Best Documentary Movies of 2012
Searching for Sugar Man
Two South Africans set out to discover what happened to their unlikely musical hero, the mysterious 1970s rock 'n' roller, Rodriguez. The film won Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards.
Bob Marley's universal appeal, impact on music history and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. Directed by Academy Award-winning director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland), MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, and legend, from his early days to his rise to international superstardom. Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, incredible performances and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.
Indie Game: The Movie
Follows the dramatic journeys of video game developers as they create and release their games to the world. It's about making video games, but at its core, it's about the creative process, and exposing yourself through your work.
Side by Side
Since the invention of cinema, the standard format for recording moving images has been film. Over the past two decades, a new form of digital filmmaking has emerged, creating a groundbreaking evolution in the medium. Keanu Reeves explores the development of cinema and the impact of digital filmmaking via in-depth interviews with Hollywood masters, such as James Cameron, David Fincher, David Lynch, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, Steven Soderbergh, and many more.
In 1994 a 13-year-old boy disappeared without a trace from his home in San Antonio, Texas. Three-and-a-half years later he is found alive thousands of miles away in a village in southern Spain with a horrifying story of kidnap and torture. His family is overjoyed to bring him home. But all is not quite as it seems.
Stories We Tell
Canadian actress and filmmaker Sarah Polley investigates certain secrets related to her mother, interviewing a group of family members and friends whose reliability varies depending of their implication in the events, which are remembered in different ways; so a trail of questions remains to be answered, because memory is always changing and the discovery of truth often depends on who is telling the tale.
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists
Takes us inside the world of Anonymous, the radical "hacktivist" collective that has redefined civil disobedience for the digital age. The film explores early hacktivist groups like Cult of the Dead Cow and Electronic Disturbance Theater, then moves to Anonymous' raucous beginnings on the website 4chan. Through interviews with current members, people recently returned from prison or facing trial, writers, academics, activists and major players in various "raids," the documentary traces Anonymous’ evolution from merry pranksters to a full-blown movement with a global reach, the most transformative civil disobedience of our time.
The Queen of Versailles
With the epic dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy, The Queen of Versailles follows billionaires Jackie and David’s rags-to-riches story to uncover the innate virtues and flaws of their American dream. We open on the triumphant construction of the biggest house in America, a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles. Since a booming time-share business built on the real-estate bubble is financing it, the economic crisis brings progress to a halt and seals the fate of its owners. We witness the impact of this turn of fortune over the next two years in a riveting film fraught with delusion, denial, and self-effacing humor.
John Mulaney: New in Town
Stand-up comedian John Mulaney tackles such red-hot topics as quicksand, Motown singers and an elderly man he once met in a bathroom.
When National Geographic photographer James Balog asked, “How can one take a picture of climate change?” his attention was immediately drawn to ice. Soon he was asked to do a cover story on glaciers that became the most popular and well-read piece in the magazine during the last five years. But for Balog, that story marked the beginning of a much larger and longer-term project that would reach epic proportions.
Marina Abramovi?: The Artist Is Present
Performance artist Marina Abramovic prepares for a major retrospective of her work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Katy Perry: Part of Me
Giving fans unprecedented access to the real life of the music sensation, Katy Perry: Part of Me exposes the hard work, dedication and phenomenal talent of a girl who remained true to herself and her vision in order to achieve her dreams. Featuring rare behind-the-scenes interviews, personal moments between Katy and her friends, and all-access footage of rehearsals, choreography, Katy’s signature style and more, Katy Perry: Part of Me reveals the singer’s unwavering belief that if you can be yourself, then you can be anything.
I Am Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee is universally recognized as the pioneer who elevated martial arts in film to an art form, and this documentary will reveal why Bruce Lee's flame burns brighter now than the day he died over three decades ago. The greatest martial artists, athletes, actors, directors, and producers in the entertainment business today will share their feelings about the one who started it all. We will interview the people whose lives, careers, and belief systems were forever altered by the legendary "Father of Martial Arts Cinema". Rarely seen archival footage and classic photos will punctuate the personal testimonials. Prepare to be inspired.
