I’ll be up front. I’m not a huge documentary fan. I don’t hate them. I’m just not often in the mood for them. I also have an aversion to issue documentaries, which are often quite popular. The issue documentaries tend to come from such a clearly entrenched perspective that I have a hard time buying into anything they have to say, because I question their motives. Even when I share the position. So, I tend to avoid a lot of the more serious documentaries.

Since I’m producing a documentary now, Greatest Hits, which you can support right this second on Seed&Spark, I thought I’d reflect on my favorites over the years and share a list of them with you. Here are my favorites in no particular order:

  • King of Kong – I got a little choked up at parts of this one. Surprisingly touching for a story about some people playing an arcade game.
  • Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation – As a filmmaker it’s really interesting to get a glimpse at a different side of the business than I’m usually exposed to.
  • Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy – At almost four hours long this one takes a little dedication to the subject matter to sit through, but at the same time it didn’t quite feel like four hours. I love the Elm Street movies, so it was a lot of fun for me to get the insight into these films this documentary provided.
  • Montage of Heck – I’ve never been a huge Nirvana or Kurt Cobain fan. I don’t dislike either the band or the man, but neither has really clicked with me. This documentary got me with its style as much as anything else. Animated sketches by Cobain, animated handwriting, and also just some quality animation to re-enact moments from his life that were caught on his tape recorder made for a really engaging film.
  • The Act of Killing – The most serious film on my list. I watched the Director’s Cut and I was sucked in. What I liked most about it, I think, was that it was presented without a narrator leading me along to a conclusion. The conclusion to arrive at was clear and it was much more powerful to see the subject arrive at it than for me to be told.
  • Rewind This! – A major inspiration for my narrative feature, Meme, Rewind This! covers the history of the VHS format.
  • Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story of the VHS Collector – Again an inspiration for my narrative feature, Meme, and definitely fed into the journey of many characters in the film.

I’m sure if I dug into my memories a little deeper I’d come up with some more, but these are the ones I came up with for today. I’m looking forward to adding Greatest Hits to this list in the near future, but we can’t do it without you, again go over to our Seed&Spark campaign and join us in making a film about the stories behind some of the most iconic images in music photography from the last 30 years.

What are your favorite documentaries? Come and talk to us on Twitter (@cuffarohits), Instagram (@cuffarophoto), or Facebook (facebook.com/cuffarohits). Then, don’t forget to go to Seed&Spark and become a part of the making of Greatest Hits! We need you today!

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