THE BEST Documentaries

White Helmets (Trailer)

White Helmets (Trailer)

A Netflix documentary about the Syrian Civil Defense, commonly known as White Helmets after their distinctive protective gear. They are unarmed volunteers that rescue civilians caught in bombing strikes. According to the BBC, they have saved 56,000 lives so far. Premieres 9/16.

Red Heaven

Red Heaven

This month, the scientists who participated in a year-long isolation experiment to simulate life on Mars are going to “return to Earth.”  Red Heaven is a documentary featuring footage of the scientists before, during and after the grueling and mentally exhausting simulation.

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aRm1

aRm1

Motorcyclist Chris Ganley was in a horrific crash, resulting in the loss of his left hand and arm. But his determination drove him to get back on his steel horse, and Chris hopes to one day race the deadly Isle of Man TT. A brilliantly edited documentary by The Roos Brothers.

Leave it to the Movers

Leave it to the Movers

This 2011 documentary shows how the Japanese’s diligence and world famous work ethic translates to its moving companies. Aside from transporting your belongings, they will pack and unpack your items as they were, and even clean both your old and new homes.

Ruben’s Elevator

Ruben’s Elevator

“I’m right here on the first floor. The doors are open. I’m ready for more.” Meet Ruben Pardo, who has worked for 40 years as an elevator operator at an iconic art deco tower in Los Angeles. Dress Code’s charming look at a man dedicated to his work and supporting his family.

The World’s Deadliest Garden

The World’s Deadliest Garden

Great Big Story takes us on a trip to Alnwick Castle’s Poison Garden, an oddity which grows only plants which are capable of causing major harm. The garden currently has about 100 varieties of deadly plant life. We’re guessing they don’t have any problems with vermin.

When Two Worlds Collide (Trailer)

When Two Worlds Collide (Trailer)

(PG-13: Language) A harrowing documentary about the conflict between Peru’s minorities and its government. In the early 2000s, Peru invited foreign companies to take advantage of the country’s natural resources, most of which lay in constitutionally-protected land.

Bacon & God’s Wrath

Bacon & God’s Wrath

“Some of my most intimate thoughts and questions were shared, were so common. The Google could anticipate it.” In filmmaker Sol Friedman’s short documentary we meet Razie, a 90-year-old woman who had a change of faith soon after she started using the Internet.

Graphic Means (Trailer)

Graphic Means (Trailer)

Briar Levit’s Graphic Means is an upcoming documentary that will explore the history of graphic design production and desktop publishing, starting from the meticulous analog processes of the ’50s to the instant gratification and one man operations we have today.

How Google Doodles Are Made

How Google Doodles Are Made

Google employees Nat and Lo visited the Google Doodle design team to find out how they make the interactive Google logos. In particular, Nat and Lo spoke to the members who came up with the Olympic-themed Doodle, the Fruit Games.

Mister Sunshine

Mister Sunshine

When Larry Woods was a millionaire back in the day, he was a self-confessed a-hole. But a single moment set him on the path to discovering true happiness. His new career as a shoeshine man may be humble, but it’s clear that he’s a much better person for it.

Jukebox Hero

Jukebox Hero

While tube amps and turntables have made a big comeback in recent years, vinyl jukeboxes are still relics of days gone by. Great Big Story takes a brief look at Perry Rosen, one of the few guys around who still knows how to fix these mechanical marvels of the past.

Welcome to The Last Bookstore

Welcome to The Last Bookstore

Chad Howitt’s profile of Josh Spencer, owner of Los Angeles’ famous used book shop The Last Bookstore. An outdoorsman, Josh was paralyzed from the waist down after an accident. But it led him to create what become a beloved landmark.

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The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere

In 2003, a failing small town horse track in Japan made a desperate gamble: hype up Haru Urara, a horse with a record of 0-88. The country rallied around her story, “a message about the value of trying hard even when no one’s looking.” Ganbatte kudasai!

Under the Sun (Trailer)

Under the Sun (Trailer)

Vitaly Mansky wanted to make a documentary about life in Pyongyang through the eyes of a young girl. But authorities’ constant interference turned it into an scripted satire – a more accurate representation of what Mansky was trying to capture anyway. Playdates here.

Being a Title Designer

Being a Title Designer

Dan Perri has created titles and title sequences for Star Wars IV, Taxi Driver, Gangs of New York and more. He spoke with the Oscars about his career, his tools and his penchant for adapting rather than stamping his own style to the movie he’s working on.

The Dude Behind the Dude

The Dude Behind the Dude

“Yeah maybe they don’t take me seriously, umm you know, why would you take somebody seriously that doesn’t know what day it is?” Meet Jeff Dowd, the Coen Brothers’ main inspiration for Jeff Bridges’ character in The Big Lebowski. Props to Redditor th3rp for the title.

Lancia Delta S4: A Ballet of Brutality

Lancia Delta S4: A Ballet of Brutality

“When you’re done driving the car, you’re really happy, because it’s over.” John Campion spoke with Petrolicious about his rally car collection, particularly the Delta S4, which is the first car to have both a turbocharger and a supercharger.

DeLorean: The Man, The Car, The People

DeLorean: The Man, The Car, The People

Carfection spoke with employees of both the original and the current DeLorean Motor Company about their founder, the car maker’s troubled and storied history, and their flawed yet futuristic creation.

Last Chance U (Trailer)

Last Chance U (Trailer)

A Netflix documentary series about East Mississippi Community College, one of the middle of nowhere schools where many Division I football and NFL hopefuls try and prove themselves once more. Based on Drew Jubera’s eponymous article.

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Voyage of Time (Trailer)

Voyage of Time (Trailer)

Terence Malick’s long awaited documentary about the birth and death of the universe. Voyage of Time will have two versions: a 40-minute cut narrated by Brad Pitt, and a feature length – and undoubtedly more epic – cut narrated by Cate Blanchett. Premieres 10/2016.

The Race of Gentlemen

The Race of Gentlemen

In 1947, a group of young men founded a hot rod club called the Oilers. In 2008, the club was revived as The Race of Gentlemen – a beach race and car show featuring early to mid 20th century American cars and motorcycles.

Being a Special Makeup Effects Artist

Being a Special Makeup Effects Artist

“Sometimes we’re kinda like the bartenders of a film.” KNB EFX co-founder Howard Berger (The Chronicles of Narnia, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad) explains the basics of making a prosthetic mask before talking about how makeup artists keep the job fun and exciting.

Secrets of Shark Island

Secrets of Shark Island

The Revillagigedo Islands are known as Mexico’s little Galapagos – they’re small yet teeming with life, including dozens of endemic species. The Smithsonian explored the smallest island, Roca Partida, a diving spot known for its congregation of sharks, whales and more.

Mr. Robot: dec0d3d.doc

Mr. Robot: dec0d3d.doc

(SPOILERS, PG-13: Language) The hit TV series Mr. Robot gives itself a well-deserved 40-minute long pat on the back, pointing out that it’s a modern day superhero story that could actually be real, if not already so. Brief season 2 sneak peek at 37:00.

Rams

Rams

Industrial designer Dieter Rams helped elevate everyday objects with his functionalist approach. Gary Hustwit (Objectified, Helvetica, Urbanized) is currently raising funds to finish a documentary about the designer, made with the help of Rams himself.

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