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"The movies are like a machine that generates empathy."

Life Itself. The documentary based on Roger Ebert’s memoir, by Hoop Dreams’ director Steve James, premiered at Sundance in January and is now rolling out in theaters and on demand.
posted by scody on Jul 2, 2014 - 6 comments

"I create forms and ideas, but I'm not responsible for them."

In Search of Moebius [SLYT]
posted by Fizz on Jul 2, 2014 - 8 comments

“...like Michael Moore, only not mean.”

Rick Sebak, Pittsburgh’s resident documentarian and the inventor of the scrapbook documentary, has a brand new documentary out: A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects. Don’t know about the quirky joys of Rick Sebak, or of Pittsburgh? This is your lucky day. [more inside]
posted by Stacey on Jul 1, 2014 - 33 comments

Moa's Ark

Moa’s Ark (1990) [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert on Jun 29, 2014 - 3 comments

Prince in the 1980s: a documentary

A documentary of unknown provenance on Prince in the 1980s.
posted by MoonOrb on Jun 19, 2014 - 11 comments

Les Invisibles

Les Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride is a collection of found photographs by film-maker Sébastien Lifshitz showing (mostly anonymous) gay couples together in the early years of the 20th century. 'He found most of his collection in the US and western Europe, but none in the UK: “Maybe the British think such photographs have no value, or are too private to sell.”'. In 2012, Lifshitz released Les Invisibles, a related documentary exploring the lives of 11 gay and lesbian individuals over the age of 70. [more inside]
posted by dng on Jun 17, 2014 - 8 comments

“Is it about a bicycle?”

Flann O'Brien: The Lives of Brian [VIMEO]: A documentary about Flann O'Brien aka Brian O'Nolan. [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Jun 13, 2014 - 13 comments

"It will ache in my chest the rest of my life."

On May 13th, the film world was shocked and saddened by the tragic death of documentary filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, who had won an Oscar just last year for the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man". In the month that has passed since then, more details have emerged of the months and days that led up to his suicide. The Hollywood Reporter profiles the life and death of Bendjelloul and takes a look at how sudden success can bring about even more sudden depression.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Jun 11, 2014 - 16 comments

"The Clash would have KILLED to have come from Derry"

Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, was a dangerous place to be in the late 1970s. With bombs, shootings, British Army Patrols, riots on the streets, and The Ramones and New York Dolls on the turntable, the most punk thing 5 Catholic lads could do was to sing upbeat songs about adolescent lust, girls, getting nowhere with said girls, and the general struggles of being young. In the bleeding heart of The Troubles, The Undertones escaped by dreaming of a life more ordinary. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jun 11, 2014 - 38 comments

They know when the boxed bird sings.

Vinkensport (finch sport), or vinkenzetting (finch sitting) is a Belgian, primarily Flemish, sport involving a box, a bird, and a counting stick. The bird that sings the most times in an hour wins. Here is a short and somewhat doubtful documentary.
posted by hydrophonic on Jun 4, 2014 - 9 comments

It's like The Oscars, but with just the good parts

In a world On May 30th the 15th Annual Golden Trailer Awards were handed out in Beverly Hills, CA. There are a total of 75 categories; the 17 top awards were handed out live at the sold-out show and are linked below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jun 4, 2014 - 11 comments

“It is the year 2001. You’re on your way to a space station…"

2001: A Space Odyssey -- A Look Behind the Future. In 1966, Look magazine released a documentary on the making of Stanly Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and the science featured in the film. Vernon Myers, the publisher and president of the magazine, bookends the documentary, announcing that Look would feature the film in its magazine to coincide with its then-1967 release date. If you remember, Kubrick got his start in photography working for the magazine as a young man, so it makes sense that his former-employer would want to feature his upcoming film.
posted by KokuRyu on Jun 2, 2014 - 3 comments

"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution."

Since his death from cancer at age 32, comedian Bill Hicks's (very previously) legend and stature have only grown; American: The Bill Hicks Story (previously) fills in the details of a life cut tragically short, blending live footage and animation, and is narrated by the 10 people who knew Bill best. A comic's comic and unflagging critic of hypocrisy and cultural emptiness, American: The Bill Hicks Story is now streaming for free on Snag Films.
posted by Room 641-A on May 28, 2014 - 76 comments

‘And This Is Free’ (1964)

A 50 minute documentary about Maxwell Street Market and musicians in Chicago (I interpret the title with an implicit accusatory question mark.) Mike Shea—previously a photographer for Life, Look and Time—directed this exquisitely composed, Frederick Wiseman-esque documentary that lurches between the wiles and complaints of street vendors to some astoundingly well-recorded street side blues performances—recorded by Gordon Quinn. Most notably numerous songs by Robert Nighthawk and one electrifying performance by Carrie Robinson. There's also one seriously awesome-looking house party. [more inside]
posted by zbsachs on May 14, 2014 - 10 comments

