THE BEST Documentaries

Artist Depiction

Artist Depiction

Brett Ryan Bonowicz is making a three-part documentary series about the largely unknown artists who created concept art for NASA projects. Artist Depiction will feature interviews with the artists as well as high-resolution scans of their work.

One-Man Industrial Doom Metal Band

One-Man Industrial Doom Metal Band

Noisey introduces us to Tristan Shone, the musician behind Author & Punisher. His experience as a mechanical engineer led him to create unique tactile interfaces which he uses to create his distinctively analog industrial sound. There’s a great concert film here.

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Three Identical Strangers (Trailer)

Three Identical Strangers (Trailer)

Bobby Shafran, Eddy Galland, and David Kellman are triplets who got separated at birth and accidentally met each other when they were teenagers. But this documentary doesn’t stop there and asks the hard questions: how and why?

Legend of Solorzano

Legend of Solorzano

We’ve spent some time on the treacherous trails of the Baja 1000, so we know how sketchy things can get. But we did it in a purpose-built Class 10 race car. But there are true madmen who do it in pre-1982 VW Beetles. Meet Eric Solorzano, aka “The King of Class 11.”

Nobody Dies in Longyearbyen

Nobody Dies in Longyearbyen

MEL Films traveled to the distant Arctic outpost of Longyearbyen, Norway, the Northernmost city on Earth. It’s known for its natural beauty, and also the notion the area’s thick permafrost layer holds organic matter that could come back to life after it thaws.

Andre The Giant (Trailer)

Andre The Giant (Trailer)

Another look at HBO’s upcoming documentary about the late, great André René Roussimoff, the charismatic gentle giant whose image is immediately conjured in our minds whenever we hear the saying “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

Rams (Teaser)

Rams (Teaser)

“Only something that is well made can be beautiful.” Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized filmmaker Gary Hustwit shares a sneak peek at his upcoming documentary about legendary industrial designer Dieter Rams. The film comes out in 2018.

Pōhaku

Pōhaku

Meet Oahu, Hawaii native Tom Pōhaku Stone, a man whose life led him to handcraft surfboards from native woods. Director Bradley Tangonan’s short documentary is beautifully shot, and tells a captivating story about holding onto our traditions.

Halycon Days

Halycon Days

Along with Don Bluth, game designer Rick Dyer created 1980s classics like Dragon’s Lair and Space Ace. He would later design a radical (and expensive) game system called “Halcyon.” Polygon explores the tale of the failed console that foretold today’s voice-based AI systems.

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

(PG-13: Language) Judd Apatow’s HBO doc features interviews with Shandling’s friends and family, as they delve into the psyche of the late comedian, his self-deprecating humor, and his drive to always top his last show. If you never watched The Larry Sanders Show, you must.

Verso

Verso

Filmmaker Jesse Brass introduces us to Cayce Zavaglia, who creates amazing embroidered portraits of family and friends using cotton and wool thread. While the photorealistic fronts of her images are simply stunning, the chaotic reverse sides reveal the true nature of life.

The Road Movie (Trailer)

The Road Movie (Trailer)

In Russia, there’s a dashcam in just about every car these days. Dmitrii Kalashnikov’s intense documentary is assembled entirely from dashcam footage, which captured everything from a meteor crashing to Earth, to gas station fires, to some of the craziest road rage ever.

Bobcat Goldthwait’s American Bigfoot

Bobcat Goldthwait’s American Bigfoot

Bobcat Goldthwait is best known for his insane comedy, but he’s also a talented director. His recently shot this documentary short about rural America’s fascination with Sasquatch, as he, Alexie Gilmore, and Bryce Johnson spent time at the Ohio Bigfoot Conference.

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The Collection

The Collection

Adam Roffman’s award-winning short documentary introduces us to Marilyn Wagner and DJ Ginsberg, two friends who stumbled onto a cache of unique and wonderful motion picture memorabilia for $2000 back in 1999, now valued between $8 and $12 million.

Beatrice

Beatrice

“Before I lunge, I take a deep breath. And with that breath, everything becomes lighter.” Beatrice is a short documentary about Beatrice Vio, a champion wheelchair fencer. She lost all four limbs when she was 11, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her passion.

Banksy x Danny Boyle: The Alternativity

Banksy x Danny Boyle: The Alternativity

“The place where Christmas was invented now feels like a city under siege, and in serious need of some festive cheer.” This hour-long documentary is about how Banksy and director Danny Boyle created a satirical nativity play at Banksy’s hotel at the West Bank Barrier.

David Bowie: The Last 5 Years (Teaser)

David Bowie: The Last 5 Years (Teaser)

Our first look at HBO’s upcoming documentary about the final years of David Bowie’s illustrious life, a period which not only produced some of his most revealing and intimate work, but continued to show the world that he was a creative chameleon until the end.

Japan’s Love for Public Baths

Japan’s Love for Public Baths

Life Where I’m From created a brief history of Japan’s public baths. He also talked about why they remain popular despite bathtubs becoming commonplace, and an overview of onsens and other kinds of public baths that you might want to check out when you visit Japan.

The Piñata King

The Piñata King

Documentary filmmakers Tripod City introduce us to Francisco, whose family makes their living by making piñatas by hand. Despite knowing that their creations will be destroyed with a stick, he’s still dedicated to his craft, and hopes that some of them might remain unscathed.

Meet Mr. Dharam Singh

Meet Mr. Dharam Singh

In MEL Films‘ excellent short documentary, The Never-Ending Marathon of Mr. Dharam Singh, we’re introduced to the eponymous subject, a man who claims to be 119 years old, and who credits his longevity to yoga, meditation, and a profound enthusiasm for running.

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Oddball

Oddball

Joshua Moore provides a wonderful profile of Stephen Parr, the man behind what is likely the world’s strangest archive film collection, Oddball Films. Sadly, Stephen recently passed away, but his family and staff plan to continue to run Oddball in his name.

Boomba: Peking to Paris

Boomba: Peking to Paris

Two drivers set off on an amazing adventure in a wonderful classic car. Their route? A 13,000 kilometer ride in the Peking to Paris Rally in a 1941 Chevrolet Business Coupe, nicknamed “Boomba.” Plus, they did it for a good cause, raising money for young womens’ education.

The Best Gravediggers in the World

The Best Gravediggers in the World

MEL Films introduces us to a group of professional gravediggers who participate in annual competition in Slovakia to see who can dig graves the fastest and with the best quality. It’s an unusual and morbid occupation, but an essential service that real people do every day.

THE LOCAL: The Master Carver

THE LOCAL: The Master Carver

The pilot film for Royal Caribbean’s original series, The Local, follows Master carver and indigenous Alaskan artist Wayne Price as he creates fine art in the traditional style of the Tlingit people. Gorgeously shot and intimate.

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (Trailer)

Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (Trailer)

Jim Carrey is a pretty enigmatic character so it’s no wonder that he was the perfect actor to portray the late absurdist comic Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. Chris Smith’s documentary explores how Carrey thoroughly lost himself while playing the part. More here.

Agent of Connection

Agent of Connection

Sometimes the simplest acts can have a lasting impact. Ivan Cash’s Agent of Connection features William Cromartie, a BART station agent who finds great satisfaction in greeting his commuters. Hats off to you, William – it’s nice to have a friend in the cold, hard city.

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