1. HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALYPSE (1991).
Francis Ford Coppola’s wife, Eleanor, chronicles his tribulations as he tries to make Apocalypse Now in the late 1970s. Named after the source material for the film and using behind-the-scenes footage, Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse is a fly-on-the-wall-style documentary which details the numerous issues — e.g. actors’ health, poor weather, increasing costs, etc. — faced by Coppola when making a film which nearly destroyed his career.
2. LOST IN LA MANCHA (2002).
Directed by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe, Lost in La Mancha details Terry Gilliam’s (Twelve Monkeys, Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) tireless quest to adapt Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s Don Quixote for the big screen. As a consequence of a number of setbacks, such as damaged equipment due to bad weather, noise interference from a nearby NATO base, and the leading actor suffering an injury, the adaptation, entitled The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, was never finished.
3. JODOROWSKY’S DUNE (2013).
Jodorowsky’s Dune, directed by Frank Pavich, explores Alejandro Jodorowsky’s failed attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 science-fiction novel Dune in the 1970s. If successful, his outlandish take on Herbert’s vision would have starred the likes of Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, and Orson Welles in leading roles, and seen H. R. Giger and Pink Floyd tackling set design and music respectively. Due to Jodorowsky’s concept art, storyboards, and script being sent to major studios, and the film ultimately falling through, it is argued that said materials were the inspiration for such films as Alien, The Terminator, and Star Wars.
4. DANGEROUS DAYS: MAKING BLADE RUNNER (2007).
Charles de Lauzirika’s Dangerous Days: Making Blade Runner is, undoubtedly, a must-see for the die-hard Blade Runner fans of the world. This feature-length documentary, spanning three-and-a-half hours, provides an incredibly insightful and in-depth look at one of the most iconic and influential sci-fi films ever made, from script to screen. While detailing the different stages of production, we are subjected, in the best way possible, to hours of never-before-seen outtakes, lost footage, a plethora of interviews with cast and crew, etc.
5. NEVER SLEEP AGAIN: THE ELM STREET LEGACY (2010).
Daniel Farrands and Andrew Kasch’s Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy is a four-hour documentary film of epic proportions, traversing through the history of Wes Craven’s horror magnum opus while introducing the viewer to storyboards, photographs, publicity materials, concept art, behind-the-scenes footage, and interviews with both cast and crew. The film explores the franchise’s huge impact on pop culture and the horror genre in general.