Watch this artist create photorealistic embroidery portraits

Verso is a lovely documentary about embroidery artist Cayce Zavaglia (previously), who creates beautiful portraits via embroidery. Read the rest

Short documentary on a sculptor whose medium is feathers

Artist Kate MccGwire creates remarkable sculptures from carefully-curated feathers sent to her from around the globe. This short documentary examines her philosophy and aesthetic. Read the rest

Interesting vintage documentary on how analog technologies changed the sound of music

Get ready to go down a rabbit hole of musique concrète documentaries, of which this one from 1979 was by far the most informative, with this clip especially interesting.. Read the rest

Mind-bending supercut of computer simulation existence theories

What is Life? collects some of the more interesting takes on whether we may be living in a computer simulation. Read the rest

A drive-in theater screening 'Twister' was hit by a twister. Or was it?

In 1996, a powerful storm tore through a Canadian drive-in theatre, destroying a screen. Some witnesses recall it was during a screening of 'Twister,' which includes a scene where a drive-in is destroyed by a twister. The short documentary "Twisted' looks at how memories can be distorted over time. Read the rest

RIP Bruce Brown, groundbreaking surf film pioneer

The Endless Summer is the most important film in the history of surfing, and a lot of that is due to director Bruce Brown's evangelistic narration and participatory enthusiasm. Brown died this week at age 80. Read the rest

Experimental documentary shows one African migrant's harrowing journey to Europe

Fabio Palmieri directed IRREGULARS, a film about Cyrille Kabore, who tried time and time again to enter Europe after leaving his native Ghana at age 20. Read the rest

There's going to be a Mister Rogers documentary in 2018

There's going to be a feature documentary about Mister Rogers next year. It's aptly titled Won’t You Be My Neighbor? and will showcase "the lessons, ethics and legacy of iconic children's television host, Fred Rogers."
Fred Rogers led a singular life. He was a puppeteer. A minister. A musician. An educator. A father, a husband, and a neighbor. Fred Rogers spent 50 years on children’s television beseeching us to love and to allow ourselves to be loved. With television as his pulpit, he helped transform the very concept of childhood. He used puppets and play to explore the most complicated issues of the day—race, disability, equality and tragedy. He spoke directly to children and they responded by forging a lifelong bond with him—by the millions. And yet today his impact is unclear. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? explores the question of whether or not we have lived up to Fred's ideal. Are we all good neighbors?

The film will be directed by Morgan Neville, who won an Academy Award for 20 Feet From Stardom.

Mister Rogers Documentary ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ Acquired by Focus Features

image via PBS Read the rest

Anti-propaganda classic 'PsyWar' is available to watch online for free

In these spin-filled times, the documentary PsyWar feels as relevant as when it was released. Metanoia Films has made it available for free to all, so check it out.

Via a review on PR Watch:

The new documentary "Psywar," featuring CMD founder John Stauber, explores corporate and government use of propaganda and public relations to manipulate American people. The movie explores how the U.S. government staged events to manipulate public opinion about the Iraq war, like the rescue of Private Jessica Lynch, the supposedly spontaneous mob that pulled over the larger-than-life statue of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It also discusses the Pentagon pundit scandal, and the hidden activities of the Rendon Group, a PR firm specializing in spinning war. The film exposes government and corporate activities to blur the lines between real news and fake news, as well as the development over time of public relations misinformation campaigns, strategic corporate campaigns to generate goodwill and the perception of good works, the use of staged photo-ops, and other manipulative PR tools that have turned the land of the free and the home of the brave into a place where citizens are now manipulated with great efficiency, and on a massive scale.