Led Zeppelin: Celebration Day
On 10th December 2007, Led Zeppelin took the stage at London's O2 Arena to headline a tribute concert for dear friend and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. Founding members John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant were joined by Jason Bonham, the son of their late drummer John Bonham, to perform 16 songs from their celebrated catalog.
A subjective documentary that explores various theories about hidden meanings in Stanley Kubrick's classic film The Shining. Five very different points of view are illuminated through voice over, film clips, animation and dramatic reenactments.
Queen - Hungarian Rhapsody - Live in Budapest
On 27th July 1986, British stadium rock band Queen broke new ground by playing for the first time in Hungary, a country which was still under a communist dictatorship behind the Iron Curtain.
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Oliver Stone charts the history of the United States from the Second World War to the present.
London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Isles of Wonder
The London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony took place at 9pm on 27 July 2012. Titled 'Isles of Wonder', the Ceremony welcomed the finest athletes from more than 200 nations for the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games, marking an historic third time the capital has hosted the world’s biggest and most important sporting event. The Opening Ceremony reflected the key themes and priorities of the London 2012 Games, based on sport, inspiration, youth and urban transformation. It was a Ceremony 'for everyone' and celebrated contributions the UK has made to the world through innovation and revolution, as well as the creativity and exuberance of British people.
Biographical documentary of the war photographer Don McCullin, with sections on his upbringing, early work for the Observer and extensive war reporting for the Sunday Times until the purchase of the newspaper by Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s.
Bones Brigade: An Autobiography
When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too – as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.
Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds
There is one vibratory field that connects all things. It has been called Akasha, Logos, the primordial OM, the music of the spheres, the Higgs field, dark energy, and a thousand other names throughout history. The vibratory field is at the root of all true spiritual experience and scientific investigation. It is the same field of energy that saints, Buddhas, yogis, mystics, priests, shamans and seers, have observed by looking within themselves. Many of history's monumental thinkers, such a Pythagoras, Kepler, Leonardo DaVinci, Tesla, and Einstein, have come to the threshold of this great mystery. It is the common link between all religions, all sciences, and the link between our inner worlds and our outer worlds.
Artifact is a 2012 American documentary film directed by Jared Leto under the pseudonym of Bartholomew Cubbins, a recurring character in the Dr. Seuss universe. The film is a documentary about the making of the 30 Seconds to Mars album This Is War and the band's battle against record label EMI. Included in Artifact are several interviews, including the one with neurophysicist Daniel Levitin, author of the popular science book This Is Your Brain On Music. The film won the BlackBerry People's Choice Documentary Award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.
Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview
In a television interview filmed in 1995, Steve Jobs talks frankly about his early life, competition with Microsoft and his vision for the future, while he was running NeXT, the company he founded after leaving Apple.
Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet
When doctors diagnosed 19-year-old rock star Jason Becker with Lou Gehrig's Disease, they said he would never make music again and that he wouldn’t live to see his 25th birthday. 22 years later, without the ability to move or to speak, Jason is alive and making music with his eyes.
The House I Live In
In the past 40 years, the War on Drugs has accounted for 45 million arrests, made America the world's largest jailer, and destroyed impoverished communities at home and abroad. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever. Where did we go wrong?
The Central Park Five
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park. They spent between 6 and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, leading to their convictions being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, this is the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories and an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice.
Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
Academy Award®–winning documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) explores the charged issue of pedophilia in the Catholic Church, following a trail from the first known protest against clerical sexual abuse in the United States and all way to the Vatican.
Smyrna: The Destruction of a Cosmopolitan City - 1900-1922
A unique exhibition of rare and unknown photographs of Smyrna from American and European archives and private collections.
