AFI Docs (formerly SilverDocs) begins tonight in Washington, D.C. with another spectacular slate of documentary films. The opening night festivities feature “The Best of Enemies,” a terrific film about the battle of the upper-class, socially connected, classically educated, hyperverbal writers […]
This new documentary tells the stories of the athletes who seek the freedom that comes from living in the moment and doing what makes us feel the most alive. This documentary written and directed by Jon Long (IMAX® Extreme) is […]
I was privileged to hear Nina Simone perform in concert and can’t wait to see this film.
I was delighted to see that there is a documentary about Louis Sarno, whose work I have admired since I saw the wonderful film Oka! directed by Lavinia Currier.
“CitizenFour,” the Oscar-winning documentary about Edward Snowden, is free online. Whether you consider him a hero or a traitor, it is well worth watching, and considering the fragile balance between privacy and national security — and who decides.
“Dogs on the Inside” is a profoundly moving documentary about a program that teaches prisoners how to care for rescue dogs. Seeing the dogs and the men in prison learn patience and trust from each other is touching and inspiring. […]
Lacey Schwartz grew up as the much-loved only child of warm, loving parents in a close-knit middle-class Jewish family. She did not resemble her parents, but they reassured her that she had a Sicilian grandparent who was the genetic source […]
Bill Moyers has an excellent list of 2014’s best documentaries about the struggle for justice, covering issues from healthcare to the environment, politics, the collision between national security and privacy, domestic violence, human rights, and marriage equality. All are highly […]
Along the lines of the marvelous Babies, the new documentary “I Am Eleven” introduces us to eleven-year-olds around the world, different cultures, but all on the brink of adolescence, that terrifying, amazing moment. It looks wonderful.
Dan Cohen is the gifted and passionately committed man who transforms the lives of people with dementia and other severely debilitating diseases. He is featured in the documentary “Alive Inside.” He is the founder of Music and Memory, which provides […]
We had a great first day at AFI Docs, the most important documentary film festival in the country. I am very proud to be a sponsor. Yesterday, we saw three of the films featuring one of this year’s key themes, […]
Director Carolyn Jones told me that she learned more from Sister Stephen than anyone she has ever met. Sister Stephen is an end-of-life nurse featured in Jones’ documentary, The American Nurse. I also learned a great deal from her, even […]
“American Nurse” is a deeply moving documentary about the men and women who are, as the bumper sticker says, “patient people.” The film explores aging, war, poverty, and prisons through the work and lives of nurses. Jason Short drives up a […]
Oscar-winning producer Laurie David is back with an even more inconvenient truth: our food is killing us and the government is powerless to stop food companies from making it worse. I spoke to David and director Stephanie Soechtig about the […]
Documentarian Rachel Boynton (Our Brand Is Crisis) spent seven years filming “Big Men,” a documentary about what happens when the American oil business meets a previously unknown oil reserve in Ghana. Is it possible for American business, with its obligations […]
Patrick Creadon is the director of the new documentary “If You Build It,” the story of an idealistic young couple who movie to a depressed North Carolina community to teach teenagers how to solve problems with design. He talked to […]
American Masters launches its 28th season with the series’ 200th episode: the exclusive director’s cut of Shane Salerno’s documentary, Salinger, premiering nationally Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 9-11:30 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with 15 minutes of new material not seen in theaters.
Start the new year by joining this wonderful project and find out how being grateful will transform your life.
Mary Baratta Lorton was a pioneering teacher whose revolutionary ideas about making learning more accessible and involving transformed nearly every classroom in America in the 1970’s. Her books included Mathematics Their Way. Tragically, she was murdered. The killer was never found. Her […]
We pride ourselves — for better and worse — about being very open and modern in contemporary society. Topics that were previously not spoken of in polite society are discussed openly — sex, money, race, politics, religion. But the one […]
Really! It looks awesome, doesn’t it?
One of the most influential writers of the 20th century was J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye. He spent the last decades of his life living quietly, almost reclusively, writing but not publishing anything more from 1960 […]
Are you worried about what the NSA knows about you? Then this is ten times scarier.
I sat down to watch an early screener of “Muscle Shoals,” the new documentary about a tiny Alabama town and the two music studios that produced some of the biggest records of all time. Ten minutes later, I stopped it […]
The wonderful, poignant OWN documentary “Becoming Santa” is now available on DVD. I wrote about the movie when it was shown on OWN.
