Monday, December 7, 2009

List of Documentaries to View for Filmmakers

I chose some of these docs just because I LOVED them - and all of them I think should be seen by anyone planning to make a doc. Why? Listen, whether you are spending your time and money or someone else's, there is no cheaper way to spark your imagination than to learn and see what others have done. Also, it gives you a shared language to communicate with your collaborators - your dp, your editor, your graphics person. Watching these can also open up the way you can bring to light an issue - from "Manufacturing Consent" to "Titicut Follies" or "Roger and Me", it's a clear illustration that there are many ways to bring consciousness to an issue.

But what about plain old fun? "American Movie", "Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill" and "Spellbound" take us inside parts of our culture we can be glad we know about because they are fun and wonderful. As for making art, "The Gleaners and I", "Rivers and Tides" and "Visions of Light" won't disappoint. For Characters, "Gray Gardens", and "Keep the River on Your Right" are great choices. But for sheer chutzpah in filmmaking - check out "Grizzly Man", "Tarnation", and the only narrative film on the list, "Le Jetee" (easily found on YouTube)

Then there are my standards - films I use in class all the time to talk about structure and different approaches to doc story telling, "Times of Harvey Milk", "Unknown White Male", and "When We Were Kings". Now I'm about to watch "King of Kong", and I have an inkling I might be adding one more..... Enjoy! Stephanie.

Oh, and of course "Man on a Wire".

“The Farmer’s Wife” (1998) Directed by David Sutherland

“Rivers and Tides” (2004) Directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer

“Grizzly Man” (2005) Directed by Werner Herzog

“Salesman” (1968) Directed by Albert Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin

“Murderball” (2005) Directed by Dana Adam Shapiro & Henry Alex Rubin

“The Up Series” Seven Up, 7 Plus Seven, 21 Up, 28 Up, 35 Up, 42 Up, 49 Up

Director Micheal Apted

“Keep the River on Your Right – A Modern Cannibal’s Tale” (2002) Directed by David Shapiro and Laurie Gwen Shapiro.

Le Jetee Sans Soleil (Criterion Collection) (1963) Director Chris Marker

Hoop Dreams (1994) Directed by Steve James

A Question of Color (1993) Cathe Sandler

Belfast, Maine (1999 ) Titicut Follies (1967) Directed by Frederick Wiseman

Roger and Me (1989) Directed by Micheal Moore

Night and Fog (1955) Directed by Alain Resnais

Manufacturing Consent (1993) Directed by Peter Wintonick

Gray Gardens (1976) Directed by Albert Maysles and Ellen Hovde

The Gleaners and I (2002) Directed by Agnes Varda

Tarnation (2003) Directed by Jonathan Caouette

When We Were Kings (1997) Leon Gast

Thin Blue Line (1988) Directed by Errol Morris

Cheap Fast and Out of Control (1997) Errol Morris

American Movie (1999) Director Chris Smith

Iraq in Fragments (2005) Director James Longley

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005) Director Judy Irving

“Still a Brother: Inside the Negro Middle Class” (1968) William Greaves

Spell Bound (2002) Director Jeffrey Blitz

Jesus Camp (2006) Directed by Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady

Stronger, Bigger, Faster (2008) Directed by Christopher Bell

Visions of Light (1993) Directed by Todd McCarthy and Stuart SamuelsĂ©stor-Almendros/dp/630583685X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1260171854&sr=1-1

“Pressure” (1976) directed by Horace Ove, (Seems to be only in PAL)

“Unknown White Male: A True Story” 2005

Director Rupert Murray Distributed by Imagine Entertainment

“Times of Harvey Milk” 1984

Director Rob Epstein Distributed by Cinecom International & New Yorker Films

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