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Documentary Courses at Open City Docs School

Filmmaking, Film Theory and Radio Courses

http://opencitylondon.com/courses

Since 2014, Open City Docs School has been running short courses covering documentary filmmaking from all angles; from film theory lectures, practical camera training, film editing and workshops with award-winning documentarians. 

Below you will find courses that we are currently taking booking for the courses listed below. Previous courses are also listed below and we anticipate that many of these will be running again.

If you would like to register interest or book a place on our current courses please email james@opencitylondon.com

Practical Documentary Filmmaking
Investigations And Appropriations In The Ethnographic And Documentary Film
Film Theory: Experimental Ethnographic and Documentary Films
Shooting Documentary: An Introduction 
Making Radio Documentary
Documentary Storytelling 
Documentary Concepts and research
Summer Film School 2018
Introduction to 360° Spatial Audio Production
Introduction to Interactive VR 360° Film
Introduction to 360° Film Production Workflows

Jeremiah Ambrose

Working in the areas of digital art, media futures and experimental practice, Jeremiah’s research cements ideas explored in both his M.Sc in Interactive Digital Media and his M.Phil in Film Theory and History. Currently he is in the final stages of a practice-based PhD looking at emergent narratives and interaction aesthetics in VR and interactive 360° film at the University of Brighton. He has been involved with talks, workshops and installations at the Brighton Digital Festival, London Science Museum, VR Diversity Initiative and the British Science Festival, amongst others.

He also lectures on the University of Brighton’s MA in Digital Media Arts, guest lectures on UAL’s MA Games Design and tutors on the UCL Immersive Factual Storytelling (VR/AR) Studio on the Open City Docs MA Ethnographic & Documentary Film.

Catalin Brylla

Catalin is a Senior Lecturer in Film at the University of West London and holds a doctorate in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths, University of London. His research aims for a pragmatic understanding of documentary spectatorship with regards to experience, empathy and narrative comprehension. In a larger context his work also advocates for the filmmaker’s understanding of how audio-visual and narrative representation impacts on society’s understanding of stereotyped groups, such as disabled people, women and African cultures.

He is currently editing two books, “Documentary and Dis/ability” (with Helen Hughes) and “Cognitive Theory in Documentary Film Studies” (with Mette Kramer). As a practice-led researcher he has just completed two feature documentaries about blindness and the everyday, and another feature documentary: “Zanzibar Soccer Dreams” (with Florence Ayisi), about Muslim women playing football.

Dieter Deswarte

Dieter is an award-winning documentary self-shooting filmmaker and editor based in London. His intimate approach leads to a low-intervention kind of filmmaking that captures human stories with sincerity, creativity and cinematic beauty. For several years now he has dedicated part of his practice to working with local and international charities and arts organisations, ranging from short documentaries on wildlife conservation projects in Zambia to short animations for research on disability related bullying in the UK.

In the past two years he has been working with another charity where he led several collaborative filmmaking projects alongside a number of community groups. He worked with youth offenders, parents who had their children removed from their care, women who suffered domestic and sexual violence, and young people in care. His personal work has gained him awards and screenings at several festivals and galleries worldwide. His most recent film “St Helena, An End to Isolation” was broadcast on BBC News. He also teaches on the MA in Ethnographic & Documentary film at UCL, leading Studio 3: Cinematic Documentary Storytelling.

Axel Drioli

Axel is a freelance Immersive audio designer and producer, who has worked on international 360 and VR projects. Some of his recent clients are Mixed Immersion, Visualise, Picture This Production, 1.618 digital, Pebble Studios and more. He is also currently tutoring at the UCL Immersive Factual Storytelling (VR/AR) Studio on the Open City Docs MA Ethnographic & Documentary Film.

Pinny Grylls

Pinny Grylls is an award winning documentary filmmaker and ethnographer. Her short documentary "Peter and Ben" has had over 350,000 views on YouTube and won a number of awards  such as the FourDocs Best Documentary, Best Documentary at Aspen Shorts Fest and The Grand Jury Prize in SXSW Click. Her other much loved documentaries include "Mr and Mrs Smith", "Who Do You Think You Were?" (Channel 4). Specialising in the Arts, Pinny has also made a variety of commissioned documentaries for clients such as the Guardian, BBC, Channel 4, The Arts Council, The National Theatre, The Royal Opera House, and the Tate, as well as commercials for British Gas, Dove and Aldi. 

For the last 10 years Pinny has also worked as a freelance video ethnographer for both Ipsos Mori and the U.K. government, filming everything to gypsies and travellers to young carers for studies that have influenced government and corporate polices. She was part of the pioneering and award-winning team at Ipsos Mori Ethnographic Centre for Excellence that developed the use of video for researching and understand human behaviour for both the public sector and commercial brands. Pinny also co-founded the Birds Eye View Film Festival in 2002 and is a published children's author.

