Documentaries to Inspire

Is your enthusiasm ebbing faster than an outgoing tide on a full moon? Feeling the embers of your stoke fading?

Whether we are suffering isolation cabin fever, recovering from injuries and ailments, or simply struggling through a protracted oceanic or emotional flat spell, we can often use a little nudge to keep us inspired.

Even if your tank is full, indulging in inspirational writings, movies or experiences can awaken the unexpected, opening new doors and giving you greater enthusiasm for work, family and play.

Helping you feed your heart and soul - especially in these days of social distancing, closed beaches and self-isolation, we have compiled a collection of our favourite and most inspiring documentaries to rekindle your fire and bring some added brightness to your world:

PART OF WATER

YouTube & Apple TV - Rent from $4.99

 

Part of Water traces the life and tragic passing of Ben Carlson, a Newport Beach local, waterman and the only US lifeguard in history to lose his life in the line of duty. Ben’s journey serves as an inspiration to us all; to follow our dreams against the odds, to always hold compassion in our hearts and to be endlessly grateful for every moment we are gifted.

Serving at the notorious and iconic Newport Wedge, Ben’s life was lived in the face of the raw power of nature and is testament not only to the dedication and devotion of all first-responders, but to the joy and happiness in a simple life, in camaraderie and in community.

GAMECHANGERS

Netflix & Apple TV - Rent from $4.99

 

There are many vegan documentaries out there. Some try to shock or guilt us into ditching meat, others can be almost cultish in the persuasion; Gamechangers is distinctly different. 

While veganism is the fundamental premise of the movie, it was not made to ‘save the animals’, make you feel uncomfortable, or worse, nauseous, by your meat consumption.

Talking to nutritionists, celebrities and elite athletes, Gamechangers looks at the dietary misconceptions of a meat-and-dairy-based diet, dispelling the myths that we have been dogmatically taught for our entire lives, and showing that a plant-based lifestyle is not only possible, it can also be better and more beneficial.

Whether you are already vegan, thinking of transitioning or still devoted to animal products, we urge you to watch Gamechangers, to give you new awareness on creating a healthy, balanced diet.

POP AN OLLIE & INNOVATE

TED Talks - FREE

It may be short at a little under 19 minutes, but Rodney Mullen’s TED Talk is as inspiring as it is just plain rad, and is the perfect gateway to the endless TED rabbithole.

Mullen has inspired millions of skaters around the world, giving birth to much of what is regarded as today’s standard of skateboarding. While some were devoted to ramps, others to street, his flatland style gave rise to the balletic dexterity of modern skating.

The quiet-spoken introvert is the antithesis of your average skater, yet through his TED Talk, Rodney Mullen explains how passion, devotion and the sheer joy of dedicating himself to what he truly loves have given him a life that no amount of education, wealth or social climbing could provide. It is a lesson we could all do well to hear, and to pass on...

FISHPEOPLE 

Netflix & Apple TV - Rent from $2.99

  

Patagonia’s Fishpeople takes six diverse individuals and traces their connections with the ocean. Dave Rastovich is an obvious choice, the documentary reflecting his renunciation of competitive surfing and his disparate love of riding waves. But this isn’t a surf movie.

Fishpeople explores the lives of a long distance extreme swimmer, a guy who runs surf excursions for underprivileged kids, a photographer who ditched his mining career in pursuit of capturing waves, both ridden and empty, as well as our friend, freediver and spearfisher, Kimi Werner.

Fishpeople endeavours to unearth the reasoning behind these individuals’ and many of our indisputable and inexhaustible draw to the ocean, however we choose to interact with it.

EXPEDITION HAPPINESS 

Netflix & Youtube - Rent from $5.99

 

German couple Felix Starck and Selima Taibi pack up their life on an ‘Into The Wild’-inspired journey across the Americas in real time.

Backed by Selima’s haunting music, the movie is a simple tale of travel, love, connection and escapism, inspiring us all to cast plans and structure aside in favour of adventures ad lib. 

With so many travel documentaries out there, what makes Expedition Happiness shine brightly is its simplicity and relatability. Felix and Selima are, for want of a better word, ‘normal’, their adventure achievable, and their experiences on the road humble.

