms.com/event/125-retrospective-of-nicolas-philibert/


Kurt Engfehr
Mon 10 Jun 2013Link

In reply to Jake van Vuuren's post on Thu 30 May 2013 : interesting list. are those actually your favorites, or ones you think are important for reasons other than watchability or enjoyment?


Niam Itani
Thu 4 Jul 2013Link

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...))


Erica Ginsberg
Fri 5 Jul 2013Link

Me & Isaac Newton
A Brief History of Time


Marth Christensen
Fri 5 Jul 2013Link

Many of the Richard Fyneman docs.
This one for starters:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fzg1CU8t9nw

Don't forget Tana Tuva:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5Pgmx2WCsY

Which, if you are not careful, will lead you to Genghis Blues.


John Grabowska
Sat 6 Jul 2013Link

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


Niam Itani
Sat 6 Jul 2013Link

Thanks for the suggestions. Will check these out :)



Tiago Pavan
Tue 6 Aug 2013Link

"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
Tue 6 Aug 2013Link

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).


Tiago Pavan
Tue 6 Aug 2013Link

Doug, the NY Premiere of Elena will happen this next saturday: August 10, 8:00PM @ Rooftop Films Summer Series – http://rooftopfilms.ticketleap.com/rooftop-films-elena/


Doug Block
Wed 7 Aug 2013Link

Great! Thanks for the heads up, Tiago.


Elizabeth Yoffe
Mon 12 Aug 2013Link

Was blown away and very moved by Wim Wenders' doc "Pina" about brilliant choreographer Pina Bausch and her dance company: http://www.pina-film.de/en/trailer.html


Regan Brashear
Tue 20 Aug 2013Link

In reply to Elizabeth Yoffe 's post on Tue 13 Aug 2013 :

Me too! Such a beautiful film!


Stephanie Hubbard
Mon 26 Aug 2013Link

http://thedocumentaryinsider.com/blogs/stephanie/2009/dec/dd/list-documentaries-view-filmmakers

Here's my list – I can't believe it's from 2009 – seems like I wrote it yesterday – that's what working on movies will do – the year goes a way and instead of the Jurassic or Mesozoic era it's this firm or that film's era.

Edited Mon 26 Aug 2013 by Stephanie Hubbard

Jennifer Talbott
Mon 16 Sep 2013Link

Here's my quick list, especially for anyone nervous or hesitant to give documentaries a try (favorites and 'must-sees'): http://www.theextraordinarilyordinary.com/2013/03/13/watch-these-docs/


David Banco
Tue 19 Nov 2013Link

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
Tue 19 Nov 2013Link

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
Wed 27 Nov 2013Link

More docs streaming for free on the excellent Doc Alliance site – the current offer includes the highly entertaining "Broadway Black Sea" by Vitaly Mansky

http://dafilms.com/event/147-retrospective-vitaly-mansky/


John Burgan
Mon 2 Dec 2013Link

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.

Edited Mon 2 Dec 2013 by John Burgan

John Burgan
Thu 5 Dec 2013Link

Leacock's Lessons


John Burgan
Thu 12 Dec 2013Link

Krzysztof Kieslowski's second film Urzad / Office made when he was still at film school


Bill Jackson
Sun 15 Dec 2013Link

In reply to John Burgan's post on Thu 5 Dec 2013 :

Brilliant. And, his voice in the beginning is so clear and rich-sounding.


Kurt Engfehr
Sun 15 Dec 2013Link

In reply to John Burgan's post on Thu 5 Dec 2013 :

the slate says that little doc was directed by Peter Wintonick.


John Burgan
Sat 11 Jan 2014Link

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).

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Rob Rooy
Mon 13 Jan 2014Link

Nice, John. Thanks for sharing.


John Burgan
Wed 5 Feb 2014Link

Film by Indian filmmaker Supriyo Sen on the curious rituals of the Wagah border ceremony


Elissa Mirzaei
Wed 12 Feb 2014Link

In reply to John Burgan's post on Thu 6 Feb 2014 :

Fascinating--thanks for posting that.


Nick Higgins
Sun 16 Feb 2014Link

Fascinating and highly bizarre too.


Andy Schocken
Thu 17 Apr 2014Link

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


John Burgan
Thu 17 Apr 2014Link

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.

Edited Sun 20 Apr 2014 by John Burgan

Elizabeth Westrate
Mon 5 May 2014Link

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!


