What I'm watching: Uplifting creative documentaries to inspire.



Why is it that searching for things to watch these days can actually be fairly traumatic? When all you want is a bit of uplifting escapism or creative inspiration it seems like you have to trawl through pages of offensive, horrific and yes even traumatic content to try and find that rare gem that is not nightmare inducing. Now don't get me wrong I'm not anti people watching what they want (within reason) but the balance seems to be way off. There should be a way for people, who like me, don't want to be bombarded with horrific imagery when all we're looking to watch is a bit of lovely landscape, some mind blowing creativity or uplifting escapism. When life is stressful enough (especially at the moment) finding something to watch should not strike fear into us, I mean have you seen some of the covers of the content out there, as a visual person they bed in fairly quickly, I don't need that in my brain and I'm sure you don't either!


So with this in mind I thought I'd put together a few recommendations of things my family and I have enjoyed that will save you searching in all that unpleasantness, may my many hours of research there make for an easier time for you all!


I'm starting with some creative and arty documentaries that should both uplift and inspire so here we go-


Film Poster for Henry Glassie: Field Work shows a potter making a jug in their wooden studio

Henry Glassie: Field Work by Pat Collins - An incredible exploration of what it means to create art, showcasing inspiring makers across the globe as observed by American folklorist Henry Glassie. The first 40 minutes may put some of you off if you're not a fan of the silently watching people work approach but really stick with it as Henry Glassie has some wonderful things to say that really inspired me and had me jotting down in a book like I was back at art college (see illustrated quote above).



Gallant Indies Film Poster shows colour silhouettes of leaping dancers in green, yellow, red and blue

Gallant Indies by Phillipe Béziat - Opera meets urban dance an unexpected but magical pairing, when people get to break out of their sometimes rigid creative establishments and collaborate stunning and moving things can happen. The energy from the dancers and the singers leaps out of the screen and I found it profoundly inspiring to watch. You can rent it in a few places I think but here are the UK Apple and Amazon ones for quick watching.





Film Poster for The Song Keepers showing man conducting an aboriginal choir

The Song Keepers by Naina Sen - Follow The Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir as they go on an historic tour of Germany to take back the hymns that were given to their ancestors by German Missionaries but in their own ancient Aboriginal Languages and on their own terms. The sound they create is utterly sublime and the reception they get across Germany is truly uplifting and really shows the wonderful way we can all connect as humans no matter where we come from. There are some incredible stories along the way too.... Apple & Amazon


If you're not looking for a full film length dose of inspiration and would prefer to dip into something as and when needed an honorary mention goes to the Netflix series Abstract: The Art of Design there's two series (seasons) worth of episodes with each one focusing on someone in different creative fields from illustration, costume design and architecture so there's something for everyone there. I particularly enjoyed the episode on the stage designs of Es Devlin.


I hope that there's enough here to keep you going for a little bit and rest assured I'll be back with more recommendations to keep you from the black hole that is film searching.