I have always loved going out into the world, getting to know people and witnessing their lives. It is a powerful source of inspiration. But what about when you don’t have time or means? Especially right at this moment, with the lock-down orders across the globe, now more than ever, we need to stay inspired by people and things. A documentary is a good alternative.
Here are a list of my favourite documentaries. Some will make you laugh and others will make your cry. And I hope that all of them will get your creativity flowing.
“IRIS pairs the 87-year-old Maysles with Iris Apfel, the quick-witted, flamboyantly dressed 93-year-old style maven who has had an outsized presence on the New York fashion scene for decades. More than a fashion film, the documentary is a story about creativity and how, even at Iris’ advanced age, a soaring free spirit continues to inspire. IRIS portrays a singular woman whose enthusiasm for fashion, art and people are life’s sustenance and reminds us that dressing, and indeed life, is nothing but an experiment. Despite the abundance of glamour in her current life, she continues to embrace the values and work ethic established during a middle-class Queens upbringing during the Great Depression.”
I feel lucky to be working. If you’re lucky enough to do something you love, everything else follows.
— Iris Apfel
2. Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang
This documentary trace the rise of contemporary artist Cai Guo-Qiang from childhood in Mao’s China to global art world superstar. It invites your to join his quest to realize his lifelong obsession: Sky Ladder.
3. Jodorowsky’s Dune
“We always say ‘design loves constraints,’ but Jodorowsky’s Dune is a reminder that imagination (and ego) could care less about the restrictions of budgets, timelines, or even reality. It’s a film about a movie that never got made, but the creators’ dreams were so big they managed to change cinema forever without shooting a single frame. Some ambitious dreams fly too close to the creative sun. The cast of characters in this movie wanted to drill to the center of the sun and blow the whole thing up. How can you not love that?”
— Brian Janosch
4. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
“ This is the story of 85 year-old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef. He is the proprietor of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a 10-seat, sushi-only restaurant inauspiciously located in a Tokyo subway station. It’s inspiring to see the amount of time and effort that can go into the creation of great sushi. This movie is good for anyone who loves food, travel, and culture, and is also a great reminder of the power of craft.”
5. Bellingcat: Truth in a Post-Truth World
“It’s a film that highlights our new reality, where the truth isn’t always simple and straightforward. This particular documentary also serves as inspiration for those of us that do design research. It hints at the research that can be done using social signals, buzz analytics, diary studies, data science, etc., where we get insight directly from people. It highlights how researchers often solve puzzles by exploring the extremes and see things through the eyes of the people who experience them.”
— Marcelle van Beusekom
I hope this list provides you with ideas when you are looking for inspirations. What’s your favourite documentaries?