Chloe Hadjimatheou

Chloe is an award winning BBC reporter and audio producer whose work includes: “Islamic State’s Most Wanted”, “Searching for Tobias”, “No Place to Die”, “America Revisited”, “Why Do People Hear Voices?”

Marc Isaacs

Marc has made more than 10 creative documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. His films have won Grierson, Royal Television Society, and BAFTA awards as well as numerous international festival prizes. In 2006 he had a retrospective at the prestigious Lussas Documentary Film Festival in France and his work has been included in numerous documentary books and academic studies. Marc received an honorary doctorate from the University of East London for his documentary work. Marc is a guest tutor at the London Film School, the National Film and Television School and Royal Holloway University.

Helen Lawson

Helen is a London based filmmaker and editor creating observational documentaries about the arts industries. Her work has been broadcast on Channel 4, ITV & MTV, and featured on homepages at The Sun, The Telegraph, MySpace & Amazon. In 2011 Helen was commissioned to direct, shoot and edit “A Summer Hamlet”, a feature-length documentary following Shakespeare’s Globe’s pan-European tour of Hamlet. Other clients include Jessie J, Jamie Cullum, Florence and the Machine, Billy Idol, Historic Royal Palaces, Hampstead Theatre, Restorative Justice Council, Island Records, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Somerset House.

Nina Perry

Nina is a composer and audio producer who has been writing music since she was a child. She has been commissioned to compose music for broadcasting, film and performing arts, and is also a published singer songwriter and composer.  Since becoming a BBC Radio Drama Composer-in-Residence in 2003, she has also produced radio features for the BBC and international broadcasters (NPR, Radiolab, ABC Radio National Australia, CBC Canada), and in 2012 co-founded the co-operative production company Open Audio Ltd.

She is also a practitioner-researcher and senior lecturer in audio production at Bournemouth University, with a PhD by Publication titled "Music, Narrative, Voice and Presence: Revealing a composed feature methodology".

Jack Reynolds

A well regarded audio specialist, Jack holds a MEng Electronic and Electrical Engineering qualification. He works in BBC R&D Interactive and Immersive Content department, and is a Specialist 360 audio engineer at SohoVR, the CEO of Reynolds Microphones, and a freelance musician and sound designer. He is also President of the UCL Audio Engineering Society.

Katharine Round

Katharine is a filmmaker and artist with over nineteen years experience in creative documentary for broadcast and cinema. At the production company she runs with journalist and filmmaker Leah Borromeo, Disobedient, she has worked with the V&A, Netflix, Al Jazeera, The Guardian, and Forma Arts. Her work spans broad themes of economics, society and science, often told through the prism of psychology and character driven narratives.

She directed the critically-acclaimed “The Divide”, a feature length film on the psychological impact of income inequality, inspired by the book ‘The Spirit Level’, which received critical acclaim, a UK theatrical run and a release on Netflix, as well as short films for the BBC, Channel 4 and Discovery. She has had work exhibited at leading international film festivals in galleries and at the European Parliament. Katharine is also an accomplished producer and regularly gives masterclasses on film production. She is the co-founder of leading professional documentary filmmakers organisation Doc Heads, supporting documentary through curated events, masterclasses and commissioning opportunities.

Anatole Sloan

Anatole is a co-founder and managing director at Zoya, a Soho based film production company specialising in creative advertising and digital content. I teach production and post-production of virtual reality (VR) documentary films, tutors on UCL’s VR Strand on the practice-based MA in Ethnographic and Documentary Film.

Sandhya Suri

Sandhya is a British-Indian writer/director based in London. A graduate in pure mathematics, she received a scholarship to study documentary at The National Film and Television School. Her feature documentary “I For India” premiered in the World Competition section of the Sundance Film Festival, screened at over 20 international festivals and garnered several awards before being released theatrically to critical acclaim in the UK and the U.S. In 2016 she was selected for both the Sundance Screenwriters’ and Directors’ Lab with her first fiction feature “Santhosh:. Sandhya has recently completed her fiction short “The Field”, a Film London and Canal+ co-production produced by Thomas Bidegain and Balthazar de Ganay, and her latest feature documentary ”Around India With a Movie Camera” has just been released theatrically by the BFI.

Isis Thompson

Isis is a filmmaker and audio producer who has made work for BBC and Channel 4, and had films shown at festivals around the world. She also belongs to Kitchen Sink, an established filmmaking collective that seeks to support, provoke and encourage independent filmmakers.

Helen de Witt

Helen is an independent lecturer, writer and curator who teaches at Birkbeck University of London, University of the Arts London, and the National Film and Television School, amongst others. Previously, Helen was Head of Cinemas at the BFI, and BFI Festivals Producer for the BFI London Film Festival and BFI Flare. She's a programmer of the BFI London Film Festival Experimenta section for international artists’ moving image. She's also a director of The Service Co-op, an independent production company dedicated to making films about social justice, the arts and creative collaborations, and has written extensively on independent cinema and artists’ film.

