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Every Body—as Well as These Four Other Fascinating Non-Fiction Films—Puts People First


June 28, 2023

Julie Cohen's Every Body focuses on the lives of three intersex participants: screenwriter River Gallo, political consultant Alicia Roth Weigel, and Ph.D. student Sean Saifa Wall.

Wall says in the production notes that he trusted Cohen to tell his story: “She was both genuine and curious, so as a person, I trusted her to be able to convey a real story.” It’s a story that recounts not only his personal experience, but also the trail of bad science and misunderstandings that he and many others have to deal with. As writes, “Every Body is a moving, fascinating look at a too-often-ignored subset of the world's population, filled with empathy and understanding but also a cool, analytical anger about what history has put them through.”

Every Body carries on a tradition of Focus Features documentaries which find remarkably engaging and heartfelt stories in the lives of real people. Crafted with respect, curiosity, and enthusiasm, these documentaries strive to tackle the impossible question of what it means to be human.


In 2005, filmmaker Thomas Balmès decided to film one of the most bewildering subjects of all time—the lives of babies. To create Babies, he chose to follow the newly born children of four families from around the world—Namibia, the United States, Japan, and Mongolia—looking to discover that magical moment when infants turn into people. “Babies is perhaps the clearest, simplest documentary form you can find,” Balmès said in an exclusive Focus Features interview. “Every shot was a surprise.” Balmès' careful attention to his subjects transformed this universal experience into something that felt utterly original. “Babies just might restore your faith in our perplexing, peculiar and stubbornly lovable species,” The New York Times writes.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Academy Award®-winning director Morgan Neville decided to make Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, his documentary on the ideas of the legendary educator, Fred Rogers, when he saw how the TV host brought up the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. “After seeing how he treated that subject, I knew not only that I could make a documentary about Mister Rogers, but that I had to,” Morgan said in an exclusive interview with Focus Features. Morgan watched hours of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood and archival material, as well as conducted 30 different interviews, to craft a profoundly moving portrait of a man who made decency and kindness his legacy. In so doing, Neville found a truth about the man which felt even more relevant today. For Observer, “The Mr. Rogers documentary is what the world needs right now.”

Watch Won’t You Be My Neighbor? now on iTunes or Amazon.

The Way I See It

In The Way I See It, filmmaker Dawn Porter provides a fascinating view of the Obama era with her portrait of presidential photographer Pete Souza. During his eight years documenting former President Barack Obama’s personal and political life, Souza had front-row seat on how the man defined the presidency. “There’s a dual purpose” to making the film, Porter told Black Girl Nerds. “It’s to speak to people in this moment about what path we are going to take forward as a country, and then it is also to remind people forever about what the presidency means in America.” From the simple presentations of photos and memories, Porter weaves a moving meditation on the nature of leadership and dignity. writes, “Expect to be moved to tears during this reflective film.”

Watch The Way I See It now on iTunes or Amazon.

The Sparks Brothers

Acclaimed for his genre-busting films like Shaun of the Dead and Last Night in Soho, director Edgar Wright shows off a different side with his documentary The Sparks Brothers. Brothers Russell and Ron Mael, who form the band Sparks, have been one of the most innovative and creative forces in rock music since their first hit in 1974. Constantly recreating their music style, look, and approach, the two have defied traditional labels and commercial success. “I made the movie, because as a Sparks fan, I was aggrieved on their behalf that they weren't better known,” Wright told Collider. With true cinematic flair, Wright crafts a loving tribute to his musical heroes. writes, “Never have I seen a documentary as fun as Wright's The Sparks Brothers, which is thrilling from beginning to end."

Watch The Sparks Brothers now on iTunes or Amazon.