Pink Floyd : The Story of Wish You Were Here
Wish You Were Here, released in September 1975, was the follow up album to the globally successful The Dark Side Of The Moon and is cited by many fans, as well as band members Richard Wright and David Gilmour, as their favorite Pink Floyd album. On release it went straight to Number One in both the UK and the US and topped the charts in many other countries around the world. This program tells the story of the making of this landmark release through new interviews with Roger Waters, David Gilmour and Nick Mason and archive interviews with the late Richard Wright. Also featured are sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson, guest vocalist Roy Harper, front cover burning man Ronnie Rondell and others involved in the creation of the album. In addition, original recording engineer Brian Humphries revisits the master tapes at Abbey Road Studios to illustrate aspects of the songs construction.
Taylor Swift: VH1 Storytellers
Filmed as part of the VH1 Storytellers series, Taylor Swift performed a live acoustic concert on October 15, 2012 at the Bridges Auditorium, after the Harvey Mudd College won the "Taylor Swift on Campus" contest.
You Don't Know Bo
A close look at two-sport athlete Bo Jackson and the creation of a legend. Even without winning a Super Bowl or World Series, Bo will forever be known as a cultural icon and one of the most famous athletes of all time. This film will examine the truths and tall tales that surround Jackson, and how his seemingly impossible feats captured our collective imagination for an all-too-brief moment in time.
Spike Lee pays tribute to Michael Jackson's Bad on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the epochal album, offering behind-the-scenes footage of Jackson recording the album and interviews with confidants, musicians, choreographers, and such music-world superstars as Kanye West, Sheryl Crow, Cee Lo Green and Mariah Carey.
West of Memphis
The documentary tells the hitherto unknown story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light. Told and made by those who lived it, the filmmakers' unprecedented access to the inner workings of the defense, allows the film to show the investigation, research and appeals process in a way that has never been seen before; revealing shocking and disturbing new information about a case that still haunts the Unitedstatian South.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
An account of the many tribulations that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, known for his subversive art and political activism, endured between 2008 and 2011, from his rise to world fame via the Internet to his highly publicized arrest due to his frequent and daring confrontations with the Chinese authorities.
Top Gear: The Worst Car In the History of the World
Jeremy Clarkson and James May travel to the North of England to name and shame some of the worst cars in history, from manufacturers who "should have known better".
Every year hundreds of people - mostly women - are attacked with acid in Pakistan. Follow several of these survivors, their fight for justice, and a Pakistani plastic surgeon who has returned to his homeland to help them restore their faces and their lives.
Where the Trail Ends
"Where the Trail Ends..." is a film following the worlds' top freeride mountain bikers as they search for un-ridden terrain around the globe, ultimately shaping the future of big mountain freeriding. This unparalleled story documents man's challenge of mother nature and himself showcased through a cast of colorful characters. This is the most progressive and ambitious mountain biking ever attempted resulting in an entertainment adventure unlike anything experienced before.
Documentary about the modern apocalypse caused by a rapacious banking system. 23 leading thinkers – frustrated at the failure of their respective disciplines – break their silence to explain how the world really works.
Beauty Is Embarrassing
Raised in the Tennessee mountains, Wayne White started his career as a cartoonist in NYC. He quickly found success as one of the creators of the Pee-wee's Playhouse TV show which soon led to more work designing some of the most arresting and iconic images in pop culture. Recently his word paintings featuring pithy and and often sarcastic text statements finely crafted onto vintage landscape paintings have made him a darling of the fine art world. The movie chronicles the vaulted highs and crushing lows of an artist struggling to find peace and balance between his professional work and his personal art. This is especially complicated for a man who struggles with the virtues he most often mocks in his art...Vanity, ego and fame.
Beware of Mr. Baker
Ginger Baker is known for playing in Cream and Blind Faith, but the world's greatest drummer didn’t hit his stride until 1972, when he arrived in Nigeria and discovered Fela Kuti's Afrobeat. After leaving Nigeria, Ginger returned to his pattern of drug-induced self-destruction, and countless groundbreaking musical works, eventually settling in South Africa, where the 73-year-old lives with his young bride and 39 polo ponies. This documentary includes interviews with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Carlos Santana and more. Beware of Mr. Baker! With every smash of the drum is a man smashing his way through life.
