Must See Fanatics Documentaries
Fanatic /fə‘nat.ik/ noun - a person with excessive and extreme enthusiasm in an interest, belief or activity.
We at The Gospel are fanatic about rye. It is the grain that we live and die by, our unwavering passion and our product. It is who we are, how we live and how we breathe.
Like us, there are many people living full and rich lives through enthusiasm and passion, and we are proud to celebrate those who stay true to their own beliefs. Together, we are united in passion but unique in nature.
Through discovery into the unknown we can uncover interesting stories and people. We learn, we feel, we cry and we laugh. Here are 4 documentaries featuring fanatics that do just that, as recommended by The Gospel staff.
Richard (2007) directed by Maya Newell
Richard follows the last few months of Richard Blackie’s life, a colourful and eccentric toy collector and former Michael Jackson impersonator. Owner of the Antique Toy Company in Petersham, Sydney, he amassed one of Australia’s largest antique collections, of over 3.5 million pieces, including toys, comics and movie memorabilia.
Newell, who filmed and directed the documentary, walked past the inner-city toyshop for over 10 years, before finding herself going inside. Over a three-month unlikely friendship that forms, Newell documents the life of this traditionally private person, and the fanatical obsessions and torments that drove him and his life’s work of collecting pop culture.
Before he died, Blackie campaigned for the creation of a national toy museum, a dream that didn’t come to fruition. His legacy lives on through this film, a beautifully respectful story, that showcases the true meaning of empathy.
Desperate Man Blues (2003) directed by Edward Gillan
Record collector Joe Bussard is a cultural scavenger and musician, with fanaticism in finding and collecting 78rpm records from the 20s and 30s. Consumed by his love of Southern music from this time period, he shares stories of canvassing for records across the US, rescuing these priceless and rare artefacts from attics and basements, and amassing a vast collection of more than 25,000 rare discs!
The sheer size of his collection is enough to appreciate what he has accomplished, and as we look and listen, Bussard uncovers the history of the music and the performers, helping to save the musical past from being lost forever.
My Octopus Teacher (2020) directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed
My Octopus Teacher is a truly unique story of film-maker and naturalist Craig Foster, who starts freediving daily in the freezing kelp forests off Cape Town after suffering mental burnout. Encountering an octopus on one of his dives, he becomes so mesmerised by the experience, he decides to visit her every day and forms a bond based on curiosity and trust.
A majestic and mystical creature, the octopus is known to be incredibly smart, but is largely underexplored. Foster’s remarkable and extraordinary daily observations help to uncover some of the mystery, revealing and capturing how the octopus can adapt a hunting strategy, shape-shift into objects and use her intelligence and creativity to survive.
While some critics debate on the perceived ‘love story’, it is clear that Foster is at peace in the sea, and sees the octopus as a guide and mentor, taking away valuable lessons on the fragility of life and the deep connection between human and natural worlds.
Chef’s Table (2015) directed by David Gelb
We meet some of the most renowned chefs around the world as they redefine gourmet food on their own terms. Sharing their personal stories, inspirations and journey, each story is wildly different, but the common thread of being obsessive and fanatical about food – the ingredients, where they come from, how its cooked, how its served – makes this series binge-worthy viewing.
The high definition footage alone is enough to make your mouth water, but the true beauty of Chef’s Table is the opportunity to be so fully inside someone’s obsession, so invested in who they are and their struggles, that you want them to succeed as much as they want to succeed themselves.
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