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:

#3 Nothing Compares
(BIFA winner of Best Feature Documentary, Best Feature Documentary) Watch the Recording here >

#2 Nascondino (Hide and Seek)
(BIFA nominated for Best Feature Documentary and Breakthrough Producer/s) Watch the Recording here >>

#1 Kanaval: A People’s History of Haiti in Six Chapters
(BIFA nominated for Best Debut Director/s and Best Cinematography) Recording available to watch


Monday 6 March

2.00PM - 3.30PM (GMT)

Watch the Recording here >

With Kathryn Ferguson (Director), Eleanor Emptage (Producer) and Mick Mahon (Editor)

Hosted by Mia Bays (Director of the Filmmaking Fund, BFI)

Next up in our series of online creative documentary masterclasses aimed at inspiring the next generation of filmmakers in the field, Mia Bays (Director of the Filmmaking Fund at the BFI) will be speaking with the award winning filmmaking team behind Nothing Compares: director Kathryn Ferguson, producer Eleanor Emptage and editor Mick Mahon. Nothing Compares is a cinematic portrait of pop icon Sinéad OʼConnorʼs phenomenal rise to worldwide fame, and examines (through a rich archive and her own words) how she used her voice at the height of her stardom before her iconoclastic personality led to her exile from the pop mainstream.

This session will explore the role of archive and the magic of the editing process in developing compelling documentary stories, the importance of access and trusted, collaborative relationships with contributors and building narratives that do justice to those at the heart of the story. We will journey from the development of the film, financing and creative approach through to it’s reception at festivals across the world and critical acclaim.

About the Film

NOTHING COMPARES charts Sinéad OʼConnorʼs phenomenal rise to worldwide fame, and examines how she used her voice at the height of her stardom before her iconoclastic personality led to her exile from the pop mainstream. Focusing on Sinéad’s prophetic words and deeds from 1987 to 1993, the film presents an authored, richly cinematic portrait of this fearless trailblazer through a contemporary feminist lens.

The archive-led documentary features era-defining music videos and concert performances alongside previously unseen footage from this period. The film is underpinned by a new interview with Sinéad herself, in which she reflects on events in her own words, and from a present-day perspective. Intimate first-hand contributor interviews add to the tapestry with additional insights from contemporary artists, musicians and social commentators introducing broader themes of Irish history, politics and global activism, all the while reflecting on Sinéad’s artistry, impact and legacy.

Nothing Compares has been nominated for 12 International Awards including: Critics Choice Documentary Awards, IDA, Cinema Eye Honors, PGA and is the winner of Best Feature Documentary and Best Debut Director Feature Documentary at the British Independent Film Awards.


WATCH the film in advance on Apple TV, Amazon or Sky Store

The Filmmakers participating:

Kathryn Ferguson (Director)

Belfast-born Kathryn Ferguson is an award-winning director and writer. After a decade of focusing on short form work centred on identity, gender politics and community, she recently completed her first feature documentary NOTHING COMPARES about musician Sinéad O’Connor which premiered at Sundance 2022. The film has screened globally, been theatrically released, and has won multiple awards including Best Feature Documentary and Best Debut Director - Feature Documentary at this year's BIFA Awards. In addition, in 2022 Kathryn was awarded the BFI & Chanel award for Creative Audacity for a first-time feature director.

Eleanor Emptage (Producer)

Eleanor Emptage is an award-winning writer and producer, whose credits include the feature documentaries WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON ACTIVIST (Sundance 2018) and NOTHING COMPARES (Sundance 2022). Her work has been shown worldwide, on platforms including Amazon Prime, Showtime and the BBC, and selected for festivals including Tribeca, IDFA, CPH:DOX and SXSW.

Mick Mahon (Editor)

Mick Mahon has edited a host of award-winning films, and his work has been screened at festivals worldwide. He is a two-time IFTA winner. His credits include THE QUEEN OF IRELAND, GAZA, BREAKING OUT, LOVE YOURSELF TODAY and MARLOWE.

