Must Watch Social Short Documentaries to watch online

8 de setembre de 2023


In a world where attention spans are dwindling, but societal issues are growing in complexity, short documentaries and animated docuseries have found a crucial niche. These miniature epics, often less than 30 minutes in length, manage to condense vital narratives, insights, and debates into pocket-sized packages that still pack a wallop. They're short, they're sweet, but oh boy, do they deliver.


Short documentaries and animated docuseries are not just shorter versions of their full-length counterparts; they're an entirely different beast. With less time to explore their subjects, these films and shows have to get straight to the point, offering viewers distilled information in a digestible format. They are popping up on all types of platforms—Netflix, YouTube, GuideDoc—and the rise of 'watch online' culture has meant that these films are more accessible than ever. Whether you’re into docudramas, traditional documentaries, or animated docuseries, there’s something for everyone.


When Little Docs Do Big Talking


cartoon of a car from the 50s in a seaside town


This shortened format demands not just concision but also creative innovation. How do you make a lasting impact in just a snippet of time? That's the question filmmakers wrestle with, and it's fascinating to see how they succeed. Animated documentaries, for example, use art to illustrate complex issues, reaching audiences who might not otherwise engage with the material. As a viewer, you're drawn in by the visuals and stay for the compelling narrative. In essence, these mini docs and animated docuseries democratize information, making it accessible and relatable to the masses.


10 captivating short documentaries with a giant impact:



Becoming Belle Knox

a smiling girl with long hair takes a selfie

This captivating short docuemntary dives into the complex world of an 18-year-old Duke University student who moonlights as Belle Knox, America's rising adult-film sensation. As she navigates the rigors of academia, Miriam simultaneously pursues a controversial career in adult entertainment to fund her education. This provocative documentary peels back the layers of societal judgment and personal conviction to present an intimate portrait of a young woman reconciling two disparate identities, all while tackling the exorbitant costs of higher education in America.



the avatar of a blonde woman with collected hair

This bold animated documentary unveils the intriguing world of AIVA, a female humanoid AI artist created by an engineering team. Tasked with bringing a 'female perspective' to the art realm, AIVA delves deep into the nuances of the male physique, preparing to craft her magnum opus that dissects masculinity's myriad forms. But beneath this compelling narrative of creativity is a potent commentary on the historical sidelining of women in arts and the Western fixation with the "male genius." The film critiques the glaring absence of genuine female viewpoints in today's AI-driven world, showcasing a reality where even digital entities, like Siri or Alexa, bear a female semblance, yet are still subject to service and servitude.



two eccentric men with long gray hair in front of a model

This is an underground short documentary from Christopher Nolan, that takes viewers on an intimate journey into the hidden world of the Brothers' art studio. The film pulls back the curtain to reveal the creative processes, inspirations, and meticulous craftsmanship that go into each masterpiece. By showcasing the inner dynamics of this artistic sanctuary, the documentary offers a compelling look at the alchemy of creativity that occurs when passion meets purpose.



colorful stage

A captivating journey into a Balkan hamlet as it undergoes cultural shifts, intermingling old traditions and foreign influences through shared meals, a revived cinema, and intimate encounters with local wildlife—rewriting the village's social and visual landscape.


Nuit et brouillard

an old movie title

This crude short documentary explores the devastating depths of dehumanization and destruction wrought by the Third Reich's genocidal campaign. This harrowing documentary uncovers the inhumane mechanics of a system designed to extinguish lives on an unprecedented scale.


Stories From The Shower

a group of smiling friends in a bathroom

When it comes to showering after gym class, what do young people think? It is possible for different people to have very different experiences in the same changing room. There are some people who shower naked, others who shower with underwear on, and others who spray a little extra perfume and hope for the best. The short documentary Stories from the Shower explores how adolescents experience school showers and changing rooms. Their stories paint a picture of a time when the changing room became a center of joy and hardship for young people.



a group of muslim women eat together

In the Summer of 2021, as Kabul succumbs to the Taliban, the young women of Afghanistan's Under-18 Football Team risk everything in a high-stakes escape to preserve their dreams and secure their future.



rows of stuffed green, brown, black beetles

Documentary filmmaker Antoine Fontaine stumbles upon a trove of 16mm films at a flea market, all created by the enigmatic Doctor Veroft—an insect enthusiast who spent decades capturing the secret lives of bugs. Intrigued by this peculiar archive, Fontaine embarks on a quest to unravel the story behind the man and his lifelong passion.


The Trader

an older man plays with soap bubbles and amuses some children

In the rural landscapes of the Republic of Georgia, a traveling trader navigates a world where potatoes serve as currency and dreams are stifled by the harsh reality of poverty.


Inutile Al Mondo

an older woman with white hair, glasses, and a friendly look

In this heartwarming documentary, we follow the life of an old lady as she spends her days singing and telling stories in front of the television. It's a touching look at how even in our later years, we can still find joy in the little things. We witness her going about her daily routine of watching television, singing, and talking to the stove. Although it may seem like a mundane existence, the woman clearly takes great joy in her simple tasks. 


In the words of legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog, "Film is not analysis, it is the agitation of the mind; cinema comes from the country fair and the circus, not from art and academicism." This is particularly relevant when we consider short documentaries and animated docuseries. They are, in essence, agitations of the mind—little snippets that unsettle us, provoke us, and most importantly, make us think. So next time you’re wondering what to watch online, maybe opt for something short but significant.


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