Recommended Documentaries

Recommended Docs

  • Public

This is a topic where you can say which documentary has really impressed you, and why people should see it. Can be a recent one or an all-time favourite. Can't be your own though, sorry...

This topic is for praising the work of others, not your own. If you want to beat the drum for your own documentary, please don't do it here. Fans use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

We also have a Documentary Films topic for our Professionals where the debate is private and possibly more controversial. This topic here is for recommendations to the documentary-interested public.

Jan-Willem Breure

Greek Crisis - Trillion Euro Secret (Recommended )

Alternative Title: Germany vs Greece

[Link removed by host]

John Burgan

And furthermore, please read the title at the top - copied below.

This topic is for praising the work of others, not your own. If you want to beat the drum for your own documentary, please don't do it here. Enthusiasts use our Public Classifieds, and Professionals have their own Shameless Self-Promotion topic.

You're welcome to post the link in Public Classifieds, the one Topic where double posts are allowed.

Doug Block

Actually, that would be Fans who use our Public Classifieds.  Enthusiasts is so 2013.

Alysa Nahmias

In reply to Erica Ginsberg's post on Fri 24 Apr 2015:

 I'm thrilled to see someone here admired TOCANDO LA LUZ! I served as a consulting producer on that film, but all creative credit goes to brilliant director/producer Jennifer Redfearn, producer/cinematographer Tim Metzger, and editor David Teague. TOCANDO LA LUZ is not only as well-structured as you describe, Erica, and a great lesson in weaving the stories of multiple characters in a fluid, uncontrived style, but its story offers a rare insight (pun intended; the characters are blind) into daily life in Cuba without falling into any of the usual stereotypes about politics or culture(s) on the island. It's a film that makes me miss Havana, and if you haven't been to Cuba, it will make you even more excited to check it out now that travel restrictions are looser for U.S. citizens. I hope more people will have the chance to watch TOCANDO LA LUZ at various upcoming festivals this year.

On another note, I had a chance to attend a private screening of MEET THE PATELS last week, and it's hilarious!! I was laughing out loud throughout the movie. The filmmakers used animation in creative ways, and I appreciated that they went deep into that stylistic choice, which was totally aligned with the film's tone. I believe it opens theatrically in LA and NY in early September, so keep your eyes open for it.

pierre filmon

Dear all,

Yesterday I watched EL SICARIO ROOM 164 by Gianfranco Rosi (& Charles Bowden, 2010) which impressed me as a straightforward and apparently simply made doc about an ex-hitman for the narco traffic in Mexico who tells the story of his life. I also loved BELOW SEA LEVEL by the same director and am very eager to his next project OLTRE LAMPEDUSA.

Another director I am very impressed by the work is Joshua Oppenheimer with ACT OF KILLING followed by THE LOOK OF SILENCE I strongly advise you to watch if you have not had the chance yet. They deal with the massive murders operated in Indonesia in the 60's against political enemies of the regime, massive murders told by those who perpetrated them - as the political regime today in Indonesia still covers and protects those who were responsible for them... Frightening and most powerful. The latter, I saw it at last year's Biennale in Venice and it blew me away (soon to be released in France). The first projection ended with a well deserved 10mn-standing ovation to the director and his main character.

But I guess many of you already know those films.



John Burgan

Always good to get recommendations, Pierre. Whereas Joshua's Oppenheimer's work is very much centre stage these days (with reason), I'm not so familiar with Gianfranco Rosi's work, so thanks for the heads up...

Howard Weinberg

Congratulations to Thom Powers for getting Michael Moore's superb personal visual essay documentary WHERE TO INVADE NEXT for the opening night of DOCNYC.   Narration driven, filled with humor and provocative ideas, this is Moore at his best -- asking Why Not?   So much to cover -- a high speed train roaring through the European landscape says volumes economically.   A radio journalist in Tunisia urges "Out Speak" and Moore provides his version of Best Practices from each country.  As he challenges "American exceptionalism", he looks to Finland its for its educational achievements, but doesn't mention its broadband superiority.  How do we get serious discussion of what's needed to emphasize the "we" and lessen the "me" in the U.S.?   This film has a chance of moving us in a new direction of recognizing our common humanity.   

