Citadel | 9 Documentaries to Watch When You Need Inspiration
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9 Documentaries to Watch When You Need Inspiration

9 Documentaries to Watch When You Need Inspiration

A lot of things can happen in our lives that seem to suck the creativity out of them. Stressful work weeks, monotonous schedules, even consistent travel can get exhausting for the brain and its need to re-center itself. But with the rise of technology and increase in platforms for entertainment, we now have more options than ever to escape and recharge those depleted creative juices. One of our first and favorite stops is the film work, chock full of inspiring documentaries that will make you want to get up and create something revolutionary. Check out our favorites:

Bill Cunningham New York

The chronicle of one of the New York Times’ longest contributors is overwhelming from the start. Just as great a whirlwind as the city from which it takes place, this in-depth look at Bill Cunningham is perfect for writers, photographers, fashion-fiends, and even just the avid people watcher.


River and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time

In case you don’t know what the Earthworks genre of art is, this is a great documentary to get into it and Andy Goldsworthy is one of the most influential artists to lead it. His pieces, made entirely with pieces found in nature, are almost too beautiful to believe–some of which only last seconds before they succumb to the strength of the elements.

Waking Sleeping Beauty

Knowing how successful Disney’s animation studio has become, it’s crazy to think that there was once a period in time when Disney himself didn’t believe in its future. This is the documentary that follows the studios from their period of darker, less successful releases, to their “golden ages” of cartoon releases and musical favorites.

Ai WeiWei: Never Sorry

There’s probably no name more recognizable in the world of activism and artistry as Ai WeiWei. He’s gained a name for himself with earth-shattering campaigns and installations that have gone viral across the world. The film showcases his artistic process as he prepares for a museum exhibition, his relationships with family members and his clashes with the government.

Art & Copy

When it comes to advertising, there are few documentaries that capture the fast-paced world as ‘Art & Copy.’ From spotlights of household names and agency heads like Hal Riney and George Lois, to following the rise of brand campaigns that have now become industry and pop culture standards.

Eames: The Architect & The Painter

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America’s most influential and important industrial designers. The documentary follows their life from beginning of career to changing the way our world looks and feels. Plus it’s narrated by James Franco.



The youngest principal lead in the Royal Ballet of London, Sergei Polunin’s career was as record-breaking and awe-inspiring as it was erratic. The chronicle of one of the greatest dancer’s of the modern era is intense, inspiring, and heartbreaking all at the same time. Dedication is addictive.


This documentary is perfect for anyone who feels that their “time has passed” and who needs a refresher of inspiration. Iris Apfel is over 90 years old and her immense knowledge, skill, and qit have kept her work as influential as ever. Fashion, design, humor, this one has it all.

What Difference Does it Make? A Film About Making Music

Created by Red Bull Music Academy to celebrate its 15th anniversary, this exposé features nearly 70 of the world’s most respected and remembered musical artists discussing the challenges that a life in the music industry can bring and the different stages of the creative process.

*Bonus* Abstract: The Art of Design

A recent Netflix original release, ‘Abstract: The Art of Design’ has (unsurprisingly) taken the world by storm. It’s not just a spotlight on artists or specific disciplines, you have everything from cartoonists and sneaker designers to set designers and architects.