“Section 60: Arlington National Cemetery” is a documentary from HBO about “the saddest acre in America,” the final resting place of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afganistan. Emmy-winning producers Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill (Baghdad […]
Eugene Jarecki’s new documentary about the failure of the drug wars by any standard — economic, practical, moral — is a powerful and sobering call for treating drug abuse as a public health problem and not a criminal problem. I […]
“Escape Fire” is a new documentary about what does not work in our system for preventing and treating illness, and what some people are doing to make it better. I spoke to Matthew Heineman, co-director and co-producer of the film. […]
I was moved and inspired by Roger Ebert’s book Life Itself: A Memoir and I’m thrilled to hear that it may become a documentary thanks to three brilliant filmmakers, Martin Scorsese (“Goodfellas,” “Hugo,” “Raging Bull”), Steven Zaillian (“Schindler’s List,” “Moneyball,” “Searching for […]
“This isn’t a movie about what AIDS did to us,” writer/director David France told me as he was preparing to present “How to Survive a Plague,” his documentary about AIDS activism at the prestigious Silverdocs film festival in Silver Spring, […]
This is a message for Alex. You are a great kid. You will be a great, happy, successful adult. And those high school boys who torture you so brutally on the school bus every day will spend their adult lives […]
I am a total Comic-Con fangirl (already counting the days to this year’s Con in July), so I am very excited about a new documentary from Morgan Spurlock (“Super Size Me,” “Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”) called […]
I’m very happy to be able to share this clip from the Oscar-winning documentary “Undefeated,” about a high school football team and their dedicated coach. The movie is in theaters across the country now.
“Up From Zero” is a US Department of Labor documentary about the construction workers who helped to clear ground zero after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, now available on YouTube.
My friend Jennifer Merin writes about documentaries for About.com. She has a thoughtful new post about a new project from film-maker Anne Aghion to create a repository for historical documentation about Rwanda, including a huge cache of footage shot during the ten years […]
“Page One” takes us behind the scenes at the New York times in a year of turmoil and transition. We see how its media reporters cover their own industry. We see the release of the first Wikileaks material and how […]
“Louder than a Bomb” is a new documentary about Chicago’s poetry slam competition for high schoolers. Watching these teenagers thrill to finding their own voices and hearing each other’s stories makes it one of the most inspiring films of the […]
Director Sue Bourne talked to me about her new documentary, “Jig,” the story of the Irish dancing world championships. It is thrilling, touching, and inspiring, with unforgettable characters and stories and dancing that would make Michael Flatley stand up and […]
I love Mark and Lindsay Goffman’s new documentary, “Dumbstruck,” which follows five ventriloquists over the course of a year between the two annual conventions that give them their one chance to be with others who share their passion. It is […]
It was so much fun to talk with some of the people behind “Born to Be Wild 3D” following its Washington DC premiere at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History. Writer/producer Drew Fellman, cinematographer David Douglas, and Dame Daphne Sheldrick […]
One way or another you’ll find yourself saying, “Awwwwww.” The adorable baby animals and the grace and kindness of the people who care for them are guaranteed to warm every heart in the theater. In Borneo, Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas […]
National Geographic is having an amazing sale on their outstanding series of DVDs, with prices as low as $3.95 for “March of the Penguins” and $5.95 for “The Dog Whisperer.” It’s for a limited time only. Be sure to check […]
This weekend we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King and every family should take time to talk about this great American leader and hero of the Civil Rights Movement. There are outstanding films for all ages. Every family should […]
Let’s say you’re a guy. And the girl you really like has finally agreed to go out with you. You’re at the restaurant ordering pizza. And she says her favorite pizza is Hawaiian, with pineapple. The idea makes you feel […]
A Family Affair is a documentary about the unforgivable. And the power of forgiveness. Film-maker Chico Colvard has made a powerful film about his own family’s tragedy and their journey toward reconciliation and understanding. Those in the Washington, D.C. area […]
“Waiting for Superman” is the stunning new documentary from Davis Guggenheim about the failures of our public school system and our failure as a society to support outstanding teachers. You can help by pledging to see the movie — if […]
Who could have imagined that economics would become cool? Often referred to as “the dismal science,” economics has long been associated with formulas filled with little Greek letters and articles that propose valuing human life at x. But Freakonomics: A […]
Manhattan film-makers Rel Schulman and Henry Joost had no idea what movie they were making when they turned their camera on Rel’s brother Nev as he opened up a package sent to him from a little girl he had never […]
As we remember the unspeakable losses of September 11, 2001, we also remember the immeasurable gallantry, courage, and devotion it inspired. “Metal of Honor” is a heart-wrenching documentary about the iron workers who arrived as the World Trade Center buildings […]
I’m looking forward to this film about the unsung people who are responsible for some of the most indelible movie moments, cinematographers, production designers, storyboard artists, and others. Without them, the movies would be empty.