Making B7: Behind the scenes of "The Dirty Dozen in Space"

Before there was Firefly, after there was Star Trek, in between there was… Blake's 7 (previously). The BBC's dystopian space opera ran for four series, ended with arguably the bleakest finale in sci-fi TV, yet never achieved popularity in proportion to its influence. To accompany its DVD release, documentary filmmaker Kevin Jon Davies prepared making-of videos for the first three series, which he has now posted YouTube: Series 1, Series 2, Series 3. Learn the origins of Blake's dysfunctional band of freedom-fighters, the secrets of the show's horrible SFX, watch the cast read aloud their worst reviews, and much more!
posted by Doktor Zed on May 13, 2014 - 32 comments

Forty-three Werner Herzog films that can be streamed

Inside, please find a list of forty-three movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Werner Herzog, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. One or two of the films are in German without subtitles; this is noted in the description. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on May 4, 2014 - 65 comments

Hold me tight

Valley of Dolls
Eleven years ago, Ayano Tsukimi returned to her home in Nagoro. Confronted with constant departures, she has populated the village with dolls, each representing a former villager. Around 350 of the giant dolls now reside in and around Nagoro, replacing those that died or abandoned the village years ago.

In a recent documentary titled The Valley Of Dolls, Fritz Schumann explores Tsukimi's world, highlighting the time and artistry that goes into making the figures, and explaining her motivations. In it we're shown around a local school, once filled with children and teachers, that now houses dozens of dolls, sitting statically, waiting for class to begin.

posted by infini on May 3, 2014 - 13 comments

I wanted to incorporate the city and its inhabitants into my filmmaking.

No Your City In a city of over 8 million people, it is impossible to walk the streets without running into interesting New Yorkers with unique relationships to the city. Whether it is Don Ward, the best shoe-shiner in Manhattan or Te'Devan the 6'7" Nomadic-Jewish-Healing-Freestyler. Everyone has a story that is worth hearing, but unfortunately most of them go unheard. New York City is the busiest place on earth and it is rare for someone to take a few minutes out of their schedule to stop and chat with a fellow New Yorker. No Your City is an 8-part documentary series that offers a glimpse into the lives of these extraordinary New York City inhabitants. [more inside]
posted by davidstandaford on Apr 30, 2014 - 12 comments

“Why in the world would someone be doing this with a rabbit?”

You've heard of dog and horse shows, but are you familiar with rabbit shows?  Rabbit Fever is a coming-of-age story that follows six competitors as they strive to win the top title at the National American Rabbit Convention - an event that draws more than 20,000 rabbits in one building, the largest mass of rabbits in the world. While adult members of the rabbit habit compete for BEST IN SHOW, the teenage enthusiasts quest for an even more coveted honor in the rabbit community - Rabbit King and Queen!
posted by Room 641-A on Apr 24, 2014 - 16 comments

Thirty Errol Morris movies that can be streamed

Inside, please find a list of twenty-eight movies, TV episodes, and short subjects by Errol Morris and two movies about Errol Morris, all of which can be streamed, along with some short descriptions of their content. [more inside]
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 23, 2014 - 27 comments

ref. Claude Lévi-Strauss

The trailer for the 2012 documentary The Raw and the Cooked stands alone as a work of art, by capturing perfectly the best scenes from this beautiful film. Created by German filmmaker Monika Treut. Background.
posted by growabrain on Apr 20, 2014 - 9 comments

My friend, if we go in the ditch you ain't fuckin' around with Chrysler.

In 1984, the Canadian branch of the United Auto Workers, represented by Bob White, and General Motors Canada, represented by Rod Andrew, sat down to negotiate a new wage agreement. GM had gotten the American UAW to agree to profit sharing and was dead-set on doing the same in the North; the Canadians were bitterly opposed to the idea. By the end of the negotiation, workers had struck, negotiators had been stabbed in the back, White and his allies had split from the UAW to form the CAW, and a compromise was reached that left everyone a bit unhappy - but the workers less so than their managers. Filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson used his unprecedented access to both teams of negotiators to craft Final Offer, "the best collective bargaining film ever made." You can stream the movie in its entirety at the National Film Board's website.
posted by Going To Maine on Apr 13, 2014 - 9 comments

I don't know what a spangle is to this day and now I can't ask him

Good Grief, an animated short film from Australia about the process of grieving and the lessons learned from adjusting to loss, made using stop-motion animation and recorded interviews with real people.
posted by acb on Apr 13, 2014 - 5 comments

Apparently, "Orange is the New Black" doesn't pay that much.

