Documentary films about disasters

Posted May 5, 2011
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  1. Documentary films about the Chernobyl disaster 2 views

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  2. Documentary films about the September 11 attacks 1 view

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  3. Documentary films about aviation accidents or incidents 1 view

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  4. Documentary films about earthquakes

    Documentary films about earthquakes

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  5. Documentary films about Hurricane Katrina 0 views

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  6. Documentary films about maritime disasters 0 views

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  7. Documentary films about tsunamis 0 views

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  1. Trouble the Water

    Trouble the Water (2008)


    Trouble the Water is a 2008 documentary film produced and directed by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, producers of Fahrenheit 9/11. Trouble the Water is a redemptive tale of a couple surviving failed levees, bungling bureaucrats, and their own troubled past and a portrait of a community abandoned long before Hurricane Katrina hit, featuring music by Massive Attack, Mary Mary, Citizen Cope, John Lee Hooker, The Roots, Dr. John and Blackkoldmadina. Trouble the Water is distributed by Zeitgeist Films and premiered in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles on August 22, 2008, followed by a national release in more than 200 theaters. It had its television premiere on HBO and has been rebroadcast on National Geographic Channel and Turner Classic Movies. Trouble the Water is available on DVD.

  2. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts

    When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006)


    When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts is a 2006 documentary film directed by Spike Lee about the devastation of New Orleans, Louisiana due to the failure of the levees during Hurricane Katrina. It was filmed in late August and early September 2005, and premiered at the New Orleans Arena on August 16, 2006 and was first aired on HBO the following week. The television premiere aired in two parts on August 21 and 22, 2006 on HBO. It has been described by an HBO executive as "one of the most important films HBO has ever made." The title is a reference to the blues tune "When the Levee Breaks", by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

  3. Searching Ruins on Broadway, Galveston, for Dead Bodies

    Searching Ruins on Broadway, Galveston, for Dead Bodies (1900)


    Searching Ruins on Broadway, Galveston, for Dead Bodies is a 1900 black-and-white silent film depicting the destruction caused by the Galveston hurricane on September 8, 1900. The film was produced by Edison Studios. It depicts laborers clearing debris searching for dead bodies. A body was found during the search.

  4. Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple

    Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (2006)


    Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, is a 2006 documentary film made by Firelight Media, produced and directed by Stanley Nelson. The documentary reveals new footage of the incidents surrounding the Peoples Temple and its leader Jim Jones who led over 900 members of his religious group to a settlement in Guyana called Jonestown, where he orchestrated a mass suicide with poisoned Flavor Aid, in 1978. It is in the form of a narrative with interviews with former Temple members, Jonestown survivors, and persons who knew Jones

  5. Julianes Sturz in den Dschungel

    Julianes Sturz in den Dschungel (2000)


    Wings of Hope (German: Julianes Sturz in den Dschungel) is a 2000 made-for-TV documentary directed by Werner Herzog. The film explores the story of Juliane Koepcke, a German Peruvian woman who was the sole survivor of Peruvian flight LANSA Flight 508 following its mid-air disintegration after a lightning strike in 1971. Herzog was inspired to make this film since he had narrowly avoided taking the same flight while he was location scouting for Aguirre, Wrath of God. His reservation was canceled due to a last minute change in itinerary.

  6. Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains

    Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains (2007)


    Stranded: I've Come from a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains is a 2007 documentary film which tells the story of a rugby team from Uruguay who boarded Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571. The film features interviews with the survivors who recount their struggle to survive after the plane crashed in the Andes Mountains and were forced to consume the flesh of the deceased. Stranded was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary at the 2008 Directors Guild of America Awards. It had its theatrical premiere on October 22 in New York.

  7. Draquila - L'Italia che trema

    Draquila - L'Italia che trema (2010)


    Draquila – L'Italia che trema (Draquila – Italy Shakes) is a 2010 Italian satirical documentary film about the political matters regarding the earthquake that hit the Italian city of L'Aquila in 2009. It stars the comedian Sabina Guzzanti, who also wrote and directed. It was presented out of competition at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, causing a boycott from the Italian government.

