Top 20 Documentary Filmmakers of the 21st Century!

by shaunaksinha | created - 22 Dec 2016 | updated - 22 Dec 2016 | Public

Ranked, the best documentary filmmakers from 2000 to present day.

1. Alex Gibney

Producer | Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

Alex Gibney was born on October 23, 1953 in New York City, New York, USA as Philip Alexander Gibney. He is a producer and director, known for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), Taxi to the Dark Side (2007) and Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015). He has been married...

Must Watch: Zero Days Going Clear Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God Casino Jack and the United States of Money Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson Taxi to the Dark Side Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

2. Werner Herzog

Director | Fitzcarraldo

Director. Writer. Producer. Actor. Poet. He studied history, literature and theatre for some time, but didn't finish it and founded instead his own film production company in 1963. Later in his life, Herzog also staged several operas in Bayreuth, Germany, and at the Milan Scala in Italy. Herzog has...

Must Watch: Into the Inferno Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World Into the Abyss Cave of Forgotten Dreams Encounters at the End of the World Grizzly Man The White Diamond

3. Michael Moore

Director | Bowling for Columbine

Michael Francis Moore was born in Flint, Michigan on April 23, 1954, and was raised in its Davison suburb. He is the son of Helen Veronica (Wall), a secretary, and Francis Richard Moore, who worked on an auto assembly line. He has Irish, as well as English and Scottish, ancestry.

Moore studied ...

Must Watch: Where to Invade Next? Capitalism: A Love Story Sicko Bowling for Columbine

4. Errol Morris

Director | The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

His documentaries helped spur a rebirth of non-fiction film in the 80s & garnered wide critical success. But until 2003's "The Fog of War," Morris was shunned by the Academy Awards.

Morris' first two films won much acclaim (Gates of Heaven (1978) and Vernon, Florida (1981)). In the second movie, ...

Must Watch: The Unknown Known Tabloid Standard Operating Procedure The Fog of War

5. Kirby Dick

Director | The Invisible War

Kirby Dick is a two time Emmy-award winning and two-time Academy award-nominated documentary film director. His most recent film, The Hunting Ground (2015), a monumental exposé about sexual assault on college campuses, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, was released by Radius/The ...

Must Watch: The Hunting Ground The Invisible War This Film Is Not Yet Rated

6. Robert Kenner

Producer | Food, Inc.

Robert Kenner has won an array of awards and garnered rave reviews for his documentary work on a wide range of social and environmental issues. His latest film Command and Control opened theatrically to critical acclaim. His Academy Award-nominated film Food, Inc. had a monumental impact on how our...

Must Watch: Command and Control Merchants of Doubt Food Inc.

7. Gary Hustwit

Producer | Helvetica

Gary Hustwit is a producer and director, known for Helvetica (2007), Imagine (2003) and Rams (2018).

Must Watch: Urbanized Objectified Helvetica

8. Asif Kapadia

Director | The Warrior

Academy award and four time BAFTA award winning Director / Writer / Producer Asif Kapadia is known for his visually striking films exploring characters living in timeless, extreme and unforgiving landscapes. His films have been box office successes around the world as well as being critically ...

Must Watch: Amy Senna

9. Louie Psihoyos

Director | Racing Extinction

Louie Psihoyos was born on April 15, 1957 in Dubuque, Iowa, USA.

Must Watch: Racing Extinction The Cove

10. Charles Ferguson

Producer | Inside Job

Charles Ferguson was born on March 24, 1955 in San Francisco, California, USA as Charles Henry Ferguson. He is a producer and director, known for Inside Job (2010), No End in Sight (2007) and Watergate (2018).

Must Watch: Inside Job No End in Sight

11. Kevin Macdonald

Director | The Last King of Scotland

Kevin Macdonald was born on October 28, 1967 in Glasgow, Scotland. He is a director and producer, known for The Last King of Scotland (2006), How I Live Now (2013) and State of Play (2009).

Must Watch: Marley Touching the Void

12. Luc Jacquet

Director | La marche de l'empereur

Luc Jacquet was born on December 5, 1967 in Bourg-en-Bresse, Ain, France. He is a director and writer, known for March of the Penguins (2005), Antarctica: Ice & Sky (2015) and Il était une forêt (2013).

Must Watch: Ice and the Sky March of the Penguins

13. Jehane Noujaim

Producer | Control Room

Jehane Noujaim was born on May 17, 1974 in Cairo, Egypt. She is a producer and director, known for Control Room (2004), Startup.com (2001) and The Square (2013).

Must Watch: The Square Control Room

14. Rory Kennedy

Producer | American Hollow

Rory Kennedy was born on December 12, 1968 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy. She is a producer and director, known for American Hollow (1999), Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007) and Last Days in Vietnam (2014). She has been married to Mark Bailey since August 2,...

Must Watch: Last Days in Vietnam Ghosts of Abu Ghraib

15. Charles Wilkinson

Director | Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World

Charles Wilkinson is a multi award-winning documentary and dramatic film and television director, and published author. His credits include numerous dramatic features, TV movies and episodic titles like Highlander. His more recent titles include documentary features, Peace Out, Oil Sands Karaoke, ...

Must Watch: Haida Gwaii: On the Edge of the World Oil Sands Karaoke

16. John Landis

Director | The Blues Brothers

John Landis began his career in the mail room of 20th Century-Fox. A high-school dropout, 18-year-old Landis made his way to Yugoslavia to work as a production assistant on Kelly's Heroes (1970). Remaining in Europe, Landis found work as an actor, extra and stuntman in many of the Spanish/Italian "...

Must Watch: Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project Slasher: an IFC Original

Must Watch: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz We Are Legion: The Story of Hacktivists

18. Chris Bell

Director | Bigger Stronger Faster*

Chris Bell is a director and writer, known for Bigger Stronger Faster* (2008), Trophy Kids (2013) and Stronger.

Must Watch: Trophy Kids Bigger, Stronger, Faster*

19. Peter Joseph

Writer | Zeitgeist

Peter Joseph (Winston-Salem, NC, USA) inadvertently became globally acclaimed after a private performance work called "Zeitgeist" went viral online in 2007. This highly controversial art piece was artlessly placed online after a short performance run in Manhattan.Peter is/was a solo percussionist/...

Must Watch:  Zeitgeist: Moving Forward  Zeitgeist: Addendum  Zeitgeist: The Movie

20. Shaun Monson

Producer | Dominion

Shaun Monson is a producer and writer, known for Dominion (2018), Unforgotten World and Overhaul.

Must Watch: Unity Earthlings



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