THE BEST Documentaries

PBS Arts: Video Games

PBS Arts: Video Games

PBS Arts’ Off Book episode on the history of video games. Featuring interviews with designers Eric Zimmerman and Syed Salahuddin, journalist Leigh Alexander and professor Jesper Juul.

Elevate (Trailer)

Elevate (Trailer)

Elevate is a documentary about four talented West African teenagers from the SEEDS academy who have qualified for slots at an American prep school, a step closer to their dream of playing in the NBA.

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The Other F Word (Trailer)

The Other F Word (Trailer)

A documentary about male punk rockers (and other influencers of the culture) and their transition from being poster boys of anarchy to being the quintessential figures of authority – fathers.

Baseball’s Dirty Little Secret

Baseball’s Dirty Little Secret

Here’s something for baseball fans and trivia buffs. Did you know that every major and minor league ball used in the past 75 years has been rubbed with mud from the Delaware River? More here.

Lonesome George

Lonesome George

Lonesome George is a 102-year old Pinta Island tortoise. He’s not mistreated and he’s good friends with his caretaker. He got his name because he’s the only surviving member of his subspecies.

PressPausePlay

PressPausePlay

A documentary about the effect of today’s advanced technology on artists and our culture, a development that can empower creators, but also swamp consumers in mediocrity. More here.

Defy (Trailer)

Defy (Trailer)

Be treated to exotic locales, mad stunts and more in Defy: The Danny Harf Project, a documentary about the career of 4-time X-Games gold medalist and world champion wakeboarder Danny Harf.

Being Elmo (Trailer)

Being Elmo (Trailer)

Elmo is one of the most famous puppets in the world, but little is known about Kevin Clash, the man behind the beloved Sesame Street resident. This is his story. Directed by Constance Marks.

Surviving Progress (Trailer)

Surviving Progress (Trailer)

Suriviving Progress is a documentary about the double-edged sword of human advancement and the certain end that faces us all, unless we commit to use less and produce only what is needed.

On Assignment

On Assignment

Artists, athletes, technology and nature meet in this wonderfully shot story-within-a-story. Renan Ozturk followed Jimmy Chin as the latter made a piece about modern day mountain climbing.

Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread

Directed by Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Unser Täglich Brot is about the fast, efficient and mass-producing world of modern agriculture, presenting arresting footage devoid of commentary.

Senna (Blu-ray)

Senna (Blu-ray)

Asif Kapadia’s award-winning documentary on legendary F1 driver Ayrton Senna. Includes a comprehensive amount of racing footage and interviews. Also available on DVD.

Balrog: Behind the Glory

Balrog: Behind the Glory

A documentary about Balrog. Yes, the Street Fighter. And it’s awesome. Chubby Boy Films did a great job of adding depth to a two-dimensional character. Top-class acting and cinematography.

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The Dentist of Jaipur

The Dentist of Jaipur

A short documentary about a couple of street dentists. Their equipment and procedures are crude and unsanitary, but for their poor customers, they’re the only choice. Directed by Falk Peplinski.

Crack the Surface: Ep. 1

Crack the Surface: Ep. 1

(NSFW: Language) The first of a series of videos about Urban Exploring – looking for and documenting rarely seen places in cities, such as rooftops, underground railways and even sewers.

Detroit Bike City

Detroit Bike City

(NSFW: Language) A documentary by Alex Gallegos about the Detroit bike community, and how they ride bikes not just to save on gas or stay fit, but also to get to know and help each other.

One Day on Earth (Trailer)

One Day on Earth (Trailer)

Shot in a single day in 2010 by thousands of individuals across the globe, editor Kyle Ruddick is now combining over 3000 hours of film into an epic documentary of our incredible, diverse planet.

Somewhere to Disappear

Somewhere to Disappear

Laure Flammarion & Arnaud Uyttenhove followed photographer Alec Soth as the latter worked on his photo book. A film about the fantasy of escape, a fantasy shared by both Soth and his subjects.

Space Miami

Space Miami

In 1963, Aerojet-General built a rocket factory in the middle of the Everglades. They even made an Apollo rocket and fired it, but never won the NASA bid, and it now sits abandoned, rocket and all.

Everything is a Remix: Part 3

Everything is a Remix: Part 3

Kirby Ferguson reminds us of the importance of copying and emulating in innovation and progress, as counter-intuitive as that may sound. Help him complete the documentary by donating here.

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Conan O’Brien: Can’t Stop

Conan O’Brien: Can’t Stop

Directed by Rodman Flender, Can’t Stop sees Conan on his post-Tonight Show Tour, showing his vulnerable and frustrated side alongside the hilarious entertainer we’ve come to know and love.

Everything is a Remix: Kill Bill

Everything is a Remix: Kill Bill

Some of the inspirations behind the scenes in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. Made by Rob Wilson as a companion piece to part 2 of Kirby Ferguson’s excellent documentary Everything is a Remix.

StoryCorps: No More Questions

StoryCorps: No More Questions

StoryCorps is a nonprofit organization that archives stories told by American citizens, like this one from Kay Wang, who was reluctantly taken by her son and granddaughter to share her stories.

Lessons for the Living

Lessons for the Living

A short excerpt from the documentary Lessons for the Living, featuring 10 hospice volunteers sharing their experiences and what they have learned from their time with dying people. Trailer here.

The S From Hell

The S From Hell

Probably the weirdest video you’ll see all week, The S From Hell by Rodney Ascher is a short documentary-cum-horror film about the 1964 Screen Gems logo and the effect it had on children.

Buck (Trailer)

Buck (Trailer)

Cindy Meehl’s Buck follows the life of Buck Brannaman, a true American cowboy and sage on horseback who travels the country for 9 months a year helping horses with people problems.

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