West coast premiere for nerd culture documentary Traceroute

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Johannes Grenzfurthner writes, "My cinematic tour de farce through nerd culture comes to the West Coast. Upcoming Bay Area and L.A. premieres!" Read the rest

No More Road Trips? Feature film made from 90 families' home movies, 1925-78

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Rick Prelinger writes, "Today I've released my 2013 feature film NO MORE ROAD TRIPS? to the world for viewing, public screening and remixing." Read the rest

Documentary on the past, present and future of typewriters

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Typewriter sculptor Jeremy Meyer sez, "I just got back from Telluride where the feature-length documentary by Doug Nichol called 'California Typewriter' premiered." Read the rest

How documentary filmmaker Louis Theroux asks questions

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Louis Theroux's ability to establish a rapport with subjects is legendary, even with people who are aware that he may be, from their perspective, implicitly hostile. His affectation of ignorance and naivety is part of it, obviously, but it's more than that: he lets subjects take a position of superiority, remains emotionally detached, yet exposes himself to scrutiny.

In this video, Ryan Holligner explains just how good Theroux is at this stuff. Read the rest

Galactic Warfighters: recreating photos of US soldiers in battle using Star Wars action figures

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Matthew Callahan's Galactic Warfighters series poses Star Wars action figures in scenes that recreate war journalism from US operations, captioned with AP-style slugs that conjure up the human cost of the battles hidden by the inscrutable armor of the Empire. Read the rest

Astounding, visionary video about hypertext from 1976

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Brett Bobley writes, "'Hypertext: an Educational Experiment in English and Computer Science at Brown University' is an amazing documentary film from 1976 made by Brown University computer scientist Andries 'Andy' van Dam." Read the rest

The Divide: important new documentary about income inequality based on "The Spirit Level"

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Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson's 2011 book The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger was an instant classic for the way it described the impact of wealth inequality on the lives of both poor and rich people, driving them both to completely unsustainable working lives that destroyed their families and made them deeply unhappy. Read the rest

Laura Poitras's Whitney show and book are a glimpse into life under full-strength, targeted US surveillance

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Laura Poitras, whose 2014 Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour won the Academy Award for best doc, has a show on at NYC's Whitney Museum called "Astro Noise," which attempts to capture the sense of overwhelming surveillance she's lived under since the US government targeted her while she was shooting a documentary in Iraq. Read the rest

1970 documentary about Hunter S. Thompson's run for sheriff of Aspen

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Jesse Walker says: "In 1970, Hunter Thompson ran for sheriff of Pitkin County, Colorado, on a Freak Power ticket, promising to sod the streets, put dishonest drug dealers in stocks, and change Aspen's name to "Fat City." His campaign caught the attention of the British TV show This Week, which sent a crew to make a documentary about it." Read the rest

Watch: Claude Shannon, Jerome Wiesner and Oliver Selfridge in a 1960s AI documentary

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This short excerpt from a documentary on AI pulls together clips from a variety of 1960s interviews with some of AI's most storied pioneers, including Claude Shannon, Jerome Wiesner and Oliver Selfridge. Read the rest

Crowdfunding "The Haystack": an independent documentary on surveillance in the UK

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Edward Snowden said that Britain's spies have "some of the most extensive surveillance powers in the world," and those powers are about to be dramatically expanded if the Snoopers Charter passes Parliament. Read the rest

Laura Poitras's Astro Noise: indispensable book and gallery show about mass surveillance

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Laura Poitras is the Macarthur-winning, Oscar-winning documentarian who made Citizenfour. Her life has been dogged by government surveillance and harassment, and she has had to become a paranoid OPSEC ninja just to survive. Read the rest

Delhi's "Sleep Mafia" control the nights of 100,000 homeless workers

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With an estimated 100,000 homeless people living on the streets of Delhi, and 18,000 shelter beds, the city's nighttime sidewalks are the only bed for tens of thousands of workers. Read the rest

WATCH: documentary featuring some of the best aurora borealis footage ever captured

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Back in 2012, I wrote about 'Magnetic Reconnection', a beautiful, haunting experimental film about the aurora borealis, scored by Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth, Wilco) and narrated by Will Oldham (Matewan, Old Joy). Read the rest

10 creepy and disturbing documentaries

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Mental Floss' list of 10 (More) Haunting Documentaries That Are Stranger Than Fiction (see also 10 Haunting Documentaries That Are Stranger Than Fiction) lives up to its headline. Some of these documentaries sound too disturbing for me to watch, like The Cheshire Murders (about a horrifying home invasion that took place in 2007). But others look fascinating, like The Woman Who Wasn't There (about a woman who fooled the world with her lie about being a 9/11 survivor). Watch the trailer below.

The Woman Who Wasn't There profiles a New York City woman and 9/11 survivor named Tania Head, who managed to escape from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center, badly injured, and eventually became one of the founding members of the World Trade Center Survivors' Network. Head's story is a compelling one—even more so once you learn that none of it ever happened. Tania, whose real name is Alicia Esteve Head, fooled hundreds of people over a period of several years, pretending to be a 9/11 survivor and the widow of a man who was killed in one of the towers. Available for streaming on Hulu, The Woman Who Wasn't There profiles Head, her story, and the shocking manner in which it all unraveled.

Why it’s so creepy: In archival footage, Head is shown recounting her tale of survival—in sordid detail—to cameras and survivors alike. Viewers will be chilled to the bone to witness how manipulative Head acts, and how convincing a liar she is.

Read the rest

WATCH: documentary on Walt Disney, the futurist

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John Frost writes, "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow: The Futurism of Walt Disney new documentary captures a side of Walt Disney that other recent documentaries miss. He was a lover of technology, innovation, and a futurist with an eye toward improving humanity. The whole documentary has been released online to be viewed for free by CM Films." Read the rest

Filmmaking teacher makes a mini documentary about a cigar connoisseur

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The Cigar Connoisseur from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Philip Bloom is a filmmaker who teaches 3-day documentary making workshops. He went to a cigar shop in New York and shot this short profile of one of the customers, who turned out to be interesting and charming. Bloom says, "As students took what they had learned on day one and made a mini documentary for themselves in NYC I also did the same thing. This is the end result, which we found and shot within two hours." [via] Read the rest

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