Moderated by:

Mia Bays (Director of the Filmmaking Fund, British Film Institute)

Mia Bays celebrates 32 years in film this year. She’s worked on over 150 films as a producer, sales agent and distributor, of both documentary and fiction. She has produced an Oscar winner and received a BAFTA nomination for Best Debut for her work on cult music film Scott Walker – 30 Century Man. She is a renowned champion of new/emerging talent (working on the early films of Riz Ahmed, Arinzé Kene, Hong Khaou and Deborah Haywood, Gavin Hood and Lucy Walker), a cultural activist and equality agitator (through Birds’ Eye View and Reclaim the Frame.) As of October 2021 she is the Director of the BFI Film Fund. At £30 million a year, it is the largest public fund in the UK for film.


Monday 13 February

2.00PM - 3.30PM (GMT)

Recording available soon here

Live captions will be available throughout this session

With filmmakers: Victoria Fiore (Director), Aleksandra Bilic (Producer), Jen Corcoran (Producer), Alfredo de Juan (Cinematographer)

Hosted by: Elena Lazic

Next up in our series of online creative documentary masterclasses aimed at inspiring the next generation of filmmakers in the field, session guide Elena Lazic will be speaking with the BIFA nominated filmmakers of Nascondino (Hide and Seek). This session will explore the creative journey of this beautiful, cinematic documentary: from how the team first came to work so personally with the young protagonists, their experience of working on location in Naples and finding collaborators, and how the striking visual language and poetic storytelling of the documentary emerged. This session digs deep into the powerful craft of independent documentary filmmaking and there will be an opportunity to ask the filmmakers questions.


Since the early 2010s and in response to a rising level of youth crime, the Italian justice system has operated under a policy that allows courts to remove high-risk children from families involved in organised crime. At risk is Entoni, a rambunctious 12-year-old boy, a mischievous but sweet fixture in Naples' Spanish Quarters. His grandmother Dora is determined to steer him towards the right track despite her own criminal past.

Stunningly shot and featuring unparalleled access to the world of inner-city Naples, Nascondino (Hide and Seek) captures the spirit and soul of a neighbourhood that finds itself both maligned and glamorised. A mythological and spiritual portrait of a community's hopes and regrets, its search for redemption and the importance of family in Neapolitan life.

The film received its World Premiere at the 2021 BFI London Film Festival, shortlisted for its Grierson Award and was BIFA nominated for Best Debut Director and Breakthrough Producers.

WATCH the film in advance - find a local cinema screening or online via Curzon Home Cinema

Nascondino (Hide and Seek) was produced with the support of the BFI Doc Society Fund (awarding National Lottery funding) and Film Commission Regione Campania.


Victoria Fiore - Director (She/Her) is an Italian film director working with creative documentaries. Her debut feature NASCONDINO premiered at the LFF21 in the Grierson Documentary Competition, and will now have its international premiere in competition at CPH:Dox 2022. She is currently in development with the fiction feature, AIDA, as well as offers workshops and mentorship to adolescents and young people entering film.

Jen Corcoran - Producer (She/Her) is a creative producer based in Teesside. Jen is currently developing a slate of international-facing feature films and high-end drama through her company Freya Films, with a focus on thoughtful and contemporary storytelling across both documentary and fiction. Jen’s Naples-set documentary NASCONDINO [HIDE AND SEEK] (BFI Doc Society Fund) premiered at LFF 2021 in the Grierson Documentary Competition and CPH:DOX 2022 in the DOX:AWARD Competition, receiving four nominations at BIFA 2022 including Best Documentary. Formerly Head of Film at My Accomplice (THE QUIET ONE, THE GREAT HACK), Jen's work has played at Tribeca, Sheffield DocFest and BFI Flare among others. Jen has a professional background in film sales and finance and has participated in development labs with BAFTA, BFI, IFFRotterdam and Sheffield DocFest.

Aleksandra Bilic - Producer (She/Her) is Head of Development at My Accomplice and is a producer specialising in documentary films. Recent credits include The Great Hack (Neftlix), 8 Bar - The Evolution of Grime (BBC Films), and Nascondino (BFI/Doc Society) which premiered at LFF in the Grierson Documentary Competition, CPH:DOX in competition and is set for a 2022 release. She currently has one feature film in late development with the BFI, and a slate of work focusing on female led talent and looking to move into drama series. She is an alumni of Sheffield Future Producers 2017 and Film Independent DocLab 2021.

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

Monday 12 December

Watch the recording 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 Captioning 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.