Filmmaking Facilities & Services at UCL in the Open City Docs School

Cameras and Filming Equipment

Students on the MA Ethnographic and Documentary Film will be supplied with:

  • Sony HXR-NX3 Full HD Camera Kit
  • Sennheiser Radio Mic Kit
  • Røde Shotgun Microphone 
  • SD Cards
  • Lishuai Lighting Kit
  • Professional Sony Headphones
  • E-image tripod

Students on our short courses and term-length modules will be supplied with one of the following kits:  

  • Canon XF100 Camera Kit
  • Panasonic HMC41E Camera Kit

(Please note: these kits are normally shared one between two)

We also have available for borrowing and rental:

  • Canon 700D DSLR Camera Kits
  • Additional Sennheiser Radio Mic Kits
  • Additional Lishuai Lighting Kits
  • Shotgun Microphones
  • Boom Poles and XLR Cables
  • SteadyWings Hand-Held Camera Mounts
  • Monopods and Tripods
  • Pistol Grips
  • Other Equipment

Editing Suites

Students on courses have access to:

  • 60 iMac workstations complete with Adobe Creative Cloud suite
  • A 52-inch flat screen playback monitor

Equipment (such as tripods and radio mics) can be booked out by any student taking our courses. They are subject to availability and should be booked at lest 48 hours in advance. The booking form can be found at: Equipment Hire Request Form.

Equipment can also be hired from the department at a cost by those not taking one of our courses. Please contact laurence@opencitylondon.com for more details.

Video & DVD Library

The department holds a large collection of DVDs of important documentary films that students and researchers can borrow. We have a large number of streamable films that you can see online. The catalogue for this library is available at the Dept. of Anthropology reception desk.

Subscriptions
The great majority of items in the library have been purchased with income raised through subscriptions and ‘laboratory fees' paid by students on the filmmaking masters modules. Without this income, the library would not exist. Therefore, all users, with the exception of students paying ‘laboratory fees', are asked to pay a subscription. Current rates are £25 for all terms, £15 for one term.

Registration
All subscribers will be asked to register by completing a simple form with contact and programme details, as appropriate. All subscribers are required to give an email address. Registration can only be done during normal office hours only.

Location & Opening Times
Dept. of Anthropology, Reception Desk, 14 Taviton Street, London W1.
The Library is only open during normal office hours. Loans are possible over the Easter and Christmas vacation, but the library is closed during the summer.

Borrowing rights
Users with borrowing rights are only allowed to check out 1 item at a time.
Items must be returned to the receptionist during working hours.
Items may be renewed (if there is no hold on it) but they must be renewed in person, during opening hours, with the item present.
Anyone who has an outstanding fine will not be allowed to check out another item until the fine has been paid.
Fines will be £5.00 per item per day. With 'days' counting as opening days.

Sharmin Ahammad - Summer Film School - 2017

UCL Summer School was a fantastic way of learning the skills of filmmaking and editing. You learn from incredibly inspiring, insightful and talented filmmakers and editors. I came away from the course with an enthusiasm and love for making films and equipped with the skills to do so.

Sarah Saey - Practical Documentary Filmmaking 2016

'Great introductory course that didn't seem to basic. While the course started from the basics the tutors didn't pitch it too low but instead really challenged us. Great value for money compared to other similar course.'

Here are examples of some of the films made during some of the Open City Docs School courses:


Love and Dementia by Dominic Sivyer

Dominic Sivyer’s grandparents are coming to terms with his grandfather’s early onset of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. His sense of humour remains intact, but the deterioration of his memory is putting a strain on their relationship. Sivyer’s honest account offers a glimpse into a 50-year marriage, filled with pain, love and laughter. Love and Dementia was acquired by The Guardian in 2016.

Dominic is now part of the prestigious BBC documentaries new directors initiative and has made an hour-long film for the BBC following on from his short film called Granddad, Dementia & Me which was broadcast in July 2017 on BBC One


Waste by Min Min Wu

Yanin Ma is an 11-year-old girl living with leukaemia. Her hometown in Shantou has become one of the most heavily polluted cities in the world and is now infamous for its electronic waste recycling industry. The family-run workshops that cover the city burn electronics sourced from all over the world in order to extract the rare metals they contain, a process that fills the atmosphere with dangerous toxins.

The film documents Yanin’s recovery having spent the last month undergoing chemotherapy in Guangzhou City. Yanin wants only to go home for the annual Children’s Day celebration, but some believe the pollution in her hometown could be the very cause of her illness.

Winner of the prestigious 2017 One World Media Student Award. Min Min is now working in Shanghai developing new projects.