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Documentaries

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Farming Real Wasabi

Farming Real Wasabi

The Atlantic shares Edwin Lee’s beautiful documentary, Wasabia Japonica. It’s about Shigeo Iida, a 75-year-old who’s an eighth generation wasabi farmer. Most “wasabi” is actually dyed horseradish. Iida’s crop is the real deal, and fetches up to $250/kg.

The Library of Rare Colors

The Library of Rare Colors

Tom Scott recently paid a visit a truly unusual and extraordinary collection – a working research library dedicated to the history of color. The Forbes Pigment Collection has spent decades cataloging and storing rare pigments to help verify the authenticity of works of art.

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Screw the Box

Screw the Box

Stig Pryds was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis in 2008. It cost him his business and more. But 5 years into the pain and drug dependency, he went cold turkey and sought alternative ways of fighting his ailment. Daan Verhoeven’s short film is a true inspiration.

10 Brilliant Documentaries

10 Brilliant Documentaries

Documentaries can be as strange, beautiful and horrifying as any work of fiction. CineFix presents its top 10 docs, from legends like Baraka and Hoop Dreams to lesser known classics such as Shoah, Close-Up and The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive (Trailer)

Formula 1: Drive to Survive (Trailer)

“I’ll do anything I can to get the best results possible. I’m not worried about dying.” From the producer of the critically-acclaimed documentaries Senna and Amy comes an unprecedented look at the drivers, the teams, and the families behind Formula 1 racing.

Losers (Trailer)

Losers (Trailer)

History remembers the victors. But this Netflix documentary is about the other side of sports – those who got knocked down, scored fewer points, fumbled, and lost. Losers presents eight stories of athletes who failed and how they bounced back.

Vintage Electronics Prop Library

Vintage Electronics Prop Library

When TV shows and movies want to go back in time, they head to an unlikely place, the LES Ecology Center. This Brooklyn, NY urban sustainability organization has found a new use for old E-Waste, operating a prop shop housing thousands of retro gadgets.

I Am Richard Pryor (Trailer)

I Am Richard Pryor (Trailer)

(PG-13) The late comedian Richard Pryor is equally famous and infamous. Paramount Network’s upcoming documentary I Am Richard Pryor shares the standup legend’s brutal childhood, struggles with addiction and powerful legacy. Airs 3/15/19.

Art for Lawyers

Art for Lawyers

“I am an artist, with the paperwork to prove.” In 2016, animator Rory Waudby Tolley got to be the Artist in Residence for an international law firm in London. But he didn’t know what kind of art the lawyers liked, so he asked them. This is what he ended up making.

The DeLorean Paradox

The DeLorean Paradox

Introduced in 1981, the DeLorean DMC-12 was supposed to be the “car of the future,” yet despite its striking looks, it wasn’t that groundbreaking. The company that built it quickly crashed, but Back to the Future made it an icon and dream car for decades to come.

The Future of Prosthetics

The Future of Prosthetics

“What if I don’t want a hand? What if I want a tentacle?” The Guardian spoke with amputees as well as experts about the present and future of prosthetics and bionics. Research on technology such as brain-machine interfaces raise both possibilities and dilemmas.

A Day in the Life of a Sushi Master

A Day in the Life of a Sushi Master

“…90% of the day’s work must be done before customers are served.” Chef Nozomu Abe owns and runs Sushi Noz, an 8-seat restaurant in New York that charges $300 per person. Tasty followed Abe and his staff for a day to see what it’s like to run such a high-end operation.

Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (Trailer)

Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men (Trailer)

(PG-13: Language) “Somewhere in the middle of all that s**t was the hope that one of us was gonna make it.” Showtime’s Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men is a four-part documentary series about the rise and the legacy of rap’s one true supergroup. Premieres Spring 2019.

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Styrofoam

Styrofoam

Wo Guo Jie collects polystyrene foam boxes in Shanghai and resells them to other markets. What little money she earns sometimes go to the cops if they catch her. She’s one of the hundreds of millions of rural workers in China who have migrated to the cities.

Bluefin Tuna Omakase

Bluefin Tuna Omakase

“Omakase” is a Japanese word used for a chef’s tasting menu. Now watch in awe as chef Kuniaki Yoshizawa and his crew break down a huge bluefin tuna and turn it into a delectable Omakase, courtesy of Eater. If you’re squeamish about butchering, look away. Otherwise, yum.

