One of the important influences I have would be John Safran and his funny yet thought-provoking documentaries. Most of his documentary films are very controversial and full of satire.
In his more recent show John Safran Vs God, he really pushes it further by trying out and joining in the different rituals of different religions. He was even in the Philippines and participated with some devotees who crucify themselves. Most would probably find his satirical criticism of religion very offensive but I consider them to be very informative and eye-opening.
But what I really loved about him would be his earlier works, specifically those documentaries he made for the Australian reality show Race Around the World. It really helped shape my idea of what a documentary should be.
Basically, they were tasked to go to different countries and make a documentary about their trip. Most of the contestants did exactly that and presented what was typical and expected. But not John Safran. His videos were not only very unique and unexpected, they were also very entertaining.
His documentaries were mostly about him getting stuck in a train station in Japan overnight while it was closed, running while naked or streaking in Israel, making a shaman place a curse on his ex-girlfriend, and many other funny stuff. His documentaries were just so uncanny that people were so entertained. He showed the world, or perhaps it would be more fitting to say that he showed me, that there was more to travel than what we see in brochures or travel guides.
John Safran is really a significant influence to me. And I realized that it would really be selfish of me if I don’t share his brilliance to the world. His race around the world videos are back up on YouTube. But I really don’t know for how long it’s gonna be there. I will have a copy of them very soon. So just tell me if you are interested.