231 posts tagged with film and documentary.
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surviving in a hungry sea of white noise

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.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Aug 21, 2015 - 8 comments

Sunday, July 2nd, 1978

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]
posted by cosmic.osmo on Aug 3, 2015 - 13 comments

Don't worry, you probably won't be secretly murdered if you watch this.

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)
posted by BiggerJ on Aug 2, 2015 - 75 comments

"You can go wild on the wall, everything that comes to your imagination"

"The thing I find very exciting is waiting for the subway train and sometimes you'll get a glorious one that arrives decorated like a birthday cake!" Watching My Name Go By is a short 1976 BBC documentary about graffiti, artists, and graffiti artists in New York City. The film is based on Norman Mailer's 1974 essay for Esquire magazine, "The Faith of Grafitti." [via]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 16, 2015 - 5 comments

“I just want to spend my money on food & beers & going to hear music."

Chef Paxx Caraballo Moll is a rock-n-roll chef who creates inventive vegetarian food with the native foods of Puerto Rico.

They're also one of nine individuals profiled in Mala Mala, a feature length documentary exploring the lives of young Puerto Ricans in the trans community that recently premiered at the Tribeca film festival. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana on Jun 30, 2015 - 8 comments

Lahore Landing: 'an interactive documentary on another side of Pakistan'

Lahore Landing, an interactive documentary. "It all started when Taahira went to Karachi for a journalism internship ... Over Skype calls, she shared with us her experience – from underground indie rock concerts to alfresco BBQ nights. It surprised us. It seemed that all the media shared about life in Pakistan was a world of violence and terrorism when it was a lot more than that." [more inside]
posted by undue influence on Jun 3, 2015 - 2 comments

“Everything is some kind of a plot, man.”

A Journey Into the Mind of P. [YouTube]
A documentary, written & directed by Donatello Dubini & Fosco Dubini, mostly on the authors [Thomas Pynchon] reclusivness, how it's been dealt with by some hysterical fans, old friends, critics... containing some interesting interviews & speculations on the themes of Gravity's Rainbow & how they relate to the historical realities of the american fifties & sixties, the paranoid politics of cold war logic, megalomaniac experimental psychology, the callous mindset of military engineering, & so on...
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on May 10, 2015 - 6 comments

Winter Birdwatching in Jersey City

A short film.
posted by rtha on Mar 16, 2015 - 3 comments

"The Pueblo people orchestrated the unthinkable"

Frontera! Revolt and Rebellion on the Rio Grande (20:06; 2014) is an experimental animated documentary that briefly describes the Narváez, de Niza, Coronado, and Oñate expeditions en route to an account of Po'pay and the Pueblo Revolt. It features music by Greg Landau ("Women of the City" with Omar Sosa) with lyrics and vocals by Deuce Eclipse (SoundCloud; "Que Pasa" with J-Boogie).
posted by Monsieur Caution on Mar 14, 2015 - 4 comments

Pie Fight '69: street theatrical as a soft bomb tossed in protest

"There are several ideas of what happened here this evening. It could have been a fantastic promotion stunt, or a demonstration against the film establishment, but a lot of people think it was actually a motion picture being produced here at the film festival. The only thing sure is that the 13th annual San Francisco Film Festival got off to a smashing start." That's a bit of reporter humor, which accurately captures the diverse goals and ideas behind Pie Fight '69, a most memorable yet virtually forgotten piece of San Francisco's cinema history. The film from a half dozen cameras, run by members of Grand Central Station independent film collective, was lost until 1999. The rediscovered film was cut into a short documentary, which you can see on Archive.org, YouTube, and Vimeo.
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 12, 2015 - 2 comments

Two Films of Johan Grimonprez

Johan Grimonprez is a Belgian multimedia artist, filmmaker, and curator. He is most known for two 'not-quite documentary' films which use experimental forms to explore the relationship between media, politics, history, identity, and manipulation in the second half of the twentieth century: 1997's dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y , which traces the history of skyjacking throughout the 20th century using montages, and Double Take, which explores the Cold War through the lens of real and imagined versions of Alfred Hitchcock and Folger's instant coffee commercials. Both are available online. [more inside]
posted by MCMikeNamara on Feb 22, 2015 - 3 comments

The Measure of a Person is What They Do With What They Have

Beginning in 1920, Robert J. Flaherty spent a year in the Canadian Arctic (Port Harrison in Northern Quebec) documenting the daily struggles of an Inuk man named Nanook. The resulting feature-length film, an American silent documentary with elements of docudrama, was the first of its kind, in a style that would eventually become known as "salvage ethnography." Nanook of the North: A Story Of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic (1922) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 17, 2015 - 10 comments

"Come on big dude!"

Florida Man [vimeo] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Feb 6, 2015 - 13 comments

“German Concentration Camps Factual Survey”

In 1945, as Allied troops liberated concentration camps across what had been German-occupied Europe, the British Ministry of Information commissioned a documentary that would provide incontrovertible evidence of the Nazis’ crimes. Producer Sidney Bernstein's cameramen accompanied US, UK and Soviet troops into Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau and other camps. Six reels of film, known as the German Concentration Camps Factual Survey, were assembled and edited in part by Alfred Hitchcock (supervising director) and Billy Wilder.

