Hello friends,

We are all a bit tired over here at Doc Society.

But it’s no mystery. It’s been a mega year. We’ve taken 10 Good Pitch events around the globe, granted 17 films through the new BFI Doc Society Fund, supported another 11 features through the Bertha Doc Society Journalism Fund & Threshold Fund, convened 116 impact producers from 41 countries, roadtripped to 3 different UK regions to seek out new British filmmakers, launched 1 new Safe and Secure hostile environment protocol and the New Perspectives development fund, published 2 new curriculum guides on Doc Academy, dropped 6 episodes of our first podcast Mothers of Invention, gained 45k subscribers, filmed 2 whistleblowers and threw 2 blowout parties (one with 20 inflatable palm trees).......and of course we really wanted a partridge in a pear tree but couldn’t quite pull that off..

No wonder we all need a little rest so that we can come back and serve our beloved community with renewed vigour. Channeling the beautiful words of Lebanese-born writer Kahil Gibran, first published in 1923

Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune. But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born, And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life, And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.

And what is it to work with love? It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth. It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.

It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit. It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit, And to know that all th blessed dead are standing about you and watching.

Work is love made visible.

So until next year dear friends! And meantime here is a mellow magical playlist to wind down to, featuring the good and the gorgeous...

Leon Bridges / The Staple Singers / Nouvelle Vague / The Monkees / Soul II Soul

And many many more


This Christmas I’m giving my heart to someone special…. Doc Soc teamsters headed out for a bit of alternative secret santa action to the Choose Love Store in London’s Soho to purchase practical survival and shelter gifts for refugees. Another initiative of the amazing Help Refugees organisation, the store has raised almost £1 million and in less than 2 years, at the same time as the team have become the biggest facilitator of grassroots aid on the European continent, with more than 80 projects across Europe and the Middle East. Totally impressive.

Please do check them out and get involved if you can.

And news just in this week that 164 United Nations member states have just adopted the historic Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at a summit in Marrakech. This is the first-ever UN global agreement on a common approach to international migration in all it’s dimensions.


2018 may be coming to a close but the excitement and energy within the BFI Doc Society team continues as we announce the first projects and filmmakers supported through the BFI Doc Society: Made of Truth Shorts Scheme, using funding from the National Lottery The following projects have been granted £11,250 to make a short film under 40 minutes and the teams will also receive editorial support and mentoring during the post-production process. The call for projects, earlier on in the year, drew a rich tapestry of stories and talents ranging from the deeply personal to the truly outlandish but all stories were grounded in truth. Here are the ones that bowled us over with their vision:

The Masses | Dir. Dorothy Allen-Pickard | Prod. Aleksandra Bilic | Prod. Co. My Accomplice

A visceral and empathetic look at three neighbour’s devotion to their respective religions: Islam, Christianity and Football. Set in three different South-East London homes and temples, it questions what brings us together and what sets us apart.

Never Actually Lost | Dir. Rowan Ings | Prod. John Archer | Prod. Co. Hopscotch Films

A deeply personal work, Never Actually Lost is the story of Audrey Anderson’s life and death, created in her last year of life. As an experimental archival film, it explores the themes of identity, legacy and loss through a series of conversations with the filmmaker’s Grandmother, based on an archive of home films. Never Actually Lost explores how we remember another person, and how we remember our own selves.

The Circle | Dir. Lanre Malaolu | Prod. Elizabeth ME Benjamin | Prod. Co. UPRA Productions LTD

A bold and lyrical portrayal of two young brothers, David and Sanchez, living on a Hackney council estate. The film gives a compelling insight into masculinity, mental health and the stigmas the brothers face daily - and how they process their emotions.

Combining dance with documentary, their story and the challenges they face are embodied through vivid movement sequences. The Circle questions what it means to be a young black man growing up in inner London, reinforcing the importance of family, friendships, and community.

Bathroom Privileges | Dir. Rupert Williams | Prod. Emma Parsons | Prod. Co. Kolour Productions LTD

An animated documentary exploring the exclusion of people from the universal right of access to public bathrooms. Hearing first hand testimonies from marginalised communities: people who are of colour, disabled and gender non-conforming we use the public convenience and taken for granted space as a lens to talk about everyday exclusion, difference and the impact this can have.

Jacaranda | Dir. Eva-Grace Bor | Prod. Sorcha Baron | Prod. Co. Try Hard Films LTD

A poetic documentation on post-colonial coloured identity in Zimbabwe. With fatherhood as a lens, the film pieces together a fragmented family history and explores the complexities of cultural duality, diaspora and the intersection of personal and collective memories.

Lilith and Gwen | Dir. Ellie Evans | Prod. Pearl Doughty-White

A portrait of youth in a time of precarity. Taking as its central concern the relationship between Lilith and her best and only female friend Gwen, the film will focus on the ways in which they make their lives possible despite the daily setbacks afforded by their economic circumstances.

Untitled project | Dir. Lola Young, Matt Shea | Prod. Margo Mars | Prod. Co. Lief

The story of a young woman struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness that is changing the course of her life and everyone around her. Crafted from two decades of journals and sketchbooks with family members and actors appearing together in a new form that seamlessly blends reality & performance of Self.

Supported by The Guardian and Lush Film Fund.

Hattie | Dir. Tyro Heath | Prod. Fleur Nieddu

This short film follows Hattie, a sixteen-year-old drama student and photographer living with a disability. Hattie has spent large chunks of her life in various hospitals and she recently made the decision to leave full time education and study Drama at college instead. In this film Hattie reflects on her experiences of growing up so far, celebrating and confronting the challenges of being disabled, but also of being a teenager.

