1) The Corporation: If you haven’t already seen it, check out this Canadian masterpiece on big business. Visually stimulating with incredible journalistic integrity, this film looks at all sides and interviews experts both for and against the current business models in our western world. The result, really quite mindblowing and extremely informative. NOT TO MISS.
2) Packing Heat: Probably my all time favorite documentary. It is a National Film Board gem from back when they cared about women’s issues. Directed by Wendy Rowland, the doc is about guns, America and the marketing of fear and empowerment to sell guns to women.
3) The Boys of Baraka: This awesome doc from the same team that brought you the Academy Award nominated yet vastly inferior Jesus Camp, is about poor black youth in Baltimore who are given a chance to study, and develop, in Africa. AMAZING. Really reveals how much potential children have and how much of an influence negative and positive environments can have.
4) Ghosts of Abu Graib: This mainly talking head documentary provides shocking insight into the torture scandal at Abu Graib. By interviewing the soldiers involved, the film really goes beyond holding a few young Americans responsible for the reprehensible acts. The doc goes on to prove that the U.S. Military as a whole, Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush were responsible for the torture of the prisoners and for the changes in policy that allowed for the abuses. Also note the amazing sound quality.
5) War Photographer: A look at journalism and photography in a war zone. Very compelling and graphic. Makes you think about what journalists go through, and risk, to bring us the news from the front lines.
6) Abduction, The Megumi Yakota Story: A truly fascinating story involving probably our worlds most secretive country: North Korea. I don’t want to give too much away, but it has all the elements of even the best fictional spy and espionage movies. Will rock your world.
7) So much, So Fast: An extremely tragic but moving story of a young man who has ALS and his family who fight so hard to help him. Sheds some light on the difficulty in finding treatments for such horrific diseases but also demonstrates how much technology can help the disabled.
8 ) The Thin Blue Line: Personally, I think this doc is Errol Morris’ best. It is a small slice of life that really demonstrates how easily a man can be wrongfully convicted and sentenced to die in America. Very stylized and unique.
9) Estrellas de la Linea/The Railroad All Stars: A really fast paced, modern documentary about a group of prostitutes in Guatemala who start a soccer team to raise awareness for their unbelievable plights.
10) Through a blue lens: This documentary was made possible by a group of police officers working in downtown east side Vancouver. They wanted to talk to the addicts, the knew quite well, and have them help make a film to caution teens about drug use. Truly groundbreaking and profound. Sadly, it was deemed too disturbing for most schools. I think it is the best cautionary tail about Heroine available anywhere.