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  • Orbitae Films

5 Must-Watch film documentaries!

Updated: Feb 12

To make a film, an incredible variety of talents and a diverse range of artists are needed. Behind-the-scenes footage often highlights directors, actors and actresses, but what about the rest of the team—the technicians, designers and unseen creatives tasked with bringing to life a world, a vision that doesn’t yet exist? To shed light on these essential but often overlooked aspects of filmmaking, we've curated a list of 5 film documentaries we highly recommend. Each one offers a glimpse into the creative process, celebrating the imagination, innovation and relentless dedication required to craft the movies we love.

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This documentary explores a century of monster creation in the cinematic universe. It highlights the work of artists who, like Frankenstein, bring to life creatures that have now become iconic on both the big and small screen. Discover the world of special effects (SFX) masters who, equipped with a simple idea, a piece of cardboard and tons of silicone, shape the nightmares that haunt our nights. Featuring interviews with renowned artists in the field such as Rick Baker, Alec Gillis, Phil Tippett, Matt Winston (Stan’s son), and more, this documentary is a must-see! Because even though we do a lot of VFX, we always advocate for a mix of techniques.

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Less known but equally fascinating, this documentary series, now in its third season, delves into the behind-the-scenes of cult movies. From "Jurassic Park" to "Die Hard" and "Pretty Woman", to a special Halloween season featuring movies like "RoboCop" and "Friday the 13th," this series unveils the secrets (and misadventures) of movie production. You'll discover a variety of interviews, from directors to screenwriters, set designers to special effects experts. It showcases a wonderful melting pot of all the professions involved in filmmaking. What did we learn? That nothing is really completely under control when making a movie.

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In this six-episode docu-series, we follow director Robert Rodriguez as he reenacts the exercise that changed his career over 25 years ago: making a movie in 14 days with $7,000. Although today he can make huge savings thanks to the sets he can create directly in the Troublemakers Studio hangars with props from old movies, he shares with us his creative process. This series is for those who love to have the camera on their shoulder; it's filled with tips and tricks from writing to organizing production, working with actors, creating low-cost effects, and the magic of sound and editing. We must say... we are tempted to do it. Who would be up for this adventure? Contact us!

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Lord of the rings – appendices

This is an oldie, we know, but such a goodie. We've never had the opportunity to delve so deeply into the production of a movie as we did with these so-called appendices that came with the LOTR DVDs. For over six hours, dive into Tolkien's universe brought to life by Peter Jackson. The making of the films was an epic in itself, just like the story they told. 5 years of prep, 1 year to film the 3 movies simultaneously, a Herculean task of creating props, thousands of people involved, up to 8 additional directing units, and more than 4 hours of dailies to review each evening. In short, the appendices provide in-depth content on the making of LOTR; or the scaffolding necessary to make a fantasy film.

You can watch them directly on Youtube! (ah, that 2000s vibe, right?)

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This documentary explores filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky's failed attempt to adapt the novel "Dune" in the mid-1970s. The film delves into this ambitious, yet unrealized project, which would have presented a unique and avant-garde vision for the market of that era... and perhaps even for today's market. It brought together an unparalleled team, featuring iconic artists and pop culture figures like Moebius and Giger, as well as Dali and even David Bowie. What captivated us is that, even though the film was never made, Jodorowsky's vision paved the way for subsequent science fiction masterpieces such as Alien, Star Wars, and even The Matrix.

Have you seen any of those? Which one do you recommend us to watch next? Let us know in the comments.

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