Glasgow Youth Film Festival – Top Documentary Picks for Young People

diego maradonna

Top documentary picks for secondary pupils and students

Maybe you’re looking to take your first step into the world of documentary film or maybe you’ve just binged all of Tiger King and are looking for your next fix. Whatever your experience with documentary, Glasgow Youth Film Festival’s education team members have picked out some of their favourites.

Ten Feature Length Documentaries

Ten  feature length documentaries to educate, entertain and spark furious debate over! All suitable for secondary school pupils or college and university students.

Diego Maradona (2019, 15)

Tracking the life and career of the football superstar during his time with Napoli, this documentary uses entirely archival footage with interviews and voiceovers to piece the story together. Directed by Aisf Kapadia, who also directed the brilliant Senna (2010, 12A) and heart-breaking Amy (2015, 15).

Available on All 4


The Game Changers (2018, 15)

Scientists and top athletes come together to show that a plant-based diet can be beneficial for the world of sport. With some surprising famous faces, this is a fun – and educational – documentary that will make you hungry for veggies when you see the power of a vegetarian (or even vegan) diet!

Available to watch on Netflix


Apollo 11 (2019, U)

Entirely made from archival footage of the groundbreaking mission to the moon. A stunning piece of filmmaking, using footage that has been beautifully restored. A must for any fans of science, space or history.

Available on Netflix


Queen of Versailles (2012, PG)

An eye-opening tale of the family who were building the biggest home in America. What may begin as a look into a vain and wealthy family takes a turn when the financial crash of 2008 hits. Directed by Lauren Greenfield, who also made last year’s portrait of Imelda Marcos, The Kingmaker (2019, 15)

Available on BBC iPlayer


20 Feet From Stardom (2013, 12A)

An enlightening look into the role of the backing singers behind some of the biggest songs in music history. These women stand behind some of the greatest artists of all time, adding depth and texture to iconic songs whilst seldom taking the limelight themselves.

Available on Netflix


American Factory (2019, 12A)

Produced by the Obamas, this looks at what happens when cultures collide as an American factory is bought by a Chinese company. Beautifully shot and an interesting perspective on how production differs in each country while questioning the way companies treat their workers.

Available on Netflix


Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache (2018, PG)

This documentary tells the story of pioneering filmmaker and producer, Alice Guy-Blache. Working during the silent movie era, she was the first woman to ever direct a feature film and helped shape the world of film as we know it. Narrated by Jodie Foster

Available to watch on Amazon Prime


Three Identical Strangers (2018, 12A)

An unbelievable story about young men who meet and discover they were separated at birth. The less said about the plot the better! This documentary pulls you over with the winning personalities of the brothers, who are the film’s heart and soul. A great watch and one that will have you laughing and crying in equal measures.

Available on Netflix


Paris is Burning (1991, 15)

Tens across the board for this brilliant look at the 1980s ballroom scene. A snapshot of LGBT history and a great way for fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race to see how drag culture has changed over the years. Get ready to strike a pose and Vogue.

Available with Netflix


Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened (2019, 15)

An ideal watch if you’ve just finished Tiger King and need a new fix about ridiculous people doing ridiculous things. Some hotshot young entrepreneurs decide to throw the greatest party of all time but don’t really seem to know how to actually plan an event. A cautionary tale for the Instagram generation.

Available on Netflix

Glasgow Youth Film Festival would love to hear your thoughts if you’ve watched these and would especially like for you to tell them what to watch next! Join the discussion on Twitter – you can tweet at  @glasgowyouth, using the hashtag #AtHomeWithGFT

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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