Feats First: The Life and Music of Lowell George (2015, dir. Eliot Riddle)

A documentary exploration of the life and music of Little Feat frontman Lowell George. Overlong and reverent but still engrossing overview of the career and life of George, linking him and Little Feat to the LA of the 60s and 70s. Niche, inevitably, but well-researched and with plenty of input from the likes of Van Dyke Parks.

An Accidental Studio (2019, dir. Bill Jones, Kim Leggatt & Ben Timlett)

The rise and fall of Handmade Films. Linear documentary – reliant on talking heads, clips, and archive interviews – charting George Harrison and Denis O’Brien’s company; in doing so, offering a potted history of 80s British cinema, and of the making of some key movies (Time Bandits, Withnail & I, Mona Lisa¬†etc) of that period.

The Wildest Dream (2010, dir. Anthony Geffen)

Two mountaineers attempt a re-creation of the 1924 Mallory/Irvine Everest expedition. Generally-effective documentary (with perhaps-recreated scenes as well as some dramatisation) that tells the story of the original attempt while also covering the 1999 emulation; the experiment indicates Mallory and Irvine could have completed the ascent.

Hail Satan? (2019, dir. Penny Lane)

A documentary about the US Satanic Temple. In offering an overview of the Temple’s focus for exploring personal freedom, social justice and equality, the documentary makes some relevant points, while also exploring the media-savvy mischief of their approach, and of tensions within the movement.

The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist (1998/2019, dir. Nick Freand Jones & Mark Kermode)

The restored festival-circuit cut of this authoritative making-of documentary. An object lesson in how to do this kind of thing. While reliant on interviews, the scope of the investigation of The Exorcist‘s production, release, legacy and UK censorship issues – including excised footage from the film – means that the approach used here remains influential. Recommended.

Apollo 11 [AKA Apollo 11: First Steps Edition] (2019, dir. Todd Douglas Miller)

A documentary record of the 1969 Apollo 11 mission, taken exclusively from archive footage. An oft-told true-life story, but in a new version that draws on unfamiliar and in some cases new material, much of it shot in 70mm. A tremendous addition to the canon. Recommended.

Henchman: The Al Leong Story (2018, dir. Vito Trabucco)

A documentary about Hollywood’s most recognizable stuntman and movie henchman. A crowdfunded production made with affection and respect for its subject. Inevitably for fans, but nevertheless fascinating, not least because the film gives a rounded picture of Leong’s work, life, and personal struggles. Recommended.