All posts filed under: Documentary

Revisiting “Cowtown Keeylocko”

After graduating from The University of Arizona, I landed a dead-end job that I held onto until I found the courage (and opportunity) to move to Los Angeles. One day at work I was feeling especially apathetic, and a charming older man came in to the office and completely brightened my day. His name was Ed Keeylocko, and he had the type of joyful energy that could not be ignored. For business reasons I needed his address, and he told me he lived in Cowtown Keeylocko, AZ. I had never heard of such a place before, so I asked him about it. He said it was his town, and as ridiculous as that may sound coming from someone, I knew he was telling the truth. This guy was special enough to have his own town. After he left the office I decided to do a little research. Where is this Cowtown Keeylocko, and what’s this guys story? I typed his name into Google and found article after article, recounting the story of the man, the myth, the …

Watch “The Wolfpack” – A Mesmerizing Documentary That’s Available on Netflix

Directed by Crystal Moselle, The Wolfpack journey’s into the secluded lives of six brothers who had non-traditional upbringings, characterized by a severe lack of connection to the outside world. In order to escape the confines of their Lower East Side Manhattan apartment (which some years, they didn’t leave at all), the brothers watched and recreated their favorite movies. The Wolfpack is an exceptional documentary about extraordinary young filmmakers who harnessed their oppression as a means of creative power. They maybe grew up sheltered, but their intelligence and appetite for creation seems to outshine the effects of their seclusion. To see the world through their eyes – at times lost, sometimes disillusioned, but above all, hopeful – is a gift unto itself. The Wolfpack, which is available on Netflix, is an absolute must-see film. It embodies so much of what I love about documentaries; not only are the viewers allowed a glimpse into the peculiar lives of “The Wolfpack” and their family, but we are given, if briefly, a chance to rediscover the outside world and bask in its infinite possibilities. After you watch The Wolfpack, be sure to check out their short …

Video of the Day: Street Art in Miami

I really have Vimeo to thank for discovering so many stunning, imaginative, and inspiring short films! Checking out Vimeo’s “Staff Picks” is a simple way to catch high quality work, and what I love about a great short film is that it’s so creatively reinvigorating to watch something that’s short and sweet. Walls of Change, by The Cinemart, chronicles the six-year transformation of Wynwood, Miami, as it developed from an industrial area that had seen better days, to one of the world’s most expansive displays of street art. The result is an area of abundant beauty, diversity, eccentricity, and political charge. After watching Walls of Change, be sure to check out Here Comes the Neighborhood, a ten episode series about the Wynwood transformation and the artists and individuals who made it happen.

Michael Moore’s Open Letter to Donald Trump

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Michael Moore’s newest documentary, Where to Invade Next, followed by an entertaining and insightful Skype Q & A with Moore. Unsurprisingly, he was just as funny as he is in his documentaries, using humor to carry information that is often quite difficult to swallow. Where to Invade Next is one of my favorite films of the year and an absolute must-see for Americans everywhere (though let’s be honest, those who really need to see it won’t come close to anything with Moore’s name attached to it). The film was initially set to hit theaters this month, but is now being pushed back to February. Either way, if you’re looking to truly “Make America Great Again” (and not in the manner that’s intended by Donald Trump’s campaign slogan) then please watch the film, and if you like it, tell others to watch it and share what you’ve learned. Now back to Donald Trump! The fact that Trump may be the Republican presidential candidate is quite terrifying. For a short while his shenanigans were slightly entertaining and didn’t …

If You Care About Our Environment, Then You Must Watch “Cowspiracy”

As a vegetarian for the past decade or so, I’ve been well aware of the ethical implications of eating meat, but I was never fully educated on the extreme impact animal agriculture has on our environment. About a month ago I decided to become vegan for three reasons: animal welfare (because eating dairy and eggs causes just as much harm to animals as eating meat does), the positive impact a vegan lifestyle has on the environment, and for health reasons. I was inspired by a number of vegans on YouTube (who I will post about in a few weeks), and documentaries available on Netflix, but watching Cowspiracy has cemented my decision more than anything else. The truth of the matter is, if you want to leave a planet for our children and our children’s children to thrive on, then we need to start making changes. There is so much that the general public isn’t aware of when it comes to animal agriculture, pollution, and sustainability, but the information is out there and we do have the power to make a difference. If you think of …