Kate Mulgrew (aka Captain Janeway) is narrating a new documentary called "The Principle", which posits that the Sun really does revolve around the earth. The film is the product of Robert Sungenis, who maintains the website Galileo is Wrong (previously). Geeks are understandably confused.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI on Apr 7, 2014 - 214 comments

Scattered Remnants of the Ship Could Be Seen in the Distance

"You'd see Britt and Brian and they were just like, little kids standing around with terrifying giant skinheads and weird dudes in dresses, it was heaven .... Slint were a unique band." [more inside]
posted by mannequito on Apr 7, 2014 - 10 comments

Real Change

Homelessness in America Award-winning documentary by Michael Becker. (Vimeo)
posted by vac2003 on Apr 5, 2014 - 4 comments

the intimate story of a woman who spoke truth to power.

"Anita", a documentary by director Freida Mock, which opened in New York and Los Angeles last weekend, looks back on the journey of Anita Hill, who famously testified that her former boss and then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her. Trailer [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 27, 2014 - 33 comments

Formula One Racing documentaries, from the first days to the present

It's only one race into the 2014 Formula One season, and if you're interested in knowing more about this world of specialized racing cars, there was a roundup of documentaries on Reddit last year. While the links are all dead, it's a handy guide to films you can find online. For your viewing pleasure... [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 23, 2014 - 15 comments

From the Merchants of Cool to Generation Like

'The media is a chaotic place. Like an ocean or a weather system, it no longer respects authority. In fact, those who attempt to impose their authority are ridiculed, while brilliant and valuable tidbits emerge from the most remote and seemingly inconsequential sources.... Younger, media-savvy viewers instinctively reject authoritative voices and laugh at commercials in which people try to act "cool." ' That was Douglas Rushkoff's assessment of companies courting the youth demographic as covered in print in 2000, and the next year in video as the PBS Frontline documentary, Merchants of Cool (streaming documentary; prev: 1, 2, 3, 4). Earlier this year, Rushkoff revisited the topic with PBS in Generation Like (streaming documentary), in a time when young people are generally happy to tell the world what brands they like as a way of identifying who they are. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 20, 2014 - 44 comments

"I guess I’m an artist. That’s my super power."

A short and sweet 10-minute documentary on musician and artist Daniel Johnston. [SLYT] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Mar 6, 2014 - 14 comments

honor bound to defend freedom

Writing In The Gray Areas - "Are some acts so revolting that the people who commit them do not deserve a hearing?" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 27, 2014 - 22 comments

And the winner is...

Life After Pi : How Rythm & Hues declared bankruptcy and 11 days later won an Oscar for their work on 'Life of Pi' (SLYT). [more inside]
posted by PenDevil on Feb 26, 2014 - 23 comments

Basketball Diplomacy

Dennis Rodman, the Harlem Globetrotters, and a crew from Vice visit the DPRK.
posted by holmesian on Feb 24, 2014 - 32 comments

Documentaries and talks from the USC US-China Center

The University of Southern California's US-China Institute has a huge number of videos on YouTube regarding China, Taiwan, history, global diplomacy, etc. [more inside]
posted by jiawen on Feb 22, 2014 - 2 comments

Tim Burton's Batman, the opposite of Pee-wee's Big Adventure

This year marks the 25th anniversary of 1989 Batman movie, which is remembered for everything from the logo "that helped set the course for superhero movies" to the ways the movie was true to the comics, or was really a "noir" update to the 1960s Adam West Batman. While preparing yourself for what may come in the lead-up to the June 23 anniversary date, enjoy Batman: The Making of a Hero documentary, a rare 25 minutes behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film, from the folks at 1989 Batman, a fansite dedicated to the movie, and its sequel, Batman Returns. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 19, 2014 - 48 comments

Unhung Hero

Patrick Moote's marriage proposal was rejected in front of a large crowd at a UCLA basketball game. When he asked his former girlfriend why, she told him it was because his penis was too small, which led to him creating a cockumentary called Unhung Hero. [more inside]
posted by gman on Feb 17, 2014 - 151 comments

American Promise

American Promise is a PBS documentary (live streaming through March 6) that follows two middle class African-American boys, Idris and Seun, who enter The Dalton School as young children, and follows them for 13 years. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Feb 16, 2014 - 14 comments

Follow the red dot.

Yesterday saw the surprise release of PolyFauna (Android - iOS), a free, movingly minimalist art game produced by Radiohead in collaboration with digital art studio Universal Everything. In the tradition of previous projects such as Proteus (previously) and Björk's Biophilia (also previously), the game turns players loose in an open world of moody vistas and fog-shrouded wilderness, accompanied by music and visuals from 2011's earthy, naturalist The King of Limbs. With an associated redesign of the band's website, could work on the long-awaited LP9 be far behind? [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Feb 12, 2014 - 7 comments

Every government is a liar. That's a prima facie assumption.

