Team Smarthouse had SO MANY great documentary film clients last year! Since the trend is continuing going into 2018, we wanted to put them all together for you in an easily browseable list so you could check them out yourself.
Here’s an (alphabetical) list of 15 new documentaries you should see:
Adele and Everything After
Directed by Melissa Dowler
A feature-length documentary about a woman with a broken heart, and the service dog who saved her. Marty had a heart condition that used to make her faint every day. Adele was one of the world’s first cardiac alert service dogs and she stopped Marty from fainting at all. They were the perfect team. Adele and Everything After will be available to rent or purchase starting January 30, 2017.
Directed by Nicole Sorchan & Ian Mackenzie
In Amplify Her, three Electronic Dance Music artists battle demons from their painful pasts to emerge as beacons in the global festival scene. Blondtron, Applecat and Lux Moderna overcome isolation, illness, and gender bias to give life to their creativity. Amplify Her is currently playing in theaters; sign up for their newsletter for info on screenings and release dates.
Directed by Leah Warshawski & Todd Soliday
In the last store in a defunct shopping mall, 91-year-old Sonia Warshawski – great-grandmother, businesswoman, and Holocaust survivor – runs the tailor shop she’s owned for more than 30 years. But when she’s served an eviction notice, the specter of retirement prompts Sonia to resist her harrowing past as a refugee and witness to genocide. A poignant story of generational trauma and healing, Big Sonia also offers a laugh-out-loud-funny portrait of the power of love to triumph over bigotry, and the power of truth-telling to heal us all. Big Sonia is currently playing in theaters (the Seattle premiere is February 9 at SIFF)! Follow the Facebook page for news about screenings and release dates.
Directed by Brad Abrahams
Meet the men and women who devote their lives to research, write about, and attempt to find mysterious creatures like Champ the Lake Champlain Lake Monster, Dogmen, Tasmanian Tigers, hairy hominids, and legends of the sea. This documentary film takes an intimate look at a group of true believers who have staked their professional fortunes to the practice of Cryptozoology, or the study of unknown animals. Cryptozoologist is currently in progress! Sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Facebook to stay up-to-date.
Directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy
When was the last time you changed your mind? Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves, to banana farms in Uganda, to the cornfields of Iowa, Food Evolution wrestles with the emotions and the evidence driving one of the most heated arguments of our time. Enlisting experts and icons of the struggle as well as farmers and scientists from around the world, this bold documentary separates the hype from the science to unravel the debate around food. Food Evolution is available for rent or purchase on several streaming platforms.
Directed by Kate Dandel
Gold Balls is an inspiring family-friendly documentary about five athletes determined to win a national championship in tennis. The catch is, they’re all over age 80! You’ll meet a cranky ex-lawyer, one of Wisconsin’s most eligible bachelors, a romantic naval officer, a 94-year-old comedian, and a charming minister’s son as they barnstorm the country in pursuit of their dream. This engaging documentary will motivate people of every age and stage to pursue their dreams and connect, engage, and share their way to a healthier, happier life. Gold Balls is available on DVD and Amazon Video.
Love and Saucers
Directed by Brad Abrahams
Love and Saucers is the strange story of David Huggins, a 72 year-old Hoboken man who claims to have had a lifetime of encounters with otherworldly beings - including an interspecies romance with an extra-terrestrial woman (with whom he lost his virginity to), and chronicled it all in surreal impressionist paintings. Filmed in an intimate style, the film lets David tell his story, and in turn lets the audience decide what is fact, fiction, and everything in-between. Love and Saucers is available for purchase or rent on DVD and several streaming platforms.
The Memory of Fish
Directed by Jennifer Galvin & Sachi Cunningham
Narrated by Lili Taylor, The Memory of Fish is a moving documentary portrait of one man, the wild salmon he loves, and his fight to free a river. Dick Goin and his family have been fed by the Elwha River's salmon since migrating to Washington's Olympic Peninsula during the Dust Bowl. Dick has never forgotten his debt to the fish — who have been steadily disappearing. A pulp mill worker and master fisherman turned salmon advocate, Dick uses his memories and persistence to battle for the biggest dam removal project in U.S. history. The Memory of Fish was just released on DVD and Amazon Video, and is coming soon to iTunes (preorder available now) and other platforms.
