Open City Documentary Festival

Below, information can be found on the tutors teaching on UCL Anthropology’s MA Ethnographic & Documentary Film or MFA Creative Documentary, as well as the team for UCL 360 – Studio 4: Immersive Factual Storytelling.

In addition to the below, some of the current MA course mentors include: Christopher Hird, Vanessa Stockley, Simon Chambers, Gareth Evans, Xiaolu Guo, Eva Weber and Grant Gee.

Michael Stewart (Course Leader, Open City Docs School)

Michael is the founder of Open City Documentary Festival and MyStreet Films. He has worked on or produced ten documentaries for Granada (Disappearing World) and the BBC (Everyman, Timewatch).

Sophie Fiennes (Tutor, MFA)

Sophie’s feature documentaries include the acclaimed Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival 2017; her collaborations with Slavoj Zizek, The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema (2006), and The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2012); and her portrait of German artist Anselm Keifer, Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, which premiered in Cannes in 2010. Her first feature documentary, Hoover Street Revival, was released theatrically in 2003, and she has also made various work for television. Fiennes was awarded a NESTA fellowship in 2001 to develop her innovative approach to film, and won the Arte France Cinema Award in 2008.

Kim Longinotto (Tutor, MFA)

Kim is a British documentary filmmaker, well known for making films that highlight the plight of female victims of oppression or discrimination. Longinotto has made more than 20 films, usually featuring inspiring women and girls at their core. Some of her films include Shinjuku Boys (1995), Divorce Iranian Style (1998) and Salma (2013). She has received a number of awards for her films over the years, including a BAFTA for her documentary Pink Saris (2010).

Riete Oord (Tutor, MFA)

Riete has produced and directed a range of primetime, high profile and award winning documentaries for BBC 1 and 2, Channel 4 and The Discovery Channel. Her work includes Make Me a German, the BAFTA nominated, The Leader, The Driver and the Drivers Wife, directed by Nick Broomfield, the RTS and Grierson award winning Aileen Wuornos – The Selling of a Serial Killer, the RTS nominated Luton Actually and Who Do You Think You Are. She works across a range of genres including observational documentaries, current affairs, history, science, education, personal celebrity journeys and formatted entertainment.

Sandhya Suri (Senior Tutor, MA)

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’s latest feature documentary Around India With a Movie Camera has just been released theatrically by the BFI, and she has recently completed her fiction short The Field, a Film London and Canal+ co-production produced by Thomas Bidegain and Balthazar de Ganay, which won the Short Cuts competition at TIFF 2018.

Richard Alwyn (Senior Tutor, MA)

Richard joined the BBC in 1988 after several years teaching English at the Sorbonne University in Paris. He quickly became one of the most distinctive and distinguished documentary makers of his generation, making films for many of the BBC’s most prestigious strands as well as for Channel 4. Specialising in intimate portraits of ordinary people often caught at extraordinary moments in their lives, his films have been made and shown throughout the world. In 2006, he won Europe’s most highly coveted documentary award, the Prix Italia, for The Beslan Siege. In 2002 he made his first fiction film for the BBC, the BAFTA nominated Stopping Distance. He subsequently co-wrote the story of the Rwanda genocide feature film, Shooting Dogs, starring John Hurt. Recent documentary work includes two trilogies for BBC Four, Catholics and Cathedrals, and a film about the loss of the ability to use language, Speechless.

Dylan Howitt (Senior Tutor, MA)

Dylan is a filmmaker with many years of experience telling compelling stories from all around the world. He’s directed, filmed and edited for: NETFLIX, BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, Sky, Discovery, NHK, RUV, British Museum, British Council, MacMillan Cancer Support, Christian Aid, Prince’s Trust, Media Trust, Undercurrents, DFID, Tate Media, and the Open University, amongst many others.. Out of Thin Air is his first feature film.

