Craig Baldwin creates "collage essay" films, redeeming or taking revenge on the trash(ed) videos of the past, and making movies on the cheap (YT interview). The work of this culture jammer, media appropriator, director and documentarian (Sonic Outlaws, Archive.org) stretches back to his short student films in the 1970s, and often includes political commentary, usually concerning the exploitation of countries and people under imperialism, capitalist or otherwise. But you might have to look beyond the chaos on the surface, as found in the ultimate conspiracy theory film, Tribulation 99: Alien Anomalies Under America (1991 - 48 minutes, Vimeo). [more inside]
Established in 1982, the [San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive] preserves 6000 hours of newsfilm, documentaries and other TV footage produced in the Bay Area and Northern California from the Twentieth Century. We are a part of the J. Paul Leonard Library’s Department of Special Collections and oversee material owned by local TV stations KPIX-TV, KRON-TV, KQED and KTVU. All 1,659 items in the collections can be streamed. A few notable inclusions within. [more inside]
Al Fry is an old-school eccentric, mostly from the pre-internet days. He lives (or lived) out in Idaho, which was his home-base for distributing Fry's Incredible Inquiry's Catalog, covering "technology, alchemy, weird science (PDF), Tesla, anti-gravity, occult, crystal power, and other fascinating fringy topics." And then there are his videos, including Hidden World History and Strange Beings 1, narrated by A. H. Fry himself. His videos have been collected a few times over on YouTube (1, 2). And he has written about making tipis.
Every Episode of David Attenborough’s Life Series, Ranked [The Atlantic] This Sunday, Sir David Attenborough, naturalist, maker of wildlife documentaries, snuggler of gorillas, wielder of That Voice, keeper of the blue shirt, and Most Trusted Man in Britain, turns 90. To mark the occasion, and celebrate his unbeatable oeuvre, I re-watched all 79 episodes of his Life Collection, and ranked them from worst to best—or, really, from least great to greatest.
Roadliners. A short documentary about a Glaswegian freehand painter of text and signs on roads.
Filmmaker and editor trappped makes eerie documentaries about prolific Youtubers. [Content warning: descriptions of child sexual abuse in third link (and possibly other Hampow93 vids).] [more inside]
Last Men Standing. The stories of eight men who aren't supposed to be here. Diagnosed with HIV in the 1980's, when that was a death sentence, they are now living lives they never expected to have. [more inside]
Teaching Men to Be Emotionally Honest [NYT]: "By the time many young men do reach college, a deep-seeded* gender stereotype has taken root that feeds into the stories they have heard about themselves as learners. Better to earn your Man Card than to succeed like a girl, all in the name of constantly having to prove an identity to yourself and others." [more inside]
BBC Radio 2 presents a 4-hour, 4-part career retrospective of Pet Shop Boys. The first two hours, Chart (Part 1, Part 2) cover their 11 main studio albums released during their 28-year relationship with the Parlophone music label. Hour three, Collaborate, covers their forays outside of pop music into musical theater, silent film scoring, ballet, and even a BBC Proms classical music piece. The final hour, The Pop Kids [which deviates from PSB naming conventions in ways that annoy me deeply -ed] looks at their most recent recordings, both done for their own label, X2. [more inside]
Orson Welles, sitting in a dark library and smoking a cigar, narrates the 1975 28-minute long NASA documentary "Who's Out There" on the subjects of Mars, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life and civilizations. Also featuring Carl Sagan.
A Journal of Insomnia is an interactive documentary that only comes alive at night. Make a nighttime appointment to experience a sleepless night through stories, images and webcam videos shared by the insomniac of your choice. [more inside]
A four part documentary, each of 15 mins, about Jan Švankmajer probably the greatest living surrealist. Pt. I. | Pt. II. | Pt. III | Pt. IV.
An interview from 2012 - Freedom is becoming the only theme, and a previous incredibly thorough post.
An interview from 2012 - Freedom is becoming the only theme, and a previous incredibly thorough post.
Jesse Owens usually gets all the attention when people talk about the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, but the documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice looks at the other black athletes who traveled with Owens to Hitler’s Berlin 80 years ago, including Jackie Robinson’s big brother Mack, and Tidye Ann Pickett-Phillips, first black American woman to compete in the Olympics.
