#SoReal - August 24th

Something Tragic

New fabric of devastation and tragedy wraps our daily newspapers, but little time is given to regret, revisiting, and healing. These two visions playfully approach and address lingering historic wounds.

Sleepless Nights

A deeply moving documentary about reconciliation and justice in the Lebanon, bringing two people together whose lives have been changed forever by the civil war.

Dir. Eliane Raheb (2012)

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US: Direct UK: Direct

Z32

This playful documentary tells the story of an Israeli ex-soldier who participated in a revenge operation in which two Palestinian policemen were murdered, and who now seeks forgiveness for what he has done.

Dir. Avi Mograbi (2008)

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US: Distrify / DocAlliance UK: Distrify / DocAlliance

#SoReal - August 17th

Something Behind Bars

'In the great prison where I was then incarcerated, I was merely the figure and the letter of a little cell in a long gallery. One of a thousand lifeless numbers, as of a thousand lifeless lives.' – Oscar Wilde. Inspired by a series of prison reading events we are serving two lock and key docs.

Into the Abyss

A riveting examination of a horrible crime which probes the human psyche to explore why people kill and why the state kills.

Dir. Werner Herzog (2011)

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US: Sundance Doc Club / Amazon / iTunes UK: iTunes / Googleplay

Prison Valley

A town in the middle of nowhere with 36,000 souls and 13 prisons, one of which is Supermax, the new 'Alcatraz' of America. A prison town where even those living on the outside live on the inside.

Dirs. David Dufresne & Philippe Brault (2010)

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US: Arte Webdocs UK: Arte Webdocs

#SoReal - August 6th

Something Texan

Texas is a State of complexity and controversy. Dovetail these two deep south tales into your weekend for some poetically solid enlightenment.

Western

For decades, two towns on opposite sides of the Texas-Mexico border have coexisted quietly, but encroaching drug-related violence threatens the peace.

Dirs. Bill and Turner Ross (2015)

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US: Fandor / Youtube / VUDU / Amazon UK: Netflix

Stop The Pounding Heart

Sara, a girl being home-schooled on a goat farm alongside her 11 siblings, finds her devout values challenged after she meets Colby, an amateur bull rider.

Dir. Roberto Minervini (2013)

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US: VUDU / iTunes / Youtube / Fandor UK: Amazon / Googleplay

#SoReal - July 28th

Something Diet

As summer stretches its jaw from eyefuls of ice-cream to BBQ banquets, diet fever is served up in new plans, books, and apps. Get your teeth into these two beefy shock docs!

That Sugar Film

This eye-opening film reveals what happens when actor and director Damon Gameau adopts a diet high in refined sugar for 60 days, to the detriment of his physical, emotional and mental well-being.

Dir. Damon Gameau (2014)

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US: Googleplay / Amazon / VUDU / iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes

Supersize Me

Morgan Spurlock subjects himself to a ridiculous diet based only on McDonald's menu three times a day for thirty days without exercising to try to prove why so many Americans are fat or obese.

Dir. Morgan Spurlock (2004)

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US: VUDU / Amazon / iTunes UK: Amazon / Netflix

#SoReal - July 21st

Something Singing

It's music festival season and fields are filled with bodies moved by summer sounds. If you aren't the outdoorsy type, pitch a tent in your living room, burn some gigabytes and stream these bangers.

20,000 Days on Earth

An inventive, lyrical ode to creativity and an intimate examination of the artistic process of musician and cultural icon Nick Cave.

Dirs. Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard (2014)

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US: Vimeo / Googleplay / Youtube / iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes / Curzon

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck

This intimate and inventive portrait uses material from the Cobains' personal archives in an in-depth examination of the Nirvana frontman's childhood, music career and untimely death.

Dir. Brett Morgen (2015)

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US: HBO NOW / Amazon UK: Googleplay / Youtube / iTunes

#SoReal - July 13th

Something Black

Solidarity marches across the US and UK have illuminated protests after the latest police shootings of black men in US. Stay informed by watching these two moving stories of recent protest and injustice.

3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets

Reveals the deep racial prejudices and tragedies that ensue as a result through the murder of Jordan Davis and trial of shooter Michael Dunn.

Dir. Marc Silver (2015)

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US: HBO GO UK: Amazon / iTunes / Googleplay

Concerned Student 1950

A series of racist acts prompts three University of Missouri students to pick up cameras and take us inside a peaceful student movement whose protests brought down the college president.

Dirs. Adam Dietrich, Varun Bajaj, Kellan Marvin (2016)

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US: Field of Vision UK: Field of Vision

#SoReal - July 1st

Something Aborted

A legal case deciding the right to access abortion clinics in Texas concluded this week, prompting wider actions across America to repeal restrictions. These two hard-hitting docs explore the ethical and moral struggles of the right to abort.

