As November comes to a close, the holiday season is officially upon us. Alongside the decadent meals and retail shopping absurdity, most of us have a few extra days off to lounge around in our pajamas and watch movies. If you're like me, however, the process of figuring out what to watch is way more daunting than it should be. For that reason, I've compiled a list of 10 excellent films about filmmaking, all of which are currently available on Netflix Instant. Now that I've taken all of the guesswork out of figuring out what to watch, grab some hot cocoa (or spiked egg nog), throw on your Snuggie, and settle in for two days worth of awesome filmmaking movies.
Click on the titles to be taken to that film on Netflix:
We've talked about Keanu Reaves' Side By Side a couple of different times here at No Film School. Through juxtaposing interviews with today's leading filmmakers with a fascinating history of image-capture technology, Side By Side provides a holistic and balanced look at the film vs. digital debate. While it doesn't necessarily provide any definite answers, it does ask all of the right questions, and it leaves the viewer with all of the necessary information to create their own answer. This one's a real must-watch.
Seriously, who doesn't love TED Talks? These 20-ish minute presentations from some of the more profound thinkers of our time always leave the viewer with something to think about. This roundup of video/photo-centric TED Talks is no different. Featuring filmmakers such as James Cameron and Jeff Skoll (and many more), this collection of talks has something for every image-making enthusiast.
This understated little documentary provides a strikingly unique look at what makes some of the most influential directors in independent world cinema tick. Featuring interviews with legendary filmmakers such as David Lynch, Richard Linklater, Bernardo Bertolucci, and Catherine Breillat, Great Directors provides a peak at the personal histories and filmmaking philosophies of some of today's (and yesteryear's) most prominent and unique filmmakers.
If you're like me, and you absolutely love the plethora of quality television programming that has made its way to the airwaves over the past decade, then you will love America In Primetine, an epic 4-part documentary that explores 4 different over-arching concepts that are prevalent in most of today's shows. It's extremely well done, and it features all of the major television juggernauts that one would expect in a documentary about television's golden age.
Tales from the Script takes a first hand-look at the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of being a Hollywood screenwriter. This documentary absolutely excels for the reason that it doesn't sugar-coat anything about being a screenwriter. It tells it like it is. Definitely a must-watch for all aspiring screenwriters.
Sven Nykvist is one of the greatest, if not the single greatest, cinematographers of all time. Through his work with legendary directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, and Andrei Tarkovsky, Nykvist was able to inspire the world through his immaculate use of light and shadow. Light Keeps Me Company, which is directed by Nykvist's son, takes a quiet and introspective look at the life and career of this fascinating man and his art. Definitely check this one out if you're an aspiring cinematographer.
There are all sorts of films and series about the history of film. However, they're oftentimes focused solely on the history of popular American cinema, rather than the history of cinema from a world perspective. That's where The Story of Film: An Odyssey succeeds. It takes a holistic approach and provides a much broader look at film history. It's an extremely lengthy, but entertaining and educational watch.
Whether you love or hate Woody Allen, it's hard to argue with the fact that he's had one of the most prolific filmmaking careers imaginable. It's also hard to argue with the fact that he's kind of a unique guy. Woody Allen: A Documentary gives us a lengthy look at the life and career of one of cinema's loudest and most constant voices. Even folks who aren't Allen fans will likely be entertained as this one.
These Amazing Shadows not only provides a fantastic look at the history of the National Film Registry, but also a first hand look at the process and importance of film preservation and archival. If there was ever case for the continued use of film as an archival medium, it can be seen this film.
This delightful film documents the lives and careers of esteemed Hungarian cinematographers Lazlo Kovacs and Vilmos Zsigmond. These two guys singlehandedly pioneered the look of the American New Wave and left an indelible mark on the film industry as a whole. Also, this might be the best cinematography-themed bromance documentary film ever made. Seriously, I can't recommend this one enough.
What do you guys think about these films? What are some of your favorite films about filmmaking, and where can we watch them? Let us know down in the comments!
Happy Holidays, No Film Schoolers!