Bonus: Their film Counter-Intelligence is on their Vimeo channel:

PsyWar (via S DN Vimeo channel) Read the rest

Lovely film on 100-year-old St. Louis landmark Crown Candy

Crown Candy is Kamau Bilal's short and loving look at a candy store that plans to stay put in its changing North St. Louis neighborhood. Read the rest

RIP Stephen Parr, Oddball Films' eccentric archivist

For connoisseurs of rare film, few experiences could top Oddball Films' meticulously curated one-time-only screenings from their extensive rare film collection. This short documentary looks at founder Stephen Parr, who died October 24. Read the rest

The Mexican town where 75% of residents manufacture fireworks

Brimstone & Glory is a new documentary about the annual National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico, a ten-day orgy of sparks and sulfur. Almost everyone in town manufactures fireworks, so the festival is beyond the beyond. Read the rest

30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story

Excited to stumble upon this recently-released documentary on a real '80s phenomenon: 30 Years of Garbage: The Garbage Pail Kids Story*.

In the 1980s a bunch of underground cartoonists parodied a popular doll. The resulting commercial product tapped into the international kid zeitgeist. That young generation felt, rather than knew, that this product spoke to the rebellious nature they had for the corporate pop culture that was being fed to them. To quote Art Spiegelman, "We were bringing the counter culture to a new generation of kids, only it was the candy counter."

You can watch it on Amazon, like I will right now.

Update: I just watched it and it's fantastic. It goes deep into the GPK story, from start to finish. As a pop culture nerd, I have to say that I loved every minute of it.

*This is obviously NOT to be confused with The Garbage Pail Kids Movie from 1987. That is a whole 'nother beast. Read the rest

A Church of the SubGenius documentary is in the works

Folks, there's going to be a documentary about that crazy cult/religion known as the Church of the SubGenius.

But only if you send J.R. "Bob" Dobbs boat loads of cash!

Now more than ever we feel that the story of the Church of the SubGenius needs to be told. There's a core of ideas within the SubGenius ethos – of fighting oppression with humor, community and creativity, of using absurdity as a nonviolent weapon, giving time, permission and priority to expression, creation, and zaniness with friends – that we think has great value we believe these ideas are necessary in today's world and that our film about the SubGenius is the perfect way to invoke them.

Amongst all the spaceships, frop, pipes, eye-bludgeoning graphics, bulldada, yeti ancestors, (and yes, ‘macho spoutings’), we hope you will fund this film so you can join our merry band of pranksters on the culture-jam of the century! It’s going to be a lot of fun!!!

Previously: Crowdfunding a Church of the Subgenius alien contact beam

(RED) Read the rest

New documentary is a magic portal into a weird and wonderful library

The Hermetic Philosophy

There is an underground current of thought beneath Western culture, running quietly like a vein of quicksilver: The Hermetic Philosophy. This ancient and multifaceted phenomenon is often found rising up from the shadows during times of intense cultural transition and upheaval.

The words hermetic, occult and esoteric are used interchangeably to refer to ideas and beliefs associated with the mystical “Perennial Philosophy” that infused every major religion, and diverse cultural streams, over the past millennia. Rooted in ancient Egyptian and Judeo-Christian traditions, these secret beliefs went mainstream during the Renaissance, a revival that continued through the Enlightenment to modern interpretations in the New Thought and New Age movements and the secular Self-help movement of recent years.

However protean and multifaceted the phenomenon, the essence of most esoteric teachings is that we go about our daily lives asleep, unaware of the true nature of reality and our place in it. This state of affairs engenders numbness, inner disconnection and lack of meaning, with a desolate question lingering in the backs of our heads: Is this all there is? Maybe, there is more than meets the eye. Unlike modern materialism, the Hermetic Philosophy pictures the cosmos as a living entity, the Anima Mundi experiencing itself subjectively. Every thing – fragments of The All – are linked together in a web of correspondences and resonances between microcosm and macrocosm. The ultimate goal of the “Way of Hermes” is to wake up to a divine reality: the actualization of the spiritual nature of man. Read the rest

Interesting look at Korea's massive counterfeit streetwear culture

This short documentary about Korean fashion is on its surface about the many looks cultivated by Korean designers, but it's especially interesting as an analysis of what late-stage capitalism looks like in a homogenous culture. Read the rest

Watch Depression-era machinists and laborers forge and mill steel parts

When watching assembly line robots of today, it's easy to forget that gruelling repetitive work used to be done manually. This beautiful footage from 1936 shows the precision needed, and it's beautifully lit and shot in black and white. Read the rest

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