9 documentaries that you need to see this year

Mother:

Marianna Torgovnick attended the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in North Carolina and shared her Top 9 on TED.

Stories We Tell, Manhunt, American Promise and A Will For The Woods are my preferred documentaries to look out for in 2013.

Stories We Tell is a 2012 documentary film by Sarah Polley that chronicles the story of her family, including the revelation that the filmmaker was the product of an extramarital affair. The film looks at the relationship between Polley’s parents, interviews with Polley’s siblings and other relatives, and Michael Polley’s narration of his memoir.

Greg Barker is an American documentary filmmaker and producer. In 2011, The New York Times described Barker as “a filmmaker of artistic and political consequence.” Manhunt is about the CIA’s secret war against Al Qaeda and the hunt for Osama bin Laden. It is openly an account of events from the CIA perspective. This may seem 1-sided but there is a story to be told in this regardless.

A documentary 13 years in the making, American Promise provides a rare look into the lives of two middle class Black families as they navigate the ups and downs of parenting and educating their sons. Daniel Fienberg of Hitfix wrote “It’s not as simple as “Kids learn better when they’re in high-achieving and diverse environments” nor “Go to school with people like you and you’ll be a better student.” Sometimes “bad” parenting yields positive results and sometimes “nurturing” leads to something counter-intuitive. In “American Promises,” choices have consequences, but institutional impediments can be just as powerful. ”

I hadn’t heard of “Green Burials” until I came across A Will For The Woods. This doccie is about a man’s passionate wish for a legacy of green burials. Musician, folk dancer, and psychiatrist Clark Wang battles lymphoma while facing a potentially imminent need for funeral plans. Determined that his last act will not harm the environment and may even help protect it, Clark has discovered the movement to further sustainable funerals that conserve natural areas. Although he is trying to overcome his illness, Clark and his partner Jane find great comfort in the thought that his death – whenever it happens – will be a force for regeneration.

Most of these documentaries will be in theatres this year or available for download.

Originally posted on TED Blog:

Documentaries-redo

By Marianna Torgovnick

Some documentaries show us the strange, the exotic and the unfamiliar; others make us feel anew about something so everyday, we barely thought about it before. Some of my favorite TED Talks are built around great documentary films, like Deborah Scranton’s chilling “War Tapes” and Nathaniel Kahn’s moving search for “My Father, the Architect.”

Last week, I attended the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, a four-day bash featuring more than a hundred documentaries — new, classic, and invited — many of which will show theaters over the next year.

Below, find my nine favorite films from the festival, which no documentary fan should miss.

1. Stories We Tell (director Sarah Polley, 2012)
An invited film that has shown at festivals in Toronto and New York, Sarah Polley’s gorgeous documentary is structured liked a mystery in which trap doors keep opening. Once an actress, the still-young Polley…

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