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"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

The First Entirely New Experience in Entertainment Since Pictures Talked

"The rise in popularity of television is credited with inciting the move to the widescreen systems that flourished throughout the 50s, 60s, and 70s. This is only partially true. In the early 1950s, studios did begin to compose their movies so that the top and bottom of the picture could be chopped off and a wider screen would show the center of the old 1.37:1 frame. The aspect ratio used by the various studios varied from about 1.5:1 up to the common 1.85:1. But the real reason for the birth of a multitude of widescreen and large format systems was the 1952 opening of a movie made in a process that had its roots in a World War II aerial gunnery trainer. This Is Cinerama (modern YouTube trailer; Wikipedia) shook the industry to the core. The public and reviewers loved it. Its giant screen filled with three oversized 35mm images and an incredible new sound system called Stereophonic were a marvel to behold, and the studios immediately rushed to find something that could do what Cinerama did (Google books preview of the August 1952 issue of Popular Mechanics)." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 4, 2014 - 22 comments

Raise Your Ears & Hold On To Your Heart

Raise Your Ears & Hold On To Your Heart is a documentary about the recording of The Polyphonic Spree's 2007 album, The Fragile Army. Available to watch on YouTube in eight parts:
Intro & Preproduction [7m9s] Packing Up & Pachyderm Studios [4m30s] Resurrection At Pachyderm Studios [7m43s] Spaceway Studios [2m6s] Choir At Electrical Audio [9m28s] Symphonic & Percussion At Maximedia [8m3s] Lead Vocal At Maximedia, Vibes/Percussion At The Triplex [5m52s] Closing & End Credits [7m3s] [more inside]
posted by hippybear on Jan 2, 2014 - 4 comments

Pufferfish the Magic Dragon

The latest generation of the UK's world-leading state-backed surveillance technologies have reportedly captured shocking scenes of high-risk potentially lethal narcotics use by gangs (or "juvenile pods") of young dolphins, who have worked out how to get a high from chewing pufferfish to release their neurotoxins [more inside]
posted by Bwithh on Dec 30, 2013 - 38 comments

The Last of the Unjust

In 1941, the Nazis turned the the Czech fortress and town of Terezin into the ghetto of Theresienstadt. The ghetto was a transit center as well as a camp for high-profile people, and was turned into a "model Jewish settlement" in preparation for a Red Cross visit in 1944. The "embellishment" had the desired propaganda outcome - a "positive report."
While researching Shoah, Claude Lanzmann interviewed Benjamin Murmelstein, the last surviving member of the Jewish Council of the Elders in Theresienstadt. That footage is now in a new film, "The Last Of The Unjust." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 16, 2013 - 4 comments

He was only a fighter in the ring

"Assault In The Ring" (originally called "Cornered: A Life in the Ring") is a film about a boxing match that took place between undefeated prospect Billy Collins Jr and Luis Resto. What began as a match turned into a life altering moment for both participants - Collins' career dreams ended and Resto and his trainer Panama Lewis landed in prison for their illegal actions. The subsequent investigation and trial have led many to declare this bout the darkest day in boxing history. But the film-maker doesn't stop there. He tracked down the surviving principals and arranged meetings among some of them, trying to see if the documentary can be an occasion for reconciliation or justice. Watch the film in its entirety on Youtube here.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 16, 2013 - 8 comments

Here's yer new engine.

Piratjagt! Discover what patrolling pirate infested waters off the coast of the Horn of Africa is like with the Danish Navy. (6lyt)
posted by allkindsoftime on Dec 10, 2013 - 14 comments

The Big Picture

This is The Big Picture, an official television report of the United States Army, produced for the armed forces and the American people. Now to show you part of The Big Picture here is Master Sargent Stuart Queen
The series consists of ~822 documentaries produced by the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service from 1951 to 1971 to educate both soldiers in uniform and the American public about military concerns as well as things like historical battles, world geography, famous soldiers, the latest weapons, space exploration, strategic objectives, peaceful initiatives, and the life of a soldier. Being a product of the Federal Government it belongs to the the American people, and is thus freely available to all to copy and distribute. Most can now be viewed on archive.org
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 10, 2013 - 6 comments

NFL on Fox's Sunday Symphony

SBNation, YouTube's independent sports network, presents "Sunday Symphony: How the NFL's most advanced game broadcast is made." "An exclusive, all access look at the people, technology, and highly organized chaos that results in the NFL's most advanced game broadcast."
posted by ob1quixote on Nov 28, 2013 - 16 comments

You have reached the end of the road.