Watch the Inspiring Trailer for ‘He Named Me Malala’

Emotional films often bring tears to my eyes, but only the most touching previews are capable of doing so. The trailer for He Named Me Malala is one of those rarities. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist fighting for education rights for girls and young women, is both a survivor of an assassination attempt and the and youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate. Like millions of people across the globe, I look up to her strength and courage immensely, and am in awe of all she has accomplished thus far. Please share the trailer for He Named Me Malala and be sure to see it when it hits theaters in October. And if you’re interested, visit the Malala Fund to find out how you can make a difference.

Skid Row & Los Angeles’ Income Gap

Yesterday I showed up to work two hours early, so I originally wrote this post sitting in a coffee shop, drinking coffee and scribbling with my bright red pen in a crisp new notebook that I had just bought because I had nothing on me. Empty notebooks are exciting objects. What will I fill the pages of this new one with? The feeling of not knowing what is to come is quite freeing. I just write and write and write until there are no more pages left and I’m forced to buy yet another one and fill it with more. Most of what I write is nonsense – lists and goals and dates and appointments – but sometimes, it sticks. Here’s what I chose to write about: Since I moved to Los Angeles, a lot has changed. I realized that I was strong enough to do it, but I am going through the motions of missing home immensely. For some reason I was under the impression that moving to LA was going to be an easy transition, because in many ways, it’s similar …

All This Mayhem

Like many 10-year-old boys in the early years following Y2K, skateboarding got into my blood. Halcyon days spent outside sliding on curbs and flying off ramps were what awaited me and my friends after school. We all wanted to be the next Tony Hawk. The dream of two young Australian skateboarders, Tass and Ben Pappas, was to beat ‘Hawk’. All This Mayhem encapsulates the youthful ambitions of the infamous Pappas brothers, whose dreams of becoming the most iconic skateboarders in the world were torn asunder. When competing at the highest level, the brothers became disillusioned, alienated, and eventually exiled due to the corporate sponsored underworld of skateboarding, and a few youthful mistakes sprinkled in for good measure. Consequently, the audience is hurled with great alacrity into the cyclonic lives of the ill-fated brothers. Both invigorated by the possibilities of what the passion of their lives might bring about for them, their love of skateboarding is at first brimming with promise, but ultimately leads them to corners darker than comprehensible. The story descends into an adrenaline and drug-fueled …

Roger Ebert & ‘Life Itself’

I don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice. I particularly don’t want to review a film when I know I won’t do it justice and it’s about the most well known film critic in American history. So just heed my advice and go see Life Itself. Somehow, being the emotional individual that I am, I found myself teary eyed within the first 30 seconds. It’s truly a wonderful viewing experience. Go. If Life Itself isn’t playing at a theater near you, it’s now available on iTunes.

Spectacular Short Doc About Beauty & Perception: ‘There She Is’

Am I beautiful? It’s a question that each and every woman will ask herself at one point in her life (or more likely, several). Women are constantly being bombarded by images and advertisements that define beauty within the context of American perfectionism. These ads tell us what’s attractive, interesting, or even acceptable – making it nearly impossible to ignore these standards and love ourselves for who we are. What’s particularly disturbing is that the women in these ad campaigns don’t live up to such standards themselves. They must be covered in make-up from head to toe, lit perfectly, and photoshopped before they exemplify the very measures of beauty they were hired to represent. It’s a problem. Filmmakers Emily Sheskin and Veena Rao set out to examine the perception of women’s beauty in their short documentary, There She Is. The film follows best friends Allison Kopach and Jenny Flores as they compete in the 2011 American Beauties Plus Pageant, which is open to women sizes 14 and up. Short documentaries are such fascinating forms of storytelling because they require …