  8. Alive: 20 Years Later

    Alive: 20 Years Later (1993)


    Alive: 20 Years Later is a 1993 documentary film produced, directed and written by Jill Fullerton-Smith and narrated by Martin Sheen.

  9. The Third Wave

    The Third Wave (2007)


    The Third Wave film was shot in Sri Lanka following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. It was directed by Australian film maker Alison Thompson and Italian producer Oscar Gubernati.

  10. Seconds from Disaster

    Seconds from Disaster (2004)


    Seconds from Disaster is an American documentary television series of 67 episodes that first began broadcasting in 2004 on the National Geographic Channel. The program investigates historically relevant man-made and natural disasters. Each episode aims to explain a single incident by analyzing the causes and circumstances that ultimately affected the disaster. The series uses re-enactments, interviews, testimonies, and CGI to analyze the sequence of events second-by-second for the audience.

  11. Life, and Nothing More...

    Life, and Nothing More... (1991)


    Life, and Nothing More... (Persian: زندگی و دیگر هیچ‎‎ Zendegi va digar hich) is a 1992 Iranian film directed by Abbas Kiarostami. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. It is considered the second film in Kiarostami's Koker trilogy.

  12. Hurricane on the Bayou

    Hurricane on the Bayou (2006)


    Hurricane on the Bayou is an American 2006 documentary film that focuses on the wetlands of Louisiana before and after Hurricane Katrina.

  13. Blueprint for Disaster

    Blueprint for Disaster (2005)


    Blueprint for Disaster is a Canadian documentary television series that premiered in 2004 on Discovery Channel Canada. Produced by Temple Street Productions, the program investigates why and how various disasters have happened. Toronto-based Voice Artist Adrian Bell provided the narration for the first series. The show also aired in the UK under the title Seconds from Disaster. As of 2008, two seasons have been produced.

  14. With These Hands

    With These Hands (1950)


    With These Hands is a 1950 documentary film directed by Jack Arnold. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Produced by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, the film used actors to recreate the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and compare working conditions of the early 20th century to that of the 1950s.

  15. Karamay

    Karamay (2010)


    Karamay (simplified Chinese: 克拉玛依; traditional Chinese: 克拉瑪依; pinyin: Kèlāmǎyī) is a 2010 documentary film by Chinese director Xu Xin about the 1994 Karamay fire. It is largely black-and-white.

  16. The River

    The River (1938)


    The River is a 1938 short documentary film which shows the importance of the Mississippi River to the United States, and how farming and timber practices had caused topsoil to be swept down the river and into the Gulf of Mexico, leading to catastrophic floods and impoverishing farmers. It ends by briefly describing how the Tennessee Valley Authority project was beginning to reverse these problems.

  17. An American Opera

    An American Opera (2007)


    An American Opera: The Greatest Pet Rescue Ever! is a multi-award winning documentary film by Tom McPhee chronicling the events following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana when pet owners were forced to evacuate without their pets. An American Opera follows the pets, vets, owners, officials, rescuers, and adopters of animals as they try to remedy the situation, revealing that not everyone had the same goal of saving animals. Tom McPhee directed, narrated, and produced the film with the production companies Man Smiling Moving Pictures and Cave Studio.

  18. Skoplje '63

    Skoplje '63 (1964)


    Skoplje '63 is a 1964 Yugoslavian documentary film directed by Veljko Bulajić about the 1963 Skopje earthquake (Skoplje, per film title, is the Serbo-Croatian spelling of Skopje). It was screened at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival, but wasn't entered into the main competition. The film was also selected as the Yugoslav entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 37th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.