The final product "was meant to be a historical document and a teaching tool; among the stated goals of the filmmakers was that it be shown to Germans to prove to them that the horrors of the camps were real." But the project was deemed too politically sensitive and abandoned before it was completed. The finished reels, storyboards and scripts sat in British archives for years. In 1985, PBS Frontline took some of the footage and created a documentary special: "Memory of the Camps." On January 27, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, HBO aired "Night Will Fall,” (trailer) directed by André Singer, which tells the story of the making of Factual Survey "...through the eyes of people who either filmed it, or through the eyes of the soldiers who first went in, to see what happened in the camps - or through the eyes of surviving victims who were in the camps." Film footage at links is disturbing and possibly NSFW [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 5, 2015 - 28 comments

The Wolfpack

‘The Wolfpack’ Tells of One New York Apartment With Seven Children Locked Inside (NYT). Crystal Moselle's documentary "The Wolfpack," premieres this Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival. A video interview with Crystal Moselle. [more inside]
posted by cwest on Jan 24, 2015 - 13 comments

Michael Caine on Acting in Film

Michael Caine on Acting in Film is 58 minutes from a 1987 BBC documentary in which Michael Caine teaches some actors about how to adjust their performance for the movie camera instead of the stage. Worth watching if you're interested in acting or movies, or if you just like seeing someone who's very good at his job explaining how he does it. [more inside]
posted by FishBike on Jan 4, 2015 - 25 comments

Ulf is content.

Meet Ulf. He lives north of the Arctic Circle and makes boat. He swims daily (brief male buttock shot), does household chores, and relaxes. Ulf is content. [10 minutes, Vimeo]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 16, 2014 - 26 comments

This is Rita, your new landlord

One Year Lease is an 11 minute film that was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival documenting almost entirely through voice mail messages, One Year Lease documents the travails of Brian, Thomas, and Casper as they endure a year-long sentence with Rita, the cat-loving landlady. "
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Dec 11, 2014 - 9 comments

Greil Marcus and Don DeLillo discuss Bob Dylan and Bucky Wunderlick

The following conversation took place in 2005 in front of an audience at the Telluride film festival in Colorado, after a screening of Martin Scorsese’s documentary, Bob Dylan: No Direction Home.
posted by Lorin on Nov 19, 2014 - 6 comments

Cowspiracy is a documentary now being screened

Cowspiracy is a crowdfunded documentary now being screened that examines the environmental impact of animal agriculture and seeks to examine why prominent environmental groups have apparently not made it a focus of their efforts. David Robinson Simon, the author of Meatonomics who appears in the film, interviews filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn. [more inside]
posted by Drinky Die on Oct 4, 2014 - 32 comments

The 50 Year Argument

The New York Review of Books recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding (previously), growing out of an alliance between Harpers editor Robert Silvers and writer Elizabeth Hardwick to find a place for what she called "the unusual, the difficult, the lengthy, the intransigent, and above all, the interesting." Known as the New York Review or the NYRB, it is also known to fans as the best magazine in the world. Next Monday, HBO will air The 50-Year Argument, a documentary by Martin Scorsese about the history of the magazine and what makes it special. [more inside]
posted by grobstein on Sep 24, 2014 - 19 comments

"That Saturday was really a normal Saturday, like any other Saturday,"

In This Horror Film, Blood Is All Too Real [New York Times] ‘Terror at the Mall’ on HBO documents an Attack in Kenya.
One year ago, gunmen from the Shabab militant group in Somalia laid siege to the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Armed with AK-47s and grenades, they stalked their victims from a gourmet burger restaurant at the entrance to the vegetable aisle of a grocery store at the back. The British filmmaker Dan Reed assembled thousands of hours of footage gleaned from more than 100 security cameras inside the mall, video from television crews and modest cellphones, as well as still photographs. Then he and his team tracked down more than 200 people and interviewed 82 of them on camera, many survivors or their rescuers.
[more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 17, 2014 - 2 comments

Dancehall in Japan

Dancehall in Japan. A short mini documentary from the Scene Unseen project at #ListenForYourself. [more inside]
posted by chunking express on Aug 20, 2014 - 5 comments

Teddy Gray's

Teddy Gray's Sweet Factory is a short and sweet documentary by Martin Parr about a traditionally owned and run confectionery factory in the British Midlands. [via kottke]
posted by carter on Jul 21, 2014 - 16 comments

"There are specific instructions when Isaac Hayes comes on."

Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 3, 2014 - 23 comments

"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

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

"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

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

"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

“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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I just want to leave enough images behind that I'll never be forgotten"

The project centers on nine women in the feminist lesbian porn industry who are recorded for a 24-hour period, with 10-second blips of their everyday lives playing out in five-minute intervals. What’s revealed is an intimate portrait of a marginalized community opening up about sex, gender politics, depression, and their daily grind in a way that’s downright real.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on May 18, 2013 - 4 comments

Les Blank

Beloved indy ethnographic documentarian Les Blank died yesterday. This interview gives a good overview of his background, and this post includes clips. Watch a couple of his public domain films here. Or do yourself a favor and find the complete version of Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Apr 8, 2013 - 19 comments

Murica

My fellow Mefites, I implore you. Don't even think about clicking the more inside if you have anything pressing to do. [previously] [more inside]
posted by timsteil on Mar 17, 2013 - 11 comments

Michael Peterson and The Staircase, redux

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s documentary gets new installments. Previously. Eight years later, Michael Peterson went back to court and Lestrade filmed it again.
posted by BibiRose on Mar 5, 2013 - 11 comments

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