Tungrus

Tungrus

(PG-13) “I do get asked every now and then, “How did this happen?”” A family in Mumbai have a pet chicken. They all wish they didn’t. Rishi Chandna’s documentary is surprisingly fascinating for its star and the ping ponging reactions of its masters.

Netflix vs. the World (Trailer)

Netflix vs. the World (Trailer)

Even Goliath was once David. Netflix vs. the World is an upcoming documentary about the rise of the streaming giant we now know and love. It features interviews with both founders and rivals, particularly officers from Blockbuster.

Loft: The Jetman Story (Trailer)

Loft: The Jetman Story (Trailer)

Loft: The Jetman Story is a documentary that features Jetman flying wing inventor Yves Rossy and his proteges Vince Reffet and Fred Fugen. The film sees them flying over the fjords of Norway and telling the story of their journey towards autonomous human flight.

Stan Lee (1922-2018)

Stan Lee (1922-2018)

The most influential and beloved man in the history of comics has left us. Throughout his 95 years, he defined what a superhero can be, and created the juggernaut known as Marvel. While it leaves off right after 2008’s Iron Man, With Great Power… is a fitting tribute to his life.

The One Love Machine Band

The One Love Machine Band

Great Big Story introduces us to artist Kolja Kugler, who built himself an animatronic band from scrap metal. The robotic musicians play the bass, drums, and flute, and seem to enjoy a bit of the old punk rock. Enjoy one of their performances here.

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Guns Found Here

Guns Found Here

You’d think that registering firearms would mean they’d be easy to trace. But one look at the antiquated process at the ATF’s National Tracing Center, and you’ll see why things aren’t as tidy as they look on TV crime dramas. Another fantastic documentary from MEL Films.

Shut Up and Dribble (Trailer)

Shut Up and Dribble (Trailer)

It was never just a game. Co-executive produced by LeBron James, Shut Up and Dribble is a three-part documentary series that aims to shine a light on the roles of NBA players in encouraging social change. Premieres 11/3/18 on Showtime.

The Homes That Plastic Built

The Homes That Plastic Built

Great Big Story shares the work of Conceptos Plásticos. It’s a Colombian company that takes discarded plastics and turns them into foundations for houses and temporary shelters. To date, they have recycled 500 tons of plastic and built over 30 homes.

The Paper Prop Maker

The Paper Prop Maker

“Anything that’s made of paper I’ve made at one time or another.” Ross MacDonald has been making paper props for movies and TV shows for the past 25 years. He’s made tens of thousands of props, from letters with just three lines on them to entire books.

How CIA Disguises Work

How CIA Disguises Work

Jonna Mendez is former Chief of Disguise for the CIA, which happens to be the coolest job title ever. In this interview with WIRED, she explains the lengths agencies go to disguise and protect the identities of operatives, and to stealthily obtain intelligence.

Welcome to Sumo Island

Welcome to Sumo Island

Ever wonder how to become a pro sumo wrestler? Well, in Japan, growing up on Amami Ōshima gives you a big head start. Great Big Story paid a visit to this island, which is known for its long history of cultivating youth to become some of the country’s greatest sumos.

Fightworld (Trailer)

Fightworld (Trailer)

Hosted by actor and fight enthusiast Frank Grillo, Netflix’s Fightworld is a documentary series that will explore fighting methods and cultures around the world. The featured styles include MMA, Muay Thai, wrestling and Krav Maga. Premieres 10/12/18.

Dynasties (Trailer)

Dynasties (Trailer)

(Gore) In Dynasties, Sir David Attenborough and the BBC spent four years following five animals – a hyena, a tiger, a lions, an emperor penguin and a chimpanzee – each a leader of their family, as they try to lead their packs amidst changes in nature.

Shirkers (Trailer)

Shirkers (Trailer)

In 1992, then teenager Sandy Tan and her friends made what may have been the first indie film in Singapore. But their director made off with all the footage. They talk about the effect the film and its disappearance had on their life in this critically-acclaimed documentary.

Making Bonsai Scissors

Making Bonsai Scissors

Great Big Story’s short profile of master blacksmith Yasuhiro Hirakawa, “the only traditional scissor maker left in Japan.” It takes him one week – working 10 hours a day – to make his bonsai scissors, which can sell for as much as $32,000.

The Bill Murray Stories (Trailer)

The Bill Murray Stories (Trailer)

A lot of jokes have been made about Bill Murray’s penchant for blessing people’s lives with his presence. But filmmaker Tommy Avallone wanted to capture a more intimate and positive portrait of the actor through these interactions.

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