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Documentary "Stripped" shows the past and future of comic strips

Stripped is a new film about comic-strip history and cartoon artists, and about the scary and wonderful future we’re living in, that’s been four years in the making.

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Documentary about anarchist punk band Crass

Crasslogo

Above, watch the entirety of "There Is No Authority But Yourself," a 2006 feature documentary about seminal anarcho-punk band Crass. It was directed by Dutch filmmaker Alexander Oey.

Filmmaker seeks people with sleep paralysis experiences

741px John Henry Fuseli The Nightmare

Do you have experience with sleep paralysis? Many scientists believe that sleep paralysis is the biological answer to such mysteries as spirit visitations, alien abductions, incubi/succubi, and out-of-body experiences. My old friend Rodney Ascher, director of the excellent film Room 237 and other movies, is making a documentary about the phenomenon and would love to hear from you. Rodney writes:

I'm working on on a new film - it's about Sleep Paralysis, a surprisingly common phenomenon where people wake-up totally frozen from the eyeballs down, unable even to make a noise, and they frequently see sinister intruders and other disturbing visions. I've been obsessed with it ever since it used to happen with me (in my case, I saw sort of a living, 3D shadow looming over in me in judgement).

The film is going to be largely built on interviews with people who've had vivid, first-person experiences with it (and have given some serious thought to what's really happening to them) - if anyone wants to share their stories, the easiest way is to contact us via the film's Facebook page.

The Nightmare: A Nonfiction Film About An Unreal Experience

Documentary tracks down JFK's "Silly Bastard"

Scott writes, "We've just received word that our documentary short, The Silly Bastard Next to the Bed, will be debuting at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC next month. In the film, we set out to locate and interview 'the silly bastard' that JFK rants about in the YouTube phone call. The video has been a pretty big hit - as far as presidential phone calls go - and we're about to top 400K views. (Thanks, Scott!)

Middle schooler wins C-SPAN prize for doc about NSA spying

Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez, "Remember when Rep. Mike Rogers likened opponents of pernicious cybersecurity legislation to 14-year-olds? It turns out that middle-school-age students are also well-prepared to debate him on the NSA's programs as well. EFF congratulates students from two middle schools who took home top prizes in the C-SPAN StudentCam 2014 competition for young filmmakers with their documentaries on the debate over mass surveillance."

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Doc film on surveillance seeks fund to film Syrian activist subjected to state surveillance

Charles Koppelman writes, "Zero Day (working title) is a documentary film being produced and directed by Charles Koppelman. BBC Storyville is co-producing and intends to air it. The film begins with the story of a single malware attack by the Assad regime in Syria using Skype as a platform. This targeted phishing attack used a Remote Access Tool (Xtreme RAT) to infect an activist’s computer. He was then tracked surreptitiously by security forces. He suffered very real physical consequences — detention, jail, and torture. His jailers showed him a file with hundreds of pages of email, web posts and surveillance reports on his movements. It is well-documented that he was the first Syrian activist to be attacked in the ongoing cyberwar conducted by the Assad regime. The Assad regime uses this same digital surveillance tool to compromise countless other activists and citizen journalists."

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New documentary about Silvan - The Great Magician

I loved this 15-minute documentary about the Italian magician Silvan. He is very charismatic as he tells his story. His room is filled with beautiful magic memorabilia. (Is that Minecraft music playing in the background?)
Nobody knows a magician's secrets, but everybody knows Silvan. Wecrosstheline meets one of the greatest international masters of illusion: the man who has enchanted millions of Italians with his unique blend of style and skill, illusion and elegance.

Voted Magician of the Year twice, in 1990 and 1999 - the only artist outside America to have received this prestigious award - the great Silvan welcomes us into his home in Rome where we become the witnesses to a magical existence as he reveals the secrets of his legendary life.

Silvan - The Great Magician, directed by Gabriele Trapani

The UK Gold: riveting documentary on the deep, ingrained corruption of the UK's banking centre, the City of London

Jeff writes, "Featuring a brand new soundtrack from Radiohead's Thom Yorke, Massive Attack and Elbow, and narrated by Dominic West (The Wire), journalist Marke Donne has put together a riveting documentary exposing the tax avoidance 'industry' operated by the highly secretive, centuries old institution, The City of London.

