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...

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.

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.

Sheila Canavan
Pro

Just saw #chicagogirl @ Napa Valley Film Fest - best film we have seen this year. We could not understand why we had not heard of it. 

Thomas Michael Conner
Fan

I would recommend this film for anyone interested in global warming, ocean travel and nuclear power.


New film chronicles the life death and resurrection of historic ship

Once Upon A Nuclear Ship, a new documentary by filmmaker Thomas Michael Conner, tells the story of the NS Savannah the world's first nuclear powered merchant ship that was once the diamond in the crown of the US merchant fleet.

Imagined by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1955 and built by the New York Shipbuilding Corp in Camden NJ from 1957 to 1962, the Savannah sailed the oceans of the world for 9 years before being taken out of service in 1971. In her brief lifetime she visited 77 ports of call hosting 1.5 million visitors and proved that a nuclear powered merchant ship carrying cargo and passengers was a viable option to smokestacks spewing soot and other contaminants into the air and laid the groundwork for a future that never came to be.

It's a story best told by the men who "were there when it happened" and although many of these pioneering seamen have sailed into the sunset, Conner tracked down some key players and let them tell the story in their own words. It's a story he too knows well because he was a member of the health physics (radiation protection) staff and was there from the day the reactor split it's first atom then sailed on the ship until the end of 1964. The NS Savannah was the only merchant ship requiring a special department for the assessment of radiological hazards.

Once Upon A Nuclear Ship follows the Savannah through all of her trials and tribulations from the keel laying to her decommissioning and abandonment to her resurrection in 2006.

Today, the NS Savannah sits beside a dock in Baltimore MD while a small group of passionate people led by Erhard Koehler and Jon Stouky of the US Maritime Administration are busy preserving the history and technological know how that produced the Savannah in the first place. Stouky like Conner was involved with the Savannah since the New York Ship days in Camden and is currently the project's Nuclear Advisor. Future plans include using the ship as a Maritime Museum.

Once Upon A Nuclear Ship is being released on DVD through TCL Communications, Inc and is available on it's own website http://nssavannahdocumentary.com. Future plans include making it available via download or streaming.

Contact: Tom Conner
517-546-9230
tom@nssavannahdocumentary.com

Doug Block
Host

Tom, congrats on getting your film made and out there.  However, if you read the header of this topic, it clearly states:

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.

Yannesh Meijman
Pro

Great work from a very talented young director, Lance Oppenheim. An intriguing story about a former-top NFL player trying to work his way back to the top. I love how visual the documentary is.

Jeremy Pevar
Pro

I have been away from the D-Word for quite a while, but thought I'd check in to see what folks here were saying about the recent HBO documentary series, "The Jinx."  I have searched the site for conversations on this film and come up empty.  How has this not been a hot topic over the past several weeks?  Not since "The Thin Blue Line" have I seen a doc where the film makers were able to coax a confession from a previously un-repentent murderer.  Although, in "The Jinx" Robert Durst didn't realize that he was making a confession.

 

For those who haven't already seen this series, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Even before the jaw dropping off-camera "confession" that closes the final episode, this was a tour-de-force of the true crime genre.  Clearly Jarecki got incredibly lucky that Durst approached him about doing an interview in the first place, but luck isn't what makes the film so compelling.  This is first class film making.

Thoughts?

Doug Block
Host

Actually haven't seen, though obviously I've heard a great deal.  I do know Jarecki has been involved with the Durst case for over 10 years, and made a fiction film about him a few years ago that was somewhat sympathetic, so he clearly worked hard to gain access.

My only fear is that the success of "The Jinx" and "Serial" has raised the bar of expectations for crime docs, and that nothing less than a multi-part series with a huge payoff will do. 

Erica Ginsberg
Host

Haven't seen it. Not a big fan of crime docs so it didn't pique my interest (I didn't listen to Serial either even though it takes place in my state). I certainly have heard a lot about them both on social media and from word of mouth though.

Niam Itani
Host

Yeah, same thing for me. I heard a lot about both but not really something I'd rush to see -even with all that hype. 

Andrew James
Pro

Hey everyone. I'm currently in post on my film, Street Fighting Man. We are nearing completion. We have three subjects and are still wrestling with the structure. I'm looking for recommendations of other docs with either three primary subjects or multiple subjects. Just needing some inspiration as we work toward the finishing line! Thanks. :)

Erica Ginsberg
Host

I recently saw TOCANDO LA LUZ at Full Frame which handled the structure and arc of three characters very effectively.  May be hard to see right now unless you are attending festivals, but MADE IN L.A. and THE HOMESTRETCH also come to mind.

William Slap
Fan

I just finished "No No: A Dockumentary". It's on netflix, and produced by Arts + Labor (out of Austin I think).  It's the story of Dock Ellis and his affect on the MLB. Ostensiblly it's about how he pitched a no hitter while on acid (which is a great story in and of itself: here) but elegantly expands outwards from that event to show Dock as the radical, influential player he was. 

John Burgan
Host

Congratulations William, but it appears that you have overlooked the purpose of this Topic, outlined at the top of the page:

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.

Sarah George
Pro

JB - I think William meant he just finished watching "No No: A Dockumentary" - the film was actually made by D-Worder Jeff Radice!

Doug Block
Host

Indeed.  Ten lashes for our overenthusiastic topic cop!

John Burgan
Host

Whoops! Better hand myself in for re-education.

Apologies, William.

Gretta Wing Miller
Pro

And because Wm. mentioned it, we watched it last night. Can't get enough baseball and the montages are great! Brings on a kind of wistful remembrance of times past and what pitching a no-hit game on acid must have been like.…
Unfortunately, it abruptly stopped at 100 min: too sleepy to wonder whose screw up that was. Netflix? Or our wifi?

Babette Hoogendoorn
Fan

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Doug Block
Host

Babette, we ask people not to double post on The D-Word and you asked this in the Mentoring Room, which is where it belongs.  This is for recommending documentaries.


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