It might be the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards tomorrow, but for today we’re turning our attention to the less celebrated world of the humble doco, checking out the best documentary films in 2018. It looks set to be a bumper year ahead for the genre, with some fantastic real-life stories coming to big and small screens. As you might expect in today’s climate political issues and Donald Trump feature heavily in a raft of upcoming features, and top notch true crime stories show no sign of abating for the time being (we’re not complaining). Here’s our list of some of the must see documentary films in 2018.
Fahrenheit 11/9 is an upcoming documentary film by celebrated Oscar Winning documentarian Michael Moore about the 2016 United States presidential election and the presidency of a man you could say he isn’t the biggest fan of, Donald Trump. The title of the film is a reference to the date after the election (November 9) and also a nod to Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 about the Twin Towers attacks. Moore’s latest offering has hit the skids, having originally been acquired by the Weinstein company, he now wants to take the film to another distributer after the revelations around Harvey Weinstein. Moore is now fighting and a legal battle looks likely as the disgraced producer brothers look to get back the $2million they have committed to the project. Having been a spokesman against corruption of many kinds Moore doesn’t want his project sullied by connection to the least popular man in Hollywood.
Convicting a Murderer
Off the back of the huge success of Making a Murderer, Netflix have yet to release details of when the follow up series will air. However it seems as if they may be beaten to the punch by the makers of a new alternative look at proceedings in the form of Convicting a Murderer. Independently funded, director Shawn Rech and attorney Andrew Hale (the men behind Murder in the Park, which saw the release of Alstory Simon, who was wrongfully convicted of double homicide) will look at the case from a wider perspective, addressing some of the criticisms in the original series, that suggested a one sided perspective based on the lack of participation from law enforcement and those responsible for Steven Avery’s conviction. With access to retired District Attorney Ken Kratz and lead investigator Tom Fassbender, viewers will get a broader insight into the case. In a statement Rech said,
“We fight for the truth. We’ll present all of the evidence in the Avery case from the perspective of both the prosecution and the defense and see if viewers feel the same way they did two years ago following the first season of Making A Murderer.”
After leaking information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, trans woman and US army soldier Chelsea manning was convicted to 35 five years in an all male military prison. Filmed over the course of two years, it will take a behind the scenes look at Manning’s release from prison thanks to an intervention by former President Barack Obama, featuring candid interviews with Manning as she adjusts to a life both in the spotlight and out of incarceration while also looking at the case through the eyes of those who fought for her release. It will cover a wide range of themes from transgender rights to surveillance and the nature of democracy.
Minding the Gap
This coming of age documentary from promising young filmmaker Bing Liu follows the life and times of three friends (including Liu) over several years as they bond over their love of skateboarding, shared experiences, hardships and past trauma resulting in a mature and insightful look at wayward adolescence on the verge of becoming a proper adult. The film combines archive footage of the friends skating and follows the trio as they reunite, only to have their friendship threatened by unexpected revelations. Given the positive reaction at Sundance this could be one of the best documentary films in 2018.
Andre the Giant
HBO documentary Andre the Giant will take an in depth look at the fascinating life and career of one of the most beloved characters in Wrestling history, the larger than life André René Roussimoff. Standing at 7’6 and weighing a whopping 520 pound (that’s around 37 stone) Andre known as the eighth wonder of the world, carried around with him a mythical status, where his feats of strength have become folklore, not to mention his incredible capacity to put away booze. He reportedly lifted cars and once deadlifted 2000 pounds without breaking a sweat, and all this for a man who never stepped foot in a gym. For eighties wrestling fans this is sure to be one this years most special treats.
Our New President
This bizarre but relevant film, looks at Trump’s Presidential campaign and subsequent election through a mash-up of footage comprising Russian state news clips and user generated content. It gives a Russian eye view of how the whole crazy political circus in America plays out over there. It takes the whole concept of ‘fake news’ to a triumphant new level with ruskie rants around Hilary Clinton being a murderer and anti-Trump protesters all being paid actors. The multitude of propaganda packages is a scary view into the beliefs forced upon the people of a powerhouse nation and their admiration of the preening president from their country as well as the man they wanted elected, Donald Trump.
Three Identical Strangers
Set to be one of the documentary films in 2018, this fascinating story directed by Brit Tim Wardle is that of three identical triplets, Robert Shafran, Eddy Galland and David Kellman, who were separated at birth only to be reunited in the 1980s when as 19-year-olds fate brought them together again. Soon after coming together the brothers are catapulted to fame, becoming darlings of the media for a short time as their extraordinary story is told to the world. But the plot takes a dark twist as the young men discover that in actual fact they were separated as part of an experiment by psychiatrist Peter Neubauer, having started life at an adoption agency and then placed separately into different family households and monitored as they grew up. Set to be heartwarming yet decidedly sinister in equal measures, Three Identical Strangers will demand a viewing.
What documentary films in 2018 are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments.