BFI Doc Society presents

What does independent creative documentary filmmaking look like in the UK today?
Who is shaping the most remarkable and original stories in non-fiction?

Tune in with BFI Doc Society for an online series of creative documentary storytelling masterclasses unpacking the journey of crafting brand new BIFA nominated documentaries (made possible with National Lottery funds). We will invite the filmmaking teams behind the work to share their valuable insights into finding and developing new, original ideas and material, using archive to craft narrative, working collaboratively for a shared vision, achieving bold, cinematic work and harnessing the almighty magic of the documentary edit.

Aimed at inspiring new documentary filmmakers and the doc-curious, these open access creative masterclasses are a chance to gather up gems of knowledge shared experiences from fellow filmmakers accomplishing remarkable things in the field.

The series will include in-depth, inclusive conversations with the filmmaking teams behind: Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters (BIFA nominated for Best Debut Director/s and Best Cinematography), Nascondino (Hide and Seek) (BIFA nominated for Best Feature Documentary, Best Debut Director, Best Cinematography and Breakthrough Producer/s), Nothing Compares (BIFA winner of Best Feature Documentary, Best Debut Director and nominated for Best Editor)

#1 Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters

Monday 12 December

2.00PM - 3.30PM (GMT)

Please register to attend free here >

With filmmakers: Eddie Hutton-Mills and Leah Gordon (Co-directors), Natasha Dack Ojumu (Producer) and Xanna Ward Dixon (Editor).

Hosted by: Lynn Nwokorie (Editorial Consultant and Executive Producer for documentary)

The first in a special online series of creative documentary masterclasses aimed at inspiring the next generation of filmmakers and creatives working in the documentary field, join session guide Lynn Nwokorie and the filmmakers of Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters. This session will explore the creative journey of the project from how the team initially formed their collaboration to developing their visual language with a wealth of archive, observational footage and rich character testimonies. Delving into the editing process and building narrative to create a powerful and deeply cinematic re-framing of Haiti’s history.


KANAVAL is a visually arresting feature documentary that is set in the present but tells the rich story of Haiti’s past, as we follow a number of carnival performers in the lead up to and during the annual Jacmel Mardi Gras. These performers relate their own personal histories as well as the stories of their carnival characters, representing moments and people from the distant and not so distant Haitian past.

Interwoven with the interviews, testimonies and observational footage, is archive material drawn from a wide variety of sources to enhance our understanding of Haitian history and culture from the time of the indigenous Taino through to the present day.

Watch the film in advance here: BBC iplayer

Access: Live (Human) Captioning (English Language) and British Sign Language will be available throughout the session

Advanced Questions: Please email Fiona by 10am on Monday 12th December []

This session is made possible with support from National Lottery funds. #NationalLottery


Leah Gordon – co-director/producer

Leah is a photographer, filmmaker, curator, and writer. Leah makes work on the links between the Slave trade and the inductrial revolution, and grassroots religious, class and folk histories. Gordon’s film and pho- tographic work has been exhibited internationally including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; the Dak’art Biennale and the National Portrait Gallery, UK. Her photography book ‘Kanaval: Vodou, Politics and Revolution on the Streets of Haiti’ was first published in 2010 and republished in 2021. She is the co-director of the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, Haiti; was the adjunct curator for the Haitian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale; was the co-curator of ‘Kafou: Haiti, History & Art’ at Nottingham Contemporary, UK; and was the curator of ‘PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince’ at Pioneer Works, NYC in 2018. Gordon was the co-director & producer for A PIG’S TALE for Channel 4/Arte and her art films have been in exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, UK; MCA, Sydney; BRIC, NYC, USA; Musee de l’Homme, Paris & the DuSable Museum, Chicago.

Eddie Hutton Mills – co-director

Eddie Hutton-Mills is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, who works internationally. He has made films on a diverse range of subjects from 2016 Young Musician of the Year Sheku Kanneh-Mason, to addiction, autism and gifted children from socially deprived backgrounds understanding the barriers they face to achieve success. His passion is for making films that tackle difficult societal issues and he is driven by a need to high- light people without a platform to voice their lived experience. Issues close to his heart are the present-day black experience and helping to confound and break stereotypes within our society. His films have an inti- mate and emotional style; rather than imposing a narrative, he allows contributors to tell their own stories.

Xanna Ward Dixon - editor

After completing a Masters degree in Religious Studies from the University of Edinburgh, she was accepted as a BBC and Adobe Scholar to study editing at the National Film and Television School. Since graduating Ishe has edited animation, fiction and documentary films which have been screened across the world at festivals such as Cannes Film Festival, the BFI London Film Festival, Palm Springs Film Festival and South By Southwest. Ward Dixon has editing broadcast credits on Channel 4, Netflix and HBO. Nominations and awards include BAF- TA, Grierson and the HBO Best Short at the American Black Film Festival. Her first feature documentary Poly Styrene: I Am A Cliche won both the Best Documentary and Raindance Discovery awards at the 2021 British Independent Film Awards.

With a passion for human stories and behaviour, she approaches each edit with imagination and creativity and ultimately strives to craft each film into an emotional and psychological journey. Xanna enjoys the challenge of complex narratives and structures in feature documentaries and always aims to add an artful and vibrant element to the films she works on.

Natasha Dack Ojumu – producer

Natasha is co founder of Tigerlily Productions, and producer of many acclaimed feature documentaries

and films that have premiered at international film festivals and been released theatrically. Tigerlily’s first feature doc 37 USES FOR A DEAD SHEEP won the Forum prize at the Berlin Film Festival and was released in cinemas in the UK and Germany. ONLY WHEN I DANCE for C4 and Arte premiered at Tribeca Film Festival and was acquired by HBO. THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT premiered at Sundance in 2016, was released theatrically in the US by Magnolia and acquired by Netflix. Tigerlily also produced the first documentary about Harvey Wein- stein, WORKING WITH WEINSTEIN (C4), two films for the flagship C4 current affairs strand Dispatches, a film about artist Olafur Eliasson for BBC1’s prime time arts strand Imagine.


Lynn Nwokorie

Lynn Nwokorie is an executive producer for documentaries at Dorothy St Pictures, documentary programme advisor for the BFI London Film Festival and editorial consultant for the Scottish Documentary Institute, Sundance Documentary Fund and the Gotham Film & Media Institute in New York.