Hello friends,


What’s going on? 25 years after the fatal stabbing of black teenager Stephen Lawrence (just revisited by the excellent BBC series The Murder That Changed a Nation) and the UK is in the grip of a knife crime epidemic, with London’s murder rate over-taking New York and the prognosis looks bleak - specifically for the mostly young, black men who make up the victims. As Member of Parliament for Tottenham David Lammy said “We think of gun and knife crime among teenagers as normal. And it is not.”

Mainstream media wade in and wade out with fleeting headline stories, disconnected from the communities on which they are reporting. But what do the community themselves say? Those people most at risk? What happens when they take the narrative into our own hands? Well...

Meet Simeon ‘Zimbo’ Moore and Dylan Duffus who were at the forefront of Penny Woolcock's documentary One Mile Away - which followed two opposing gang members in their efforts to forge a truce and bring an end to decades of violence involving shootings and knife crime.

Zimbo and Dylan have started up their own grassroots media project and have just launched a brand new YouTube channel called DATS TV. Their mission is to “produce content to help reshape a culture of violence and chaos”. Check out their Real Talks conversation about revenge and karma and their launch music video Mind of A Slave. Big up to the Bertha Foundation who gave start up support to Dats TV, continuing a journey of partnership with Zimbo and Dylan that began with One Mile Away.

Zimbo laid out his philosophy in this fascinating recent Huffington Post piece “At one stage I was a part of the problem and was one of the driving forces fuelling the culture in Birmingham…. Knife crime, gun crime and youth violence on a whole are just symptoms of a much deeper problem, a mind-set that tells us we should go out and kill or die for streets/ postcodes we do not own instead of growing and developing ourselves so we are able to support our families and communities”

Whilst you subscribe to the new DATS TV channel check out the rest of our May news listening to our Emancipation Playlist:

Zimbo Freemind — "Mind of a Slave (feat. Twisted Revren)"

Nuggz — That’s Life (from One Mile Away)

Skepta f/ Young Lord — "It Ain't Safe"

Ghetts — "Rebel"

Nadia Rose — "Skwod"

Krept & Konan — "Don’t Waste My Time"

Lowkey — "My Soul"

Plan B — "Ill Manors"

Never too Late to Grow — Zimbo …..


From music videos to roundtable conversations, to live rap performances, to coverage of their local community, DATS TV has already attracted over 15,000 views and encouraged 400 people to subscribe for their weekly uploads.

Doc Society has had the privilege of helping them set up their channel and offer advice around video strategy as they strive towards their objective of reaching 1,000 YouTube subscribers by the end of the year.

What can you do to support these guys?

If you have a YouTube account be sure to click here!

You can also support them by liking their Facebook page and following them on Instagram

DATS TV at its heart aims to become a self-sustaining grassroots effort, so is in the process of setting up a crowdfunding page, which we will be sure to shout loudly about once it goes live a little closer to the summer. So in the meantime please view, comment, like and share the lo


How do you #Doc Society is a listening tour around the UK and next week the BFI Doc Society Fund team (Lisa Marie, Lynn and Erin) are excited to be holding our first event in Newcastle. With friends at Film Hub North and Tyneside we are hosting a full day of doc appreciation, news on opportunities and support for non-fiction filmmakers, creative workshops, discussion and one-to-one doc surgeries.

Perhaps you’re a visual artist with a great idea for the documentary form, a student, an NGO, a journalist, activist, community leader, spoken word poet … whether you're an established filmmaker making shorts or features, or new to the form - you would be so welcome.

Come join us on Wednesday 30th May 2018

Time: 10am - 6pm

Venue: Tyneside, Newcastle

We will be joined by national doc lovers from The Guardian, VICE, NOWNESS, Channel 4 Random Acts, as well as regional reps from Film Hub North and Northern Film and Media and hearing case studies from filmmakers from the North-East who we admire. Come and make connections and get your creative juices going.


This our first major event in the North, but we welcome all doc curious folks from far and wide.

If you need financial support to attend, please contact fiona@docsociety.org

We’re plotting more events around the country but in the meantime here’s some dates for the diary in a neighbourhood near you:

Lisa Marie will be moderating the Sundance Art and Doc Film Panel - June 3rd.

Lynn Nwokorie will be representing the fund at the Edinburgh Pitch- June 19th.

And of course we will all be going to Sheffield DocFest. More below!


