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The Best Documentaries about the Film Industry & What You Can Learn from Them

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 12/2/2010

Watching documentaries about the film industry gives us an idea about how it works and who calls the shots. It can be shocking and delightful at the same time.

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    Introduction

    Films Documentaries are often used to deliver a point or a message to its audience, educating them along the way and shining a light on the subject matter. One of the most intriguing types of documentaries are those that talk about the film industry itself, which is rich with interesting people and amusing events across a long history. You can learn a lot about how films are made and what kind of people make them by watching documentaries about the film industry, especially if you are a beginner filmmaker. Here are some of the most noteworthy documentaries that shine a spotlight on the film industry.

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    Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film

    It is always good to know the history of the industry you are working in. So for people involved in filmmaking, this series of documentaries about the birth of the film industry is quite a lesson in history. It talks about the town, the people and the rise of silent films in America. The series covers the earliest days of silent films up to the advent of films with audio. This is the birth of the American film industry, and it is not as pretty as its shining stars. This series of documentaries teaches us that not everything about the film industry is glittering and golden.

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    Hollywood Confidential

    The film industry may have its magical moments and nice people, but it also has its dark side. In this documentary, the rise of gossip journalism is chronicled. The 1950s gave birth to the magazine called Confidential, and it focused on revealing the deepest and darkest secrets Hollywood had to offer. The private lives of actors and the behind-the-scenes activities of making movies was laid bare in this rag, attracting enemies left and right. The magazine folded after a series of destroyed reputations, but it was only the beginning of the public's hunger for Hollywood gossip. From this documentary we learn that fame and fortune often come with a price, which is the loss of privacy.

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    The Celluloid Closet

    Films have often changed the way the public views a certain topic or idea. Sexuality is often integral in a lot of films, so it is quite natural for the film industry to have a hand in changing the public's perception of sexuality, sexual myths and the role of sex in society. This documentary touches on this influence by films on public perception, and it teaches us that the medium of film is a very powerful vehicle for changing how the public thinks and it should be handled delicately, balanced with the artistic vision of the filmmakers.

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    Easy Riders, Raging Bulls

    This is another documentary that shines a light on a particular age in the film industry's history. It focuses on the 60s and the 70s, a time when Hollywood heavyweights gained infamy by earning complete creative control of their movies thanks to their previous successes. This documentary shows us that egos and creative visions of actors, directors and producers may prove to be quite destructive if left uncheck. It was an interesting time in the film industry's history, but it is highly unlikely that anyone in the industry right now would want to experience that kind of intense atmosphere again.

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    This Film Is Not Yet Rated

    The film industry may be mostly made up of actors, directors, producers and other people behind the camera, but it also includes those people who rate the content of films. In this documentary, the spotlight is reserved for the Motion Picture Association of America and its rating system. The rating system, according to filmmakers, is not perfect. Like the rest of the documentaries about the film industry on this list, this documentary teaches us that films can have a big impact on society as a whole. It can even affect the development of American culture, which is documented in this film.

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    References

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/hollywood-confidential.shtml

    http://www.sonyclassics.com/celluloid/index.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries/features/easy-riders.shtml

    http://www.documentary-log.com/d102-this-film-is-not-yet-rated/

    Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net / Supplied by Francesco Marino - http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Movies_Theater_and_C_g202-Popcorn_And_Movie_p13926.html