Making a documentary isnt as various from making an imaginary movie as you may believe. Eventually, whether shooting real-life occasions or shooting actors reading lines, movie – as a medium – usually intends to narrate. While documentaries typically catch truth, they generally do more than simply present it, and filmmakers require to make those real-life occasions amazing or thought-provoking through a story.

That makes it unexpected, then, that there arent more filmmakers who focus on making both documentaries and “normal” function movies. As it appears quite basic that most directors are either one or the other, its worth highlighting 8 directors whove developed themselves as proficient at making both. Whilst couple of are split 50-50 in between the 2 formats, the following 8 have actually all directed a minimum of one noteworthy documentary and function movie.

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is a German filmmaker whos similarly commemorated as a function movie director and a documentarian. For over 5 years, hes made excellent examples of each, with his most commemorated functions consisting of movies like Aguirre, the Rage of God and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and his most seriously well-known documentaries consisting of Grizzly Man and Cavern of Forgotten Dreams.

Hes widely known for being eccentric and wacky – along with utilizing some uncommon filmmaking strategies – and checking out the extremes of humankind in his movies and documentaries. Herzogs work constantly has an uncommon however fascinating energy, and as a filmmaker and documentarian, he is really one of a kind, and unquestionably a living legend of the movie world.


Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese is best understood for his criminal activity movies, like Goodfellas and The Left, along with his character research studies, like Raging Bull and Cab Driver. Yet his efforts as a documentary maker typically go ignored, as a few of his best work has actually been within the documentary category.

Possibly the most popular of his documentaries is The Last Waltz, which is a movie about The Bands goodbye trip. Scorsese has actually likewise made music documentaries about George Harrison and Bob Dylan (2, in truth, for the latter), and likewise directed 2 four-hour long documentaries about the history of movie – one on Italian movie theater (My Trip to Italy) and one on American movie theater (An Individual Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies) – both of which are remarkable and necessary look for all cinephiles out there.

Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda was a legend of French movie theater who began directing in 1955 and launched her last movie in 2019 – 64 years later on – in the exact same year she died. With 59 directing credits, it was nearly one movie a year, and she divided her time in between making dramas that typically had strong feminist styles and documentaries that checked out a large range of unforeseeable subjects.

From French New age classics like Cléo from 5 to 7 to lovely modern-day documentaries like Deals With Places, Vardas movies were constantly remarkable and clearly her own. With a strong individual design and a non-stop distinct method of taking a look at the world and examining mankinds place in it, Agnès Varda stays among the best and most widely known filmmakers to master making both function movies and documentaries.

John Ford

John Ford was an American director best understood for his westerns and historic dramas, a lot of them starring Western icon John Wayne. Prior to WW2, he launched widely known (and still well-appreciated) movies like Stagecoach and The Grapes of Rage, while in the years after the war, he made movies like The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

Throughout WW2 is where Ford dipped into documentary filmmaking, however, with a series of movies made about the war, throughout the war. For all intents and functions, some might be thought about propaganda by todays requirements, however traditionally speaking, its intriguing that Hollywood got among its greatest directors (and a couple of others) to focus exclusively on documentary filmmaking for approximately 4 years; about as long as Americas participation in the worldwide dispute lasted.

Ava DuVernay

Ava DuVernay has actually mainly concentrated on making function movies and miniseries throughout her directing profession up until now. 2014s Selma was an engaging and seriously well-known historic drama about Martin Luther King Jr., and her miniseries When They See United States made a comparable level of appreciation when it was launched in 2019.

DuVernays most well-known job up until now, nevertheless, may be her most widely known documentary, 13th, which is an effective and enthusiastic take a look at the issues of the jail system in the U.S., concentrating on the out of proportion varieties of African-American detainees within it. Its incredibly well-argued and provided, and amongst the best documentaries of the 2010s, showing DuVernay is a force to be considered when it concerns both function movies and documentaries.

Bo Burnham

Whether Bo Burnham has actually directed any documentaries may depend upon your meaning of the word. Something like his most current unique, Inside, is a little too elegant to seem like a documentary (and its not attempting to be one, either), however Burnham has actually directed 3 standup specials where he himself was not the standup comic on phase. These might be specified as “documenting” live efficiencies, and one was for Chris Rock in 2018s Tamborine, while hes been the man behind the cam two times for comic Jerrod Carmichael, when in 2017 and once again in 2022.

Then on the other end, theres Eighth Grade (2018), which is a captivating coming-of-age comedy-drama about a 13-year-old lady and the battles that include remaining in your early teenagers. Burnham got some piece de resistances out of his young cast, especially Elsie Fisher in the starring function. Ideally, Burnham will continue making functions along with directing specials, since Eighth Grade produced an excellent function movie launching.

Todd Haynes

Todd Haynes tends to make dramas that are embeded in the past, and typically are motivated by real-life historic figures. His 1998 movie, Velour Goldmine, isnt formally about 2 of the most iconic artists of the 1970s, Iggy Pop and David Bowie, however certainly takes motivation from their stories. And after that his 2007 movie Im Not There is more clearly about Bob Dylan, yet doesnt inform his life story even provide an impression of the various phases of Dylans life, as a number of actors depict him throughout the movie.

2021 provided us a direct Todd Haynes documentary, however, in the engaging, satisfying, and unique Velour Underground documentary rather just called The Velour Underground. It includes a few of Haynes distinctive design, however does basically comply with documentary conventions. Still, its well created and informs the story of a really intriguing band effectively, so ideally, Haynes will deal with the documentary category once again at some point quickly.

Noah Baumbach

Noah Baumbach has a variety of extremely reliable function movies under his belt, and hes a proficient director when it concerns making grounded, in some cases annoyingly genuine human dramas. Most just recently, Marital Relationship Story amassed a big quantity of appreciation, and his earlier efforts like The Squid and the Whale and Frances Ha likewise hold up well.

Hes co-directed a single documentary, and ideally, its not the last time he makes one, as the 2015 documentary in concern – entitled De Palma – is an excellent watch. It takes a look at the profession of the iconic American filmmaker Brian De Palma in a busy, amusing method, and while enjoying it, its obvious the filmmakers were enthusiastic about their topic. If its the only documentary Baumbach ever touches thatll be an embarassment, however at least, a minimum of its an excellent one.