The Top 5 Documentaries Coming in 2014

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How people interpret Nelson Mandela's message of freedom, forgiveness and reconciliation in the world of today.
Photo Credit: Arte
May 4th, 2014

While some people enjoy losing themselves in a new summer blockbuster that features superheroes and action stars, others love kicking back with an informative but equally entertaining documentary. Documentaries let viewers learn more about a specific topic or person and see the story from the people who actually lived it. In 2014, several studios will release some intriguing documentaries that film lovers can't wait to see.

"Rise of the eSports Hero"

Released in Canada in 2013, "Rise of the eSports Hero" finally reaches American audiences in 2014. The film focuses on the popular video game "StarCraft 2" and its top professional players. It starts off with an introduction to one of the top players in the field talking about the sacrifices that his mother made early in his life to allow him to grow his career, including giving him their rent money for a competition. The documentary then looks at a few other players as they battle in a large scale competition before showing how those players train for those competitions. Though the film focuses on international players, it offers a surprising glimpse into the world of professional video game players.

"Portrait of Jason"

Jason Holliday stopped by a nightclub in 1966 just to hang out with some friends, but it became one of the biggest nights in the singer's life. After watching the singer on stage, director Sidney Clarke felt a deep connection with the man. The two later met, and Clarke filmed the singer talking about the struggles that he faced as a black man in a primarily white man's world. Clarke and Holliday spoke for more than 12 hours, and Clarke filmed the entire conversation before cutting it down into a documentary film. "Portrait of Jason" will make viewers laugh, cry and think. Though the film had a limited release in the 1960s, the studio recently restored the film and plan to release it in theaters in 2014.

"Keep On Keepin' On"

Lovers of blues music and music lovers in general won't want to miss "Keep On Keepin' On." The documentary focuses on Clark Terry, a former blues musician. Early in his career, Terry worked closely with Duke Ellington, Count Bassie and the other greats in the industry. While Terry is older and occasionally has problems focusing, he often shows that glint that made him one of the most influential men in blues music. Director Al Hicks cuts back and forth between Terry and the interviews he did with a young blind musician working in the present day. Watching Terry talk about his experiences in the music industry will put a smile on the face of any viewer.

"Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me"

Nelson Mandela is one of the hottest topics in Hollywood. After a hit film released in 2013, the film world recognizes the death of the legend with the documentary "Nelson Mandela: The Myth & Me." Director Khalo Matabane grew up in South Africa and witnessed the hard work that Mandela did for himself as a young man. He meets with a series of men, including Colin Powell and Harry Kissinger, and he asks them to describe the affects that Mandela had on the world at large. While the film has occasional dark moments, Matabane uses lighter moments to break up those darker scenes. The film looks at the enduring legacy of Mandela and the man himself.

"I Am Big Bird: I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story"

Spinney already had a career in Hollywood when he accepted a role on the children's television show Sesame Street, but he didn't realize that this one job would span more than 40 years and touch multiple generations of kids. The man, who also used his voice talents to help bring Oscar the Grouch to life, talks about the time he spent creating and bringing the character of Big Bird to life, but he also looks back on his early beginnings and how he used his childhood memories for inspiration when working on the show. The filmmakers do a smart job of talking to Spinney about both his life and his characters. Spinney is a national treasure, and the film is a must see for anyone who watched "Sesame Street" as a kid.

Documentaries cover topics ranging from athletes and heroes to musicians and the film and television industry. The documentaries set for release in 2014 let fans learn more about their favorite characters, the heroes who changed the world and the players hoping to change the video game industry.