Welcome to Fort McMoney, an interactive documentary game. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Nov 26, 2013 - 19 comments

Y'all act like you never seen a Walter White person before

VICE made a documentary about the real Walter White. [more inside]
posted by gman on Nov 26, 2013 - 5 comments

Mu Mu Land

Behind the scenes footage of the filming of the music videos for The KLF's 'Justified and Ancient' and 'What time is Love?'.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 19, 2013 - 18 comments

Beams Are Gonna Blind You

Super Trouper: 30 Years Of ABBA [1h30m] is a 2004 documentary about Sweden's biggest export, containing (then) current and historical footage and interviews, giving a generous, broad picture of the history of the band. Includes much never-before-seen performance and backstage footage.
posted by hippybear on Nov 17, 2013 - 9 comments

Voices and Visions, documentary series on American poets

“The way the poem sits on the page does not necessarily tell you anything about how to read it.” Explains Hugh Kenner of radical modernist poet and New Jersey general practitioner Williams Carlos Williams. The series features archival footage, animation, and interviews with critics, poets and and neighbors, among them Helen Vendler, Marjorie Porloff, James Merrill, and Anthony Hecht. Also, Elizabeth Bishop, Hart Crane, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Robert Lowell, Marianne Moore, Sylvia Plath, Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, Walt Whitman. Produced by the New York Center for Visual History, 1988. Previously [more inside]
posted by zbsachs on Nov 2, 2013 - 9 comments

WWI in Color

World War I in Color is a documentary designed to make the Great War come alive for a 21st-century audience. The events of 1914-18 are authoritatively narrated by Kenneth Branagh, who presents the military and political overview, while interviews with historians add different perspectives in six 48 minute installments annotated within. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Oct 31, 2013 - 60 comments

It is a game-crazed community that stretches around the world

Azen. PC Chris. Korean DJ. Mew2King. Ken. Isai. Mango. The Smash Brothers is a 9-part, 258-minute documentary on the history of competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee. Series discussion. Via.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Oct 25, 2013 - 20 comments

Sounds of the wanderers

Whether or not all cultural historians agree with the premise that Rom people came to Europe originally from India, or whether or not the portrayals of Rom musicians in the film are always *accurate* or *authentic* ones (some have indicated they're not, or are too heavily draped in over-stylized Exotica), there is surely no denying that the film is a treasure trove of fantastic musical performances. You've probably guessed by now that we're talking about Latcho Drom, which you can see it in its entirety here.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Oct 15, 2013 - 36 comments

Mud, Concrete, Glass, Home

A Short History of the Highrise A four-part NYT interactive documentary by Katrina Cizek on apartment buildings through the ages, part of the National Film Board of Canada's HIGHRISE project (Previously).
posted by Cash4Lead on Oct 8, 2013 - 5 comments

The Unique Thelonious Monk

Thelonius Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1/10) [more inside]
posted by KokuRyu on Oct 8, 2013 - 12 comments

Teahupo'o... ohhh... whooooah!

As Teahupo'o gains notoriety as one of the biggest monsters in the surfing world, the tiny area it covers gets more and more crowded. If you want to dig some fingernail-marks into the armrests of your chair, watch 2013's Inside the Monster (25:43, French with English Subtitles). Then, explore The Mechanics of Teahupo'o in this slideshow about what makes this slab tick. [previous, previous]
posted by not_on_display on Oct 1, 2013 - 12 comments

The Story of the Jews

The critically-acclaimed BBC production The Story of the Jews, written and presented by historian (and foodie) Simon Schama, can be viewed online by people with access to BBC iPlayer TV programs. It will be shown in the USA on PBS later this year. [more inside]
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 30, 2013 - 25 comments

I've got a bird, I've got several turtles, I have a couple of toads

Mia & Roman (1968) is a 23 minute-long behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of Roman Polanski's film Rosemary's Baby.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED on Sep 20, 2013 - 6 comments

Soviet Storm

If you're curious about the Eastern Front in World War II, the Russian produced, English spoken Soviet Storm: World War II in the East is obligatory viewing and now all eighteen episodes are available on Youtube. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 8, 2013 - 56 comments

artists in their own words

Painters on Painting - 1972 documentary on the New York Art Scene 1940-1970, directed by Emile de Antonio. It spans American art movements from abstract expressionism to pop art via conversations with artists in their studios. Including Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Frank Stella, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell and others. (via Bibliokept) [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Sep 2, 2013 - 8 comments

Spoiler Alert: James Cameron is difficult.

