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Documentaries

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Married to the Machine

Married to the Machine

Filmmaker Adrian Bonvento takes us into the pits, and inside the minds of the Stevenson Motorsports team, as they explain some of what makes a pro race team tick. A beautifully-shot short documentary filmed during the 2017 12 Hours of Sebring race.

Separating Recyclables

Separating Recyclables

A look inside Brooklyn, New York’s Sims Materials Recovery Facility, a high-tech recycling operation which uses automation to separate a wide variety of metal, glass, and plastic materials based on their weight, size, shape, and even molecular composition.

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The Mars Generation (Trailer)

The Mars Generation (Trailer)

This Netflix documentary chronicles the experience of a batch of teenagers at the NASA Space Camp, juxtaposed with interviews with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk and other experts regarding the current state of space travel. Premieres 5/5/17.

Barbecue (Trailer)

Barbecue (Trailer)

From the backyards of Central Texas to the deserts of Mongolia, you’ll find people gathering over a fire to cook and eat together. Matthew Saleh and Rose Tucker traveled to 12 different countries to revel in this universal and uniting tradition.

Pretending I’m a Superman (Trailer)

Pretending I’m a Superman (Trailer)

The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series introduced skateboarding, its music and its lifestyle to a mainstream audience. Former THPS producer Ralph D’Amato is working on a documentary about the series’ origins, featuring interviews with Tony, Rodney Mullen and more.

1981 Two-Door Range Rover

1981 Two-Door Range Rover

Petrolicious scored a ride in this awesome 1981 Range Rover in Sandglow yellow. We’re introduced to its owner, John Holland, and learn about his love for the boxy British off-roader. Unlike some classic cars that sit in a garage, it’s great to see this one used as it was intended.

The Master Maze Maker

The Master Maze Maker

“Like a good movie you get to the end and you still… you don’t want it to stop.” Great Big Story spoke with Adrian Fisher, who has been designing puzzles and mazes for 38 years. He’s come up with over 700 mazes using plants, buildings, water and more.

Japan’s Calculator Enthusiasts

Japan’s Calculator Enthusiasts

This excerpt from a 2013 episode of Begin Japanology talks about Japan’s love for calculators. Despite the prevalence of computers and spreadsheets, Japan still has calculator clubs in some high schools and holds calculator speed competitions.

Shooting Planet Earth II

Shooting Planet Earth II

Vox Observatory created a fascinating mini-series that looks at how filmmakers used modern tech to capture some of the incredible imagery in BBC Earth’s Planet Earth II. Learn how they filmed at night, played with time, and what they did to made it look so cinematic.

Five Came Back (Trailer)

Five Came Back (Trailer)

Based on Mark Harris’ book, Netflix’s series sees directors Steven Spielberg, Lawrence Kasdan, Francis Ford Coppola, Guillermo del Toro and Paul Greengrass talk about five Hollywood directors who went to the frontlines of WW II to document the war. Drops 3/31/17.

The Afghan Bruce Lee

The Afghan Bruce Lee

In 2014, Abbas Alizada went viral after an image of him posing alongside his idol Bruce Lee was posted online. High Horse Studios talked to Abbas about his dreams of redeeming himself and his country through impersonation, performance and martial arts training.

The 200-pound Turban

The 200-pound Turban

Baba Avtar Singh is the proud wearer of the world’s largest and heaviest turban, as a symbol of his Sikh faith. The incredible piece of headwear takes several hours to assemble each day, and is made from nearly a 1/2 mile of fabric. It also doubles as his motorcycle helmet.

Origins: The Journey of Humankind

Origins: The Journey of Humankind

“We invented the tools, and the tools then invented us.” Melodysheep’s Nat Geo miniseries looks at eight of the most important developments in human history: fire, medicine, communication, money, war, transportation, shelter, and exploration. Premieres 3/6/17.

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McLaren (Trailer)

McLaren (Trailer)

“To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy.” From director Roger Donaldson (The World’s Fastest Indian) comes a documentary about McLaren Racing’s founder, the late Bruce McLaren.

When Darkness Falls

When Darkness Falls

“Time speeds up, it slows down, it melts. You may be out there for 3 hours at a time but you can’t recall any one particular moment.” Filmmaker Adrian Bonvento shares the thoughts of the Stevenson Motorsports team at the 2017 24 Hours of Daytona in this perfect short film.

