The History of Documentary Film Making

Oct 9, 2022 | Art, Articles, History, Media, Technology

During the period of 1930s-1940s there were documentaries made talking about the wars that were common during this period. Some of the common makes of films of this era are Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will and Why We Fight by Frank Capra. These films were produced almost in all the major economies such as USA and Britain as well. in Britain, a documentary film maker known as Humphrey Jennings produced two successful war propaganda documentary films; Fires Were Started and A Diary for Timothy. During 1960 to 1970, most of the documentary films were used for political agendas. Most of productions of this time were used to drive political agendas against neocolonialism and capitalism especially in Latin America and other places such as the Quebec. Documentary films ofd this era are La Hora de los hornos (The Hour of the Furnaces) of 1968 and others as well. Some of the most influential documentary filmmakers of this period are Octavia Getimo and Fernando E. Solanas.

All these previous productions paved the way for the modern documentaries which are released today. Some of the most successful examples of modern documentary films made in this day and age are Fahrenheit 9/11 by Michael Moore, Al Gore’s An Inconvenience Truth and others. Fahrenheit 9/11 set a world record for the best grossing documentary film for earning more than $ 200 million and selling more DVDs than any other film. The film’s DVD sales total to around 3 million DVDs. There are many factors that have made the modern documentaries become a success is the technology that is available for production and promoting as well. This is the many viable promoting options such as the internet technology which has also enabled better filmmaking for the documentaries as well. The modern light weight video cameras have also enabled the making of modern documentaries which has greatly reduced the cost of filmmaking. This is the history of documentary filmmaking for the last several decades. Currently, the documentaries are used to address so many topics or issues in the society and have actually become viable businesses for some people and filmmakers who have turned to professional filmmakers. Documentary filmmaking has come a long way to what they are today which have become successful in terms of release and gross income.

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Thomas B.