Welcome to Documental, a monthly column keeping fans of nonfiction films and docuseries up to date on all the documentary content coming to and leaving from your favorite streaming services. Here’s a guide to all the essential documentary titles streaming in June 2021.
Welcome to our first all-encompassing streaming guide for documentaries (and other nonfiction content we want to showcase that isn’t just every single one of the trillion reality TV titles out there)! With so many different platforms for watching documentaries and docuseries online these days, rather than doing a guide for each streaming service individually, we’ve decided to put everything in one place — which is probably preferred by you, the doc fan, as well.
Each month, we’ll select a few highlights among the latest titles and programming bundles — including classics and any new stuff we’ve seen and recommend as well as unseen new releases and curations we’re excited about checking out for ourselves when the time comes. And that we think you will be excited about, too. Without further ado, here are some individual and blocks of docs we’re looking forward to in June 2021:
Pick of the Month: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
In case you weren’t aware, June is Pride Month, so every streaming service should be promoting LGBTQ+ films if not fully curating an exclusive program. Of those that are doing the latter, The Criterion Channel has our favorite, a retrospective of the works of Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. Starting with Word Is Out (1977), which Epstein co-directed, the eight-film presentation, titled “Pride and Protest,” leads viewers through such landmarks as Academy Award-winners The Times of Harvey Milk (1984) and Common Threads: Stories from The Quilt (1989) and Epstein’s continued collaboration with Friedman on essentials like The Celluloid Closet (1995) and the hybrid biopic Howl (2010).
Streaming on The Criterion Channel beginning June 1st.
More LGBTQ+ Essentials
In addition to The Criterion Channel spotlighting the works of Epstein and Friedman, the same streaming service is also showing a few other must-see LGBTQ+ films during Pride Month, including Marlon Riggs‘ Tongues Untied and No Regret, Ilppo Pohjola‘s Daddy and the Muscle Academy, and Frank Simon‘s The Queen. Meanwhile, Documentary+ has added We Were Here, Hit So Hard, and The Cockettes this month and is grouping them with their existing LGBTQ+ offerings, such as Woman on Fire, Dressed as a Girl, Fursonas, Kelet, Man Made, Queens and Cowboys, Southwest of Salem, Bunny, Elder, How To Make A Rainbow, and Muxes.
Elsewhere, Stonewall Uprising, Growing Up Trans, Keith Haring: Street Art Boy, and Hurley, about gay racing legend Hurley Hayward, are new to Amazon Prime Video this month. Seahorse, about a pregnant transgender man, is new to Sundance Now. Senior Prom, which is set at an LGBTQ+ retirement home, is available on the PBS site from Independent Lens, while Ballerina Boys is streaming via PBS’ American Masters. Also, a couple of premieres to check out: Changing the Game, about trans teen athletes, is making its debut exclusively on Hulu, and the French fashion doc Wonder Boy, about Balmain artistic director Olivier Roustein, is being brought to the US via Netflix.
An Old Documentary on Netflix!
Netflix isn’t really known for including old movies; in fact, it’s rare to find a lot of titles that are more than thirty years old on the streamer. Classic documentaries are even rarer, with a current total of seven docs available from the last century — the aforementioned The Queen is the oldest, as a 1968 release. But this month, Netflix is adding an eighth old doc to the bunch, and it’ll be the second-oldest doc among them all: Francine Parker‘s 1972 feature FTA follows the titular political troupe, led by actors Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland, as they tour the country putting on anti-war and specifically anti-army shows near US military bases in protest of the Vietnam War.
Streaming on Netflix starting on June 15th.
The Documentary That’s More Than It Seems
Rodney Ascher makes documentaries that seem simple on the surface, whether they’re compiling theories about The Shining or illustrating the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, but which burrow into your brain and lay eggs filled with complex and consuming ideas that stick with you for years. His latest feature, A Glitch in the Matrix, is one that I’ve been thinking about a lot since watching it during Sundance in January of this year, and now you can easily join me in the contemplation of simulation theory and digital living — regardless of the latter being by choice or not — now that it’s coming to Hulu. It makes for a great midnight movie, even if you’re alone at home, but be aware that you will want to find some genuine human contact, if you believe it to be real, as soon as it’s over.
Streaming on Hulu starting on June 3rd.
A New Foodie Doc from the Director of Jiro Dreams of Sushi!
When it comes to food lovers, we all have our own favorite documentary spotlighting the culinary arts and notable chefs, but there’s one film that is possibly named more than most by foodies and casual eaters alike as a peak of the genre: Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Well, now its director, David Gelb, who also created the series Street Food and Chef’s Table: BBQ, is shining a light on another chef: Wolfgang Puck. He’s a more famous name than Jiro Ono (he’s considered one of the original celebrity chefs, after all), but he’s certainly worthy of a similarly intimate documentary feature showing the world the story of his life and work. Gelb brought Jiro Ono closer to the mainstream, so now it’s time for him to bring the mainstream Puck to the finer side of nonfiction cinema with Wolfgang.
