Ah, happiness. Such a strange, elusive beast. In the new feature documentary, The Happy Film, filmmaker and designer Stefan Sagmeister explores the emotion by putting himself through a series of self-guided experiments in order to find out if he can manufacture the feeling. For the past seven years, he has been operating on a weekly happiness 1-10 rating scale system and exploring three methods for finding happiness: meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotropic drugs. The quirky, thought-provoking film born from this endeavor recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Interested? You can read WIRED’s review of it here.
Just in time for Oscar Sunday, lots of people are focusing in on one independent documentary filmmaker that seems to be doing things right. Joshua Oppenheimer and his debut film, “The Act of Killing”, was a fascinating, jaw-dropping look at the individuals that participated in the Indonesian genocide of the 1960s. His second film, Oscar-nominated “The Look of Silence”, follows up on the continuing impact of those horrors. Read his interview with Indiewire here and learn more about his films’ impact, his approach to filmmaking, and what’s next.
We’re just about midway through 2015, and that means taking stock of the cinematic year so far. In terms of feature films, it’s been a stellar year, with everything from “Inside Out” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” to “The Duke Of Burgundy” and “L’il Quinquin” making it one of the strongest first six months of a moviegoing calendar that we can remember with a plethora of equally excellent movies having cropped up at festivals. But to focus on the fiction arena would be to miss whole swaths of great cinema, because the documentaries of the first half of 2015 have been excellent. Here's Indiewire's top picks for the 2015 so far.
A STYLISTIC MASH-UP OF ARCHIVAL FOOTAGE, INTERVIEWS, AND ANIMATED SEQUENCES, the Kurt Cobain documentary, Montage of Heck, premiered at Sundance '15 to a stunned audience. Anyone could have crafted a documentary about a band. Director Brett Morgen's experimental, road-less-traveled approach does something that's much deeper: letting you feel as if you've pored through someone's scrapbook. You get the sense that Kurt would have liked this. As for his fans, be prepared to meet the man you admire, warts and all. Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/mo
Indie Street is not completely supportive of the shockumentary approach where documentarians scare the viewers into changing their ways. Not because we don't agree with many of the messages of these films, but more so because the only ones watching the docs are typically those who more or less agree with the message. This newly released documentary "Plastic Paradise" brought to you by Virgil Films, is a well done piece, but even more importantly it has such a simple cause and action that can be taken by any person in society to help ignite change. Purchase the film on Vimeo on Demand.
This is an obvious one, but we are happy to see Draft_house films getting into the Vimeo OnDemand game. If you have not seen what IndieStreet and many other critics deem the "most impactful documentary of the decade.", then what are you waiting for? Watch this astounding masterpiece now on Vimeo.