The online documentary web site SnagFilms recently unveiled a new version of its iPad app, which makes 80 great documentaries available on yet another media platform. You can already watch the (generally high quality) films on Snag Films’ web site for free, though in this case “free” does entail being forced to watch a brief but soul-draining advertisement touting the social welfare initiatives of Goldman Sachs.
For balance — and perhaps some unintentional irony — SnagFilms adds the disclaimer “the views and opinions expressed in this film do not necessarily reflect those of Goldman Sachs,” and the collection features documentaries like the National Resource Defense Council’s Hunting for Oil, Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me and the anti-capitalist Naomi Wolf documentary The End of America. But, of course, many of the other films go well beyond politics. Some of our favorites include Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown and episodes of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.
Also worth checking out: The National Film Board of Canada offers a similar iPad app for downloading and watching its excellent online collection. It houses over 1,ooo films and includes classics like Claude Jutra’s My Uncle Antoine (1971) and the lovely 1965 documentary Ladies and Gentleman, Mr. Leonard Cohen, plus newer gems like Ryan, an Oscar-winning animated short from 2004. NFB makes its films available in several other formats as well, including iPhone, Android, and Boxee.
Sheerly Avni is a San Francisco-based arts and culture writer. Her work has appeared in Salon, LA Weekly, Mother Jones, and many other publications. You can follow her on twitter at @sheerly