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Documentary filmmakers

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  • Ellen Hovde (1925 - 2023)
    Ellen Margerethe Hovde (March 9, 1925 – February 16, 2023) was an American documentarian. She co-directed Grey Gardens with the Maysles brothers David Maysles . She won a Primetime Emmy Award for ...
  • Richard Leacock (1921 - 2011)
    Richard Leacock (18 July 1921 – 23 March 2011)[1] was a British-born documentary film director and one of the pioneers of direct cinema and cinéma vérité.Leacock was born in London on 18 July 1921, the...
  • David Maysles (1932 - 1987)
    Biography Albert Maysles (26 November 1926 - 5 March 2015) and David Maysles (rhymes with "hazels") (10 January 1932 – 3 January 1987) were a documentary filmmaking team whose “direct cinema” works in...
  • Albert Maysles (1926 - 2015)
    A Life in Pictures: Albert MayslesJessica Ebelhar/The New York Times NEW FOCUS The filmmaker Albert Maysles has lived with his family in a brownstone on West 122nd Street since 2005. TWITTER LINKEDIN E...
  • CC BY-SA 4.0
    Martin Villineuve
    Martin Villeneuve (French:) is a Canadian screenwriter, producer, director, actor, and art director. Biography He was nominated at the Canadian Screen Award (formerly Genie Award) in 2013 for Be...

Documentary filmmakers

From Wikipedia

A documentary film is a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record. Such films were originally shot on film stock—the only medium available—but now include video and digital productions that can be either direct-to-video, made into a TV show or released for screening in cinemas. "Documentary" has been described as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" that is continually evolving and is without clear boundaries.

The 20 Greatest Documentary Filmmakers of All Time Taste of Cinema, 03 May 2015

Documentary filmmakers come in a variety of shapes and forms. By their nature they are working outside of a system built for ascension, career and profit. There are no apprenticeships and you’re lucky if you are getting paid. They are making films out of passion for a specific topic and until recent decades hardly thinking that many eyes will ever see the finished product, much less pay money to do so.

As a form of cinematic expression, documentaries have been lost behind a wall of judgmental viewers who see the work as educational, news gathering, and riveting only in terms of subject or character. However, with the ascendance of digital filmmaking, growing platforms for film-viewing such as Netflix, SnagFilms, and film festivals, as well a few key successful TV shows and movies, documentaries are suddenly taken not as the unfortunate nerd to a popular narrative brother, but as equals in terms of entertainment value and maybe even one up in terms of artistry.

Yet, much to the surprise of modern viewers, documentaries as they exist now are not groundbreaking, boundary-pushing and expressive purely because of the imagination of their creators. In fact, since the moment people began capturing life onto celluloid, there have been men and women picking up their cameras and attempting to elevate a certain truth about life around them.

notables include

Notes on notability:

  • List is alphabetical
  • Please replace the name in plain text with the Geni profile link
  • Please feel free to expand the listing
  • Please add documentary makers to this project regardless of "notability"
  • Profiles must be public (deceased or Master Profile "notable")
  1. Peter Adair
  2. Michael Apted
  3. James Benning
  4. Les Blank
  5. Stan Brakhage
  6. Ken Burns
  7. Werner Herzog
  8. Steve James
  9. Claude Lanzmann
  10. Chris Marker
  11. Albert Maysles and David Maysles
  12. Michael Moore
  13. Errol Morris
  14. Marcel Ophuls
  15. D.A. Pennebaker
  16. Godfrey Reggio
  17. Alain Resnais
  18. Leni Riefenstahl
  19. Jean Rouch
  20. Peter Watkins
  21. Frederick Wiseman


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