Vessel

A sea captain navigates through loopholes in international law to provide abortions on the high seas.

Dir. Diana Whitten (2014)

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US: iTunes / Amazon / Youtube / Netflix / Vimeo On Demand UK: Netflix / Vimeo On Demand

After Tiller

This controversial doc follows the only four remaining doctors in the United States who openly perform late-term abortions.

Dirs. Martha Shane & Lana Wilson (2013)

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US: iTunes / Vudu / Amazon / Youtube UK: iTunes

#SoReal - June 20th

Something Constitutional

This week we are saying flixit to the Brexit with a composition of two constitutional conundrums. Sit back and vote with your remote.

Democrats

After Zimbabwe's disputed 2008 election results, political enemies are asked to write a new constitution and save their country from a bleak future.

Dir. Camilla Nielsson (2015)


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US: Netflix UK: iTunes / Googleplay / Amazon / Netflix

The War Room

A behind-the-scenes rollercoaster journey into Bill Clinton's campaign for President of the United States during the 1992 presidential election.

Dirs. D. A. Pennebaker, Chris Hegedus (1993)

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US: iTunes / Amazon UK: Youtube

#SoReal - June 14th

Something Boxed

After the passing of one boxing legend, we're floating a couple butterflies that sting like bees over your way. Enjoy round 1 and 2 on us.

T-Rex

An intimate coming-of-age story about a new kind of American heroine. Claressa “T-Rex” Shields is the youngest female boxer fighting for gold at the 2012 Olympics.

Dirs. Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari (2015)

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US: Vimeo on Demand UK: Vimeo on Demand

China Heavyweight

A cinematically rich and intimately observed portrait. In central China, a Master coach recruits poor rural teenagers and turns them into Western-style boxing champions.

Dir. Yung Chang (2012)

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US: iTunes / Amazon UK: Vimeo on Demand

#SoReal - June 4th

Something Average

Good evening. As the ideal sun sets on normcore fashion and normcore politics, we offer two averagely perfect films for your normal viewing.

The Perfect Human

A pseudo anthropological study of a man and a woman, both labelled 'the perfect human'. Each 'functioning' in a white boundless room, as though they were subjects in a zoo.

Jorgen Leth (1967)

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US: Doc Alliance / Youtube UK: Doc Alliance / Youtube

The Average of the Average

Middlefart is an entirely mediocre place. From stories about civil disobedience to the mayor's visit to a fortune teller, the individual scenes of this film serve as display cabinets at a virtual museum about ordinary Denmark in the year 2011

Dir. Michael Madsen (2011)

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US: Doc Alliance UK: Doc Alliance

#SoReal - May 28th

Something Orphaned

After discovering one of Prince's fine and secret gestures, this week's watchlist is a double-bill of goodwill.

These Birds Walk

A high-spirited runaway boy in Pakistan tries to find his way back home from the orphanage in which he lives, aided by a sympathetic ambulance driver.

Dirs. Omar Mullick, Bassam Tariq (2013)

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US: Vimeo / Amazon / iTunes UK: iTunes / Vimeo

Blood Brother

The story of a group of children infected with HIV and Rocky Braat, a disenchanted young American drifting through India.

Dir. Steve Hoover (2013)

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US: iTunes / Amazon UK: Amazon

#SoReal - May 21st

Something Communist

As Cuba thaws the cultural kitsch of communism is once more en vogue, but not without complications. Share your living room tonight and see these two retro visions of Soviet life.

Red Army

The enlightening story of the Soviet Union's famed Red Army hockey team through the eyes of its players.

Dir. Gabe Polsky (2014)

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US: VUDU / iTunes / Amazon / Youtube / Googleplay UK: Curzon / Amazon / iTunes / Googleplay / Talk Talk

Chuck Norris vs. Communism

A stylish rewind on Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu's ban of Western media and how an influx of bootlegged films changed the country.

Dir. Ilinca Calugareanu (2015)


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US: Netflix UK: Netflix

#SoReal - May 14th

Something Dope

Little introduction is needed to the father's of modern hip-hop featured in this week's recommended docs, but we do want to share this piece paying ode to mothers of great rappers.

Popa Wu, A 5% Story

An adventure into the mind of Popa Wu, the patriarch of the world renown rap group Wu Tang Clan.

Dir. Khalik Allah (2010)

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US: Vimeo on Demand UK: Vimeo on Demand

Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

A portrait of one of the most innovative and influential hip hop bands of all time the Queens NY collective known as A Tribe Called Quest.

