Fishcakes and cocaine

26 minutes

It’s rocket science

5 minutes

A brief history of the devil

5 minutes

HAGS (have a good summer)

9 minutes

The rifleman

10 minutes

Eccentrics, artists and Luddites find community on a remote Scottish peninsula

Located on a small peninsula in northern Scotland, Scoraig is an off-the-grid settlement accessible only by boat or a five-mile walk. Its remote location and cold, wet climate makes for a harsh lifestyle for its fewer than 100 residents – but it’s one that they fully embrace. The UK director Alex Nevill’s short documentary Fishcakes and Cocaine (2013), which profiles four Scoraig residents, offers a compelling account of life on the tranquil peninsula. Although disparate in their interests and personalities, each resident seems to share a few key things in common – a general scepticism of modernity, an interest in creative work, and a love of the lush Scottish scenery that greets them there each day. And, despite the small population, Nevill’s portrait captures a sense of tight community that, for Scoraig residents, offers a welcome alternative to the more alienating aspects of urban life.

Director: Alex Nevill

How sky-high dreams launched one man’s audacious life in homemade rocketry

As the first civilian to successfully launch an amateur rocket into space in 2004, and a holder of a great many rocketry-related world records since the 1960s, Ky Michaelson has truly earned his self-anointed title as ‘The Rocketman’. Following a decorated career as a Hollywood stunt performer and coordinator, Michaelson, now aged 82, is retired from show business and spends most of his time building rockets in his garage. And his audacious spirit hasn’t mellowed with age. These days, he has his sights set on launching the first homemade manned rocket into space. This upbeat documentary portrait by the US-based director Rachel Knoll explores Michaelson’s unconventional path as a high-school dropout turned rocket engineer who wouldn’t let dyslexia stop him from aiming for the sky.

Director: Rachel Knoll

Producer: John Pesavent

The devils you know – how Satan became a versatile stand-in for all manner of evil

From the three-headed man-eater of Dante’s Inferno to the Mephistopheles of German folklore, clad and caped in red in a Goethe-penned stage production, depictions of Satan have mutated into a fearsome multitude of pitchfork-wielding, fire-summoning and otherwise malevolent creatures. But how did a somewhat minor character from the Old Testament evolve into a versatile shorthand for all manner of human evil? Featuring a parade of the many meme-ified devils that have come to permeate the public imagination, this crafty animation from TED-Ed provides a brief history of how some of Satan’s most infamous forms came to be.

Video by TED-Ed

Directors: Reza Riahi, Mehdi Shiri

Writer: Brian A Pavlac

A filmmaker reflects on his adolescence with the help of some long-lost friends

In HAGS (Have a Good Summer), the US filmmaker Sean Wang casts his newest project from the pages of his middle-school yearbook. Calling up five long-lost friends that he hasn’t spoken to in years, Wang zeroes in on the two most willing to chat – Way Chen, who’s working at a restaurant while trying to make it as a dancer, and Fahad Manzur, who worries he just might have peaked in eighth grade – for an exploration of middle school, young adulthood and the wide chasm in between. Overflowing with sound and sight gags, Wang brings an apt sense of carefree humour to the work. But beyond its novel concept and nostalgic charms, the film also offers touching reflections on identity, the second-generation American experience and how expectations of ‘adulthood’ evolve even after you reach it.

Director: Sean Wang

Animator: Deepti Menon

How did the NRA transform from a sporting group to a mighty political force?

Compiling newsreels, articles and television news reports, The Rifleman examines some four decades in the history of the National Rifle Association (NRA). Via these archival materials, the US director Sierra Pettengill frames her portrait of the controversial gun-rights group around Harlon Carter, the former NRA president and a US Border Patrol chief, with an overturned murder conviction to his name, who was central in forging the NRA’s transition from a sporting organisation to one of the most potent and controversial political forces in the United States. Tracing the many overlaps between Carter, the NRA and US Border Patrol, Pettengill finds a group that, since the dawn of Carter’s influence, has been propelled by reactionary racism.

Director: Sierra Pettengill

Producer: Arielle de Saint Phalle

Website: Field of Vision

Eccentrics, artists and Luddites find community on a remote Scottish peninsula

Located on a small peninsula in northern Scotland, Scoraig is an off-the-grid settlement accessible only by boat or a five-mile walk. Its remote location and cold, wet climate makes for a harsh lifestyle for its fewer than 100 residents – but it’s one that they fully embrace. The UK director Alex Nevill’s short documentary Fishcakes and Cocaine (2013), which profiles four Scoraig residents, offers a compelling account of life on the tranquil peninsula. Although disparate in their interests and personalities, each resident seems to share a few key things in common – a general scepticism of modernity, an interest in creative work, and a love of the lush Scottish scenery that greets them there each day. And, despite the small population, Nevill’s portrait captures a sense of tight community that, for Scoraig residents, offers a welcome alternative to the more alienating aspects of urban life.

Director: Alex Nevill

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Photo by Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum

Essay/
Mood and emotion
Radical acceptance

The painful feelings you avoid grow twisted in the dark. By facing your sorrows and struggles you can take back your life

Joshua Coleman

Photo by Didier Ruef/LUZ/Headpress

Essay/
Love and friendship
Treasure them

Sure, lovers and children are great. But friends are more than ever the heart of happiness, of family and of love itself

Anna Machin