Net cafe refugees | Dumping ground | Overworked to suicide. A three-part documentary based on Shiho Fukada's portrait series, Japan's Disposable Workers. Previously. [more inside]
The first feature-length documentary to shed light on the Black Panther Party — and all its reviled, adored, misunderstood, and mythologized history. The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution is now streaming online. [more inside]
The Brain: What is Reality To conjure a reality from all [that] sensory information your brain needs about half a second. [more inside]
A variety of documentaries about Negro League baseball: Only The Ball Was White, Black Ball, Extra Innings: Preserving the History of the Negro Leagues, and The Long Summers of Lou Dials. [more inside]
Keith Haring's New Year's Eve Party with his paintings and favorite music is a video taken at Keith's New Year's Eve Party welcoming 1984 via the 5 Ninth Avenue Project, , which uploads the work of video artist Nelson Sullivan, who, when he died in 1989, left behind almost 1,200 hours of footage of the now iconic and heavily romanticized Downtown New York scene
Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World - "With interviewees ranging from Elon Musk to a gaming addict, Werner Herzog presents the web in all its wildness and utopian potential in this dizzying documentary." (via)
This weekend Netflix released Chelsea Does, a new documentary series that follows comedian Chelsea Handler as she explores the topics of marriage, racism, drugs, and Silicon Valley. Some reviews have been quite positive whereas others are much more negative.
Welcome back from your Saturday morning ride! Now enjoy the classic Eddy Merckx profile La course en tête. [101min.] [more inside]
In a remote corner of the world a living relic from a prehistoric age still exists. A creature that once roamed the northern plains alongside mammoths and sabertooth cats.In Between is a short video that takes you to visit muskox in their frozen habitat. [more inside]
For two days in 1975, rock band KISS took over the town of Cadillac, Michigan, and played at the Cadillac High School Homecoming. [SLYT] What started as a football coach looking for a way to inspire his players ended up bringing the entire town together in the name of rock and roll. [via]
"It was Asian enough for my immigrant parents and American enough for my sister and me." In the PBS feature documentary, Off The Menu, filmmaker Grace Lee traverses the US into the kitchens, factories, temples and farm of Asian Pacific America that explores how our relationship to food reflects our evolving communities. Food Republic spoke with Jonathan Wu and Wilson Tang, whose NYC restaurant, Fung Tu, is featured in the film.
Lidia Celebrates America: Home for the Holidays "This special features Lidia and six celebrity guests—Christopher Walken, Ann Curry, Padma Lakshmi, Rita Moreno, Marcus Samuelson and Carlo Ponti, Jr. as they share their immigrant experiences and holiday traditions."
Cleopatra Kambugu was outed as a trans woman following the passage of extremely punitive anti-gay bills in Uganda. She, her boyfriend, and her family are the subject of a series of short documentaries about life in East Africa for openly LGBTQI individuals. "I was born here - a land with beautiful mountains and deep dark forest - a country blessed with diversity in ethnicity, gender, flora and fauna. Yet in all this richness, as a people and as a nation, we still struggle to recognize and appreciate this diversity." links and videos contain some disturbing transphobic and homophobic rhetoric and violence. [more inside]
Ace's High (Part 1, Part 2) is a short documentary about a four-member Ace Frehley tribute band whose members all performed in full 1970s Ace Frehley makeup and costumes. [more inside]
Holy Ghost People (1967) Dir. Peter Adair. Sound. Steve Reich "Ground-breaking example of "cinema verite" filmmaking at its best! This documentary explores the individual experiences of Pentacostal Christians. Film culminates with ceremonial handling of poisonous snakes. Ironically, it is the preacher that gets bitten."
Onto the Land (yt) - the latest in a series of Grand Theft Auto V nature documentaries in the style of David Attenborough.
Forgotten Silver tells the story of pioneering filmmaker Colin McKenzie. This legendary New Zealander created the worlds first colour film and first talking film. He created the first tracking shot and captured footage of a pre-Wright brothers flight. This "documentary" made by Peter Jackson & Costa Botes caused a furore in New Zealand when it was released 20 years ago today. Watch the first 10 Minutes for free. Rent or buy here. [more inside]
The Story of Technoviking. July 8, 2000. Matthias Fritsch put down the camera on his lap on the back of a DJ van at Berlin's Fuckparade. Unknowingly, he recorded a dancer that became one of the first massively popular internet video memes, at a time downloading stamp-sized MOV and RM files was still norm. But TECHNOVIKING was not pleased, and a lawsuit left Fritsch bankrupt. This is the full story, as told by the creator of the original video with guest artists, sociologists and lawyers, how he (and Technoviking) lost control of their images, the implications of remix culture, the propagation of internet memes, and the impact of the internet on privacy rights. (Slightly NSFW censored private bits, 5 minutes in.)