Dir. Michael Rapaport (2011)

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US: iTunes / Amazon / Youtube / Googleplay UK: iTunes / Amazon

#SoReal - May 7th

Something Soccer

A crazy season in the English top football league came to an end this week with outsiders Leicester City defying 5000-1 odds to claim the title. Here are two more sporting stories of underdogs finding their feet.

Next Goal Wins

Dutch coach Thomas Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners.

Dirs. Mike Brett, Steve Jamison (2014)

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US: Googleplay / Youtube / Amazon / Vudu UK: TalkTalkTV / Amazon / iTunes / Googleplay

The Four Year Plan

A gripping insight into the dirty business behind the beautiful game: In 2007, investors buy the bottom-ranked Queens Park Rangers soccer team and launch an ambitious plan to promote them to the Premier League.

Dir. Mat Hodgson (2011)

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US: Vimeo on Demand UK: Vimeo on Demand

#SoReal - April 29th

Something Wet

In a wet week where water has poured danger on Americans and surprise on the British, we are offering stunning documentaries on tap. Take a dip.

Watermark

Photographer Edward Burtynsky explores the ways in which humanity has shaped, manipulated and depleted one of its most vital and compromised resources: water.

Dirs. Edward Burtynsky & Jennifer Baichwal (2014)

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US: iTunes / VUDU / Amazon / Youtube / Googleplay UK: iTunes

Kings of Nowhere

Three families live in a village partially submerged by water in Northwestern Mexico. Despite their loneliness and fear, they refuse to leave.

Dir. Betzabé García (2015)

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US: iTunes / Vimeo on Demand / Amazon / Youtube / Googleplay UK: Googleplay / iTunes / Amazon / Vimeo on Demand

#SoReal - April 19th

Something American Dream

As the New York's political wheels begin to turn, we offer two primary supplementaries documenting America and its discontents.

The Overnighters

In the tiny town of Williston, North Dakota, tens of thousands of unemployed hopefuls show up with dreams of honest work and a big paycheck under the lure of the oil boom.

Dir. Jesse Moss (2014)

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US: Youtube / Googleplay / Amazon / VUDU / iTunes UK: iTunes

Requiem for the American Dream

Anchored by a series of interviews with Noam Chomsky, this definitive documentary of the “Two Americas” is an unvarnished account of how policies have helped concentrate wealth in the hands of a few at expense of everyone else.

Dirs. Peter Hutchison, Kelly Nyks, Jared P. Scott (2015)

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US: Googleplay / Youtube / Amazon / Vimeo on Demand UK: Vimeo on Demand

#SoReal - April 2nd

Something Brainy

After a short Spring break Something Real is back with some brain food. So put your mind to the matter by tuning into this contemporary and classic doc platter.

My Beautiful Broken Brain

After suffering a stroke at age 34, a woman documents her struggles, setbacks and eventual breakthrough as she relearns to speak, read and write.

Dirs. Lotje Sodderland, Sophie Robinson (2015)

Watch Now:

US: Netflix UK: Netflix

Einstein's Brain

Eccentric Japanese professor Kenji Sugimoto takes a wild and wonderful road trip through the US in search of the true location of Einstein's mysterious brain.

Dir Kevin Hull (1994)

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US: Youtube (Unofficial) UK: Youtube (Unofficial)

#SoReal - March 7th

Something Justice

Today the Orwell prize announced a profound shortlist of works that make political writing an artform. Thus we are sharing two political and pensive artworks addressing the subject of justice.

The Look of Silence

A family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered, as well as the identities of the killers. This unprecedented film initiates and bears witness to the collapse of fifty years of silence.

Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer (2014)

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US: Netflix / iTunes / Amazon / GooglePlay / Youtube UK: Amazon / Googleplay / iTunes / Netflix

Judgment in Hungary

A tense court-room drama about the trial of the four-member team of serial killers, who during the course of one year killed several Roma people.

Dir. Eszter Hajdu (2012)

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US: Vimeo On Demand UK: Vimeo On Demand

#SoReal - February 26th

Something Governed

After an enlightening visit to Laura Poitras’ first solo museum show at the Whitney, we're following up with two chilling new visions of government, technology and security.

CITIZENFOUR

The film that begins with Edward Snowden’s decision to reveal evidence of mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and charts the events that followed.

Dir. Laura Poitras (2014)

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US: iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes

Drone

A chilling series of accounts of the covert CIA drone war. Soldiers, engineers and victims discuss the ramifications of this new type of warfare.

