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.

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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

66% discount for Boing Boing readers on the documentary, Our Magic

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Our Magic from R. Paul Wilson on Vimeo.

The documentary Our Magic by filmmaker R. Paul Wilson lifts the curtain behind which magicians have worked for a century and a half. Our Magic, however, does not explain how tricks work — that’s not the real point of magic. How magicians work, how their childhood experiences feed into what makes them seek such a specialized field of endeavor, is the real secret. Watch Wilson’s award-winning short film The Magic Box to get a taste of not only his talent as a filmmaker, but what makes magicians tick.

Few people who love magic do not feel the well of emotion which The Magic Box (above video) evokes. But why? What makes a grown man (or woman) teary-eyed by watching a short film about something so seemingly inconsequential as a magic trick? The documentary Our Magic answers that question, and does so in an entertaining and artistic manner. Most of the world’s best magicians participated in the project, and with the help of Kickstarter, R. Paul Wilson has created a unique piece of cinema.

Happily, Our Magic is now available via Vimeo on Demand either to rent or download and own. The price is startlingly low, and readers of Boing Boing can get a 66% discount by entering the code “BoingBoing” in the appropriate spot. Read the rest

Kickstarting "From DeadDrop to SecureDrop" about Aaron Swartz's last project

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Journalist/educator Lisa Rein is looking for $20,000 to complete a documentary called "From DeadDrop to SecureDrop," which chronicles the development of the last technology project that Aaron Swartz worked on: a tool to help whistleblowers and journalists communicate and exchange documents in secret. Read the rest

Exclusive clip from new Russell Brand documentary

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In this clip from the new documentary, Brand: A Second Coming, Russell Brand recounts the time he was at a protest in the streets of London. He climbed on top of a police van and took off his clothes. He was so alarmed by his "shrinkage," that he tried to "wank it to normal size."

Brand: A Second Coming chronicles actor / comedian / activist Russell Brand on his journey from addict, self-proclaimed narcissist and Hollywood star living in the fast-lane to his current, and unexpected, role as political disruptor & newfound hero to the underserved. Criticized for egomaniacal self-interest, Brand injects his madness in to the world and calls for revolution. He stays the course with an irreverent courage that inspires a new generation of activists to rise up against the ever-increasing world engorged in Consumerism.

Can Brand rise against the roar of criticism from the very system that built him? Does he have the fortitude, resilience and commitment to keep up the fight? Will he find true happiness which has eluded him since childhood? BRAND: A Second Coming takes audiences behind the scenes of this wildly complex man for an intimate look at what drives Russell Brand as he continues to be the consummate disruptor.

Brand: A Second Coming is a feature documentary produced, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Ondi Timoner (Dig!, We Live in Public).

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Would you live in a treehouse?

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Fun little short documentary from the Atlantic on YouTube, in which you meet people who build, live in, and love treehouses. Gotta be honest here, this is very much a lifelong passion and dream of mine.

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Documentary about the rise and fall of Tower records

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I loved Tower Records. Not for the records (though I bought a lot of them there), but for the tremendous book and zine section. That's where I discovered Re/Search books and a ton of great obscure periodicals. It pains me whenever I see the crappy boring businesses that now occupy the former Tower Records store locations in Los Angeles.

Established in 1960, Tower Records was once a retail powerhouse with two hundred stores, in thirty countries, on five continents. From humble beginnings in a small-town drugstore, Tower Records eventually became the heart and soul of the music world, and a powerful force in the music industry. In 1999, Tower Records made $1 billion. In 2006, the company filed for bankruptcy. What went wrong? Everyone thinks they know what killed Tower Records: The Internet. But thats not the story. All Things Must Pass is a feature documentary film examining this iconic companys explosive trajectory, tragic demise, and legacy forged by its rebellious founder, Russ Solomon. Directed by Colin Hanks.

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Trailer: “Deep Web,” new film on Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht, and the hunt for 'Dread Pirate Roberts'

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Deep Web, Alex Winter’s new documentary about Silk Road founder Ross William Ulbricht is out on video-on-demand today at Vimeo.

Here's the trailer.

From Vimeo:

Deep Web gives the inside story of one of the most important and riveting digital crime sagas of the century -- the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht, the 31-year-old entrepreneur convicted of being 'Dread Pirate Roberts,' creator and operator of online black market Silk Road. As the only film with exclusive access to the Ulbricht family, Deep Web explores how the brightest minds and thought leaders behind the Deep Web and Bitcoin are now caught in the crosshairs of the battle for control of a future inextricably linked to technology, with our digital rights hanging in the balance.

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