I've had a feeling that this was the best year for documentaries ever. But I also thought the feeling had to do with the fact I'm seeing a whole lot more docs now that I'm the resident doc guy here at Cinematical. I also went to my first film festival devoted completely to the non-fiction format (Silverdocs). Meanwhile, though, I did notice that the docs selected for both Tribeca and Toronto fests were more noteworthy this year than normal.
And let's not forget the docs that came out of Sundance, many of which either blur the line between fiction and documentary (Exit Through the Gift Shop, Catfish) or at times feel more like great narrative features than documentaries (Restrepo, Last Train Home). Not to mention, 2010 is the year we've got an all-star documentarian anthology film (Freakonomics). You know non-fiction film has made it when five filmmakers can be considered "all stars."
The reason for my questioning if this is like non-fiction's 1939 (considered the best year for fiction film of all time, right?) is a claim by award season analyst Scott Feinberg that this is "the strongest - or, at the very least, the deepest - year yet in the history of documentary filmmaking." He lists 29 films on his radar. I think that means films he's seen and recommends, none of which is my very favorite film of 2010 so far, Last Train Home. The Chinese doc, which is also one of my favorite docs in years, made the front page of the New York Times yesterday with a profile in anticipation of its theatrical release this Friday.