In this world of working online (and especially given the practice at it we are all currently gaining), Expedition Happiness ignites our passion, showing us that, if we just let go of our preconceived notions, anything is possible.

HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD 

Youtube & Google Play - Rent from $4.99

 

In 1971 a small group of activists set sail from Vancouver, Canada in an old fishing boat. So beginnings the tale that would give birth to one of the most impactful environmental causes of all time: Greenpeace.

At that time, the US was embroiled in the unpopular quest for nuclear supremacy, and remote Alaska was one of their primary testing zones. The Greenpeace founders were the ones to take a stand for the planet, the very first of many, many more to come over the next 50 years.

Now a household name and global leader in change-making, How To Change The World traces Greenpeace’s earliest steps, and its formation by a collection and fiercely passionate, like-minded individuals.

JAGO: A LIFE UNDERWATER 

Netflix

The legendary Bajau people sprawl across the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia and are revered as the world’s finest divers. The subjects of scientific studies, it has been found that the Bajau are genetically predisposed to a life aquatic, possessing larger spleens to assist with breatholds and an additional layer of cornea that helps them see more clearly underwater.

Rohani, or Jago as he is locally referred, relates his life in the sea, from his earliest memories to meeting his wife, raising his family, the tragic loss of his son and his twilight years, all spent in the arms and grace of the ocean. Food, work, play and love, the ocean has weaved its way through every waking hour of Jago’s 80-year-long journey.

If ever there was a story worth watching to instil our own love of, devotion to and reverence of the ocean, this is surely it.

Jago: A Life Underwater is an exquisitely-filmed movie in and of itself, but also subliminal conveys what lies within us all, and the very real need to protect what we love.

THE DAWN WALL

Netflix & Youtube - Rent from $4.99

 

Another Patagonia film, The Dawn Wall juxtaposes Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson preeminent assault of El Capitan with Caldwell’s biography.

Taking 19 days, the Dawn Wall route saw the pair freeclimb almost two and a half kilometres on sometimes beyond-vertical faces with fingerholds no wider than a coin. Never descending, the duo spent every moment on the wall - the toughest route ever climbed of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan mountain, one that many thought impossible.

A journal of tenacity, persistence, dedication and unrelinquishing obsession, The Dawn Wall is as much a tale of devotion to what you love as it is about rock climbing.

Even if you have never climbed so much as a ladder, this fascinating journal of human capabilities beyond the imaginable is as gripping as Tommy and Kevin’s hands on the face of the Dawn Wall.

THE COVE

Youtube & Google Play - Rent from $3.99

 

RIck O’Barry rose to fame, ironically, as the dolphin trainer for the Flipper TV series. Awakening to the hypocrisy later in life, Rick realised the breadth of cetacean exploitation throughout the world, tracing much of its source to a small cove on the south-west of Japan: Taiji.

Each year, the fishermen of Taiji round up thousands of dolphins, slaughtering many of the adults and sending the juveniles to marine parks around the world.

The Cove follows Rick’s journey from trainer to woke activist, and his devotion to shutting down these huge dolphin slaughters in favour of sustainable practices, such as dolphin-watching tours.

Harrowing and heartbreaking, The Cove also instills a sense of purpose and responsibility, not only to dolphins and a commitment to never attend marine parks, but also to reassess the exploitation of all animals for ‘entertainment’.

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM

Youtube & Google Play - Rent from $4.99

 

We were lucky enough to host a screening of The Biggest Little Farm last year and continue to be inspired by the film’s creators and subjects, John and Molly Chester.

The Biggest Little Farm chronicles the eight-year quest of John and Molly Chester as they trade city living for 200 acres of barren farmland and a dream to harvest in harmony with nature. Through dogged perseverance and embracing the opportunity provided by nature's conflicts, the Chester’s unlock and uncover a biodiverse design for living that exists far beyond their farm, its seasons, and our wildest imagination.

Featuring breathtaking cinematography, captivating animals, and an urgent message to heed Mother Nature’s call, The Biggest Little Farm provides us all a vital blueprint for better living and a healthier planet.

THE BIGGEST LITTLE FARM - Trailer from California Film Institute on Vimeo.

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