Dir. Tonje Hessen Schei (2014)

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US: Netflix UK: iTunes / Amazon

#SoReal - February 20th

Something Discussed

This week as rambuctious ruminations rumble in the US primaries, the Brits bluntly bombast about a brexit from Europe.

Best of Enemies

In 1968, ideological opposites William F. Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal hold a series of riveting, nationally televised debates that usher in a new era of public discourse and pundit TV.

Dirs. Robert Gordon, Morgan Neville (2015)

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US: iTunes / Amazon / Googleplay / VUDU / Youtube UK: GooglePlay / iTunes / Amazon / Netflix

Inquiring Nuns

Two young nuns explore Chicago, from a supermarket to the Art Institute and in front of churches on Sunday, confronting people with the crucial question, “Are you happy?”

Dirs. Gordon Quinn and Gerald Temaner (1968)

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US: VHX UK: VHX

#SoReal - February 15th

Something Afro-Revolutionary

As one cold war revolution thaws we discovered these images of other red uprisings that gained much less global attention.

Concerning Violence

This visually sobering documentary outlines Africa's long struggle against colonial domination and the continent's continued exploitation.

Dir. Göran Hugo Olsson (2013)

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US: iTunes / Amazon / Youtube / Googleplay / Netflix UK: Dogwoof TV / iTunes

Finding Fela!

Finding Fela takes a look at Afrobeat creator Fela Kuti and how his life and music inspired an entire continent and brought Pan Africanist politics to the world.

Dir. Alex Gibney (2014)

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US: Youtube / Googleplay / iTunes UK: iTunes / Amazon / Googleplay / Netflix

#SoReal - February 6th

Something Racey

Take time out from talk of who will be pipped to the post at the upcoming Oscars with these two top docs about reaching the finish line.

Palio

A heart-racing gallop into the notoriously closed world of this ancient horse race and the larger-than-life people involved.

Dir. Cosima Spender (2015)

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US: Vimeo On Demand / VUDU / Youtube UK: Googleplay / Blinkbox / Vimeo on Demand / Amazon / iTunes

Senna

The gripping story of the monumental life and tragic death of legendary Brazilian motor-racing Champion, Ayrton Senna.

Dir. Asif Kapadia (2011)

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US: Vudu / iTunes / Googleplay UK: Blinkbox / Amazon / iTunes

#SoReal - January 23rd

Something Crafty

In 2015, colouring books were king of the non-fiction bestseller charts and Christmas even saw the publication of a Jeremy Corbyn colouring book! Where will crayon-addiction take us next? These two portrait docs reveal all.

Almost There

This roller coaster documentary follows a gifted artist through twists and turns with enough human drama for a season of soap operas, plus insights into mental illness, aging in America, and the redemptive power of art.

Dirs. Dan Rybicky and Aaron Wickenden (2014)

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US: Vimeo On Demand / Amazon / Fandor UK: Vimeo On Demand

Art and Craft

For several decades, gifted and incredibly prolific forger Mark Landis compulsively created impeccable copies of works by a variety of major artists, donating them to institutions across the country and landing pieces on many of their walls.

Dirs. Sam Cullman, Jennifer Grausman, Mark Becker (2014)

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US: Googleplay / Youtube / Amazon / Vudu / iTunes UK: Netflix / GooglePlay / iTunes

#SoReal - January 16th

Something Community

This London exhibition has us thinking about how community is defined by our attempts to create it. If a raucous NYE still has you creeping past your neighbours’ doors, put post-party tensions to rest by offering your cohabitants a consolatory film night containing these two small-town greats.

Backyard

The result of McElwee turning his camera on his family and their neighbors, this film is a humorous and poignant look at odd moments in a genteel Southern USA town.

Dir. Ross McElwee (1984)

Watch Now:

US: Sundance Doc Club UK: Sundance Doc Club

Vernon, Florida

Eccentric inhabitants of a small Southern town share anecdotes and opinions with filmmaker Errol Morris.

Dir. Errol Morris (1981)

Watch Now:

US: iTunes / Amazon / Sundance Doc Club UK: Sundance Doc Club

#SoReal - January 9th

Something Diary

A new year is a wonderful excuse to indulge your quill in the crisp white pages of a pocket diary. Perhaps our journals will be more mundane than those of Samuel Pepys, but as these two films show: the very act of recording life can be an event in itself. 

Sam Klemke's Time Machine

In 1977, Sam Klemke started obsessively documenting his entire life on film. Beginning decades before the modern obsession with selfies and status updates, we see Sam grow from an optimistic teen to a self-important 20 year old, into an obese, self-loathing 30-something and onwards into his philosophical 50s creating a strange and intimate portrait of what it means to be human. 

