Documentaries can be powerful, turning a lens on the lives of amazing people and places. But if you think you don't have time to watch these docs, think again. Not all documentaries are two hours long, and Vimeo is filled with videos that are quite short (we're talking five minutes or less) while still managing to tell moving stories. Click on for five of our favorites that will get you smiling, crying, and everything in between.
Before there was Google, Apple, Intel, or Yahoo, the fate of technology as we know it rested upon 29-year-old Robert Noyce, a brilliant physicist. The physicist led the charge to defect from one of the largest semiconductor companies in the 1950s and start a new transistor business that would eventually invent the microchip, the essence of modern electronics.
Noyce's story is part of the new PBS documentary Silicon Valley, a chronicle of the tech industry's early beginnings and the rise of the Information Age.
The inspirational tale of tech's first pioneers and the transformation of Santa Clara County serves as an educational history of Silicon Valley, but it's also a great story of a charismatic young physicist and the creative young men who made the microchip possible.
Silicon Valley is available on iTunes ($10), DVD ($20), and online (free). Watch the first chapter of this historical tech film below.
"It is a family," says Anna Wintour of Vogue's legendary fashion editors in the trailer for the new documentary In Vogue: The Editor's Eye. "It's a slightly dysfunctional family, but it's very close. They all have genius in them."
That genius will be on full display Dec. 6, when the documentary debuts on HBO. Editors from Polly Mellon to Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Tonne Goodman, Camilla Nickerson, and Grace Coddington are included in the film, which celebrates not only the work they did for Vogue, but also their impact on fashion and the world at large.
Wintour says Vogue's fashion editors "have always been our secret weapon." A first look at the magazine's magnificent weaponry below.
Going vegan is a huge commitment — the sheer idea of shifting your lifestyle may have you feeling overwhelmed! Each of these six documentaries offers a different perspective on the concept of veganism. Some preach the benefits of a plant-based diet, while others research the relationship we have with our current food system and what needs to change. If you've ever considered going vegan, taking a look at one of these documentaries could be the vegan icing on your dairy-free cake.
Every four years, the Summer Olympic Games keep us on the edges of our seats. We get to see all the glory, but what about all the hard work that goes into preparing for these events? If you've ever been curious about the personal journey of an Olympic athlete, then a documentary is a great way to get a little insight. Get excited for the games with these docs on the history of the games and the athletes who went on to defy the odds at the Summer Olympics!
Budding game designers, have I got a documentary for you! A geeky sweetheart of Sundance and SXSW, Indie Game follows the successes and struggles of the committed — sometimes obsessive — game designers behind Fez, Super Meat Boy, and Braid. The film gives insight into the creative processes the designers go through in an attempt to fight the corporate system and make their own way in the gaming industry.
If you're not a hardcore gamer, fear not. The underdog story is guaranteed to tug at our heartstrings. And lucky for us, the dynamic Canadian duo behind the film, James Swirsky and Lisanne Pajot, will also be making the full film available on a ton of different outlets like iTunes, Direct Download, and Steam. Catch a glimpse of Indie Game before its June 12 debut in the trailer below.
Photo courtesy of BlinkWorks Media
HBO Documentaries recently launched a four-part miniseries, The Weight of the Nation, about the status of health and the implications of obesity in the US today. The miniseries offers insight of leading doctors, professors, and policymakers balanced with tales of hope, hard work, and sacrifice proving how ordinary people can make big changes regardless of their circumstances. While each part of the docuseries is chock-full of fascinating facts, stats, and quotes, here are a few from some of the experts who I found absolutely riveting to watch.
- "How many people in this society are able to maintain a healthy weight? A third or less."
- "Being wealthier is not nearly as protective over obesity as it used to be."
- "We [women] fight against losing weight in our hips and thighs. And the reason we're programmed that way is that we rely on the calories in our hips and thighs evolutionarily to provide us with calories for breastfeeding or to help sustain a potential famine while we're pregnant."
Metabolism investigator at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Deborah Clegg explains that this is not a myth! It's more difficult for women to take off weight in "problem" areas due to evolutionary causes that were once advantageous but are no longer serving our bodies.
Shiriki Kumanyika PhD, MPH, professor of epidemiology from the University of Pennsylvania gives this staggering statistic to show how there is something broken in both our current health and food systems. It's harder than ever to stay fit and healthy if you go with the flow of the country and don't make big changes in your diet and exercise patterns.
While it's a sad story ingrained in The Weight of the Nation, historically, the poverty-stricken deal with more rampant issues of obesity. But Marlene Schwartz, the deputy director at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale, explains that while the relationship between obesity and socioeconomic status was linear, more recently, everybody's rates have gone up.
Keep reading for more interesting quotes from The Weight of the Nation.
This week is the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC, and while there are plenty of indie rom-coms to catch our eye, it's the documentaries we're really dying to see. One film contrasts the women of the Miss India beauty pageant with the girls of a fundamentalist Hindu camp, another looks at our culture's obsession with beauty, and there's even one on the manscaping trend (with Jason Bateman and Will Arnett). Get a preview of four Tribeca intriguing documentaries now, and tell us which one you're most interested in seeing below.
Today's kids live in a world of social media, sexting, and porn at their fingertips. How will these young girls and boys who've grown up in such a sex-immersed culture fare as adults? This documentary follows a former porn star, a woman undergoing a scandalous surgery, and a 12-year-old girl to explore America's obsession with sex and its effect on the next generation.
Morgan Spurlock's new documentary, Comi-Con Episode IV: A Fan's Hope hits theaters today. While we're excited to check it out, we've also been reminiscing about some of our favorite documentaries that give insight into the evolution of technology or all-out fervent fandom. Without further ado, here are 13 geek-inspired docs we love to watch again and again. Don't see your favorite as you click through this list? Be sure to add your favorite documentary in the comments below!
If you love film and you love fitness, you're in luck: there are a ton of documentaries out there where your two passions meet to inspire. Whether you're a runner, yogi, outdoor enthusiast, or cyclist, there is something for everyone. Click through to check out 15 fitness and health documentaries that will get you motivated today! Don't see your favorite fitness doc on the list? Be sure to add yours in the comments below.