In brief: Gates said it may seem counterintuitive to make the documentary while they're still in the middle of solving some of the world's really tough problems but he is hopeful that the project will get more people engaged in the issues. "I hope this documentary leaves people optimistic that big problems can be tackled," Gates said.

Netflix is set to premiere a three-part documentary next month that examines the post-CEO life of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as he attempts to solve some of the world's most enduring issues.

It's hard to believe but it's been nearly 20 years since Gates stepped down as Microsoft CEO in January 2000. Alongside his wife, he launched the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that same year by combining three family foundations.

With support from Warren Buffett, Gates helped launch the Giving Pledge in 2010 which encourages wealth couples and individuals to commit to donating at least half of their net worth to philanthropic causes.

Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates from director and producer Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for "Superman") explores what life has been like for Gates over the past couple of decades. Guggenheim said he didn't want to make a promotional piece about Gates' work but rather, focus on the tougher issues that nobody wants to think about like nuclear energy and sanitation.

Guggenheim added that his work is sometimes viewed as being about issues but to him, they're about fascinating people. "Bill Gates has always been a compelling figure," he said, "but what makes him such an interesting person to think about right now is the way in which his optimism and pragmatism drives his approach to problem-solving."

Inside Bill's Brain: Decoding Bill Gates is scheduled for launch on September 20.

Masthead credit: Bill Gates illustration by Marina Linchveska