The Independent filmmaker’s nirvana we all know as Sundance showed audiences yet again that honesty is hot right now and documentaries, those cinematic observations of real life, are in the midst of a renaissance.
A large number of films that were lauded this year by critics and filmgoers were either visual journalism features or shorts, or based in fact story tellers. From documentaries GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF (an exposé of Scientology), 3½ MINUTES (the case of Jordan Davis and the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defence laws), and THE WOLFPACK (the mesmerising story of six home-schooled children who had spent the entirety of their life locked inside their Lower East Side Manhattan apartment), to fact-based films THE END OF THE TOUR (dramatisation of the five-day interview between novelist David Foster Wallace and Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky), A WALK IN THE WOODS (based on author Bill Bryson’s trek across the Appalachian Trail with two friends), and TRUE STORY (the real-life events of convicted murderer Christian Longo and Times reporter Michael Finkel), the Sundance market presents a promising theatrical balance to the multitude of blockbuster sequels slated in 2015.
If Sundance is just a pipe dream and getting access to fascinating and transformative documentaries is difficult, don’t worry. I recently discovered the SundanceNow Doc Club where you can get unlimited monthly access to the worlds most acclaimed and unforgettable films not found anywhere else. The application was pretty simple to download and navigate around and I particularly liked the fact that the service is ad-free. You can also watch the films on all your devices (which is great if you’re on the go a lot like me) or watch films on your TV via airplay, Chromecast or Roku. I was also surprised at the cost, which was pretty cheap at only a few pounds per month. If you’re in the mood for some visual truths, it’s definitely worth giving it a go as you can cancel out at any time.
The SundanceNow Doc Club also offer subscribers on occasion, invitations to special screenings such as THE CRUISE with director Bennett Miller and guest curator Ira Glass and exclusive digital premieres like SHOAH; a portrait of the events of Nazi genocide and the Antisemitism that caused 6 million Jews to die told through interviews with survivors, witnesses and ex-Nazis.
This month, the Doc Club have turned their spotlight on 12 of the best Sundance short documentaries; a complement to Sundance 2015’s panel talks ‘Short Films are the New Long’. As a person who practices what she preaches, I jumped onto the SundanceNow Doc Club site and managed to take a look at eight of the twelve shorts screening in this month program.
Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
Images: SundanceNow Doc Club