These documentaries are entertaining, educational and enlightening films will set excellent standards for the life-long movie watching habit that begins in childhood. Their subjects are appropriate for kids, but they don't gloss over hardships and problems--so before screening them for your youngster, view them yourself first to determine whether you think some of the content--suffering animals, for example, might be too disturbing.
Kids love to play at playing musical instruments. This doc, which follows a group of talented imaginary instrumentalists through rollicking good times of great music and exuberant sportive fun--as they engage in the heated competition to win the title of world champion air guitarist--will show youngsters just how far they can go strumming air, and may encourage them to actually pick up a real guitar and learn to play it.
Arctic Tale (2007)
Nanu on thin ice in Arctic Ice © Paramount Classics
This environmentally conscious documentary introduced Nanu, a polar bear cub, and Seela, the seal pup, who are struggling to survive in the Arctic, as the ice cap melts due to global warming. It is harsh at times, but will give children a keen and convincing awareness of the importance of caring for the environment and appreciating Mother Nature's imperatives.
Girls Rock! (2008)
This entertaining documentary follows four girls through one remarkable week of Rock 'n' Roll camp, where they learn to play instruments, form bands and perform for hundreds of people. But the Portland, Ore.-based Rock Camp for Girls teaches more than music--it provides a positive environment in which hard work and determination pay off, and it empowers participants with life-affirming self-esteem and confidence that transforms their young lives.
In The Shadow of the Moon is a documentary film about NASA's moon missions and the extraordinary astronauts who manned them. Great close up interviews with the astronauts and great footage from their space journeys.
A pair of penuins in March of the Penguins © Jerome Maison, Bonne Pioche Productions
This wonderfully intimate film traces the life cycle of Emperor penguins. We see the tuxedo-clad sea birds mate for life, care for their young and struggle to survive in an extremely harsh environment. The film presents many lessons for children (and adults), and is a remarkable travelog to an extremely remote and beautiful part of the world. Some content is as challenging as the environment. So parents should watch before their kids do.
Planet B-Boy (2007)
This film brings the international cultural phenomenon known as breakdancing into focus. Director Benson Lee introduces us to dedicated and determined B-Boy dance crews from Las Vegas, Osaka, Seoul and France who set sparks flying at the high voltage competition of the "Battle of the Year," held in Braunschweig, Germany. Their stories, personalities and attitude and astonishing skills are completely compelling. All these kids are winners, and so's this film.
Quantum Hoops (2007)
A stirring documentary about Caltech's basketball team, a dedicated group of young scholars who play their games with the same sort of persistence they apply to their studies, even though they hold the record for the most games lost. David Duchovny narrates this smart and seductive documentary about smart young men who've really got game.
Spellbound on DVD © Columbia Tri Star
Kids from across the nation compete in the national spelling bee. This entertaining documentary is an inspiration. You root for all of the eight finalists, whom you follow as they rise in the ranks of spellers, and support their dreams of doing their best and being best. You'll also enhance your vocabulary and learn to spell some very challenging words.
Sony Pictures Classics
Directors Jacques Perrin and Jacques Cluzaud and their crew of 500 people spanned the globe for four years to capture these amazing and startlingly beautiful images of various species of migrating birds as they fly thousands of miles twice annually in search of food.
Young @ Heart (2007)
A chorus of spunky senior citizens belts punk, R & B and rock classics to sold-out audiences in concert halls in their home town of Northampton, Massachusetts, and around the world. This documentary film is their story, their well-deserved moment of glory. Teaches kids of all ages--including those who are actually young--that senior citizens can and do live full lives, and should always be given respect.