On a Knife Edge
Directed by Jeremy Williams
On a Knife Edge is a father-son story about Guy and George Dull Knife that unfolds over the course of George’s coming-of-age journey. Under his father’s guidance, George becomes an activist and organizer, and begins identifying with the role of traditional Lakota warrior, which he views as his family legacy. He commits himself to the fight for social justice, but struggles with adapting the old ways and his father’s expectations to the modern-day realities of growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Told largely through George’s eyes, the film offers a privileged glimpse into the youngest generation of the American Indian Movement, as well as George’s own evolving notions of Native identity, manhood, and duty. On a Knife Edge is available for screenings; apply to host one on the web site, and follow the Facebook page for release news.
She Started It
Directed by Nora Poggi & Insiyah Saeed
Following five women over two years as they pitch VCs, build teams, bring products to market, fail and start again, She Started It takes viewers on a global roller coaster ride from San Francisco to Mississippi, France, and Vietnam. Through intimate, action-driven storytelling, the film explores the cultural roots of female under-representation in entrepreneurship—including pervasive self-doubt, fear of failure, and risk aversion among young women. She Started It just finished up a theatrical tour, but is still available for screenings. Sign up for their newsletter and watch their Facebook page for release news.
Directed by Ben Stillerman
Taking Stock is a documentary which explores the conflicted connections between business and family, community, and country. The film, directed by Ben Stillerman, follows his father, Clive Stillerman -- a shopkeeper-philosopher from South Africa, and his complicated relationships with his relatives, employees, customers, and friends, as seen through the lens of his family business. Taking Stock just finished a successful Film Festival run and is coming soon to streaming platforms! Sign up for their newsletter and follow on Facebook for news and release dates.
Directed by Michele Mitchell & Nick Louvel
The Uncondemned tells the gripping and world-changing story of a group of young international lawyers and activists who fought to make rape a crime of war, and the Rwandan women who came forward to testify and win justice where there had been none. Up until this point, rape had not been prosecuted as a war crime and was committed with impunity. A courtroom thriller and personal human drama, the film beautifully interweaves the stories of the characters in this odyssey, leading to the trial at an international criminal court -- and the results that changed the world of criminal justice forever. The Uncondemned is still available for screenings; sign up for their newsletter or follow on Facebook for news about release dates. (Psst: Check out our podcast episode with Michele too!)
Verona: The Story of the Everett Massacre
Directed by Denise Ohio
On a fateful November day in 1916, 250 members of the Industrial Workers of the World, known as the Wobblies, aboard the steamship Verona were met at the Everett City Dock by Sheriff Donald McRae and 140 armed deputies. By the time the shooting stopped, four Wobblies were dead and thirty-two wounded, one dying that night. On the dock, one deputy lay dead and seventeen wounded, one who would die the following day. The event would be known as the Everett Massacre. Verona: The story of the Everett Massacre recounts the events leading up to that tragic day. Now available on several streaming platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play & VUDU.
When They Awake
Directed by P.J. Marcellino + Hermon Farahi
For a century, indigenous voices have been absent in the music industry, their identities obscured, their cultures eclipsed. Today, dozens of award-winning musicians come together to reclaim their roots and reaffirm their cultural identities, while a new generation of kids from remote Arctic communities close the circle, setting off on their own path of musical self-discovery. This film interweaves musical genres from roots to rock, from classical to hip-hop, tackling global indigenous issues and themes of youth empowerment, education, inter-cultural dialogue, and environmental degradation. When They Awake is still screening in theaters and is coming soon to streaming services. Follow them on Facebook for info about release dates.
Directed by Mark Titus
Picking up where the 2014 award-winning documentary, The Breach left off, The Wild is a race against time, where the hard-fought-for/hard-won protections for Bristol Bay now seem as fleeting as morning mist. Focused through the lens of Mark Titus’ inherent love for wild salmon, the conflict in Alaska becomes a harbinger to a larger, global question: How do we reconcile human separation from the natural world that sustains us – and if we can change course - how do we save what remains? How do you save what you love? The Wild will premiere soon! Stay tuned to the the Facebook page for updates.