MAKING THEIR MARK
AFTER the success of The Test documenting the Australian cricket team's path to redemption following the sandpaper scandal, the bar was set extremely high for AFL's Making Their Mark.
Even if you're not an Aussie rules fan, it's difficult to argue that this seven-part series is not compelling viewing. This is an honest, insightful, and sometimes funny, examination of how different AFL identities dealt with the most bizarre seasons on record.
It focuses on various characters in the AFL, such as veteran Eddie Betts returning to Carlton for a farewell season, passionate Adelaide Crows skipper Rory Sloane, enigmatic West Coast star Nic Naitanui, rookie GWS Giants captain Stephen Coniglio, as well as Gold Coast Suns coach Stuart Dew and Richmond president Peggy O'Neal.
It's impossible to gauge how Making Their Mark would have looked without COVID-19. The invisible illness is the series' biggest character and over-arching storyline. Despite being just 12 months ago it feels surreal watching news reports of the coronavirus spread as the AFL plotted the launch of their 2020 season.
O'Neal grimly predicts everyone will have the virus by May and the brutal economic reality begins to hit home for a group of Giants players who fear for teammates with mortgage repayments.
Episode one ends with AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan suspending the season due to COVID as West Coast watch the news unfold while preparing to play their first round match in front of an eerily empty Optus Stadium.
Episode two explores life in lockdown as the psychology of coaching comes to the forefront, before the eventual return to training, which sparks a punch-up between two Adelaide Crows teammates.
In among the COVID dread and usual fiery expletive-laden locker room speeches, there's plenty of humour and a sense you're actually seeing what's behind the stage-managed media spin.
Making Their Mark might just have re-set the benchmark for Australian sport documentaries.
GHOST OF THE MOUNTAINS
AS stunning as the African savannah undoubtedly is, it does feel like wildlife documentaries involving lions hunting antelopes or wildebeest have been done to death.
That's why the 2017 film Ghost Of The Mountain caught my eye. Snow leopards are notoriously secretive creatures due to their natural habitat in the Himalayas and Tibet, which makes finding these endangered big cats a mission in itself.
Ghost Of The Mountain takes the viewer inside the journey across Chinese wilderness areas to find the snow leopards. Along the way the crew battle altitude sickness, sub-minus temperatures and technological misfires to film the snow leopards in their natural habitat.
Rare footage of a mother and her two cubs makes the journey all worthwhile.
PERSONA: THE DARK TRUTH BEHIND PERSONALITY TESTS
WE are constantly analysing our own personalities and those of others. Are we introverted or extroverted?
Personality tests have grown in prevalence in the job recruitment process in recent decades, particularly in the US where its estimated that up to 70 per cent of job seekers are asked to complete the questionnaire.
The HBO documentary Persona: The Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests shines a light on the scientific background of the most widely-used test, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and how large corporations are increasingly using it to discriminate against people with disabilities or mental health issues.
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator was created by Katharine Briggs and her daughter Isabel Myers, without any formal training in psychology, and places every person in 16 different personalities based on the categories of introversion or extraversion, sensing or intuition, thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving.
If you're not filling out an online personality test by the documentary's end, then you're a stronger person than me.