Chris Smernes

Hello all!  I'm coordinating an up-coming Women in STEM food and film festival and was wondering if anyone can recommend documentaries that addresses this topic.  We're presently looking to screen both feature-length documentaries and short films.  Any assistance would be greatly appreciated and thanks so much!

Simone Fary

In reply to Howard Weinberg's post on Fri 13 Nov 2015:

 I saw it last night with Moore and producer Tia Lessin in attendance. Overall I agree with your assessment. It's a  different film then previous ones based on confrontation, more mature and reflective. One secret is that the producers do more in-depth research, but only give him the basics so that his reactions are fresher.

Chris Smernes

Hello Andy, yes I just saw the Code Documentary and met the director who's very nice and quite talented.  Code is definitely on the list. Great choice - Simone, I'll check out the film you recommended, thank you both. :)


John Burgan

More good news to start 2016 - James Longley is offering free access to several short and feature length documentaries on his website - Ejaz's Story (made for UNICEF Pakistan); the Academy Award nominated Iraq in Fragments and the accompanying short Sari's Mother; and his 2001 feature Gaza Strip

Strongly recommended, inspirational work.


Natalie Forde

35 Documentary Features, Shorts and Impact Videos in the running for the Best of Global Impact Cinema

LOS ANGELES (January 12, 2016) – The Social Impact Media Awards (SIMA), an annual international documentary awards and traveling series known for curating the best global impact cinema, announced finalists for the 2016 SIMA Awards this morning.

“Watching SIMA entries is like having x-ray vision into the state of the contemporary world,” said SIMA Executive Director Daniela Kon. “In contrast to the negativity and fear that saturates so much of mainstream media’s coverage of social issues, our finalists capture humanity’s resilience and creativity. I’m in awe of the inspiring work we get to champion in 2016.”

This year’s films explore the role of women and artists in the Arab Spring (The Trials of Spring; Nefertiti’s Daughters), the rule of law in Guatemala (Burden of Peace), the refugee crisis in Jordan and France (Salam Neighbor, Transit Zone), creative activism in South Africa and Sweden (The Mahoyo Project), racial injustice in the United States (Southern Rites), the reality of the global fashion industry (The True Cost), and a Ukrainian pastor rehabilitating drug-addicted street kids in the Terrence Malick-produced feature documentary Crocodile Gennadiy, among others.

Finalists were selected from 255 entries, submitted from 96 countries around the world. The 35 films are now eligible for entry into SIMA’s Traveling Series, and move on to the final judging round, where they will compete for awards and cash prizes of $500 - $1000 per category. Winners will be announced on February 9, 2016 and showcased in Los Angeles at Skirball Cultural Center from April through August 2016.

List of SIMA 2016 finalists:
More information:

SIMA is a nonprofit Impact Media Agency supporting and exhibiting creative works of visual storytelling that inspire activism, compassion and social transformation. Through the annual SIMA AWARDS and year-round FILM PROGRAMS, SIMA provides a catalyst for these important works, and serves as a film reserve for educators, journalists and screening partners worldwide.

The SIMA Awards are sponsored by DEEDA Productions, The Angel Station, G-Technology, and VENA CAVA.

Anne Molinas

I recently saw The Gleaners and I by Agnès Varda. It was both entertaining and very moving. A wonderful mix of historical and current social context, an interesting and varied group of people, great landscapes, and personal commentary by Varda. My husband and I totally identified with the impulse to not waste, use and reuse what’s available. It was really fascinating and beautiful. I recommend it.


I also like a documentary a saw quite a few years ago on PBS that has stayed with me, Maquilapolis: City of Factories, by Vicky Funari and Sergio De La Torre, about women who work in the maquilas in Tijuana, the conditions in the factories and how they live and how they organized to fight some environmental and health issues. A lot of the footage was taken by the women who were given cameras and who narrate what they are filming. The story was interwoven with an interesting and creative choreography by the women on the physical landscape, that relates to the activities they do in the factories. I really liked it.

John Burgan

This is a discussion, rather than a documentary.

TimesTalks - Werner Herzog and Joshua Oppenheimer (discussion starts around 32.48)

Two of the leading filmmakers of our time look at the evolution of the documentary and its role in presenting new perspectives to the world. Interviewed by New York Times Op–Docs producer and curator Kathleen Lingo.


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