Documentary filmmaker

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BBC trained documentary filmmaker

One of my favourite roles is to work as a documentary filmmaker. With over 15 years working in broadcast and video production, I bring a wide range of creative, technical and people skills to all my commissions. In this case study, I give a brief overview of a film that I filmed and edited for a well-known charity.

Commission brief

Since 2007 The Koestler Trust has supported ex-offenders to continue with their artistic activities by matching them with a specially trained arts mentor. The Koestler Trust commissioned me to make a film to explain and promote their mentoring programme to future mentees, mentors and funders.

Film overview

The 19-minute film explains how the programme works and features interviews with some of the people involved. It explains the journey from a mentee that is starting out through to a mentee that has attained a higher level with the programme. Filmed at a variety of locations across the UK over six months it includes interviews and filmed footage of three mentee’s, three mentor’s, a probation officer, a funder of a scholarship programme and prison-based art tutors.

Special filming permission

During the making of the film, I was given special permission to film inside the art room at HMP Lewes by Nigel Foote, the then prison governor. I was able to carefully film prison inmates (without revealing their identity) during their art classes. The footage from HMP Lewes helped the film illustrate how some ex-offenders are able to start participating in the arts and how that art can help them progress at many different levels. I also travelled up to Manchester, over to Swindon and down to Falmouth to film three different mentors who had worked on the scheme. They were all able to give their own perspectives on their mentor/mentee relationship experiences.

Funded by The Cabinet Office

The film (which was funded by The Cabinet Office) explains how the project safeguards everyone involved and demonstrates the responsible ethos of mentee programme. It also illustrates the positive, emotional, skill-based and life-developmental results of the programme. The long version of the film was launched at Festival Hall in London on 3rd November 2014 to an invited audience.

Film supporting research

The film showing at Festival Hall supported the publication of The Arts of Desistance: Evaluation of the Koestler Trust Arts Mentoring Programme for Former Prisoners. It was written by Dr Leonidas Cheliotis, Assistant Professor of Criminology, LSE. This research was funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, which has also been the major funder of the mentoring programme.

All the music featured in this 19-minute film was selected from musical entries to the 2014 Koestler Awards. This means that all the music was created by inmates of secure institutions. A full list of credits can be seen at the end of the film. If you would like to discuss your project or my help as a documentary filmmaker, please get in touch.