Documentaries serve a crucial role in our culture — not only because they can challenge the way we look at the world, but also because, occasionally, they might actually prod us off our collective asses to do something. An Inconvenient Truth, Bowling for Columbine, Paradise Lost: these films motivated some moviegoers to get involved in important issues in ways they never thought they would. Other documentaries aren’t trying to change the world necessarily, but still discover and dissect fascinating people and events in ways that fiction can’t or won’t. Offer me Michael Mann’s Ali and Leon Gast’s When We Were Kings, for example, and I’ll choose the real Ali every time. Ali, boom bye yae!
Docurama, a free on-demand streaming channel, debuts today, and it’s hoping to eventually become the home for serious documentary viewing. At launch, the site already features movies from award-winning filmmakers such as Alex Gibney, Fred Wiseman, and Joe Berlinger, and the service is promising to have more than 1,000 titles available by mid-summer.
“Documentary filmmaking has evolved tremendously over the last few decades — not only in how documentarians have pushed the boundaries in terms of storytelling and the revolution in recording technology, but also the access that we now have to audiences hungry for thought-provoking and inspiring cinema,” says Joe Berlinger, co-director of the Paradise Lost trilogy. (His films helped lead to the release of the West Memphis Three.) “Being a free channel, Docurama is an extremely important milestone for filmmakers, as it will widen our audiences to those who may not have had access to such films before. And its existence will help guarantee that the great work being done by the documentary community will continue to be seen, to be heard, and to thrive.”
Scroll below to see the exclusive trailer for Docurama, which launches today.