Sumé – Sound of a Revolution (2014)

Directed by Inuk Silis Høegh

In 1973, the Greenlandic band Sumé released their debut album Sumut (meaning “where to?”), which became an album owned by 20 percent of the inhabitants of Greenland. But Sumé’s success was not just due to their catchy sound, but also to the band’s powerful decision of the lyrics being entirely in the Greenlandic language, being the first album to do so. At a time where the people living in Greenland had their identity and culture show signs of withering, Sumé reached out in solidarity to their homeland.

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Song From The Forest (2013)

Directed by: Michael Obert

25 years ago Louis Sarno, an American man, heard a song on the radio and followed its melody into the Central Africa Jungle and decided to stayed. He has since recorded over 1000 hours of original music made by the BaAka tribe and is part of the BaAka community, where raises his pygmy son, Samedi. Now keeping an old promise, Louis takes Samedi to America. On this journey Louis realises he is not part of this globalized world anymore but globalization has also arrived in the rainforest. The BaAka depend on Louis for their survival. Father and son return to the melodies of the jungle but the question remains: How much longer will the songs of the forest be heard?

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American Interior (2014)

Directed by

In 1792, John Evans, a farmhand from Snowdonia travelled to America to discover whether there was a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe walking the Great Plains. Over 200 years later, distant relative Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) retraces the explorer’s route through the continent by means of an investigative concert tour. A unique project that blurs the boundaries of music, literature and film and investigates what really happened in the heart of the new world.

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20,000 Days on Earth (2014)

Directed by Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard

Drama and reality combine in a fictitious 24 hours in the life of musician and international cultural icon Nick Cave. With startlingly frank insights and an intimate portrayal of the artistic process, the film examines what makes us who we are, and celebrates the transformative power of the creative spirit. This award-winning doc was produced by Kurban Kassan – one of our fabulous tutors on the Raindance Postgraduate Fim Degree programme.

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Searching for Sugar Man (2012)

Directed by Malik Bendjelloul

In the early 1970s, Sixto Rodriguez was a Detroit folksinger who had a short-lived recording career with only two well received but non-selling albums. Unknown to Rodriguez, his musical story continued in South Africa where he became a pop music icon and inspiration for generations. Long rumoured there to be dead by suicide, a few fans in the 1990s decided to seek out the truth of their hero’s fate. What follows is a bizarrely heartening story in which they found far more in their quest than they ever hoped.

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Shut Up and Play the Hits (2012)

Directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace

On April 2nd 2011, LCD Soundsystem played its final show at Madison Square Garden. LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy had made the conscious decision to disband one of the most celebrated and influential bands of its generation at the peak of its popularity, ensuring that the band would go out on top with the biggest and most ambitious concert of its career. The instantly sold out, near four-hour extravaganza did just that, moving the thousands in attendance to tears of joy and grief, with NEW YORK magazine calling the event “a marvel of pure craft” and TIME magazine lamenting “we may never dance again.” SHUT UP AND PLAY THE HITS is both a narrative film documenting this once in a life time performance and an intimate portrait of James Murphy as he navigates the lead-up to the show, the day after, and the personal and professional ramifications of his decision.

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Music Is My Drug : Psychedelic Trance (1996)

Directed by Martin Meissonnier & Jean Jacques Flori

This film has got everything you would want from film about psychedelics; from a tour of the Roland synthesiser factory, to Japanese psy-trance heads with the most amazing clothes, consciousness-raising Israeli trance “situations” and rabbis, to lots of naked people in Goa. It’s all set to the Mortal Kombat-esque sounds of psy-trance. A strangely eclectic movie, but a great insight into a subculture.

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These are just a few of the documentaries that are on our radar at the moment. Which films did we miss that we should’ve included? Let us know in the comments!

Check out our previous article 12 MUST-SEE MUSIC DOCUMENTARIES