The World Is Watching: Making the Hunger Games
A feature length, eight part documentary that covers everything from pre-production to adapting the source novel to casting to shooting to post and marketing. This is an amazing in-depth piece and it's notable how many women were involved in this production, from several Lionsgate executives to novelist Suzanne Collins herself. Jennifer Lawrence talks about her "hypocrisy" in not wanting to do a big budget blockbuster after having devoted herself to indies (despite X-Men, which she seems to discount somewhat). There's also a nice sequence on the strength and weight training the actors went through and the stunts that are so notable in the film, as well as having to dance around the violence implicit in the story due to the planned PG-13 rating the filmmakers were aiming for.
When a cross-section of seven-year-olds were interviewed for 7 Up in 1964 it was immediately evident that their social backgrounds influenced their attitudes towards life. While the upper class children were confident and self-assured, those from middle and working class backgrounds were resigned to a challenging life of hard work. This premise was put to the test every seven years when the same group were interviewed about the progression of their lives. 49 years in the making, the changes that occurred to the original 14 make for fascinating television and are in many ways the stories of all our lives. From success and disappointment, marriage and childbirth, to poverty and illness, nearly every facet of life has been captured on film. Now, at the age of 56, the group are once more brought together and, with the benefit of hindsight, assess whether their lives have been ruled by circumstance or self-determination.
The Invisible War
An investigative and powerfully emotional documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military, the institutions that perpetuate and cover up its existence, and its profound personal and social consequences.
This essential new documentary pays tribute to the legacy of the late, legendary casting director Marion Dougherty and shines a light on one of the most overlooked and least understood crafts in filmmaking.
The Pervert's Guide to Ideology
Philosopher Slavoj Žižek and filmmaker Sophie Fiennes reunites for this follow-up to their hit The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, using their interpretation of moving pictures to present a compelling cinematic journey into the heart of ideology – the dreams that shape our collective beliefs and practices.
Being and Becoming Chua Ek Kay
The film offers exclusive and intimate insights into how and why the classically trained artist risked rejection to revolutionize the traditional Chinese ink art form in Singapore.
Mumford & Sons: The Road to Red Rocks
1. Lovers' Eyes 2. Little Lion Man 3. Below My Feet 4. Roll Away Your Stone 5. Lover Of The Light 6. Thistle & Weeds 7. Ghosts That We Knew 8. Awake My Soul 9. Whispers In The Dark 10. Dust Bowl Dance 11. I Will Wait 12. The Cave English folk rock band captured live in performance at the Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Colorado in summer 2012. As well as footage of the concert itself the journey of the band to Red Rocks is explored, from their humble origins in the West London music scene to their ability to sell out the spectacular 10,000 capacity open-air amphitheatre.
Souls of Zen: Ancestors and Agency in Contemporary Japanese Temple Buddhism
The Japanese population’s reaction to the catastrophe of March 2011 has been described as “stoic” by the Western media. The Japanese code of conduct is indeed deeply rooted in their Buddhist traditions, and young filmmakers Tim Graf and Jakob Montrasio observe in detail what this means for the people and their religion. At graveyards, in temples, at monasteries and with families, they question the impact this triple affliction has had on the lives and beliefs of the inhabitants. How deeply do their beliefs affect their grieving? What role do the monks play in assisting people with their grief? And, what effects has this enormous catastrophe had on their religious rituals? SOULS OF ZEN inserts the events of March 2011 into the context of traditional Zen Buddhism, examining Japan’s religiousness and the beliefs of those practising it at a crucial turning point.
Alan Partridge: Welcome to the Places of My Life
Alan Partridge attempts a celebrity travelogue around his beloved Norwich.
Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender
Archive footage of interviews, concerts and personal material bring to light the solo performance work of Mercury, the lead singer of Queen.