Best Documentary Movies of 2008
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father
In 2001, Andrew Bagby, a medical resident, is murdered not long after breaking up with his girlfriend. Soon after, when she announces she's pregnant, one of Andrew's many close friends, Kurt Kuenne, begins this film, a gift to the child.
Zeitgeist: Addendum premiered at the 5th Annual Artivist Film Festival. Director Peter Joseph stated: "The failure of our world to resolve the issues of war, poverty, and corruption, rests within a gross ignorance about what guides human behavior to begin with. It address the true source of the instability in our society, while offering the only fundamental, long-term solution."
Man on Wire
On August 7th 1974, French tightrope walker Philippe Petit stepped out on a high wire, illegally rigged between New York's World Trade Center twin towers, then the world's tallest buildings. After nearly an hour of performing on the wire, 1,350 feet above the sidewalks of Manhattan, he was arrested. This fun and spellbinding documentary chronicles Philippe Petit's "highest" achievement.
Documentary filmmaker Robert Kenner examines how mammoth corporations have taken over all aspects of the food chain in the United States, from the farms where our food is grown to the chain restaurants and supermarkets where it's sold. Narrated by author and activist Eric Schlosser, the film features interviews with average Americans about their dietary habits, commentary from food experts like Michael Pollan and unsettling footage shot inside large-scale animal processing plants.
Commentator-comic Bill Maher plays devil's advocate with religion as he talks to believers about their faith. Traveling around the world, Maher examines the tenets of Christianity, Judaism and Islam and raises questions about homosexuality, proof of Christ's existence, Jewish Sabbath laws, violent Muslim extremists.
Life in Cold Blood
Bigger Stronger Faster*
In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing drugs? Director Christopher Bell explores America's win-at-all-cost culture by examining how his two brothers became members of the steroid-subculture in an effort to realize their American dream.
Director James Toback takes an unflinching, uncompromising look at the life of Mike Tyson--almost solely from the perspective of the man himself. TYSON alternates between the controversial boxer addressing the camera and shots of the champion's fights to create an arresting picture of the man.
102 Minutes That Changed America
The morning of September 11, 2001 is shown through multiple video cameras in and around New York City, from the moment the first WTC tower is hit until after both towers collapse.
In GLOBAL METAL, directors Scot McFadyen and Sam Dunn set out to discover how the West's most maligned musical genre - heavy metal - has impacted the world's cultures beyond Europe and North America. The film follows metal fan and anthropologist Sam Dunn on a whirlwind journey through Asia, South America and the Middle East as he explores the underbelly of the world's emerging extreme music scenes; from Indonesian death metal to Chinese black metal to Iranian thrash metal. GLOBAL METAL reveals a worldwide community of metalheads who aren't just absorbing metal from the West - they're transforming it - creating a new form of cultural expression in societies dominated by conflict, corruption and mass-consumerism.
Young @ Heart
Documents the true story of the final weeks of rehearsal for the Young at Heart Chorus in Northampton, MA and many of whom must overcome health adversities to participate. Their music going against the stereotype of their age group. Although they have toured Europe and sang for royalty, this account focuses on preparing new songs for a concert in their home town.
Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country
Going beyond the occasional news clip from Burma, the acclaimed filmmaker, Anders Ã˜stergaard, brings us close to the video journalists who deliver the footage. Though risking torture and life in jail, courageous young citizens of Burma live the essence of journalism as they insist on keeping up the flow of news from their closed country.
The Wrecking Crew
A celebration of the musical work of a group of session musicians known as "The Wrecking Crew", a band that provided back-up instrumentals to such legendary recording artists as Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys and Bing Crosby.
Sold Out: A Threevening with Kevin Smith
Let's Make Money
Letâ€™s Make Money is an Austrian documentary by Erwin Wagenhofer released in the year 2008. It is about aspects of the development of the world wide financial system.
Not Quite Hollywood
As Australian cinema broke through to international audiences in the 1970s through respected art house films like Peter Weir's "Picnic At Hanging Rock," a new underground of low-budget exploitation filmmakers were turning out considerably less highbrow fare. Documentary filmmaker Mark Hartley explores this unbridled era of sex and violence, complete with clips from some of the scene's most outrageous flicks and interviews with the renegade filmmakers themselves.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Fueled by a raging libido, Wild Turkey, and superhuman doses of drugs, Thompson was a true "free lance, " goring sacred cows with impunity, hilarity, and a steel-eyed conviction for writing wrongs. Focusing on the good doctor's heyday, 1965 to 1975, the film includes clips of never-before-seen (nor heard) home movies, audiotapes, and passages from unpublished manuscripts.
The Business of Being Born
Director Abby Epstein's controversial documentary takes a hard look at America's maternity care system, juxtaposing hospital deliveries against the growing popularity of at-home, natural childbirths that some expectant parents are opting for. Former talk show host Ricki Lake was inspired to produce this compelling exposÃ© after a dissatisfying birthing experience with her first child left her with many unanswered questions.
Standard Operating Procedure
Errol Morris examines the incidents of abuse and torture of suspected terrorists at the hands of U.S. forces at the Abu Ghraib prison.