Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries, and Nonfiction Storytelling


Posted by on Feb 25, 2012 in Director, Documentary, Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries | 0 comments

URBANIZED, directed by Gary Hustwit ( also directed HELVETICA and OBJECTIFIED) is an exiting look at the design of cities, the art of urban design and a glimpse at what is predicted for the future of cities in different parts of the world. Huge cities are predicted in the future. URBANIZED begins with a montage of urban landscapes, the magic of cities across the planet. Cities grow where commerce is natural. Some cities, like many in Europe, have been designed in a specific way. Many American cities evolved without a plan and now face certain types of problems. The documentary takes you to urban environments across the globe exploring issues facing urban design and urban life. The evolution and design of many cities has not always made them livable spaces for human beings. The film looks into both the design and social realities of urban life.

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Third Edition – Create Documentary Films, Videos and Multimedia

Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in Director, Making Documentaries, News | 0 comments

There are many ideas about what makes a documentary film. But a true documentary does not employ actors or have scenes "recreated" based on a true story or not. The 2014, 386 page, third edition of Create Documentary Films, Videos and Multimedia is a book that looks at the craft and art of telling nonfiction stories, in particular, in a documentary style. Written by James (Jim) R. Martin it is based on over 33 years of teaching filmmaking and making award winning documentaries.

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Posted by on Dec 12, 2010 in Director, Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries | 1 comment

The Last Waltz is one of the best concert or musical documentaries ever made. It became a musical documentary when it went beyond simply recording the performance. The Last Waltz transcends the concert event category by inter-cutting interviews with the members of the band talking about their experiences and why after “sixteen years on the road,” Robbie Robertson feels “it’s an impossible way of life.” The interview segments are skillfully blended with the performance footage to give you a sense of how these musicians got to this point in their careers. In dramatic terms, it is the back-story to The Last Waltz documentary.

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Posted by on Dec 6, 2010 in Director, Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries | 2 comments

The Fog Of War - Eleven Lessons From The Life Of Robert S. McNamara is more than lessons about the cruelty of war. McNamara and director Errol Morris explore issues surrounding war, including the mindset, ethics, politics and mistakes made in US policy decisions during the life of Robert S. McNamara.

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THE COVE - 2009 Academy Award Winner Best Feature Documentary

Posted by on Nov 22, 2010 in Director, Documentary, Documentary Film Reviews, Making Documentaries | 2 comments

“Driving into the town of Taiji (Japan) is like driving into the twilight zone,” says Ric O’Barry, dressed with hat, dark glasses and a filter mask, disguised as he drives his passenger into the town. “A little town with a big secret,” Rick continues, “when you look around you would think they loved dolphins and whales.” The Cove is a documentary with an activist point-of-view. The filmmakers set out to discover what happens to dolphins captured by the fisherman of Taiji, Japan. One of the main proponents for dolphins is Ric O’Barry, once the costar, with Flipper the dolphin, of Flipper, the television show that basically started the worlds preoccupation with performing dolphins. There is some archival footage of the show used in the documentary. When the show ended Ric became interested in how these creatures, who he discovered have “self recognition,” were being treated in captivity. Ric became an activist after one of the dolphins that played Flipper died suddenly. He has since gone to many different countries setting dolphins free or bringing them back to the wild.

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THE BRIDGE - A Story About Suicide By Jumping

Posted by on Oct 24, 2012 in Director, Documentary Film Reviews | 0 comments

Suicide is a difficult subject to deal with. Some might call it morbid. The documentary, The Bridge begins with panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the bay, recreational activities, boats, rowers, people walking across the bridge, standing by the rail, talking on cell phones. A late middle-aged man, dressed casually, wearing running shoes, suddenly climbs on to the railing, stands there for a few moments and then jumps off the bridge. The goal of a documentary film is to explore actuality, that which is known as reality, with as little interference as possible. The expectation is that the process will reveal some truth about that subject. Give some new insight into a problem or a way to deal with an issue that faces humanity. The Bridge fulfills this requirement in a way that is sensitive to the delicate nature of the subject. However, it is not a film for children.

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