Posted 06 May 2020

Behind the lens: Five documentaries that explore the creative process

We’ve been on the hunt for feel-good documentaries that capture the diverse nature of the creative process, and perfectly chronicle some of the world’s biggest makers. From Studio Ghibli, Marina Abramović, McQueen and a number of Netflix original series, all you need to do is have a scroll and get streaming!

‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ (2017)

Abstract: The Art of Design (Netflix UK)
This Netflix original series is an in-depth look into the world’s most highly regarded designers – spanning illustration, costume design, interior design, graphic design and more. The series dissects the very foundations of contemporary design, and with two series already uploaded, there’s plenty to get stuck into. If you’re unsure where to start, we’d recommend Ilse Crawford and Christoph Niemann’s episodes.

Watch here on Netflix.

‘The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness’ (2014)

Kingdoms of Dreams and Madness (Amazon Prime, £3.49)
Directed by Mami Sunada, this documentary follows the lives and inner workings of Studio Ghibli, one of the most successful animation studios in the world. Mami happened to have been filming just as co-founder, Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement. Mami is truly a fly on the wall, and captures some intimate moments. There are also behind-the-scene looks at some of Studio Ghibli’s final films.

Watch here.

10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki (NHK, free)
Alternatively, Japanese broadcaster NHK has also made available an exclusive four-part exclusive documentary on Hayao Miyazaki which chronicles the legendary filmmaker’s creative process.

Watch it for free here.

‘The Creative Brain’ (2019)

The Creative Brain (Netflix UK)
This Netflix gem is for those who seek answers to the bigger questions on creativity. The series follows neuroscientist David Eagleman on a hunt to discover what sparks creativity, asking questions like “What is true originality?”, “What is creativity?” and “What prompts us to create?” Tune in as he speaks to musicians, actors, scientists and renowned designers in an attempt to tap into the creative process.

Watch here.

‘Marina Abramovi The Artist is Present’ (2012)

Marina Abramović the Artist is Present (Amazon Prime, £3.49)
Every day for three months, artist Marina Abramović sat expressionless and competing in a life-altering staring competition with her audience members. This film is takes you backstage as she prepares for the staging of the performance at her retrospective show at MoMa in 2010.

Watch here.

‘McQueen’ (2018)

McQueen (Netflix UK)
McQueen is a personal look into the life of the renowned and extraordinary designer, Alexander McQueen. The director, Ian Bonhôte unearths the complex and often dark process that lies in the designer’s work. From exploring themes of isolation, success and controversy – this documentary is a moving depiction of life in fashion.

Watch here.

Written by Creative Lives in Progress