The grandeurs and intimacies of nature will, I hope, encourage the spectator to seek for himself the inexhaustible sources of beauty in the natural world around him. Fortunate is he indeed who can see Mount McKinley against the summer midnight sky.... From a 1962 documentary about the photography of Ansel Adams produced by THIRTEEN/WNET. [more inside]
"The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon": In 1994, workers demolishing a toy shop in Blackburn, England stumbled on hundreds of films of Edwardian-era daily life made and collected by Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon. This BBC series describes their rediscovery and historical significance, revisits filming locations, and includes interviews with relatives of some of the films' subjects. [more inside]
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]
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]
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]
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]
Over 150 documentaries available free online on science, consciousness, and several other topics. Occasional link is broken.
Thirty directors--Morgan Spurlock, Alex Gibney, and others--create three minute short films about an innovator or world-changing idea. Warning: corporate sponsorship.
"In 1945, Hitchcock had been enlisted by his friend and patron Sidney Bernstein to help with a documentary on German wartime atrocities, based on the footage of the camps shot by British and Soviet film units. In the event, that documentary was never seen." A truncated version of Alfred Hitchcock's Holocaust documentary was aired on Frontline in 1985 under the name "Memory of the Camps" (YouTube mirror), but now the restoration work on the film is nearly complete and set to be released later this year. The film is "much more candid" than other documentaries, and Hitchcock himself was reported to have been so disturbed during production that he stayed away from his studio for a week. (Given the subject matter, disturbing content throughout.) [more inside]
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.
First Nations and the Future of Canadian Citizenship (CBC Ideas) Part history lesson, part memoir, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations takes to the stage to share stories of the people he represents and his own past. In his lecture titled It Feels Like We're On the Cusp, National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo sets out why he believes First Nations peoples are on the cusp of change. via CBC Ideas [more inside]
Martin Machado's short and serene documentary about his experiences working on a container ship. [more inside]
In the late '80s, documentarians Louis Alvarez and Andrew Kolker spent six months in Tokyo looking at how symbols and imagery familiar to Americans had been appropriated and given new significance in Japan. Though more than 20 years old, the resulting video remains popular in undergraduate courses across the social sciences and humanities in part because it's so entertaining. [more inside]
Head Like An Orange is a tumblr dedicated to posting beautiful gifs from various nature documentaries.
Nuclear War: A Guide To Armageddon This 1982 documentary looks at the effects of a 1 MT nuke detonating a mile above London's St Paul's Cathedral. Written and produced by "Threads" director Mick Jackson. Ludovic Kennedy narrates. Previously. Meta.
In last night's episode of Independent Lens on PBS, filmmaker Alex Gibney presented the case that America's richest citizens have "rigged the game in their favor," and created unprecedented inequality in the United States. "Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream" [video, website]
During the Golden Age of Hollywood and until 1967, mainstream movie studios were banned by the Production Code from depicting taboo topics like drug addiction, explicit murder and venereal disease, or even showing explicit nudity. But in the 1930's and 1940's, films marketed as "educational" could and did fly under the radar, and three of the best known 'educational' propaganda exploitation films are: Sex Madness (1935), Reefer Madness (1936) and The Cocaine Fiends (1938). [more inside]
In 2005, the Discovery Channel aired Alien Worlds, a fictional documentary based on Wayne Douglas Barlowe's graphic novel, Expedition: Being an Account in Words and Artwork of the 2358 A.D. Voyage to Darwin IV." Depicting mankind's first robotic mission to an extrasolar planet that could support life, the show drew from NASA's Origins Program, the NASA/JPL PlanetQuest Mission, and ESA's Darwin Project. It was primarily presented through CGI, but included interviews from a variety of NASA scientists and other experts, including Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku, John Craig Venter and Jack Horner. Oh, and George Lucas, too. Official site. Previously on MeFi. [more inside]
RIP Mel Stuart, 1928-2012. Best known for directing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — essentially an elaborate product-placement for Quaker Oats, which funded the whole thing to promote a new chocolate bar — the versatile Stuart was also a committed documentarian whose films for producer David L. Wolper included 1964's Four Days in November and 1973's Wattstax. >
The Up Series [previously] continues. This documentary series, begun in 1964, has revisited the lives of a select group of British citizens once every seven years of their life. 56 Up, which shows the group at age 56, will air sometime in mid-May on the BBC, but until then, have this great Guardian article about the impact of the films on the lives of the people featured in them.
But this season, PBS chose to move Independent Lens and P.O.V. to a new time slot -- 10 pm, ET, on Thursday nights. This may not seem like such a big deal at first, until you know that on Thursday nights stations can broadcast any program they like in prime time, whether it's part of the PBS schedule or not. Many take the opportunity to offers viewers locally produced programs, British sitcoms or reruns of Antiques Roadshow. As a result, episodes of the independent documentary series can now be run anywhere local stations choose to fit them in (here in New York, WNET airs the films at 11 p.m. on Sundays) or maybe not at all.Bill Moyers writes an open letter to PBS about scheduling changes which have ruined PBS as Tuesday night destination for documentary television.
Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark is a 13-part documentary produced by the BBC that was first aired on in 1969. It is considered to be a landmark in British Television's broadcasting of the visual arts. Here's the entire series (13 one-hour episodes) on YouTube. This is a treat for those of you who like History of Art, especially so if you haven't yet got around to seeing it. [more inside]
FOX has greenlit an update of Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (on Hulu, previously) co-produced by Sagan's widow Ann Druyan and Seth MacFarlane, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, which will air in Fall 2013. [more inside]
Dr. Frank C. Baxter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He played Dr. Research in the Bell Labs Science Series, beginning in 1956 with Our Mr. Sun. [more inside]
Finnish YouTube user Ishexan has uploaded seven English subtitled movies in parts: Broken Blossoms (1919), Aelita (1924), The Gipsy Charmer (1929), The Tragedy of Elina (1938), The Activists (1939), The Wooden Pauper's Bride (1944), and Sampo (1959), which is based on the epic poem The Kalevala. The films are mostly Finnish, though Aelita is a silent Russian sci-fi film, and Sampo was a joint Finnish and Soviet production. More film clips inside (mostly Finnish documentaries and "dorky musical numbers"). [more inside]
As discussed over the weekend, in less than two weeks the millions of videos uploaded to six-year-old erstwhile YouTube competitor Google Video will no longer be viewable. Though a download button has been added to each video page for easy back-up, that will only be available though May 13th, and the company will not be offering transfer service for users with YouTube accounts. The search giant has been slowly winding down the service over the years since their billion-dollar buyout of YouTube, controversially revoking purchased content (with a refund) in 2007 and disabling new uploads in 2009. The shutdown is a big blow to the web video ecosystem, as Google Video was one of the few major services to allow free hosting of long-form video, including the content for many popular MetaFilter posts. But all is not lost! Reddit users have organized a virtual potluck to share the most interesting and unique videos not available anywhere else, and the Archive Team, preserver of doomed web properties like Geocities (previously), is partnering with Archive.org to back up as much content as possible. In that spirit, click inside for a list of some of the most popular Google Video-centric content posted here over the years. [more inside]
IN Gear, swinging London of 1960s and SOHO bohemian Coffee Bars of London, 1959. These are a few of the 500+ vintage documentary shorts called "Look at Life" that ran at the Odeon and Gaumont cinemas during the 50s and 60s. (via Dangerous Minds) [more inside]
Cinelan 3 Minute Stories are short documentaries on diverse subjects, such as The London Review of Books personals section, 60s martial arts legend and self-styled 'deadliest man alive' Count Dante and The R.O.M.E.O.s, a group of five old friends from New York in their 70s and 80s who go out to eat and talk about stuff. If you have more time New Video Digital has some full length documentaries (and a few other films) such as The Atomic Cafe, Oscar winner From Mao to Mozart, and season one of Michael Moore's The Awful Truth TV series.
Gestalten TV - Exploring Visual Culture. A series of documentaries on (mostly) art and artists.
Lookout Mountain Laboratories (Hollywood, CA) was originally built in 1941 as an air defense station. But after WWII, the US Air Force repurposed it into a secret film studio which operated for 22 years during the Cold War. The studio produced classified movies for all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as the Atomic Energy Commission, until it was deactivated in 1969. During this time, cameramen, who referred to themselves as "atomic" cinematographers, were hired to shoot footage of atomic bomb tests in Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and the South Pacific. Some of their films have been declassified and can be seen here. [more inside]
The one song played at every bar mitzvah isn't "Celebration," or "I Gotta Feeling," or even "New York, New York" -- it's "Hava Nagila." But what is it? A 9-minute documentary tells the story of how a wordless meditative nigun became a song everybody in the world, Jewish or not, could sing. Seriously, everybody. Harry Belafonte and Danny Kaye. Harry Dean Stanton with Bob Dylan backing up on harmonica. Polish metal band Rootwater. A guy who plays the ukulele behind his head. The Modern Female Choir of Zhejiang. The Dark Knight. What appears to be a group of comedy fiddlers ("featuring John and Pancho") from John Hagee's church in San Antonio. Even ... um... this guy. (Previously on MetaFilter: The closest you're going to get to the Beatles covering "Hava Nagila.")
Phos Pictures makes beautifully candid documentaries that are simultaneously heart-wrenching, haunting, and raw: The Last Minutes with ODEN[previously], Pennies Heart, 5 Hours with Woody, My YiaYia, and more (or, click here if you prefer Vimeo). [warning: good chance of rain on face]
Journeyman Pictures has uploaded nearly 4000 videos to YouTube. Many of these are trailers for the documentaries they sell, but they have also posted hundreds of full-length videos. Most are for short documentarie, but there are a lot of features too. It's somewhat daunting to explore, but the playlists are a good place to start, and so are the shows: Features, Shorts, News and Savouring Europe, a European travelogue series. Here's a few interesting ones: Gastronauts, about French culinary students working to make astronaut food more palatable, Demon Drummers, about student Kodo drummers, India's Free Lunch, about the effects of free school lunches on Indian society, The Twitter Revolution, about YouTube and Twitter's role in the 2009 Iranian uprising, Europe's Black Hole, about Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, Small Town Boy, about a gay male carnival queen in a small town in England, The Vertigo of Lists, Umberto Eco talks about the ubiquity of lists in modern culture and Monsters from the Id, about scientists in the science fiction films of the Fifties.
