Course dates: 4th October - 6th December  - Classes are held each Thursday from 9am - 5pm

Course Tutor: Pinny Grylls

A ten-week documentary filmmaking course led by award winning documentary filmmaker Pinny Grylls, during which students will learn self-shooting skills with a focus on the fundamentals of observational filming and then shoot, record sound, edit and direct their own film. Students will learn to respond to an undirected actuality and structure the footage into a compelling film.

Course Content

Students will learn practical, analytical and intellectual filmmaking skills by using moving image and sound recording equipment, discovering how new technologies create new methodologies. The course will examine and deploy a range of the technical, aesthetic, and representational dynamics involved in documentary construction. By doing this, students will become a more informed, as well as practically experienced, commentator on the 'truths', 'fictions', styles, genres, ethics and modes of filmmaking. The course is taught through a series of hands-on exercises of increasing complexity (with cameras and editing equipment) and lectures.

Course Tutor

Pinny Grylls is an award winning documentary filmmaker and ethnographer. In 2010 she was featured in the Observer as one of a crop of innovative young directors working today. 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. Most notable have been her behind the scenes films for The National Theatre ("The Hour") and The Royal Opera House ("Becoming Zerlina") both of which have attracted substantial audiences online due to the exclusive and fascinating insight they give into the lives of the performers who work at these great British arts institutions. 

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 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. The team went on to win several MRS awards for their innovative work. 

Pinny also co-founded the Birds Eye View Film Festival in 2002 and is a published children's author.

Additional Info

Students undertaking the course will have full access to the UCL Anthropology Audio Visual Lab with Premiere CC and Adobe Creative Suite enabled machines as well as professional camera kits (shared one between two students) for the duration of the course. Students have access to UCL facilities for a further five weeks after the formal teaching on the course in order to complete their film. Please note participants are also required to bring two external hard-drives on the course. Students using UCL Anthropology cameras are responsible for any loss, damage or repair costs.  Any failure to reimburse the department will result in a debt to UCL.

A reduced lab fee is required for those taking the course for UCL credit (please contact for more details). This course is available to external candidates for £1600.


Documentary Filmmaking (Practical)

Thursday, October 4, 2018 - 09:00
£1600 (for external candidates)

UCL Anthropology

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