The Big Wave Project (Trailer)

The Big Wave Project (Trailer)

Tim Bonython’s documentary will take us to some of the best and most dangerous surfing spots in the world as it follows a tight-knit group of big wave surfers who are addicted to the thrill of the sport. Premieres Spring 2017.

Mr. Overton

Mr. Overton

National Geographic introduces us to Richard Overton, America’s oldest living World War II veteran. The 109 year-old drinks whiskey, smokes cigars, and can still walk, talk, and has a valid driver’s license. He’s sharp as a tack, and could teach all of us a thing or two about life.

Hollywood’s Greatest Trick (Trailer)

Hollywood’s Greatest Trick (Trailer)

McClatchy Video Lab’s documentary explores one of the nastiest secrets of the movie business, that visual effects studios and artists are often forced to work ridiculous hours, often at fixed bid pricing to meet unrealistic demands of movie studios. Premieres online on 2/22/17.

Five Star

Five Star

“The hardest thing that he’s gonna have to do is tell people, ‘No.'” Hank & Booth’s stellar documentary about promising college football player Brandon Jones, and the chaos surrounding the then 17-year-old in his final year in high school.

The Crash Survivor

The Crash Survivor

(PG-13: Language) In 2012, Doug Wright was in a crash which left him seriously injured. PLGRM explores the impact it had on his marriage, and his contact with Clyde Rowley, the man who caused the accident. Despite his hardships, Doug’s attitude is surprisingly positive.

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Abstract: The Art of Design (Trailer)

Abstract: The Art of Design (Trailer)

An upcoming Netflix documentary series that profiles some of the world’s best designers and artists, including Nike’s Tinker Hatfield and graphic designer Paula Scher. Premieres 2/10/17.

Battle for Birthday Mountain

Battle for Birthday Mountain

In 1972, Norwegian geophysicist Bjørn Geirr Harsson realized that the highest peak of Halti, a mountain that rests mostly in Finland, was actually in Norway. He proposed that his country adjust its border and give the peak to Finland for its 100th birthday.

Toonami: A History of Broadcast Anime

Toonami: A History of Broadcast Anime

YouTuber kaptainkristian tips his hat to Toonami. While not the first to broadcast Japanese cartoons to American audiences, Cartoon Network’s niche program block sought to bring anime to mainstream while championing its diversity.

Sacchan, Who Does as He Pleases

Sacchan, Who Does as He Pleases

YouTuber funny japan shares this hilarious segment from a Japanese talk show in 1994. A housewife asked the show to find out how her free-spirited dog Sacchan got so fat. What follows is investigative reporting at its finest.

Sculptures by Alan Williams

Sculptures by Alan Williams

“I think in a way that destroying things is a creative process…” Alan Williams explains how his childhood knack for breaking and re-configuring toys inspired his design aesthetic. His current works are intricate animals with bio-mechanical bodies. A film by Ben Cox.

Miyamoto on Game Design

Miyamoto on Game Design

Vox sums up the contributions and philosophies of Nintendo game designer Shigeru Miyamoto – who helped create Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and more – with the help of Miyamoto himself.

Ben Venom: Heavy Metal Quilter

Ben Venom: Heavy Metal Quilter

“My art is a collision. And it’s a collision of fine art, craft, and what I call the fringes of society.” San Francisco-based artist Ben Venom uses recycled fabric and old clothing to make punk and heavy metal-themed quilts, patches and more.

Messages in Bottles

Messages in Bottles

Vox introduces us to Clint Buffington, who has found not just one of those fabled messages in a bottle that washed up on a beach, but 83 of them. Learn how he does it, and how he seeks out their senders. Check out that ocean current simulator here.

Blank Tape: Electronic Cassette Culture

Blank Tape: Electronic Cassette Culture

Along with vinyl, cassette tapes are staging their own comeback, with ongoing interest from electronic musicians who find the analog sound and hiss complements rather than detracts from their music. The Vinyl Factory explores this growing movement. (Thanks Paul!)

Tasogare

Tasogare

“Tasogare means twilight – a time of ambivalence…” Musician Lia Mice recently performed at Tasogare, a music festival held at Komyoji, a Buddhist temple in Tokyo. She spoke with Tasogare’s founders to find out the origins and ideas behind this unorthodox gathering.

Inside the Raptors 905

Inside the Raptors 905

“There’s only 450 jobs man.” A short documentary about the D-League team Raptors 905 and their rookie head coach – two-time NBA All-Star Jerry Stackhouse. A great behind-the-scenes look about what it means to be a coach on and off the court.

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