I.F. Stone's Weekly, a 1973 documentary about one of the greatest American journalists of the 20th century (Part 1). Part 2 of 6 here (incomplete). Isidor Feinstein "Izzy" Stone discusses how he exposed widely-accepted fictions about the Vietnam War and the escalation of the Cold War—merely by reading what the government published. He was blacklisted in 1950 and began his own newsletter, which railed against McCarthyism, racial discrimination, and the complacent establishment media. [more inside]
posted by zbsachs on Feb 11, 2014 - 7 comments

"Images of poverty are the Congo’s most lucrative export"

What if poor people capitalized on their own natural resource, poverty? This is the central question of Renzo Martens' 2008 documentary, Episode III - Enjoy Poverty, the second film in a triptych exploring power relations between photographers and their subjects. [more inside]
posted by Ouisch on Feb 5, 2014 - 13 comments

oh, what a nice drug

"Everything is fine and the world is beautiful. It's raining, it's dark, I woke up at 5:30AM, I'm commuting in traffic. I would have had a headache, I would have been miserable, I would have wondered how my life took me to this point. This point I'm at right now. But no, no, everything is fine. Life is beautiful. The rain drops are just falling and in each one I see the reflection of every persons life around me. Humanity is beautiful. In this still frame shot of traffic on this crowded bus I just found love and peace. Heroin is a wonder drug. Heroin is better than everything else. Heroin makes me who I wish I was. Heroin makes life worth living. Heroin is better than everything else." [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Feb 4, 2014 - 106 comments

Signpainters, short cut from a documentary

"This is the only thing I could do, and I could do whatever the fuck I wanted to do, and make a living." From a special edit of the feature length documentary Sign Painters.
posted by MoonOrb on Feb 1, 2014 - 13 comments

"I became a hell child."

Growing up in a Romanian orphanage, Izidor Ruckel just wanted to get out. Now, he makes it his mission to raise awareness of the suffering of other orphans who remain institutionalized. [more inside]
posted by chainsofreedom on Jan 31, 2014 - 10 comments

Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny

This documentary pokes fun at the ways in which Inuit people have been treated as “exotic” documentary subjects by turning the lens onto the strange behaviours of Qallunaat (the Inuit word for white people). The term refers less to skin colour than to a certain state of mind: Qallunaat greet each other with inane salutations, repress natural bodily functions, complain about being cold, and want to dominate the world. Their odd dating habits, unsuccessful attempts at Arctic exploration, overbearing bureaucrats and police, and obsession with owning property are curious indeed. A collaboration between filmmaker Mark Sandiford and Inuit writer and satirist Zebedee Nungak, Qallunaat! brings the documentary form to an unexpected place in which oppression, history, and comedy collide.
Qallunaat! Why White People Are Funny
posted by Rumple on Jan 30, 2014 - 40 comments

Uncle America

Blood Brother (2013) focuses on an American man who, after initially visiting as a tourist, moved to India to volunteer at the Arias Home of HOPE, a home for HIV-positive children in Acharapakkam, near Chennai. He eventually became an Indian citizen by marriage. [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Jan 23, 2014 - 7 comments

"If you get to 12 O'Clock, You's the S#!t"

Dirt bikes are illegal in Baltimore. That doesn't stop hundreds of young men from hitting the streets every weekend, revving their engines and pulling their dirt bikes (and ATVs) into death-defying wheelies, filming each other in hopes of Youtube glory. One of these groups, the Twelve O’Clock Boys, are the subject of a new documentary. Pull your bike into a vertical wheelie? That’s twelve o’clock. [more inside]
posted by theweasel on Jan 22, 2014 - 58 comments

The Parallax Effect: Bringing still images to pseudo-life

The "2.5D" Parallax Effect: How To Animate a Photo provides a quick tutorial of the methods used to animate still images, as seen in the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture (see the trailer for some fleeting examples), and clearly employed by this video that utilized only images from the World Wildlife Foundation's photo archives. The technique is also used in what appears to be more standard animation, as seen in this thesis animation project from Arquis B. Silp, and this animation by Frederic Kokott (look behind the scenes). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 20, 2014 - 22 comments

This is Chicago

City of Necessity, a 22-minute documentary from 1961, explores race, class, life, and culture in midcentury Chicago. WBEZ writeup by Lee Bey.
posted by dinty_moore on Jan 11, 2014 - 6 comments

30 three-minute films

Thirty directors--Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, and others--create three minute short films about an innovator or world-changing idea. Warning: corporate sponsorship.
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 10, 2014 - 4 comments

One Hundred Songs a Day

On The Media meets Matt Farley, who earns around $23k per year thanks to the 14,000 songs he has has composed, performed and uploaded to Spotify.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jan 10, 2014 - 87 comments

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