Gertrude Berg is described in this sympathetic and engaging documentary as an earlier version of Oprah. She wrote every word of over twelve thousand scripts. She played the lead role and oversaw every element of the programs on radio, in […]
For decades, our impressions of the Holocaust have been formed by the images that survive and by the memories of those who were there. Now, as we near a time when the experience will no longer be within the memory […]
Paramount Pictures, Participant Media and Walden Media jointly announced that global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has joined the WaitingforSuperman “Pledge Progress Meter” by committing to provide $100,000 worth of new children’s books to U.S. libraries in need once 60,000 […]
“A Film Unfinished” is a new Holocaust documentary featuring never-before-shown footage from the Warsaw Ghetto. The MPAA has given it an “R” rating for “disturbing images of holocaust atrocities including graphic nudity.” This means that no one under 17 can […]
How can we teach girls to be kinder to each other? We see a lot of movies and television shows and ads about the importance of being thin and looking young and smelling good and making money and being quippy […]
Too many children and too few spots — that is the story of The Lottery, a heart-wrenching documentary from Madeleine Sackler, the story of four children hoping to be the among the fortunate few chosen for admission to New York […]
A new documentary called 8: The Mormon Proposition exposes the $22 million secret program to defeat gay marriage in California sponsored by the Mormon church. After a court ruled that gay couples could get married, a ballot initiative called “Proposition […]
Blessed Is the Match: The Life and Death of Hannah Senesh is a documentary about a woman of incalculable courage and honor. Senesh, an idealist who hoped to help create a Jewish state in Israel, escaped from Hungary to what […]
Dr. Rick Hodes is an Orthodox Jew who has devoted his life to “tikkun olam,” “healing the world. His motto is the Talmud’s statement that “He who saves one life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” […]
In honor of Autism Awareness Month, families can watch Autism – The Musical, about five families dealing with autism as they prepare for a musical performance. The film is illuminating in its depiction of the very different kids with very […]
Socalled is a documentary with 18 short films about klezmer hip-hop music and video Montreal-based artist Josh “Socalled” Dolgin, featuring Katie Moore, Fred Wesley, C-Rayz Walz, David Krakauer, Matt Haimovitz, Arkady Gendler, Benjamin Steiger Levine, D-Shade, Gonzales and lounge legend […]
Laura Waters Hinson is the director of “As We Forgive,” a compelling and inspiring documentary about the rebuilding of communities in Rwanda. Many of us struggle to forgive the driver who cuts us off or a family member who said […]
I can’t think of a better or more purely enjoyable way to celebrate Black History Month than watching Robert Townsend’s brilliant documentary Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy. It is showing on Showtime this month and will be […]
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg, a documentary just nominated for an Oscar, is the story of the man who gave secret government documents about the Vietnam war to newspapers for publication in 1971. The impact of his […]
At noon today, Visionary Award recipient Michael Verhoeven was interviewed by Sharon Rivo, Co-Founder and Executive Director, National Center for Jewish Film. We saw a few moments from his new film, “Human Failure,” which has its North American premiere tonight […]
Take a look at the trailer for the upcoming movie “Babies,” which follows four babies from different parts of the world through their first year of life. I dare you not to say “Aw…”
In honor of the World Series, take a look at this documentary about baseball star Hank Greenberg. Brilliant documentary-maker Aviva Kempner has created a gem of a movie to lift the spirit of anyone who cares about baseball — or […]
Crude is the latest documentary from Joe Berlinger, whose last film was the award-winning “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster.” This movie explores a large, complex, international environmental lawsuit over damage allegedly inflicted by an oil company on a community in […]
How much impact can you make through a year of no impact? Colin Beavan and his wife Michelle Conlin decided to do their best to minimize their impact on the environment and as if that was not enough of a […]
You often hear the expression “feel-good movie” and it usually refers to a heart-warming romantic comedy or maybe something with penguins. This is a real feel-good movie because it is a real story. A man with a passionate commitment to […]
In every corner of the world, there’s one question that can never be definitively answered, yet stirs up equal parts passion, curiosity, self-reflection and often wild imagination: “What is God?” Filmmaker Peter Rodger explores this query in the provocative non-fiction […]
Ingredients: 1. Too many toddlers 2. Not enough preschools 3. Parents who will do anything for their children 4. Parents whose top priority is their children’s education 5. Parents who recognize the substantial social and educational advantages of the few […]
It goes to 11. Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth”) has made a documentary featuring three generations of guitar gods: Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2), and Jack White (The White Stripes). But it is not about the musicians. It […]