Jalalludien | Dir. Isabel Morales Bondy | Prod. Steven Lake | Prod. Co. Brass Mill Media

Jalalludien was raised to be a Taliban warrior. He fled to the UK where he now is a teenage refugee. Jalal believes only good people play the violin; through music and painting, he deals with his trauma, despite art being a sin in his religion. Trapped between who he was raised to be, who he is expected to be and how he is perceived, Jalal tries to figure out what the future holds for him.

Made of Truth will happen again later in 2019. So all of you short filmmakers with ideas bubbling, keep checking into the Doc Society website for dates and crucial info.


Never has the Safe + Secure initiative, which we have had the honour of coordinating, been so needed. We’ve already had the materials used by hundreds of productions and this week we launched our newest resource: a very comprehensive Hostile Filming Protocol to prepare you for working under threat at home or abroad.

Respects and thanks to James Brabazon, British documentary filmmaker, journalist, and author who helped us build this new resource, drawing on extensive conflict zone experience.

If in doubt: don’t go.

OK, so you think you need to go?

In that case, you’ll need to complete a Hostile Filming Protocol.

Safe + Secure is a field wide initiative in collaboration with Sundance, Perspective Fund, ITVS, Ford Foundation, Bertha Foundation, Catapult Fund, Media Impact Funders, Chicken & Egg, Field of Vision, Filmmaker Fund, IDA, First Look, A&E, Fledgling Fund, Hartley Film Fund, HBO, Impact Partners, POV, Tribeca Film Institute and Wyncote Foundation

Together we are safer.

If you or your organisation can help make a language translation of the guide possible, please be in touch: contribute@safeandsecure.film

If you have any other feedback so we can keep improving the initiative, do send us an email: contribute@safeandsecure.film


We borrowed this pic of the Dublin Ecofeminist Coven who we’re thrilled to see have adopted the tagline for our Mothers of Invention podcast. 2018 has seen an incredible rise in the number of women involved in battling climate change with the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP24) reporting that this year, for the first time, more than half of the decision-making bodies of the UNFCCC have female representation of 38% or more. As the UN Climate Summit COP24 comes to a close, we’re particularly blown away by the young sistas stealing the show, including Vic Barrett (who features in our first episode of Mothers of Invention), 15 yr-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and others.

It certainly is the Year of the Women in climate change and our very own, lovingly produced podcast MOTHERS OF INVENTION we flew the flag for some of the inspirational women on the frontline innovating for climate change. If you missed it (where have you been?) we guarantee the perfect antidote the seasonal consumer overload - subscribe here, share with your nearest and dearest, give us your support.. and we’ll continue to serve up some audio magic and champion the mothers fighting for our lives @MothersInvent.

And we are now gearing up for brand new episodes in early 2019 and we’d love your ideas on any mind-blowing climate change solutions being cooked up by leading women. Contact: Aisha@docsociety.org.


At Good Pitch Local Philadelphia on 4 December 2018 there were 16 projects and more than 170 attendees, representing the collective connections of six local media and social justice partners … we were wowed by the spirit of generosity and deep connections in this big city… At GPL #5, we had reps from Miami, Durham, Dallas and Detroit in the house to offer their support, and folks from Hawaii, Berlin and Mumbai where there getting ready to host their own.

Direct community service organizations took center stage in Philly. Reverend Michelle Simmons (pictured above) the founder of “Why Not Prosper?” which helps formerly incarcerated women transition back into society, envisioned a digital billboard that would communicate directly with the women and men in her community, friends from 1Gen.io––visiting from Delhi! –– showed some love and designed the prototype above, helping her to realize her vision. Teamwork makes the dreamwork!

Stand by for more news in January when we will be opening the call for entries for the national edition of Good Pitch USA.


Are loving awards season…

Evelyn just won BEST DOCUMENTARY at the British Independent Film Awards. If you’re in the UK, there’s still a chance to catch it in a city near you here.

Shirkers just won BEST DOCUMENTARY 2018 at the LA Film Critics Association

And this gorgeous bunch took home prizes at the IDA Awards

MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A (by Steve Loveridge) & Mr. SOUL! (by Melissa Haizlip & Samuel Pollard) won Best Music Documentary

The Silence of Others by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar received the Pare Lorentz Award and

has just been nominated for Best Feature Documentary at the GOYAS.

Best Music Score: it was a tie between our very own Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Composers: Scott Alario, Forest Kelley, Alex Somers) and Bisbee ‘17 (Keegan DeWitt)

Hale County This Morning, This Evening is on release in selected UK cinemas on 18th January 2019. Take a new year trip to the cinema and show your support for this gorgeous film. Director RaMell Ross will be back in the UK for Q&As on the first week of release, starting with a preview at the BFI Southbank on 15th Jan. You can find information on all the screening dates and places via the folks at the ICA here.

And in even more Sundance news... Our brilliant board member Twiggy Pucci Garcon has been working on Belle of The Ball VR project which has just been accepted to New Frontiers at Sundance. ‘A journey into a futuristic reimagined utopia of queer + trans family and dance made in collaboration with members of New York’s ballroom scene.’

Literally. Can’t. Wait.


Doc Society x

P.S This week we’ve also realised how many of our beloved team members look like Playmobil characters. Here are our very own James Franklin and Teem Khan just for instance...

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