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True Films 200 Documentaries You Must See Before You Die

True Films 200 Documentaries You Must See Before You Die

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Published by: Cristian Guzmán Cardona on Mar 08, 2010
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02/19/2013

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TRUE FILMS
3.0 This is the golden age o documentaries.Inexpensive equipment, new methods o distribution, and a very eager audi-ence have all launched a renaissance in non-ction lm making and viewing.The very best o these non-ction lms are as entertaining as the best Hol-lywood blockbusters. Because they are true, their storylines seem resh withauthentic plot twists, real characters, and truth stranger than ction. Mosttrue lms are solidly inormative, and a ew are genuinely useul like a tool.The rise o documentaries and true cinema is elt not only in movie theaters,but on network TV and cable channels as well. Reality TV, non-ction stationslike the History Channel or Discovery, and BBC imports have increased thechoices in true lms tremendously. There’s no time to watch them all, andlittle guidance to what’s great.In this book I oer 200+ great true lms.I dene true lms as documentaries, educational lms, instructional how-to’s,and what the British call actuals – a non-ction visual account. These 200 arethe best non-ction lms I’ve ound or general interest. I’ve watched all theselms more than once. Sometimes thrice. I haven’t had TV or 20 years, so I’veconcentrated my viewing time on documentaries and true lms. I run a littlewebsite (www.truelms.com) where I solicit suggestions o great stu.What am I looking or in a great true lm?• It must be actual.• It must surprise me, but not preach to me.• I it introduces me to a world or subculture that I never thought aboutbeore, even better.• There’s a plot – a transormation rom beginning to the end.• It’s easily available.As dogged as I have been in tracking down great true lms, I have seen onlya raction o the more than 60,000 that have been made, and the thousandsnow being made each year. I you know o an amazing true lm that I’vemissed please recommend it to me:kk@kk.org.
 
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Where to get the lms:
I recommend only those great and worthwhile titles that are availableon tape or DVD at consumer prices. I indicate whether a lm is rentablerom Netfix, and i it is purchasable rom Amazon. I neither o those op-tions is available, I will then list an alternative source.For too long true lms have been hard to nd, appearing only feetingly intheaters, or projected in school classrooms on expensive 6mm prints, orhidden on back shelves at video rental places. Now DVDs and websitesare rapidly increasing the availability o true lms; their prices continue todrop, and their distribution expands.However, many great true lms are still not easily seen. The Britishproduce antastic actuals that are shown a ew times on BBC and thenmothballed. A lot o older documentaries have still not been released onDVD or tape. Some o the greatest documentaries ever made are ownedby educational agencies that price them according to the old model o scarce lm prints. Since their customers were once only classrooms inschools and universities, these distributors set very steep ees – typically$300 to purchase a tape, and $00 merely to rent it. They have main-tained these prices or individuals, which is plainly ridiculous. I view thisas an ideal strategy to prevent as many people as possible rom seeinga lm. So ar, I am unable to recommend any o those good lms sincetheir ees, though lowered, are still not reasonable consumer prices. Andmuch o the BBC treasure trove is still not released, although more o itis seeping out online as electronic downloads. As they reach consumerlevels, to the point that anyone who wants to see it can pretty easily ordera copy, I’ll add the best o those to the True Films list.Happily, more and more recent documentaries are being released to a re-ceptive public at consumer prices. Even better, a growing number o ac-tuals are also carried by the emerging online DVD subscription services.Big companies like Blockbuster, WalMart, and Amazon UK oer sometrue lms among their wide selections o ctional lms. Some smallerplayers like GreenCine (www.greencine.com) oer interesting selectionso true lms that no one else may carry.The major player in the documentaries is nowNetfix(www.netfix.com).I am a huge an o Netfix’s lm subscription service. Their library o 55,000 lms (including nearly 6,000 true lms) is now my library. At anyone moment I have over 00 documentary titles I’d like to see stackedup in my Netfix queue waiting or me to return the last one I watched.

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