This doc debuted at Sundance just hours after Kobe Bryant’s death in a helicopter. It wasn’t ideal timing for a story about flying over Los Angeles in a helicopter. But Whirlybird, directed by Matt Yoka, deserves a wide audience. It has exactly the kind of soaring visuals we’re all craving now, and tells the origin story of round-the-clock breaking news coverage, with special attention paid to the L.A. riots and the O.J. Simpson case.

It’s also the origin story of NBC reporter Katy Tur, who was a very small child when her reporter parents, Bob and Marika Tur, starting taking her along on high-speed police pursuits through the city of Los Angeles. Eventually they bought the whirlybird of the film’s title, and Bob Tur became Zoey Tur. Whirlybird navigates adroitly between the wide open skies of Southern California and the treacherous canyons of family drama.

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Whirlybird Zoey Tur Katy Tur Marika Tur

A still from Whirlybird by Matt Yoka, an official selection of the U.S. Documentary Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

We Don’t Deserve Dogs

A documentary with the love and patience of the animals it celebrates, We Don’t Deserve Dogs delivers moving vignettes from around the globe about our relationships with canines. The film, which was to have premiered at SXSW, takes us from people who pamper dogs to people who rely on them for therapy to people who revere them to people who do something we don’t even want to think about.

Director Matthew Salleh films everything flawlessly, especially in an opening sequence that follows a stray dog through the streets of Chile — it’s a comedic and impressive escapade that sets the bar for the film’s high aspirations. Dogs deserve better than us, but this doc is a good start toward giving them their due.

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We don't deserve dogs doc recommendation documentary

We Don’t Deserve Dogs skips across continents to show different relationships between humans and their canine companions.

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