Sheffield Doc/Fest is back on June 7th-12th and the Doc Society team will be there in force. Look out for the 22 strong members of our UK and NY teams - we can’t wait to meet you and find out more about your work.


WHAM! British Tropical Summer Party @ the Doc Society Clubhouse

Come celebrate our beautiful filmmakers and our gorgeous partners at the Bertha Foundation and the British Film Institute.

Let us take you to the place where membership's a smiling face…

Club Doc Soc drinks are cheap, fun and sunshine there's enough for everyone.

All delegates welcome, arrive early for a cocktail on the house.

Suntan not included.

Doc Society Club House


32A-34 Cambridge St, Sheffield S1 4HP

9.00pm - 2.00am


Come meet the new BFI Doc Society Fund team, and hear about their hopes and dreams, plans and schemes for both feature and short form funding:

Lisa Marie Russo - BFI Doc Society Fund Executive

Lynn Nwokorie - BFI Doc Society Fund Officer

Erin Bottari - BFI Doc Society Production Manager

Sandra Whipham - Doc Society Director with responsibility for the BFI Doc Society Fund

If you are a British based or British national filmmaker, we are here for you, and so are our brunch sandwiches, pastries and fruit platters.

Hadfield Hall, Church St, Sheffield S1 1HG

Saturday 9th June 2018 between 11.30am - 1pm

You can also catch Lisa Marie on the panel: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, The Future of Feature Documentaries, Monday @ 10AM, Netflix Crucible Studio: : and at other events tbc.


Marjon Javadi from the Bertha Journalism Fund team will be over from New York and joining Lisa Marie Russo and Lynn Nwokorie representing the BFI Doc Society Fund at the Meet Market with appointments to get together with a ton filmmakers over the course of the fest.


All these amazing Doc Society grantees are screening at DocFest. Catch them if you can:

Lost Warrior Dir. by Søren Steen Jespersen & Nasib Farah, Denmark (Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund)

The Silence of Others Dir. by Almudena Carracedo & Robert Bahar, Spain & USA (Good Pitch)

When the War Comes (GP Film) Dir. by Jan Gebert, Czech Republic & Croatia (Good Pitch)

Black Mother Dir. by Khalik Allah, USA. (Pulse Genesis Fund)

Shirkers Dir. by Sandi Tan, USA (Pulse Genesis Fund)

Hale County This Morning, This Evening Dir. by RaMell Ross, USA (Pulse Genesis Fund)


Doc Society has a number of discounted passes to offer for £209 + VAT on a first-come, first-served basis. There are only a handful available, so grab one HERE before they go. Please note, too, that there are no refunds on previously purchased passes.


The new European cycle of Good Pitch is live! Over the next six months, we’re working with six extraordinary film teams from across the European continent to develop their impact strategies and connect them to new allies and partners. Leading to the live climax on 1st October 2018, when we will be bringing together around 250 organisations from across civil society to come and learn more about the power of these independent documentary films at a high-level pitch & networking event in the heart of Amsterdam.

We are so grateful for the generosity of our Good Pitch Europe supporters: Creative Europe MEDIA programme, Adessium Foundation, Democracy & Media Foundation, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Norwegian Film Institute, De Vanenburg and Free Press Unlimited. You guys rock.

We feel privileged to be working with such a purposeful and original set of films, not to mention the talent and relentless energy of this group of filmmakers. Crafting stories about a European company dumping toxic waste, a network of citizen journalists investigating war and crime, dealing with the aftermath of suicide among young people, survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, the threat of the artificial intelligence revolution, and a story about immigrants, identity and justice. So a drum roll please for…


Lars Edman, William Johansson & Ellie Smith (Sweden / UK)

The Bellingcat Method

Julia Ton & Yula Altchouler (the Netherlands)


Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natasegara & Abigail Anketell-Jones (UK)

The Girl In The Mirror

Tone Grøttjord-Glenne & Anita Rehoff Larsen (Norway)


Tonje Hessen Schei & Jonathan Borge Lie (Norway)

Number 38

Madeleine Leroyer & Valérie Montmartin (France)

Fancy attending Good Pitch Europe 2018?

Find out how as well as more information on the selected films here: https://goodpitch.org/events/gpeu2018.


