After getting hooked on the Making a Murder, the documentary of the moment, I decided to share some of my favorite documentaries on Netflix. Step away from the fictional series binges for the night and try out one of these 10 fascinating real stories. Nothing is scarier, more fascinating, entertaining or intriguing than real life. The best stories couldn't be made up. Plus you're technically getting smarter while watching television.
Making A Murder (2015)- An obvious place to start, as it is all anyone is taking about right now. It is a ten-part documentary, written and directed by Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos. The controversial documentary was filmed over 10 years and details the story of Steven Avery, from Manitowoc County, Wisconsin who was wrongly convicted of sexual assault and attempted murder of Penny Beerntsen, for which he served 18 years in prison. It seems like a victorious story about a man who is exonerated after an unimaginable length of time in prison for something he didn't do, that is until he is arrested again 2 years later for murder... It's a must watch, even if just so you don't have to spend all your time online dodging spoilers. Prepare to be confused, angered, shocked but mainly confused.
Blackfish (2013)- Watching this broke my heart, I cried more times than I could count. This documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite follows an orca named Tilikum kept captive by Seaworld. It sheds light on the unnecessarily cruel captivity of killer whales, that endangers both the lives of the whales and the humans involved with them. Tilikum whom the documentary focuses on was involved in the death of 3 people. Watching this will change the way you view animals kept captive for entertainment, the lives of these majestic creatures matter so much more.
Grizzly Man (2005)- This heartbreaking documentary by Werner Herzog, chronicles the life and death of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell, 'The Grizzly Man'. Treadwell tracked and lived with grizzly bears for thirteen summers in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. The documentary includes Treadwell's own video footage of him interacting with the grizzly bears he loved. Treadwell believed he had gained their trust and was safe among them but this ultimately was found to be untrue when he and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard, were attacked and killed by one of the bears he so closely followed. The documentary is a striking account of a courageous, passionate man that spent an incredible 35,000 hours, over 13 years, living with wild dangerous bears, before his death.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)- Produced and directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, with a new cut executive-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio, that premiered on Netflix in September 2015. This environmental documentary follows filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the most destructive industry to the earth; agriculture and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations refuse to acknowledge this truth. After watching this you will question how necessary our huge meat consumption and if you can change, it caused me to massively reduce my animal product intake.
Beltracchi The Art Of Forgery (2014)- Wolfgang Beltracchi is a German art forger and artist, who admitted to producing hundreds of fake paintings after managing to trick the international art world for nearly 40 years by forging and selling paintings of early 20th-century masters.
The True Cost (2015)- This documentary is directed by Andrew Morgan is shocking, honest and terrifying. It literally exposes the true cost of your bargain fast fashion purchases to other human lives. It’s about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. After watching this I literally did not go shopping for 3 months. It's so important that everyone watches this so we are better informed an can make better choices.
Living On A Dollar A Day (2013)- Living on One Dollar follows four university students as they set out to live on $1 a day for two months in rural Guatemala. They dealt with intense hunger and parasites, but the strong sense of community helped them through. The challenges they faced are real and affect over 1.1 billion people around the world.
Bill Cunningham New York (2010)- A fascinating insight into eccentric veteran New York city fashion photographer Bill Cunningham who literally lives and breathes his work. "We all get dressed for Bill", says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Directed by Richard Press.
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011)- This documentary by filmmaker Marshall Curry is a strange and interesting story exploring the origins and motives of the Earth Liberation Front and Eco-terrorism. The Earth Liberation Front was described by the FBI as America's "number one domestic terrorism threat." For years, ELF launched arsons against businesses they accused of destroying the environment: timber companies, SUV dealerships and wild horse slaughterhouses.
If you've got any great documentary recommendations leave them below, part 2 is on the way!