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List of Famous Documentary Filmmakers

Updated June 8, 2017 33.1k views161 items

List of famous documentary filmmakers, with photos, bios, and other information when available. Who are the top documentary filmmakers in the world? This includes the most prominent documentary filmmakers, living and dead, both in America and abroad. This list of notable documentary filmmakers is ordered by their level of prominence, and can be sorted for various bits of information, such as where these historic documentary filmmakers were born and what their nationality is. The people on this list are from different countries, but what they all have in common is that they're all renowned documentary filmmakers.

The list you're viewing is made up of many different people, like Michael Moore and Mitch Cullin.

From reputable, prominent, and well known documentary filmmakers to the lesser known documentary filmmakers of today, these are some of the best professionals in the documentary filmmaker field. If you want to answer the questions, "Who are the most famous documentary filmmakers ever?" and "What are the names of famous documentary filmmakers?" then you're in the right place. {#nodes}
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  • Michael Moore
    Michael Francis Moore (born April 23, 1954) is an American documentary filmmaker and author....  more

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  • Morgan Spurlock
    Morgan Valentine Spurlock (born November 7, 1970) is an American documentary filmmaker,...  more
  • Rosie Malek-Yonan

    Rosie Malek-Yonan

    Rosie Malek-Yonan (b. July 4, 1965) is an Assyrian-American actress, author, director, public...  more
  • Mitch Cullin
    Mitch Cullin (born March 23, 1968) is an American writer. He is the author of seven novels,...  more
  • Robert Hughes
    Robert Studley Forrest Hughes AO (28 July 1938 – 6 August 2012) was an Australian-born art...  more

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  • Alan Lomax
    Alan Lomax (; January 31, 1915 – July 19, 2002) was an American ethnomusicologist, best known...  more
  • David France is an American investigative reporter, non-fiction author and filmmaker. He is a...  more
  • Eleanor Coppola
    Eleanor Coppola (born May 4, 1936) is an American documentary filmmaker, artist, and writer....  more
  • Henry Louis Gates
    Henry Louis "Skip" Gates Jr. (born September 16, 1950) is an American literary critic,...  more
  • Shelby Steele
    Shelby Steele (born January 1, 1946) is an American conservative author, columnist,...  more
  • Rory Kennedy
    Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy (born December 12, 1968) is an American documentary filmmaker...  more
  • Tamasin Day-Lewis
    Lydia Tamasin Day-Lewis (born 17 September 1953) is an English television chef and food...  more
  • Barbara Kopple (born July 30, 1946) is an American film director known primarily for her...  more
  • DeeDee Halleck

    DeeDee Halleck (born January 5, 1940) is a media activist, founder of Paper Tiger Television...  more
  • Mark Kidel

    Mark Kidel is a documentary filmmaker and writer who lives in Bristol, England. His...  more
  • Frederick Wiseman
    Frederick Wiseman (born January 1, 1930) is an American filmmaker, documentarian, and theater...  more
  • Sheila Nevins
    Sheila Nevins is an American television producer and the President of HBO Documentary Films....  more
  • Bruce Sinofsky
    Bruce Sinofsky (March 31, 1956 – February 21, 2015) was an American documentary film director,...  more
  • Alexandra C. Pelosi (born October 5, 1970) is an American journalist, documentary filmmaker,...  more
  • Joe Berlinger
    Joseph Berlinger (born October 30, 1961) is an American filmmaker and producer. Particularly...  more
  • Ulrike Ottinger
    Ulrike Ottinger (born 6 June 1942) is a German filmmaker and photographer....  more
  • D. A. Pennebaker
    Donn Alan Pennebaker (; July 15, 1925 – August 1, 2019) was an American documentary filmmaker...  more
  • Can Dündar (Turkish pronunciation: [dʒan dynˈdaɾ], born 16 June 1961 in Ankara) is a Turkish...  more
  • Irene Taylor Brodsky
    Irene Taylor Brodsky is an American documentary film maker. In her several projects, hers was...  more
  • Chris Hegedus
    Chris Hegedus is a film director....  more