10 Best Documentary Filmmakers

Documentary filmmaking and filmmakers have different forms and shapes. Naturally, they seem to be indulged in a sector that is constructed for career, ascension, and profit. There exist no apprentices and if you get paid for it, then you have some little bit of luck. Most of them document just for the passion of it, and until just recently, hardly believed they could ever create monetary careers out of it.

I must admit that there exist other documentary filmmakers who are equally good and can rock shoulders with any of those found in this list. However, this list is to show those who have shown innovation in their filmmaking and always surpassed the imagination of viewers to give excellent films, and have even existed for long before we started getting much interest in documentary filmmaking.

James Benning

Curiosity, innovativeness, and a vision for characters and scenes that harvest naturally-flowing moments to emphasize a documentary or story; simply, that is what makes an excellent documentarian, and James Benning has it all. He believes that documentarians should always see things differently and innovatively.

Stan Brakhage

While many see him as someone always attached strips of films to wings, he has documented most of his life in the Pacific Northwest woods, and thus basis his documentaries on atmospheric scenes of nature, and also focuses on nonfiction.

Michael Apted

Apted thinks life is something that progresses and would go on for long. What he can only do is to make documentaries that do not just hit on the truths, but also follow the times as we progress.

Les Blank

The documentary filmmaker who made the world to discover and appreciate the fact that our entire world: the beauties, the horrors, the animalism, the excitement of our universe is just outside our window. He achieved this through drama and more and has risen to be one of the best documentarians.

Werner Herzog

A man who believes that there’s virtually no boundary between documentary and fiction. He is a man who has produced some of the best documentaries and what’s more is that his documentaries always have the ending of his persona.

Ken Burns

Burns’ documentaries, for some, might be boring: history, lazy stuff, stiff, academic, fact-filled, etc. However, he has managed to capture a large number of audience and made a career through his excellent yet boring documentaries.

Chris Marker

Through a series of documentaries, Chris Marker has made his mark and career on the New Wave of the French. He focuses on both narratives and nonfiction documentaries.

Steve James

Throughout his career, James has won many awards as a documentary filmmaker. His aim is to unearth the hidden talents, heroes, and game changers that the world has forgotten or even doesn’t know of their existence.

Claude Lanzmann

Throughout his career, Lanzman has focuses on the Holocaust, and people that were linked to it. He has educated his camera to look out for these characters and their background and make excellent documentaries through them.

Michael Moore

Though he has recently been praised for his work on reality TV programs that have negative impacts on our world culture, his background as a documentary filmmaker didn’t come from those areas. However, in recent years, he has sought to cat through the cultural fabric of our societies and bring out their hidden parts.

Documentary filmmakers are great, they have their own agendas, they are based on different forms and shapes, and they all have a passion apart from just earning or using the camera to film.


Films and movies are a great and must-watch source of entertainment; considering the fact that you are even watching a documentary or bibliography kind of stuff, then too the exception for being nothing is ruled out – there always is something really interesting in every documentary that you won’t dare to forget your whole life.

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