With a permanent office in Parliament, a budget of $1.2 billion and the media-avoiding tactics of the super-rich, the City relies on lobbying and silence to carry out it's offshore tax avoidance, robbing the state of tens of billions in revenue every year."

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This Is Not a Conspiracy Theory, Part One of a New Web Series by Kirby Ferguson

Kirby Ferguson, creator of Everything Is a Remix, has launched the first installment of his serial documentary project about "the forces that that shape us." In this first entertaining episode, Ferguson explains why people fall for conspiracy theories.

He says: "To see future episodes you will need to subscribe. Launch price is $12; the price will rise to $15 later. This project has been my labor of love for the past couple years and I hope you will you enjoy it."

This is Not a Conspiracy Theory (Part 1) (Via Laughing Squid)

13-year-old filmmaker's documentary on NSA spying

Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes, "I escort a lot of TV crews in and out of the building at EFF. Few have been as efficient and polite as Ben Blum, a 13-year-old San Francisco independent YouTube producer who interviewed EFF's Parker Higgins for this short documentary. Pitched to us as an entry in a C-Span competition about what issues Congress should deal with in 2014, Data Obsession breaks down the controversy over domestic surveillance with help from AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein.

Data Obsession - A Look Inside Government Surveillance (Thanks, Dave!)

Tim Wu on the Aaron Swartz documentary

In the New Yorker, Tim Wu reviews The Internet's Own Boy, a documentary about the life and death of Aaron Swartz. Wu, the scholar and lawyer who coined the term "Net Neutrality," does a good job of framing Aaron's life in the context of his activism. The film has just premiered to good reviews at Sundance.

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Aaron Swartz's family talk with documentarian Brian Knappenberger about "The Internet's Own Boy" on Democracy Now

The Internet's Own Boy is a documentary about the life and death of Aaron Swartz, and it just premiered at Sundance. Director Brian Knappenberger sat down with Democracy Now's Amy Goodman, as well as Aaron's father Robert and his brother Noah for a wide-ranging interview on Aaron and his work.

The Internet’s Own Boy: Film on Aaron Swartz Captures Late Activist’s Struggle for Online Freedom (Thanks, Noah!)

We Cause Scenes: documentary on Improv Everywhere

Today marks the release of We Cause Scenes, a feature-length documentary on the the legendary Improv Everywhere troupe, which was pieced together from over twelve years' worth of footage of daring, comic, wonderful public scenes. We've been writing about Improv Everywhere for years, and a tour through our archives reveals such delights as the annual No-Pants subway ride, the Star Wars subway car, the NYC sidewalk tourist-lane, Lost at the Knicks game, Grand Central Station mass-freeze and Shirtless at Abercrombie and Fitch.

We Cause Scenes is available as a DRM-free high-def download direct from the production company -- $13, or $15 with bonus features -- and comes with an impressive pedigree from the festival circuit, having been selected for SXSW, Hotdocs, and many others.

Documentary about The Residents

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The Residents are a legendary and cryptic avant-garde music collective that began in Louisiana and moved to San Francisco nearly forty years ago. They've since released more than 60 records and a slew of videos, films, CD-ROMs (remember those?) and DVDs. Filmmaker Josh Keppel and friends are going behind The Residents' iconic eyeball masks (well, as best as they can) with a new documentary about the group, titled Theory of Obscurity. The film already hit its goal on Indiegogo but there are still a few days left to support the project. I can't wait to see the movie! "Theory of Obscurity: a film about The Residents" (Thanks for the intro, Ron Turner!)

Minecraft documentary

It's 85 minutes long, and it gets right into the meat of things. There are interviews with Notch, the Mojang crew, and game design luminaries, but the documentarians also capture the game's vibe in a way that few others do: that strange, expansive sense of place. You can download a DRM-free HD copy at the official website. [Video Link]