We’re also delighted to welcome this year’s new cohort of European Impact Producers: Fleur Nieddu (UK) // Ged Fitzsimmons (Scotland) // Jacqui Timberlake (UK) // Loretta van der Horst (The Netherlands) // Marion Guth (Luxembourg) // Miriam van Oort (The Netherlands) // Nina Landau (Belgium) // Orsolya Komlósi (Hungary) // Vivian Schröder (Germany)

As part of the Good Pitch programme, Doc Society builds capacity and trains Impact Producers who can help take a film from completion to impact. This year’s cohort brings together 9 professionals from across the European Union who are working at the intersection of storytelling and impact. They represent the worlds of film production and distribution, campaigning, journalism, legal and marketing & PR.

Through a 4-day Impact Lab retreat hosted in The Netherlands from 23-26 April, the team poured over case studies and dissected effective strategies for using independent documentary film as a tool for social or environmental change.

Learn more about these brilliant humans here: https://docsociety.org/impact-lab/.


Good Pitch has already worked with local partners to bring events to Miami, Durham and Dallas and we are stoked to be working towards our first Detroit event in partnership with the fantastic folks at Detroit Narrative Agency and the Freep Film Festival on Tuesday July 17, 2018.

Good Pitch Local aims to support local voices by connecting filmmakers with local funders, local organizers, local lawyers, local educators, local policy makers and local media to shape innovative media that can galvanize their communities.

In Detroit we are taking our lead from the Detroit Narrative Agency whose philosophy chimes so perfectly with the intention behind the Good Pitch Local initiative. DNA say “For too long, the stories that circulate about Detroit have defined it as broken, violent, and in need of saving from itself...Invisible from that narrative is the Detroit that was saving itself along, the Detroit that is pushing back against marginalization and erasure, the Detroit that has a vision for the future based in liberation and justice. The Detroit Narrative Agency is amplifying that Detroit, incubating quality and compelling stories that will shift the dominant narratives about this place towards liberation and justice”.

Deep respect and gratitude for welcoming us to their city and challenging us to go deep.

Based in Detroit? Know people that are? Please get in touch GoodPitchLocal@DocSociety.org

Our own Good Pitch Local Producer Patricia Finneran and Doc Society board member Twiggy Pucci Garcon will be at Allied Media Conference to meet up with media + change makers for a GPL info session on June 14.

Stay tuned for: Atlanta, Philadelphia and the Bronx.


We were overwhelmed with responses from UK teachers at the end of 2017 when we asked about how they are teaching climate change. They told us it was vital that young people gain understanding about our impact on the environment and connect with the human stories behind climate action. But increasing pressure to meet targets and less space in the curriculum calls for new, innovative ways to incorporate these issues at school.

So we’ve added fantastic new resources to Doc Academy to help teachers do just that with clips from the awesome doc Thank You for the Rain. Through the story of Kisilu, a Kenyan farmer experiencing the effects of climate change, students can begin a journey of learning that takes them from Kenya, to environmental conferences in Denmark, all the way to COP21.

Both English and Geography teachers have chosen clips from the film - now available to stream or download for free for use in class. They've written comprehensive, curriculum-specific lesson plans full of exercises to use with the film clips. Exploring climate impact, international responsibility and citizenship through exercises and classroom activities, all set around Kisilu's story.

We took the opportunity to have a Spring clean across the platform. Choosing the most popular and relevant plans, we have re-published a new, streamlined collection of resources, all updated to the current curriculum and contexts.

So please check it out and if you think the resources are useful, shout from the rooftops and share with teacher friends! Follow updates on Doc Academy Facebook and Twitter


To help share the learnings of our community far and wide, we are delighted to announce that the Impact Field Guide is now also available in Arabic and Portuguese - thanks to our amazing partners at DoxBox and DocSP

It’s all yours. Online. Free. Just take it, teach it, share it.

This Autumn we will be doing a full update of the Guide. If there are topics you want to see explored, case studies you would like to recommend - please email beadie@docsociety.org


The BFI Doc Society Fund is delighted to announce two new appointments to help steer the fund and support British documentary filmmakers, we welcome:

Erin Bottari - Production Manager, BFI Doc Society Fund

Erin joins us as production manager - advising and supporting grantees on every step of their journey across budgets and production issues. Originally training as a ballet dancer, Erin discovered the film industry via law and a fair amount of gin. She has worked on a variety of film for Film4 and Netflix, amongst others. After working with leading documentary filmmakers including Ken Loach and Penny Woolcock she decided that non-fiction - with a view for social impact - was for her. Outside of film, Erin has worked for many organisations that fight for social justice including Legal Advice Centre, Stonewall, Islington Food Bank, Labour Party, Victim Support and the Free Andy Tsege campaign, and produces her own fundraising events. She likes immersive theatre, border collies and vegan macaroni cheese.

