The story of Amy Winehouse in her own words, featuring unseen archival footage and unheard tracks. Amy won the 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Amy Winehouse’s immediate family were initially willing to work with the film’s producers and director, having heard about the success of their earlier documentary, Senna (2010). They granted the filmmakers access to hours of archive footage of Amy and her family, as well as giving the filmmakers’ their blessing to interview Amy’s family and friends. However, they – in particular, Amy’s father, Mitch Winehouse – soon began to feel they were being misrepresented in the documentary, that the negative aspects of Amy’s life were receiving much more attention than the positive, and that footage had been edited in order to produce an inaccurate narrative of Amy’s story, especially the last three years of her life.
The Academy Award-winning documentary Murder on a Sunday Afternoon, which originally aired on HBO as part of its America Undercover series, is a troubling look at modern police investigation that unfolds in a story as compelling and suspenseful as any fictional drama. French director Jean-Xavier De Lestrade’s intimate camerawork pulls viewers into the jury box to help decide the fate of 15-year-old Brenton Butler, a black resident of Jacksonville, Florida, who becomes the prime suspect in the shooting death of an elderly white woman simply because he was seen in the vicinity of the crime. Butler’s attorney, a magnetic public defender named Patrick McGuinness, must pit his legal skills against a mountain of shoddy investigative work and corruption to save his client from life in prison. Similar in intent to HBO’s Paradise Lost, Murder’s white-knuckled pacing and a wealth of courtroom fireworks should leave true-crime and documentary fans breathless–and angry. Read more at IMDB or support this site and the filmmaker by buying it at Amazon.
Using previously unreleased archival material in addition to contemporary interviews, this academy award-winning documentary tells the story of the Frank family and presents the first fully-rounded portrait of their brash and free-spirited daughter Anne, perhaps the world’s most famous victim of the Holocaust. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit, a French wire walker, juggler, and street performer days shy of his 25th birthday, spent 45 minutes walking, dancing, kneeling, and lying on a wire he and friends strung between the rooftops of the Twin Towers. Uses contemporary interviews, archival footage, and recreations to tell the story of his previous walks between towers of Notre Dame and of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, his passions and friendships, and the details of the night before the walk getting cable into the towers, hiding from guards, and mounting the wire. It ends with observations of the profound changes the walk’s success brought to Philippe and those closest to him. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
It’s 1974, Muhammed Ali is 32 and thought by many to be past his prime. George Forman is ten years younger and the Heavyweight champion of the world. Promoter Don King wants to make a name for himself and offers both fighters five million dollars apiece to fight one another, and when they accept, King has only to come up with the money. He finds a backer in Mobutu Sese Suko, the dictator of Zaire and the “Rumble in the Jungle” is set. A musical festival, featuring the America’s top black performers, like James Brown and B.B. King, is also planned.
Part documentary, part expose, this film follows one-time child evangelist Marjoe Gortner on the “church tent” Revivalist circuit, commenting on the showmanship of Evangelism and “the religion business”, prior to the start of “televangelism”
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Member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Supervisor Dan White on November 27, 1978. Milk’s life leading up to his election, his successful efforts to politically represent San Francisco’s gay community, and the city’s reaction to the assassinations are documented with extensive news film and personal recollections. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Each winter, alone in the pitiless ice deserts of Antarctica, deep in the most inhospitable terrain on Earth, a truly remarkable journey takes place as it has done for millennia. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Winner of the Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature and lauded by the San Francisco Chronicle as “wonderfully funny yet equally heart-rending,” IN THE SHADOW OF THE STARS is a hilarious and affectionate look at the path to stardom inside the competitive world of opera. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
An intimate look at the Woodstock Music & Art Festival held in Bethel, NY in 1969, from preparation through cleanup, with historic access to insiders, blistering concert footage, and portraits of the concertgoers; negative and positive aspects are shown, from drug use by performers to naked fans sliding in the mud, from the collapse of the fences by the unexpected hordes to the surreal arrival of National Guard helicopters with food and medical assistance for the impromptu city of 500,000. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Academy Award winner starring Matt Damon. Takes a closer look at what brought about the financial meltdown. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Using the torture and death in 2002 of an innocent Afghan taxi driver as the touchstone, this film examines changes after 9/11 in U.S. policy toward suspects in the war on terror. Soldiers, their attorneys, one released detainee, U.S. Attorney John Yoo, news footage and photos tell a story of abuse at Bagram Air Base, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay. From Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzalez came unwritten orders to use any means necessary. The CIA and soldiers with little training used sleep deprivation, sexual assault, stress positions, waterboarding, dogs and other terror tactics to seek information from detainees. Many speakers lament the loss of American ideals in pursuit of security.
Documentary about Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, who subsequently became president of the World Bank. The documentary will combine an interview with Mr. McNamara discussing some of the tragedies and glories of the 20th Century, archival footage, documents, and an original score by Philip Glass. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
The 1972 Munich Olympics were interrupted by Palestinian terrorists taking Israeli athletes hostage. Besides footage taken at the time, we see interviews with the surviving terrorist, Jamal Al Gashey, and various officials detailing exactly how the police, lacking an anti-terrorist squad and turning down help from the Israelis, botched the operation. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
This film recounts the history and attitudes of the opposing sides of the Vietnam War using archival news footage as well as their own film and interviews. A key theme is how attitudes of American racism and self-righteousness militarism helped create and prolong this bloody conflict. The film also endeaveors to give voice to the Vietnamese people themselves as to how the war has affected them and their reasons why they fight the United States and other western powers while showing the basic humanity of the people that US propaganda tried to dismiss. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
A collection of profiles of people dead from AIDS who are remembered in the AIDS Memorial Quilt.
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This film documents the coal miners’ strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky in June, 1973. Eastovers refusal to sign a contract (when the miners joined with the United Mine Workers of America) led to the strike, which lasted more than a year and included violent battles between gun-toting company thugs/scabs and the picketing miners and their supportive women-folk. Director Barbara Kopple puts the strike into perspective by giving us some background on the historical plight of the miners and some history of the UMWA. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renown dolphin trainer Ric O´Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health. Read more at IMDB or support this site by buying it at Amazon.
Director Davis Guggenheim eloquently weaves the science of global warming with Mr. Gore’s personal history and lifelong commitment to reversing the effects of global climate change. A longtime advocate for the environment, Gore presents a wide array of facts and information in a thoughtful and compelling way. “Al Gore strips his presentations of politics, laying out the facts for the audience to draw their own conclusions in a charming, funny and engaging style, and by the end has everyone on the edge of their seats, gripped by his haunting message,” said Guggenheim. An Inconvenient Truth is not a story of despair but rather a rallying cry to protect the one earth we all share. “It is now clear that we face a deepening global climate crisis that requires us to act boldly, quickly, and wisely,” said Gore.
The United States of America is notorious for its astronomical number of people killed by firearms for a developed nation without a civil war. With his signature sense of angry humor, activist filmmaker Michael Moore sets out to explore the roots of this bloodshed. In doing so, he learns that the conventional answers of easy availability of guns, violent national history, violent entertainment and even poverty are inadequate to explain this violence when other cultures share those same factors without the equivalent carnage. In order to arrive at a possible explanation, Michael Moore takes on a deeper examination of America’s culture of fear, bigotry and violence in a nation with widespread gun ownership. Furthermore, he seeks to investigate and confront the powerful elite political and corporate interests fanning this culture for their own unscrupulous gain.