  19. La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe

    La Soufrière - Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe (1977)


    La Soufrière – Warten auf eine unausweichliche Katastrophe ("La Soufrière – Waiting for an Inevitable Disaster") is a 1977 West German documentary film in which German director Werner Herzog visits an island on which a volcano is predicted to erupt. The pretext of this film was provided when Herzog "heard about the impending volcanic eruption, that the island of Guadeloupe had been evacuated and that one peasant had refused to leave, [he] knew [he] wanted to go talk to him and find out what kind of relationship towards death he had" (Cronin). Herzog explores the deserted streets of the towns on the island. The crew of three treks up to the caldera, where clouds of sulfurous steam and smoke shift drift like "harbingers of death" (Peucker), an example of the sublime Herzog seeks to conjure in his films. Herzog converses in French with three different men he finds remaining on the island: one says he is waiting for death, and demonstrates his posture for doing so; another says he has stayed to look after the animals. In the end, the volcano did not erupt, thus sparing the lives of those who had remained on the island, including Herzog and his crew.

  20. 41

    41 (2007)


    41 is an independent feature-length documentary about Nicholas O'Neill, the youngest victim of the Station nightclub fire, which claimed the lives of 100 people in West Warwick, Rhode Island on February 20, 2003. The documentary, which was co-created by filmmakers Christian de Rezendes and Christian O'Neill (Nicholas' brother), interweaves the story of Nicholas' life, as described by his family and friends and illustrated with home videos, with footage from the film They Walk Among Us, which is based on a play of the same name written by Nicholas a year before he passed. The titular number, as described by the film, was of spiritual significance to Nicholas, although the reasons behind this are not fully known. The film also details how his family and friends believe that Nicholas may have prophetically known that he would die at a young age, and that he continues to communicate with them as a spirit, often through "signs" involving the number 41.

  21. Sludge

    Sludge (2007)


    Sludge is a 2005 documentary film by Appalshop filmmaker Robert Salyer chronicling the Martin County Sludge Spill that was an accident that occurred after midnight on October 11, 2000 when a coal sludge impoundment in Martin County, Kentucky, broke through an underground mine below, propelling 306 million gallons of sludge down two tributaries of the Tug Fork River. The movie documents the continuing story of the Martin County disaster, the resulting federal investigation, and the looming threat of coal sludge ponds throughout the coalfield region.

  22. Se le movió el piso: un retrato de Managua

    Se le movió el piso: un retrato de Managua (1996)


    Se le movió el piso: A portrait of Managua is a documentary film by Anne Aghion about the many layers of destruction that the people in Managua, Nicaragua endured: the 1972 Nicaragua earthquake, four decades of dictatorship and many years of war. Most of the film was centered on the Salazar theater and the many families that lived there. Sofía Montenegro, a journalist and a former Sandinista, was also interviewed as a person who lived and experienced the challenges of the Managuans.

  23. The Johnstown Flood

    The Johnstown Flood (1989)


    The Johnstown Flood is a 1989 American short documentary film directed by Charles Guggenheim about the Johnstown Flood. It won the Academy Award at the 62nd Academy Awards for Documentary Short Subject.

  24. Windscale: Britain's Biggest Nuclear Disaster

    Windscale: Britain's Biggest Nuclear Disaster (2007)


    The Windscale fire of 10 October 1957 was the worst nuclear accident in Great Britain's history, ranked in severity at level 5 on the 7-point International Nuclear Event Scale. The core of a nuclear reactor at Windscale, Cumberland (now Sellafield, Cumbria) caught fire, releasing substantial amounts of radioactive contamination into the surrounding area. Of particular concern at the time was the radioactive isotope iodine-131, which may lead to cancer of the thyroid, and it has been estimated that the incident caused 240 additional cancer cases. No one was evacuated from the surrounding area, but there was concern that milk might be dangerously contaminated. Milk from about 500 km2 of nearby countryside was diluted and destroyed for about a month. A 2010 study of workers directly involved in the cleanup found no significant long term health effects from their involvement.

  25. The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

    The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (2011)


    The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a 2011 documentary film directed by Lucy Walker. The film was nominated for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject).

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