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
BBC World Service has over 500 audio documentaries you can download. The subject matter is incredibly wide ranging, for example, internet cafés, the influence of Islamic art on William Morris, South African female AIDS activist Thembi Ngubane, Yiddish, the importance of cows, novelist Chinua Achebe, financial risk management, Obama as an intellectual, the physical and emotional effects of a car crash and many, many more. If the quantity and variety are overwhelming, you can subscribe to a podcast, which delivers a new documentary to you every single day.
Uneven Terrain is a series of short documentaries about urban exploration, about 10-15 minutes long each. There are six so far, about monumental ruins in New York, Centralia, the Pennsylvania town where an underground coalseam has been on fire since the 1960s, abandoned missile silos in the US and how they're being turned into homes, oil drilling in Los Angeles, the Teufelberg listening station and the abandoned bunkers under Tempelhof Airport in Berlin and pirate radio in London and on the old Redsand sea forts. Each short doc has a different presenter. All have accompanying photo galleries. [These are produced for the bootmaker Palladium, but it's pretty low-key]
Extremely bleak, frequently poignant, always hilarious: Hulu is now offering the UK version of The Office in its entirety. That includes two series of six episodes each and the two-part Christmas Special. [more inside]
The HotDocs Festival, North America's largest documentary film festival, has placed an enormous amount of content online.
The Interview is a programme from the BBC World Service. Each episode is a 30 minute in-depth question and answer session between the journalist – usually Carrie Gracie or Owen Bennett-Jones – and the subject. Over the past few years it has covered everything from literature – for example, Martin Amis and Seamus Heaney – to the nexus between neurology and music, with Oliver Sacks, and what it's like to be a sprinter with no feet. [more inside]
Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry. A feature-length documentary focusing on Malcolm Lowry, author of the novel Under the Volcano. [more inside]
The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has put 675 reels of archival 16 mm film online via the Internet Archive. Most of the film is unedited, and stems either from Museum research, or was donated by interested amateurs. Much of it is silent, reflecting the technology of the day. One highlight are the four surviving reels of the long-running TV show 'What in the World" (look for the episode starring Vincent Price), but the archive is full of other hidden gems, such as the 1950s archaeological expedition to Tikal, a 1940 film "A 1000 Mile Road Trip Across America", and Glimpses of Life Among the Catawba and Cherokee Indians of the Carolinas (1927). The films are downloadable in various formats, including MPEG2, Ogg Video, and 512Kb MPEG4. Happy browsing! via.
To celebrate its 40th birthday, PBS has loaded - and continues to load - tons of content into its new, slick, Coverflow-ish on-demand site. Full episodes of American Experience, American Masters, Frontline, Great Performances, Masterpiece Theater, Nature, Nova, the NewsHour and a bunch more are now online.
"What you're looking for as a retoucher is a broom, something that covers your tracks, some way of obscuring where you've been. The first thing [most] people take out is bloodshot eyes. That's the last thing I take out—the last thing I'd, like, just wipe, because that just makes it look retouched." -- from Jesse Epstein's video op-ed for the NY Times, based on her film Wet Dreams and False Images ("I know that's not airbrushed. I could put a million dollars that's not airbrushed."), one of three related short documentaries on physical perfection. "Each head has to be identical to the other head, so we don't want anybody putting sandpaper to the head." -- from 34 x 25 x 36. Via the latest installment of Shakesville's Impossibly Beautiful series. (Previous posts on retouching.)
SpaceTimeTV collects and lets you watch all the best educational videos online from full length documentaries (such as the 50 minute long Is There Life on Mars) to short video clips such as this one on glaciers and global warming. There are hundreds of videos on topics including history, space, technology, and nature.
Mentioned here earlier in its beta form, Canada's National Film Board has released the bulk of its films online, for free, in the NFB Screening Room. With hundreds of films from the 1920s onwards, including groundbreaking work by animator Norman McLaren, documentaries, dramas, bizarre anti-smoking (or pro-smoking?) screeds and much, much more, it's a breathtaking trove of amazing film to be discovered from north of the 49th. [more inside]
When her Japanese-American husband was sent to internment camps in California and Wyoming, Estelle Peck Ishigo chose to accompany him. An art-school teacher fired for her interracial marriage, she documented the three-and-a-half-year ordeal in a short memoir and hundreds of sketches and paintings. [more inside]
Avatara is a 2003 ethnographic film (72 minutes) that takes place entirely in "Cyberia", specifically in the Digitalspace Traveler virtual world (previously), which dates back to 1996. Interview with the filmmaker. Review of the film. via [more inside]
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