There are a lot of stories out there: interpretations of facts, events and people’s lives that have made some powerful and, quite often, unforgettable documentaries. I share with you 15 of my favorites (in no particular preference):

Deliver Us From Evil

As a former light-weight catholic, I’m ashamed of what the Catholic church stands for. This documentary, written and directed by Amy Berg, follows the life of Father Oliver O’Grady, whose sins and crimes involved the sexual abuse of dozens of children, young men and women (during decades) in the U.S., and the Vatican’s cover up regarding child abuse by priests.

Grizzly Man

The heartbreaking tale of  activist Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard’s deadly encounter with grizzlies from Alaska, as told by Werner Herzog. There is a reason why I haven’t watched this film for a second time: to call it sad is the most appropriate understatement.

Bowling for Columbine

You all probably know Michael Moore. This Academy Award-winning study into America’s long and close relationship with guns and violence is amusing, disturbing and revealing.

Estrellas de la Línea (The Railroad All Stars)

A group of sex workers in Guatemala decides to join a five-a-side soccer league, only to be met with contempt and prejudice. A tail of class-struggle, ignorance and hope, written and directed by Chema Rodríguez.

Bigger Stronger Faster

This is your brain and body on steroids. Let’s all get super bulky! Chris Bell explores the facts and misconceptions of America’s romance with “the juice”.

American Movie

I sometimes I wish I had the perseverance that Mark Borchadt, a slacker with movie dreams, has. This documentary, directed by Chris Smith, proves there’s no such thing as too late, when it comes to following your dreams.

Quién diablos es Juliette? (Who the hell is Juliette?)

Women are beautiful, and a lot of them have unresolved issues. Music video director Carlos Marcovich follows the life of a Cuban teenager and a Mexican model,  in his first feature film. The photography and sountrack ranks among my all-time favorites.

Zeitgeist Addendum

Money is an illusion, so is democracy. Written and directed by Peter Joseph, this documentary asks a lot of questions regarding the time we live in.

Inside Job

An in-depth look at the causes of 2008’s economic meltdown. Bankers and politicians, The Man, lookout for themselves and lie through their teeth. Directed by Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon.

Some Kind of Monster

You don’t have to be a Metallica fan to enjoy this portrayal of a group almost falling apart, and coming together. Joel Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky document the rockers at their least glamorous: group therapy, a new approach to song writing and recording (during the St. Anger sessions), as they figure out where to go as a band and as people.

Strippers: The Naked Stages

An HBO documentary from 1998, directed by Eamon Harrington and John Watkin, that “provides us with insights we’d never get otherwise of all aspects of the lives these women lead, the impact of age on beauty, and the lengths traveled by aging stars addicted to the adoration of losers” (IMDB user review). Years ago I wrote a poem inspired, in part, by Maya Divine, one of the women whose story is explored here.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Though I’ve yet to see the first 25 minutes or so, Sacha Gervasi’s documentary of an aging and tenacious Canadian metal band (Anvil) is remarkable. Anyone with a garage band must watch this one.

Meeting People is Easy

Everything changed after the release of Radiohead’s Ok, Computer. Grant Gee’s experimental style of narrative will follow the iconic brit band through the cultural impact that their third album brought with it. The filming of the video for No Surprises is one of my favorite intense and weird moments.

I remember catching this film by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim on cable. My short and humble background with startups makes me specially sensitive to the making and breaking of companies like Optimism and arrogance can be close friends.

Jesus Camp

Back when I used to work at a video rental store, I took this documentary home and didn’t regret it. Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady co-direct an intimate film about Christian militants and the children that are part of their agenda.


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