Niam Itani
Mon 5 May 2014Link

Here is a four hour comprehensive one we made at Al Jazeera in 2008, told from an Arab Point of view:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm7dMhE80dw


John Burgan
Mon 5 May 2014Link

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


Elizabeth Westrate
Tue 6 May 2014Link

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


Vivian Kleiman
Tue 6 May 2014Link

Leah Mahan's doc "Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek" chronicles the assault on an African-American community founded in the days of Reconstruction on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast. It's now available to screen online thru the end of May.

http://worldchannel.org/programs/episode/come-hell-or-high-water-battle-turkey-creek/


Robert Goodman
Thu 15 May 2014Link

Route 181. Jaffa, the orange's clockwork.


Tanner Wolfe
Sat 17 May 2014Link

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.


Elizabeth Westrate
Mon 19 May 2014Link

In reply to Robert Goodman's post on Thu 15 May 2014 :

Thanks, Robert!


Ellen Brodsky
Tue 20 May 2014Link

In reply to Elizabeth Westrate's post on Mon 5 May 2014 : Here's an amazing one on early history based on diaries. "The Diaries of Yossef Nachmani"
http://firstrunfeatures.com/yossefnachmani_educational.html


Julia Guest
Thu 22 May 2014Link

In reply to Tanner Wolfe's post on Sat 17 May 2014 :

A TV production by the BBC.. memorable part of around the world in 80 gardens


Tanner Wolfe
Fri 23 May 2014Link

Thanks Julia. I'll take a look.


Hanna Aneröd
Fri 23 May 2014Link

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
Fri 23 May 2014Link Tag

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
Sat 24 May 2014Link

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
Thu 12 Jun 2014Link

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.


Ryan Ferguson
Thu 12 Jun 2014Link

In reply to Tanner Wolfe's post on Sat 17 May 2014 :

if you haven't yet, check out UNFINISHED SPACES


Malkia K. Lydia
Thu 12 Jun 2014Link

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.


Tanner Wolfe
Mon 16 Jun 2014Link

In reply to Ryan Ferguson's post on Thu 12 Jun 2014 :

Thanks for that. Very interesting doc. I'll have to look into that.


Jill Woodward
Mon 16 Jun 2014Link

second Ryan's recommendation for Unfinished Spaces!


Rebecca Alvin
Wed 25 Jun 2014Link

In reply to Tanner Wolfe's post on Sat 17 May 2014 :

There is a brand new one called "Alumbrones." It is specifically about Cuban artists. It was just at the Provincetown International Film Festival, but I'm not sure where else it is headed.


Nell Carden Grey
Fri 27 Jun 2014Link

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
Mon 30 Jun 2014Link

"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
Fri 4 Jul 2014Link

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


Bill Kerrigan
Mon 11 Aug 2014Link

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


Malkia K. Lydia
Mon 11 Aug 2014Link

I saw Inside Job for the first time recently. WOW.


Doug Block
Mon 11 Aug 2014Link

In reply to Bill Kerrigan's post on Mon 11 Aug 2014 :

You're totally welcome, Bill. How cool! What airline?


Bill Kerrigan
Mon 11 Aug 2014Link

In reply to Doug Block's post on Mon 11 Aug 2014 11:35 EDT :
Air Canada

Edited Mon 11 Aug 2014 by Bill Kerrigan

Elizabeth Westrate
Wed 13 Aug 2014Link

In reply to Malkia K. Lydia's post on Mon 11 Aug 2014 :

Inside Job is amazing. As is 112 Weddings! :)


Romeo Fabian
Thu 28 Aug 2014Link

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!


John Burgan
Sat 6 Sep 2014Link

The celebrated True/False Festival in Missouri has put online many of its selections from its start in 2004 to 2014


Ellin Jimmerson
Sat 6 Sep 2014Link

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
Sun 7 Sep 2014Link

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
Thu 11 Sep 2014Link

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


Christa Majoras
Fri 3 Oct 2014Link

I saw this in the spring and thought it was really great. The Galpagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden http://youtu.be/Wf2txEIcg6E


Eric W. Johnson
3 days agoLink

Please help spread the word about the 11/13 screening of Finding Fela in Durham, NChttp://www.tugg.com/events/11835

47 more tickets need to be purchased as soon as possible to secure this screening!


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