#SoReal - December 21st

Something Subzero

Our coolest subscribers will have spotted that Something Real has been put on ice for a spell. While our doc-endorsing digits thaw out fully in time for the New Year, wrap up warm to discover two frosty films brought in for you from the cold.

The Epic of Everest

The original record of Irvine and Mallory's doomed Everest expedition of 1924, crafted from beautifully restored footage and set to a specially commissioned new score.

Watch Now:

US: Fandor / Netflix UK: BFI Player

Village at The End of The World

A year in the life of a remote Inuit fishing village in Greenland, where a tiny community struggle for existence against environmental and economic adversity.

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US: iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes

#SoReal - October 21st

Something Streets

Where we grow, the spaces we share and the streets we walk shape who we are. We in turn decorate the character of that place. See this NYT article on a New York state of mind, and these incredible portraits of the city's people.

Los Sures

A beautiful, vibrant record of a largely Puerto Rican & Dominican community in South Brooklyn of the 1980s.

Dir. Diego Echeverria (1984)

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

Field Niggas

An hour-long nocturne portrait of a Harlem street corner with near-hallucinatory intensity.

Dir. Khalik Allah (2015)

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US: Vimeo (Free) UK: Vimeo (Free)

#SoReal - October 7th

Something Risky

Sharing stories from the frontlines continues to put journalists at risk from Syria to Russia and beyond. These two films question the dangerous boundaries of truth, trust and journalism.


A real-life thriller, (T)ERROR is the first documentary to place filmmakers on the ground during a live FBI counterterrorism sting operation.

Dirs. Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe (2015)

Watch Now:

US: Netflix UK: Netflix

El Sicario, Room 164

Mexico's drug cartels are shockingly illuminated in this striking documentary. "El Sicario" is a frank portrait of an individual who was a hitman for 20 years.

Dir. Gianfranco Rosi (2010)

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US: Amazon UK: DocAlliance

#SoReal - September 26th

Something Talkies

It's been a busy few weeks in filmlandia with some directors collecting gongs at The Emmys and others launching Oscar campaigns at TIFF. Behind all this polished metal are people who love making and talking about film. Here are some to watch tonight.

Hitchcock / Truffaut

A love letter to cinema and two if its renowned talents. This illuminating documentary explores the art and influence of Alfred Hitchcock through his famed 1962 interview with French auteur François Truffaut.

Dir. Kent Jones (2016)

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US: HBO GO UK: Googleplay / Amazon / iTunes / Curzon Home

Life Itself

A documentary film that recounts the inspiring and entertaining life of world-renowned film critic and social commentator Roger Ebert – a story that is by turns personal, funny, painful, and transcendent.

Dir. Steve James (2014)

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

#SoReal - September 7th

Something Refuge

The perilous state of existence for refugees trying to reach Britain has only worsened in recent weeks. These two stories document the trials of movement and recognition of migrants.

The Journey

A six-part documentary about the dangerous paths of Syrian asylum seekers in the E.U.

Dir. Matthew Cassel (2016)

Watch Now:

US: New Yorker UK: New Yorker


In this autobiographical work Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas becomes a crusader for immigration reform.

Dir. Jose Antonio Vargas (2013)

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

#SoReal - September 3rd

Something Fontastic

A recent study suggests that our trust in the words we read is affected by how they are printed. Get to know your Arial from your Optima this weekend.


A film about a typeface that delves into the world of graphic arts and takes a deeper look into style changes and the controversies over the role of graphic designer since World War II.

Dir. Gary Hustwit (2007)

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US: Amazon / iTunes UK: iTunes


Artists and craftsmen meet at a museum and print shop in rural Wisconsin to practice modern designs and traditional techniques.

Dir. Justine Nagan (2009)

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#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)

Watch Now:

US: Direct UK: Direct


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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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.


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)

Watch Now:

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.


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.


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.


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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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.


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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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.


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)

Watch Now:

US: iTunes UK: Amazon / iTunes


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)

Watch Now:

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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#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)

Watch Now:

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.


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)

Watch Now:

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


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)

Watch Now:

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.


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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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)

Watch Now:

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

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