David Farrier is a journalist and documentary maker who gravitates towards strange & unusual stories. After nearly a decade working in a New Zealand newsroom on shows like Nightline, he made a documentary about competitive endurance tickling called Tickled. He went on to executive produce and present the Netflix Original series Dark Tourist. He often writes about weird internet mysteries for The Spinoff, and runs a newsletter called Webworm.
This documentary from Bart Layton is the one I recommend to people that say, “I don’t like documentaries”. The twists and turns found within are to die for, and the storytelling is incredibly visual with plenty of cool narrative tricks along the way. And the twists and turns are not just for “gotcha!” moments or to shock - there’s a reason. The Imposter is a little more palatable than my other favourite “true crime” doc, Capturing the Friedmans.anny with the power of art, music and self-expression.
As someone who grew up in a semi-Christian environment, and went to a school where a teacher once burst into tongues (to the uninitiated, that’s when the Holy Spirit takes over your body temporarily and speaks via your mouth) - Jesus Camp is utterly riveting. A unique insight into the evangelical movement. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this film, but it’s never left me.
Directed, produced and shot by Matthew Heineman, I physically cowered down into my seat watching this film, which goes deep into, well, cartel land. The film looks at two different fringe groups involved in the war on drugs, and at times you’re caught in the gunfire along with Heineman. I have no idea how he managed to film this thing without getting killed, but I’m glad he did.
Not a film, but a series from John Safran. I was a big fan of his other show, John Safran's Music Jamboree, but this one I truly love. It’s just a perfect example of a personality-driven documentary series. It’s just so unapologetically intense in its vision. No one could have made this series except for the loud, funny, sometimes obnoxious John Safran. He often takes the Louis Theroux tried-and-tested method of getting involved in his stories, but takes it to another level, whether he’s getting an exorcism or being crucified on a cross. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. All of his work is great, from his recent podcast about the occult, to his true crime books. A treasure.