A map of the United States of Documentaries


The fine people at POV have created a map with a documentary film for each of the 50 states. Their criteria for each selection was as follows:

The United States of Documentaries is a representation of the best documentaries each state of our great union has produced. When I say produced, I mean the main story and subject are set in that state. And when I say best, it could either be that the film itself is great, or that its connection to the state is the most unique or telling.

Some solid picks there. Great to see Harlan County USA, Hoop Dreams, and Paradise Lost listed, and I’m especially happy to see American Movie getting some love. I’d disagree with Dogtown and Z-Boys — it’s a solid film, but I’m not sure it’s representative of California as a whole. That might be the difficulty with picking just one movie, especially for big states that have distinct cultural and regional flavors.

For instance, look at New York. As much as I love Man on Wire, you could probably make a case for the hip hop/street art doc Style Wars, the portrait of the 1980s drag queen scene Paris is Burning, or the examination of the homeless underground Dark Days. And focusing on just the NYC area means that you leave out other great documentaries, like the upstate New York-based Brother’s Keeper, or the Long Island-based Grey Gardens.

See a larger version of the map in the gallery and read the full state-by-state list at POV. Did you spot any glaring omissions?

[Via POV]

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.