Streaming on Disney+ starting on June 25th.
The Complete Documentary Streaming List for June 2021
|6/1||Growing Up Trans (2015)||Amazon Prime Video|
|Hurley (2019)||Amazon Prime Video|
|Keith Haring: Street Art Boy (2020)||Amazon Prime Video|
|Slavery By Another Name (2012)||Amazon Prime Video|
|Stonewall Uprising (2011)||Amazon Prime Video|
|About Tap (1985)||The Criterion Channel|
|The AIDS Show (1986)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|#Blackmendream (2014)||The Criterion Channel|
|Daddy and the Muscle Academy (1991)||The Criterion Channel|
|Ethnic Notions (1986)||The Criterion Channel|
|The Celluloid Closet (1995)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|Common Threads: Stories from The Quilt (1989)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|Howl (2010)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien (No Regret) (1993)||The Criterion Channel|
|Paragraph 175 (2000)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|Say Amen, Somebody (1982)||The Criterion Channel|
|Symbiopsychotaxiplasm Take One (1968)||The Criterion Channel|
|The Times of Harvey Milk (1984)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|Tongues Untied (1989)||The Criterion Channel|
|Word is Out: Stories of Some of Our Lives (1977)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|Where Are We? Our Trip Through America (1992)||The Criterion Channel||Pride and Protest: The Films of Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman|
|Changing the Game (2021)||Hulu||Hulu Original|
|Black Holes: The Edge of All We Know (2020)||Netflix|
|The Jihadist (2021)||PBS (Frontline)|
|Senior Prom (2021)||PBS (Independent Lens)|
|Village of the Missing (2019)||Sundance Now|
|6/2||Alone - Season 7 (2021)||Netflix|
|6/3||A Glitch in the Matrix (2021)||Hulu|
|Myriam Fares: The Journey (2021)||Netflix|
|6/4||Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am? (2019)||Documentary+|
|The Cockettes (2002)||Documentary+|
|The New York Times Presents: Who Gets to Be an Influencer? (2021)||FX on Hulu|
|Ballerina Boys (2021)||PBS (American Masters)|
|Breaking Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet (2021)||Netflix|
|Human: The World Within - Season 1 (2021)||Netflix|
|6/5||Kitty Love: An Homage to Cats (2021)||Netflix||Netflix Original|
|6/7||The Queen (1968)||The Criterion Channel|
|6/8||Rose West: Born Evil? (2021)||Sundance Now|
|6/9||If the Dancer Dances (2018)||Ovid.tv|
|Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan (2016)||Ovid.tv|
|In My Blood It Runs (2019)||Ovid.tv|
|Some Divine Wind (1992)||Ovid.tv|
|6/13||Picture of a Scientist (2020)||Netflix|
|6/14||Big Sonia (2016)||Sundance Now|
|Seahorse (2019)||Sundance Now|
|6/15||Revolution Rent (2021)||HBO Max|
|5 Broken Cameras (2011)||Ovid.tv|
|China Undercover (2020)||PBS (Frontline)|
|6/16||Penguin Town - Season 1 (2021)||Netflix||Netflix Original|
|Downstream to Kinshasa (2020)||Ovid.tv|
|Ladies in Waiting (2010)||Ovid.tv|
|6/18||Hit So Hard (2011)||Documentary+|
|The World's Most Amazing Vacation Rentals - Season 1 (2021)||Netflix||Netflix Original|
|6/21||Two Gods (2020)||PBS (Independent Lens)|
|Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami||Sundance Now|
|6/22||This Is Pop - Season 1 (2021)||Netflix||Netflix Original|
|The Bomb (2016)||Ovid.tv|
|6/23||Murder by the Coast (2021)||Netflix||Netflix Original|
|Another Country (2015)||Ovid.tv|
|Summer Pasture (2010)||Ovid.tv|
|6/24||LFG (2021)||HBO Max|
|Sisters on Track (2021)||Netflix||Netflix Original|
|6/25||Wolfgang (2021)||Disney+||Disney+ Original|
|We Were Here (2011)||Documentary+|
|6/26||Wonder Boy (2019)||Netflix||Netflix Original|
|6/27||Rebel Hearts (2021)||Discovery+|
|6/28||The People vs. Agent Orange (2020)||PBS (Independent Lens)|
|Pandora's Box (2019)||Sundance Now|
|6/29||The Legend of the Underground (2021)||HBO Max|
|6/30||Sophie: A Murder in West Cork - Season 1 (2021)||Netflix||Netflix Original|