Originally created as a special feature for the out-of-print 2003 Aliens DVD, Superior Firepower: The Making of 'Aliens' is a warts-and-all documentary about the making of the film.
posted by griphus on Aug 30, 2013 - 44 comments

A Day in Vienna

Tom Waits - A Day in Vienna. "In 1978 or 1979 (we’ll get to that in a minute), Tom Waits was touring Europe. He had a concert in Vienna the day after a show in Amsterdam. He showed up in Vienna and was greeted by two young men named Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher, employees of ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk, i.e. Austrian television) with the proposal of shooting an interview while he was in town. Waits countered with a better idea."
posted by homunculus on Aug 29, 2013 - 10 comments

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Inside the Making of Dr. Strangelove is a fascinating, informative and often surprising 46 minute documentary that offers a thorough and loving look at the creation of Stanley Kubrick's classic of modern cinema.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 27, 2013 - 3 comments

El Gusto of Algeria: the band's back together, after decades apart

It all started with a mirror in the Casbah. Well, it re-started with that mirror, when Safinez Bousbia, who is of Algerian descent but had never visited the country, went to visit with a friend from Ireland. Bousbia commented on the artistry of a mirror. Mohamed Ferkioui, the shopkeeper and artist, told her that he also made music, but had lost contact with his former friends and band-mates, but he had so many memories and items from that past period of his life. As he showed them to Bousbia, she decided she wanted to get the band back together. Her short stay extended into a few years, and she documented the reunion of friends and the playing of a traditional Algerian music style called chaabi, which is a mix of North African polyrhythms, Andalusian classical music, jazz, flamenco and French cabaret. The result was El Gusto (auto-playing music). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 11, 2013 - 5 comments

DEFCON: The Documentary, a record of the 20th annual conference

DEFCON is one of the world's largest hacker conventions, and for its 20th year, MeFite and technology documentarian jscott was asked to capture the event as best as he could. Almost 300 hours of footage was cut down to a two hour documentary, which has been recently released online in HD (YouTube, Vimeo, Archive.org, and an official torrent from DEFCON). More details on IMDb. [via mefi projects] [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 10, 2013 - 27 comments

It Can Wait Presents...

One Second to the Next - Werner Herzog's 35 minute documentary on texting while driving.
posted by dobbs on Aug 8, 2013 - 51 comments

"People treated it with respect, but didn't particularly enjoy it."

In 1973, The Who released their sixth album, Quadrophenia. The epic double album tells the story of a boy named Jimmy Cooper who deals with mental illness on top of the run-of-the-mill stresses of teen life. But Jimmy Cooper isn't just any London teen.  Jimmy Cooper is a Mod. [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jul 29, 2013 - 68 comments

Boom And Bust

Bankrupt By Beanies - A short documentary about what happened to people after the "Beanie Babies as investments" fad wore down. (YouTube, 8:30)
posted by The Whelk on Jul 27, 2013 - 167 comments

"Sometimes he talks about art in his sleep."

The Pixel Painter is a short documentary about Hal Lasko, a 97-year-old artist who paints in Microsoft Paint. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on Jul 23, 2013 - 22 comments

Who are you? I really wanna know.

Between 1959 to 1970, late English film director Ken Russell (The Who's Tommy and Women in Love) created art documentaries for the BBC, many of them unusual adaptations of artists' lives. The documentaries included The Debussy Film, Dante's Inferno, Isadora, Song of Summer, and Always on Sunday. Bonus: Ken Russell in Conversation and Ken Russell at Work. Previously.
posted by seemoreglass on Jul 18, 2013 - 3 comments

Dear Mr. Watterson

Joel Schroeder, with the help of Kickstarter, has finally finished a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes and its creator, Bill Watterson. It's scheduled to be released on Nov. 15, 2013.
posted by reenum on Jul 16, 2013 - 36 comments

If your suffering leads to our suffering, you may be liable for damages.

