Since completing a BBC production traineeship in 2000, he has directed documentaries on a number of subjects, from arts and music to geopolitical issues for the BBC and Channel Four. For several years he was associated with Yeastculture, a group of filmmakers and video artists that made music videos for live stage shows and for art installations as well as TV documentaries.
In 2003, his feature documentary The Leech and the Earthworm co-directed with Marc Silver was successful at film festivals in many countries. That same year, The End of the Line, his fictional short (made with the help of the UK Film Council New Cinema Fund, Screen East and Tilt Films) which starred Miriam Margolyes and David Oyelowo was nominated for best short at the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival and selected for several other international festivals. In 2005, he directed the short psychological drama Blackout, as well as a series of other documentary films about the rise to power of the left-wing in Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador. These four feature-length films were shown at film festivals globally and the director and producers were invited to present talks and lectures at universities and political summits all over the world.
His feature collaboration as film editor with Michael Nyman, NYman with a Movie Camera, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and Barbican Hall in London in 2010 before being moving to the Berlin Film Festival, Turin, Sydney, Morelia and MOMA New York in 2011. The film has been screened around the world in 2012 in a new version. In August 2013 the film opened as an 11-screen video installation at Summerhall during the Edinburgh Festival.  The installation then travelled to Art Basel in Miami, and Zona Maco in Mexico City. In 2015 Michael Nyman and Max Pugh have screened their new film War Work to critical acclaim in Paris, Budapest, Cologne and London (December 2015) with a theatrical release planned for 2016.
In 2013 Max Pugh completed The Road to Freedom Peak, a feature documentary about Jonathan Okwir, a former child soldier in Uganda with the Australian journalist and producer Corrin Varady and the actor Djimon Hounsou. In 2015 he finished work on Walk With Me, a documentary about the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh with the filmmaker Marc Francis (Black Gold).
- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/4323657/Michael-Nyman-takes-a-new-route.html February 2009
- http://eleconomista.com.mx/entretenimiento/2010/03/18/nyman-festejara-su-cumplenos-lunario March 2010
- http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/fl-CdwjqGDJ/Talent+Lab+Michael+Nyman+2010+Toronto+International/9aKagGl8lFP/Max+Pugh September 2010
- http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2014/03/freedom-peak-an-inspiring-documentary.html March 2014