Christine Howard - Business Affairs Manager, BFI Doc Society Fund

Christine will be working with us in house two days a week as the Fund’s Business Affairs Manager, administering the filmmaker contracts and advising grantees on finance and contract issues on their films. Christine is a highly experienced Business Affairs Exec who has worked in house and as a consultant across all areas of film financing, acquisitions and sales for companies such as Celluloid Dreams, Metro Tartan, The Works and numerous independent production companies. Christine loves working with new talent and loves nothing more than explaining the intricacies of recoupment waterfalls to the uninitiated - we feel lucky to have her on the team!


In 2017, we launched the first Doc Society Fellowship scheme and were delighted to support three emerging voices of UK documentary: Daisy Hudson, Ashish Ghadiali and Marlon Rouse-Tavares. We’re now welcoming three more fellows into the family to join us for 10 months of career development and mentorship supporting creative UK filmmakers looking to go to the next level in their careers in feature documentary filmmaking.

Carol Salter

Carol Salter is an award-winning documentary director with a Fine Art and film editing background. Her debut feature documentary film, ALMOST HEAVEN won Best Documentary at British Independent Film Awards 2017 and premiered at Berlin International Film Festival 2017 where it was a double nominee for Best Documentary– Glashütte Original Documentary Award and a Crystal Bear.

Simon Sharp

Simon is an independent filmmaker and producer focusing on character-driven documentaries that represent marginalised groups and underreported stories both in the UK and further afield. Winner of the inaugural Medicines Sans Frontiers Humanitarian Filmmaker Award. Simon has recently produced commissions for Hull City of Culture 2017 and is currently developing a feature doc on the lives of fishermen and their families in the city as well as producing the current ‘Hidden Histories’ project on the Humber Bridge.

Gannesh Rajah

Gannesh has spent most of his career as an Account Director and Producer, working with a range of clients including Google, Samsung and Sky 1. He has worked at several film festivals (including Sundance London, and twice as a juror at the Sheffield Doc/Fest) and has produced three short films - the first has been selected for over a dozen festivals, including Foyle, Edmonton, and LSFF. He is currently working in development and production on a feature doc as well as a doc series based on a Pulitzer-Prize-nominated book.

All three filmmakers will be attending Sheffield Doc/Fest so please do introduce yourself and find out more about their current projects.


Hosted by Giuliano Cavalli, Vanessa Cuervo and the team at Fundación Cámara Oscura in partnership with the British Council Colombia and the Ford Foundation, five incredible film teams reflecting social justice stories from all over Colombia raised the roof in Barranquilla last month.

Inspired by the power of storytelling, some incredible connections and commitments were made from the 250 specially invited participants. From coal miners to human rights defenders, publishers and academics, festivals and film funders - thank you one and all for taking the time to come and take part.

With love & respect to all our Good Pitch collaborators who helped to support this edition - Bruni Burres, Paula Vacaro, Malinda Wink and Kristie Robinson. You are champions!


At CPH:DOX earlier this year we were enthralled by a conversation between the brilliant Tabitha Jackson, director of the Documentary Film Program at Sundance Institute, and Joaquin Alvarado, from Studiotube and former director of Centre for Investigative Reporting about the relationship between journalism and creative documentary filmmaking. This was part of a day of conversation and debate around Safety and Security in our community.

Joaquin: I think what the producers of content are not smart enough about is how the Internet has blown up and it’s a total shit show right now. So when you introduce a piece of content, what are you fighting against in terms of how that narrative gets interpreted? I don’t think most filmmakers have a sense of that — journalists certainly don’t. How it can be trolled, manipulated, twisted and reinterpreted..

Tabitha: I think what is happening at the moment is an increased burden on the audience to be literate and ask the right questions around everything — things that they didn’t use to have to question. There’s also a burden on filmmakers to be aware of what they are doing... One of the joys of documentary now is that meaning and the truth that it tells can and will change depending who’s encountering it and when it’s being encountered. The things that don’t change are the facts/data, and that’s where our responsibility lies…

Want more? We did and so we transcribed it word for word and our good friends at Filmmaker Magazine have published it. So get a cup of tea, a comfy chair and discover what all this has to do with the Pieter Bruegel’s masterpiece Landscape with the Fall of Icarus.


team Doc Society


twitter facebook
© 2018 The Documentary Society
If you need to get in touch or have questions please mail hello@docsociety.org

Unsubscribe Me