Daniel Raim

For 26 years, Academy Award-Nominated filmmaker Daniel Raim has made a career directing documentaries dedicated to the art and craft of filmmaking, depicting the soul of cinema through the eyes of artists who worked behind the scenes. In that time he has directed three feature documentaries and numerous documentary short subjects. (Three of those films received impressive theatrical releases).

Daniel’s work has focused on the creative and collaborative process of filmmaking, with a particular focus on overlooked artists of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Through his films and his teaching, he has opened the world of cinema both to film students and general audiences, provided insight into the craftsmanship and philosophy of the people who make the movies, and inspired future generations of storytellers and visual artists around the world. 

For his first foray into filmmaking in 2000, his short documentary The Man on Lincoln’s Nose, (about Alfred Hitchcock’s production designer Robert F. Boyle), Daniel was nominated for an Academy Award. After a successful festival run including SXSW and HOT DOCS, the film was released theatrically in Los Angeles and New York City.

In 2009, Daniel followed up that initial success with his first feature documentary, Something’s Gonna Live, about six below-the-line cinema artists, which premiered at AFI Fest and was followed by a robust theatrical release led by 7th Arts Releasing. (The title is drawn from a comment made by Haskell Wexler, referring to the importance of passing on one’s knowledge to the next generation.) The critically acclaimed film was an LA Times Critic’s Pick by Kenneth Turan, while the Chicago Sun-Times’ Donald Liebenson called it “A revelation!….An eye-opening tribute to one of the least understood or appreciated aspects of filmmaking, and a challenge to filmmakers to believe in what they do.” (The film was released on home video by Docurama Films and began streaming on Netflix in 2012.)

His third film, Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story (2015) about the marital and artistic partnership of storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film researcher Lillian Michelson, which Film Journal International called “One of the very best documentaries ever made about movies.” A New York Times and Los Angeles Times Critic’s Pick, it was an Official Selection of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival where it was nominated for The Golden Eye Prize, beginning an international festival run that also included Rotterdam, Edinburgh, and DOC NYC. Released theatrically by Zeitgeist Films in 2017, it screened in 68 US cities and 12 countries, followed by its broadcast premiere on Turner Classic Movies. Harold and Lillian was also a 2019 Cinema Eye Honors nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design and Animation and is currently streaming on Netflix around the English-speaking world.

In 2019, he partnered with the ASC, Turner Classic Movies, and the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library to create the feature-length documentary Image Makers: The Adventures of America’s Pioneer Cinematographers, which premiered at the Camerimage Film Festival, was another LA Times Critic’s Pick by Kenneth Turan, and aired on TCM. (In The Hollywood Reporter, Sherri Linden called it “eloquent” and “illuminating.”) 

Daniel is currently writing, producing, and directing a series of original documentaries for the Criterion Collection about cinema masters including John Cassavetes, Buster Keaton, Kelly Reichardt, François Truffaut, Andrei Tarkovsky, Alfred Hitchcock, and others. His film In Search of Ozu (2018) premiered on the Criterion Channel on April 16th, 2018 to rave reviews.

Daniel Raim interviewing Leonard Maltin in 2019 for Image Makers: The Adventures of America’s Pioneer Cinematographers

In 2016, Daniel embarked on an educational tour through India, screening his feature trilogy for students and lecturing on the art and craft of documentary filmmaking. 

In 2017, Daniel launched the online course: Documentary Storytelling and Scriptwriting: A Step-By-Step Workflow To Structure Complex Real Life Stories Into Compelling Films. Click here to learn about his course.

Daniel has screened his films and lectured at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, HOT DOCS, Cannes Film Festival, DOC NYC, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, AFI Conservatory: Harold Lloyd Master Seminar, Walt Disney Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, ILM, DreamWorks Animation SKG, Sony Animation Studios, and Canadian Film Center/TIFF Bell Lightbox, among others.

(ABOVE) Daniel Raim at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival world premiere of HAROLD AND LILLIAN



How to Contact Daniel


If you are interested in one-on-one consulting for your project, click here for information about Daniel Raim Private Consulting or contact via email.

Students in Daniel’s Documentary Storytelling and Scriptwriting Class get a 25% discount on consulting services. Just use discount code danstudent25 during check-out.



Press for Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story:

“★★★★★ One of the very best documentaries ever made about movies!”



“TRULY CHARMING… A terrifically moving human story!”



“CRITICS’ PICK!… Captivating…Delightful…Fascinating!”


“A passionate and beguiling movie-love documentary that shines a light on two of the unsung artisan heroes of Hollywood.”


“Taught me more that I didn’t know about the movies I love than any other documentary I’ve ever seen; that it also taught me more about the challenges and rewards of sustaining a marriage than any film before it, fiction or non-fiction, is some kind of small miracle!”

“CRITICS’ PICK!… Like flipping through misplaced leaves in a photo book, the documentary maintains a free-flowing tone as it uncovers the work that went into creating some of the indelible scenes in Hollywood history.”


“A revelation! … An eye-opening tribute to one of the least understood or appreciated aspects of  filmmaking, and a challenge to  filmmakers to believe in what they do!”
— Donald Liebenson, Chicago Sun-times

“If you care about the great days of Hollywood past — and how could you not — it’s hard to resist Something’s Gonna Live!”

“UNEXPECTEDLY MOVING…Daniel Raim’s fly-on-the-wall portrait of legendary production designer Robert Boyle and his illustrious friends stands as a bittersweet love letter to some of old Hollywood’s least-heralded artisans.”
—Andrew Barker, VARIETY

—Karina Longworth, INDIEWIRE

“SPLENDID, DEEPLY MOVING! The committed artists of Something’s Gonna Live, while grateful for their remarkable careers, are not sentimentalists. What a challenge their body of work presents to current and future filmmakers!”

“Daniel Raim’s Something’s Gonna Live is absolutely infused with profound admiration and respect for the people who can make real or imagined worlds come alive.”