Welcome to Nonfics! A Letter From the Editor

christopher campbell

Thank you for visiting Nonfics, a new site devoted to nonfiction film and television. As co-founder and managing editor of the site, I am very excited to welcome you to my new primary home as a documentary-focused critic and hopefully your new primary home for keeping up with documentary cinema and reality programming. I want to invite you to enjoy a range of content from myself and our growing team of contributors, including reviews, interviews and, most importantly, features centered on recommending great films, series and other nonfiction works you ought to check out.

I want Nonfics to be both informative and interactive. I can provide some authority, but mainly I’m just a fan of nonfiction, like you. We have room for your recommendations and thoughts about docs, as well, no matter what level of fan you are. We plan to offer something for anyone here, whether you’ve read Bill Nichols, seen all the films on canonical lists of classic docs or simply enjoy a highlighted movie or series on Netflix or Snagfilms or POV or CNN or anywhere else people are discovering new and old nonfiction programming these days.

If you don’t know who I am, let me introduce myself. I began writing about documentaries rather naively when I first started out as a professional film critic for AOL’s Cinematical movie blog (r.i.p.) in 2005. Returning to undergrad for a film studies degree at Brooklyn College, I gained more interest and knowledge through a foundation documentary history course and then concentrated intensely on docs (history, theory, etc.) while earning my Master’s in cinema studies at NYU. During and since then I wrote the Doc Talk column at Cinematical and then Movies.com and ran the blog for Documentary Channel until the cable network went off the air this summer. I’ve also written about docs for Film School Rejects, Documentary magazine, RogerEbert.com and Indiewire (Spout Blog). And long before all of this, I was, along with others in a particular band, the subject of a doc titled Tour:

Christopher Campbell Tour

As I said, I’m not the biggest expert on nonfics — as I’m calling the broader circle of nonfiction media including documentary, reality TV and more — so I’ll be learning more and more right alongside some of you readers. For instance, each week I’ll be spotlighting and reviewing a classic, often one I haven’t seen before or in its entirety (maybe when I finally return to Shoah it can be multiple weeks). I’m going to announce the film in advance, too (first up is When We Were Kings), so maybe you’ll join me in seeing it and then get to partake in a comment field-based discussion. I will also take suggestions, as it will be fun to hear what others think is a classic, especially if it’s something little-known and deserving of more attention.

Please peruse what we’ve been able to publish here in advance already and stay tuned for more. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and come back as often as you like.

To start us all off as a community of nonfics fans, let’s begin by sharing some favorite docs, TV shows, nonfiction books, etc. below. Here are some of mine, including a few guilty pleasures in the TV section:

Sherman’s March

The Thin Blue Line

Bus 174

Gimme Shelter


Man On Wire

Grey Gardens


In Heaven There Is No Beer?

The Battle of Midway

Nonfiction shows I currently watch:

The Amazing Race

Top Chef

House Hunters


The Pioneers of Television

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.