The new documentary "Terms And Conditions May Apply," about the privacy overreach of major tech companies, presents its trailer on a cleverly written page of terms and conditions.
posted by mark7570 on Jul 11, 2013 - 11 comments

Six Months at Sea in the Merchant Marine

Martin Machado's short and serene documentary about his experiences working on a container ship. [more inside]
posted by Monsieur Caution on Jul 8, 2013 - 19 comments

Rupert Everett, Really Into Dead Victorian Dreamboats

In 2008 the actor Rupert Everett hosted (seemingly from his apartment) a rather strange documentary: The Victorian Sex Explorer ( 2 3 4 5 ), an attempt to follow in the footsteps of famed Explorer, translator, and author Sir Richard Burton and convince us of Sir Burton's passion for sexual experimentation while laying in lots of bathhouses and visiting brothels. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Jul 4, 2013 - 52 comments

If another nation was doing this to our children, we'd be at war.

"The story of American families facing food insecurity is as frustrating as it is heartbreaking, because the truth is as avoidable as it is tragic. Here in the richest country on earth, 50 million of us — one in six Americans — go hungry. More than a third of them are children. And yet Congress can’t pass a Farm Bill because our representatives continue to fight over how many billions to slash from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. The debate is filled with tired clichés about freeloaders undeserving of government help, living large at the expense of honest, hardworking taxpayers." Bill Moyers spends an hour with two of the creators of the documentary "A Place at the Table." [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Jul 3, 2013 - 76 comments

A Clean House Is A Safe House.

" The House In The Middle" A 1954 Civil Defense film shows how you can protect your home against atomic firestorms via good housekeeping (13 min, YouTube)
posted by The Whelk on Jun 29, 2013 - 44 comments

Rape on the Job in America

Rape in the Fields is a Frontline documentary that explores the persistent allegations that female agricultural workers in the U.S. are frequently sexually assaulted and harassed by supervisors who exploit their (often undocumented) immigrant status. Victims typically do not seek help from US law enforcement, either out of fear that they will be fired, deported or worse, or from a lack of understanding of U.S. law. Reviews: Popmatters. NY Times [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 26, 2013 - 19 comments

Ain't No Such Thing As A UFO

Mirage Men is a book and documentary by fortean investigator and author Mark Pilkington on governmental manipulation and general mindfuckery of UFO investigators. "In 1983, while researching a documentary on the subject of UFOs for HBO, [Linda Howe] was engaged by Richard 'Rick' Doty, an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), initially with the promise of helping her investigate an alleged UFO landing near Ellsworth Air Force Base. But Howe's meeting with Doty took an unexpected turn when the AFOSI agent suddenly produced a manila folder, saying she could take a look at it but, not remove it from the office or make notes. Within it was a document titled "Briefing Paper for the President of the United States of America on the Subject of Unidentified Aerial Vehicles", which listed a number of alleged UFO crash retrievals by the government, as well as paragraphs that became "emblazoned" on Howe's mind concerning how they had discovered that Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates." [more inside]
posted by artof.mulata on Jun 16, 2013 - 47 comments

In Space, No One Can Hear You Cough Politely

Project Kronos: is a documentary film set in the not too distant future, following a mission to achieve interstellar space travel. As the mission unfolds with extraordinary results, the scientists find themselves dealing with a much bigger agenda.
posted by lemuring on Jun 15, 2013 - 15 comments

Robert - Portrait of an Art-er

Robert is a little known artist and long time resident of Franklin New York. In the late nineties, Robert began constructing fantastic stone castles and keeps from native stone, in his small backyard. He has since created amazingly unique works at the homes of several Franklin residents. But, Robert's artistic interests and instincts go way beyond his stonework in ways that are surprising and very enlightening.
posted by VicNebulous on Jun 12, 2013 - 2 comments

Peter Sellers documentary 1969

Will The Real Mr Sellers Please Stand Up - a rare ~50min film narrated by Spike Milligan and made during the filming of 'The Magic Christian'*via Cinephilia and Beyond. [NSFW - some nudity] [more inside]
posted by peacay on Jun 11, 2013 - 12 comments

Here we glimpse a future in which all mysteries are solved

Toute la mémoire du monde (1956: 21 minutes) is a remarkably lovely documentary short by Alain Resnais about the Bibliothèque nationale de France in the age of print. Via The Funambulist. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Jun 8, 2013 - 5 comments

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