Grierson defined documentary as ‘the creative treatment of actuality’. The aim of this article is to add to existing discussions of this phrase. Attention will be given to documentary as art, and the Griersonian notion of ‘artist’. An examination of the relationship between art, creativity and documentary production and consumption will rationalize and reconceptualize creativity for documentary practice. This reconceptualization of documentary creativity will result from three theoretical perspectives. First, the systems model of creativity presents a holistic view of the creative documentary system at work. Next, the staged creative process theories will be paralleled to the documentary production process. The final theory presents group creativity which accounts for collaborative documentary work. In concluding, a brief discussion on the appropriateness of creativity theories for documentary practice will be presented.