Loco for Docos

Before I became a journalist, I had dreams being an actor and then a screenwriter.

I was still chasing those dreams when I decided to become a journalist. And it was the unquenchable love of movies brought me to film journalism.

 

Interviewing Mia Wasikowska at the 2013 Sydney Film Festival

Interviewing Mia Wasikowska at the 2013 Sydney Film Festival

But I still get that nagging feeling of wanting to make my own.

 

Super 8

Super 8

And with one particular idea bubbling away, I enrolled in a four day (two weekend) Directing Documentary course at Metroscreen in Paddington.

It’s how I spent my weekend – learning about the art, history and techniques of making a documentary.

 

Still from Man with a Movie Camera - one of the docos we studied over the weekend

Still from Man with a Movie Camera – one of the docos we studied over the weekend

It’s fascinating stuff, and good thing too, because it’s now Monday and I’m scratching my head, wondering where on earth the weekend went.

I’ve also taken away from the course an enormous list of films to watch – including Grizzly Man, Hoop Dreams, Samsara, Act of Killing and Searching for Sugar Man (I felt quite guilty I haven’t seen the last two cause they’re both recent).

Still from the poetic doco Samsara - which I'm yet to see!

Still from the poetic doco Samsara – which I’m yet to see!

 

But in case you’re keen to check out some docos, here are some of my recommendations (in no particular order):

 

STORIES WE TELL

Filmmaker Sarah Polley in  the beautifully engrossing Stories We Tell

Filmmaker Sarah Polley in the beautifully engrossing Stories We Tell

Filmmaker Sarah Polley turns the lens on her family, herself and the idea of memory in what begins as a portrait of her mother and becomes a kind of unravelling mystery. One of my favourites – it goes to some surprising and unexpected places.

BLACKFISH

I was seriously fired up after watching this partisan-style doco. Get angry at SeaWorld, the brutal abuse of animal rights for money and how it ultimately led to the death of killer whale trainers and imprisoned a traumatised creature in the process.

SENNA

It doesn’t matter if you’re an F1 fan or not – this is a gripping, superbly crafted film about beloved Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna

THE LAST IMPRESARIO

You’ve heard of Rocky Horror Picture Show? Of Monty Python? Of Anna Wintour and Kate Moss? Meet the man who believed in and championed them first, the theatre and film producer Michael White, who’s often referred to now as “the most famous person you’ve never heard of”. Made by Aussie socialite Gracie Otto in her impressive directorial debut.

THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY

Made up of 15 one-hour chapters, this aired on TV network SBS here in Australia before it got a DVD release , although I luckily was given it for my birthday. It’s a thorough, in-depth account of film’s evolution, by Irish film critic and director/narrator Mark Cousens. A must-see ode to cinema, even if I do find his voice a little irritating.

20 FEET FROM STARDOM

I’ve always loved songs like Walk On The Wild Side and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). In this, you meet the powerful voices that made those songs what they are.

What are some of your favourites?