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What makes the best documentaries stand out

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The Summit
Still from the documentary the "The Summit."
Courtesy of the film

Film critic Kenneth Turan said that January's Sundance Film Festival may be the best exhibition of documentary films in the world.

"It was no accident that two of the first films bought for distribution in Park City were a pair of irresistible documentaries," Turan wrote.

One of these movies was "The Summit." Turan interviewed the screenwriter of the film, Mark Monroe, who said, "In the old days, documentaries were made in the editing room between the director and the editor. But documentaries are a little more sophisticated these days — they are more than just talking heads."

Watch the film's trailer (Warning: Contains strong language):

The other film was "Blood Brother," which follows an American man working at an orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS in India.

READ MORE ABOUT DOCUMENTARIESS:

• The 20 Best Documentaries of 2012. "Low and Clear," a film about two fishermen, tops this year-end list from Paste.

• "10 Fun, Feel-Good Documentaries for the New Year." PBS' Independent Lens assembled this list of lighthearted docs, including "Trekkies" and "Wordplay."

• Some of the year's best documentaries. The late Roger Ebert compiled what he called "a collection of a dozen of the best documentaries I saw in 2012. It's not a 'best of the year' list. Just some good memories of these films."

• Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival returns with worldly lineup. The MSPIFF is going on right now and features a number of documentaries in its lineup. (MPR News)