Former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamera, the architect of the Viet Nam war, died today, still a figure of controversy after nearly half a century. Every family should watch the Oscar-winning documentary The Fog of War for a thought-provoking (and […]
As they have for hundreds of years, a Buddhist monk goes on a journey in search of the “unmistaken child” who is the reincarnation of his master. The quest is unchanged in its goal and its procedures. But this time […]
The tragic shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC last week reminds us yet again of the importance of making sure that future generations do not just learn the statistics but truly understand the near-incomprehensible devastation of genocide and […]
Michael Moore has taken on General Motors, the Bush administration, and insurance companies. What’s next? A very timely film on corporate corruption, due to be released this fall. Since it relates to both of my interests and both of my […]
Home is a gorgeous new documentary with a haunting musical score about the planet we live on. It is from internationally renowned French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand and produced by award-winning director Luc Besson. HOME is narrated in English by Glenn […]
Two guys who are super-smart and super-rich, Warren Buffet and Pete Peterson and one guy who is just super-smart, former Comptroller General of the United States David Walker have a message for Americans — don’t spend money you don’t have. […]
Robert Blecker is one of the most outspoken — and unexpected — proponents of the death penalty. He does not try to base his argument on the death penalty as deterrent or to prevent the opportunity for further crimes. The […]
As Jack Black explains in School of Rock, rock music is about sticking it to The Man. That takes on a wider meaning when the sticking is coming from young girls. In this documentary about a music camp in Portland, […]
I last wrote about the superb documentary At the Death House Door when I interviewed its subject, Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years as the death house chaplain to the infamous “Walls” prison unit in Huntsville. The film was […]
Tea thrown overboard. Freeing the prisoners. Knocking over a statue. Every revolution has a moment when the people say that they will no longer tolerate tyranny. In the case of Estonia, the Baltic nation that suffered under two of history’s […]
“Beacause it’s there.” George Mallory’s reason for conquering Everest applies to feats of exploration and adventure that include traveling to the moon. This documentary shows us that it also explains how a French teenager leafing through a magazine at his […]
In honor of one of the most exciting elections in American history, here is a list of ten classic documentaries about elections and politics. 1. Primary This pioneering political documentary from Robert Drew, the first in a trilogy, shows candidate […]
As the pro-intelligent design film Expelled comes out in DVD this week, the ads crow that it is the top-grossing documentary of the year. But its record has been eclipsed by the anti-religion film Religulous after only two weeks in […]
This sunny documentary about a sailboat race across the Pacific Ocean is a bit of a throwback to the days when a night at the movies included some cartoons, a newsreel, and a travelogue. It has a lot of postcard-pretty […]
Director Irena Salina talked to me about her new documentary, “FLOW: For Love of Water,” about the problems of contamination and scarcity in water systems throughout the world. What kind of water do you drink? Tap water! We need to […]
Americans take for granted our most precious and vital resource. We assume that when we turn on the tap, the water that comes out will be perfectly safe and more than plentiful, endless. And then there are those rows and […]
Four Christian stand-up comics join forces in this performance film that combines hilarious commentary on all of the absurdities of life with very touching glimpses of the men at home and their fellowship with each other. Anthony Griffith, Brad Stine, […]
Celebrate the 90th birthday this week of one of history’s greatest leaders, Nelson Mandela, with one of the fine films about his extraordinary perseverance, vision, courage, and leadership. The story of the massive social change he achieved without violence is […]
Andrew Neel and Luke Meyer are the writer-directors of an exceptionally entertaining and engrossing film called “Darkon,” a documentary about LARPers — participants in live action role-playing games. Think of a mash-up between Civil War reenactors, a “Star Trek” convention, […]
The people behind “March of the Penguins” have put together another endearing story of life in the coldest place on earth. This time, it is the story of two newborns, a polar bear called Nanu and a walrus named Seela. […]
Writer-director Doris Dörrie has made a wonderfully touching and inspiring documentary about zen priest and best-selling cookbook author Edward Espe Brown. It is about food and dignity and touch and mindfulness, sufficiency and abundance, physical, spiritual, and emotional hunger, anger […]
This theatrical production of the real-life story of deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie is a real treasure for family viewing. As with the other productions from Globalstage, it may take some kids a while to get used to the more impressionistic […]