Dir. Matthew Bate (2015)

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US: Vimeo On Demand UK: Vimeo On Demand

Ida's Diary

For the last eight years, Ida has kept a video diary in order to ease her mind and structure her thoughts. In her diary we get a unique insight into a world of fear and anxiety, but also precious moments of everyday victories and self-discovery.

Dir. August B. Hanssen (2014)

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US: Vimeo On Demand UK: Vimeo On Demand

#SoReal - January 4th

Something Movies

The recent passing of two great cinematographers made us think about incredible lives behind the camera and beyond the images on the screen. Here are two great documentaries about the madness and the making of movies.

Salam Cinema

Mohsen Makhmalbaf gives an advertisement in the newspapers and informs those who are interested in acting that in a test some of them would be chosen for making a movie on the occasion of the hundredth year of the birth of the Cinema. The result is a compelling portrait of Iran and our obsession with movies.

Dir. Mohsen Makhmalbaf (1995)

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US: Vimeo On Demand UK: Vimeo On Demand

Best Worst Movie

Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson steps behind the camera to explore the phenomenon behind the low-budget Italian-produced horror sequel that young movie fanatics have christened "the Rocky Horror of our generation" in this documentary which proves that just because a movie is awful doesn't mean it won't find an audience.

Dir. Michael Stephenson (2009)

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US: iTunes / Netflix / Microsoft / Googleplay UK: Netflix

#SoReal - December 20th

Something Frozen

Fellow explorers of documentary land. Put your plans on ice, float across the ocean of your living room, mount the couch iceberg, then abseil into a cosy crevice to witness these glacially cool docs. 

The Expedition to the End of the World

A crew of seafaring artists, scientists and philosophers sail to one of the most remote and beautiful areas in the world—the frozen fjords of northern Greenland—to ponder provocative questions about our place in the world.

Dir. Daniel Dencik (2012)

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US: GooglePlay / YouTube / Amazon / iTunes UK: Direct

Nanook of the North

Adventurer turned documentarian Robert Flaherty spent a year living with Inuit hunters in the harsh conditions of Canada’s Hudson Bay, and emerged with an enchanting, controversial film that’s perhaps the father of all documentaries.

Dir. Robert J. Flaherty (1922)

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US: Archive.org UK: Archive.org

#SoReal - December 12th

Something NYC

New York has always been a bastion of cultural fusion: this flamenco krump hybrid interpretation of a Greek play we encountered is quite a testament to the creative crossroads of city. So get into the New York state of mind, or not, and watch these two urban tales of dancing and finding yourself.

Lucky

Spanning more than five years on the streets of New York City, this intimate story of survival follows Lucky Torres, a homeless mother masked in tattoos who longs to rise from a life of darkness.

Dir. Laura Checkoway (2014)

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US: iTunes / Amazon / Vimeo on Demand UK: Vimeo On Demand

Flex is Kings

Join a group of fearless young dancers on an emotional journey as they vie to make something of themselves and their communities by competing in awe-inspiring battles of strength, grace and creativity.

Dirs. Deidre Schoo, Michael Beach Nichols (2013)

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US: Vimeo On Demand / iTunes / Microsoft / Youtube / Googleplay UK: iTunes / Vimeo On Demand

#SoReal - December 6th

Something Magical

Drifting into the jolly season of mythical elves, white-bearded saints, zombie shopping and flying reindeer, we embrace rational abandonment by offering two stories of magical dreamers. 

Sepideh

Sepideh Hooshyar, an Iranian teenager, dreams of becoming an astronaut, but cultural and economic factors make her goal difficult to achieve.

Dir. Berit Madsen (2013)

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US: iTunes UK: iTunes

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness

An unnamed character wanders through three seemingly disparate moments in his life: on a small Estonian island, in isolation in the majestic wilderness of Northern Finland and during a concert in Norway.

Dir. Ben Rivers & Ben Russell (2013)

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US: Fandor / Amazon / iTunes / Youtube UK: Curzon Home / BFI Player

#SoReal - November 29th

Something Environmental

As millions of citizens join the global climate march today, we bring you two powerful stories direct from the front lines of climate change. 

A River Changes Course

A cinematic journey into the lives of three young Cambodians as they struggle to overcome new environmental and economic adversity.

Dir. Kalyanee Mam (2012)

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US: Direct / iTunes / Amazon UK: Direct / iTunes / Youtube / Vimeo on Demand

This Changes Everything

This epic attempt to re-imagine climate change asks the question: What if confronting the climate crisis is the best chance we’ll ever get to build a better world?

Dir. Avi Lewis (2015)

Watch Now:

US: Direct / iTunes / Amazon / Youtube / Googleplay UK: Direct / iTunes


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