Half-heard whispers. A creaking door. A missed step. From Vertigo to Videodrome, the scariest movies exploit our greatest – and most basic – fears. Fear Itself - BBC Documentary (SLYT NSFW)
On February 19, 1987, it was just another night at the Palomino, with Taj Mahal and The Graffiti Band playing some folk, soul, blues and maybe a bit of jazz. It wasn't unusual for some more major musicians to be in the crowd, but this night George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, and Jesse Ed Davis joined Taj and jammed, with Fogerty playing "Proud Mary" at the prompting of Dylan. But if you want to visit this iconic club today, you'll find yourself in front of Le Monge banquet hall. The Palomino is no more, but you can visit the Valley's legendary honky-tonk with an oral history of The Palomino, and a fan-made VH1 "Behind the Music" style documentary that includes some vintage clips and photos. [more inside]
HUMAN is a film by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand (who is primarily known for his aerial photography, especially as collected in the book Earth From Above). The film combines interviews of people from all over the world (over 2,000 were collected as the film was made) with aerial views of humanity in many contexts. The interviews are loosely organized by subject, and the film (in three 90 minute parts) may be viewed for free on YouTube: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.
"I found this collection of outtakes in my archive. I shot these interviews on the streets of New York in the late 70s when I was doing a documentary on the coming of the information age." - Man on the street interviews with New Yorkers in 1979 about science, technology, corporate influence, computers, and paperwork. (SLYT 5:45)
"I Am Fundi" is a short documentary depicting the education system in Uganda and the measures that the organization, Fundibots, is taking to create change. Victor, a Fundi teacher with a challenging past, is changing the future of Uganda by preparing and instilling excitement for science in young children so that when they grow, they will be confident, supported, and prepared for contemporary practices and technological advances.via
Great 1977 video interview with Mrs. Jessie Roestenberg describing a 1954 UFO experience in Staffordshire, West Midlands, England. This blog post shows part of a 1959 newspaper clipping with a photo of Mrs. Roestenberg (presumably from 1954, going by the apparent age of her children in the photo; click image for larger view), and a drawing she made of what she reported seeing, as well as an undated, unsourced photo of the by-now-elderly Mrs. Roestenberg holding an artist's rendering of the figures she described. [more inside]
Walt Disney - "An unprecedented look at the life and legacy of one of America's most enduring and influential storytellers -- Walt Disney."
Perhaps you're familiar with Amazing Grace, the biggest selling gospel album of all time and most certainly the biggest selling album of Aretha Franklin's career. What you may not know is that Sidney Pollack filmed a documentary during the recording of that album. It was never completed due to analog technical issues, but 43 years later, in our modern digital age, those have been overcome and it's about to hit the festival circuit. But hold on! Literally moments before it was due to make its world premiere at Telluride, Franklin got an unprecedented court injunction to stop the movie from being shown. And the film has also been pulled from Toronto's film festival. Franklin filed an amended lawsuit yesterday to prevent any screenings, specifically citing any seeking to find a distributor.
The Queen of Trees is a documentary (52 minutes) on the sycomore fig tree, focusing on the intricate mutualism between a fig tree and its fig wasp. Filmmakers Victoria Stone and Mark Deeble spent two years camped out in the Kenyan bush to capture fascinating scenes of life around the sycomore, including inside the figs.
Skrillex, Diplo, and Justin Bieber collaborate on a song and talk about the process in this NYT mini-doc.
30+ year veteran folk-rock duo Indigo Girls release their first ever behind the scenes making of documentary film about the recording of One Lost Day, their first album in four years.(Vimeo) [1h5m] (YouTube) [more inside]
Brooklyn's Afropunk festival has gone from a small gathering of friends celebrating an underground documentary to a massive, celebrated boutique fashion and mainstream music cornucopia. Some say they have sold out. But in Pitchfork, author Hanif Abdurraqib, (previously) makes a case that it still represents something very real and important to black youth culture.
In 1924, the longest-running community festival in the United States, Las Fiestas de Santa Fe, got a bit weirder, thanks to the artist Will Shuster. That year, he found inspiration in the burning of Judas effigies, specifically the practice including firecrackers, performed by the Yaqui Indians of northwest Mexico (Google books preview) and he created Zozobra (meaning anxiety, worry in Spanish, nicknamed "Old Man Gloom" or "the gloomy one"). The burning effigy was joined by a fire spirit dancer around 1933, originally created by Jacques Cartier, formerly a ballet dancer in New York. [more inside]
"He probably finds himself the most attractive person that you could possibly meet." James O'Briend, friend of Morrissey, in the documentary, The Importance of Being Morrissey (2003) [SLYT]. From the video details: "UK TV Documentary Narrated by Christopher Eccleston, With contributions from Johnny Marr, Alan Bennett, Kathy Burke, Noel Gallagher, Nancy Sinatra, Linder & others."
Farewell - ETAOIN SHRDLU: a short film documenting the production of the last edition of the New York Times to use hot metal typesetting. [via PrintingFilms.com]
In 1991, a documentary, intended to be the first of a series on celebrity businessmen, was completed. It was screened twice, but its subject prevented its release and it was clear that continuing the series wasn't worth the trouble. So why has that film been released almost a quarter of a century later? Because that same businessman is now running for president. Trump: What's the Deal? (trailer, direct Vimeo link to full film, unofficial YouTube mirror)