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‘A lot of people think they know how to sharpen pencils, but… they don’t.’ Such is the view of David Rees, an artisan pencil-sharpener who’s sharpened some 1,500 No 2 pencils for paying customers. With deadpan humour and shrewd insight, Rees talks the audience through a step-by-step guide to achieving the perfect pencil point, while giving a brief history of the modern pencil and pencil-sharpening tools. Using the undeniably charismatic Rees as his subject, Kenneth Price’s film is a light reflection on the inherent value of care and precision. It’s also a biting send-up of the plethora of portraits proliferating in our artisan-obsessed times.
Director: Kenneth Price
How a self-taught autistic artist mines creativity from life’s endless variations
Nature and landscape
An afternoon with hobbyist diamond miners in Arkansas is a thing of rare beauty
Witness the majesty of moths taking flight at 6,000 frames per second
Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars. The Nobel Prize went to her supervisor
Animals and humans
A bluesy ballad tells the story of Old Bet, the first circus elephant in the US
In this 1975 lecture, the maglev train’s inventor deconstructs his ingenious design
Information and communication
There are many ways to make a flat map of the world – each of them a unique distortion
What is it like to clean the world for tomorrow while the rest of a city sleeps?
The nearly forgotten origin myth of Hawaii’s third-gender healers, as told by one