Dylan’s films tell stories both intimate and political. His career has taken him to remote corners of the globe. From recording the testimony of a death row survivor in Ohio, to following a ferry boatman in Buenos Aires. From running video workshops with kids living around Guatemala’s rubbish dumps, to documenting Mozambican artists creating sculptures out of decommissioned guns. From capturing the life of one street in Amman to the work of a street photographer in Ecuador. His recent series for the BBC on contemporary ethics, Matters of Life and Death, was nominated for a BAFTA, as was the children’s series Rooted for Channel Five.

Katharine Round (Senior Tutor, MA)

Katharine Round has over twenty years experience in creative documentary for broadcast and cinema, including The Divide (2016), which a successful theatrical release across the UK, followed by a release on Netflix, and London Symphony (2017), which was nominated for the Michael Powell Award at Edinburgh International Film Festival before a UK theatrical release including 3 special events across London performed with a live orchestra, and a release on BFI Player. She has also made films for the BBC, Channel 4 & Discovery, the V&A, Al Jazeera and the Guardian, as well as new platforms. She has had work exhibited at leading international film festivals (including Sheffield Doc/Fest, IDFA, Open City & Cork Film Festival), in galleries (the Serpentine, the Barbican Centre) and at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Katharine is also an accomplished producer, devising new models of finance and managing complex international shoots, and the co-founder of leading professional documentary filmmakers organisation Doc Heads, supporting documentary through curated events, masterclasses and commissioning opportunities.

Lasse Johansson (Course Tutor, MA)

Lasse is a self-shooting documentary director and media trainer with a background in fine art and sociology. Apart from making his own independent films Lasse works as a freelance cameraman and editor making films and online content for a variety of charities, non-profit and educational organisations. He also works internationally as a media trainer on projects aiming to empower local voices and media organisations. Over the past 4 years Lasse’s work has explored issues around urban regeneration in Hackney, the part of London where he also lives. This work has produced a large-scale public art installation, a publication and a number of short films documenting the lives of local people. Lasse’s interest in film also include how the process of filmmaking in itself can be used as an educational tool to help marginalised groups unlock, discuss and express issues that impact on their lives. For this purpose Lasse is currently exploring different ways of using film when working with groups of young people not in full-time training or work.

James Price​ (Course Tutor, MA)

James has degrees in Fine Art (BA (Hons) Newcastle, 1999) and Documentary Direction (MA, National Film & TV School, 2006). His films have been shown on the BBC, Channel 4, and More4, in art exhibitions and at film festivals worldwide. Recent projects include Reading Pepys (Kings College London) an audio-visual experimental history of Deptford’s Pepys Estate; Chandigarh Corrections Omissions (Linköping University) an investigation of aesthetics and discipline in Le Corbusier’s planned city; Diamond Street, Estuary: Working Lives, and Study for the Estuary (ACE, 2011-present) – ongoing collaborations with writer Rachel Lichtenstein exploring place and identity in London and the Thames Estuary; The Body Adorned (Horniman Museum, 2012-3) a multi-screen installation anthropology of London dress, and What is Freedom? (Channel 4, 2009) a semi-serious attempt to find the freest person in the USA. Other projects include A Piece of the Moon (Channel 4, 2008) an exploration of people who have ‘bought’ land on the Moon, and the businessman who made millions selling it to them.

James has also exhibited installations and photography in the UK and beyond. His 2006 installation and film, Conversation, an exploration of the hidden judgements we make of each other, has shown in the UK, Canada, the USA, and Iran. This work is being distributed as an educational aid in the UK, Australia and North America. He also produces arts biography films for the Tate, the National Trust, the Southbank Centre, the Photographers’ Gallery, and Channel 4, and collaborates extensively with London AV artists, the Light Surgeons, with whom he developed his video practice from 1999 until embarking on his Masters at the NFTS.

Dieter Deswarte (Course Tutor, MA)

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.

Lucy Sandys-Winsch (Course Tutor)

Lucy is a multi award-nominated Documentary Film Director, Series Producer and Executive Producer, with a very strong track record across landmark documentary strands such as Channel 4’s ‘Cutting Edge’ and BBC’s ‘Modern Times’.  Having worked at the BBC and at numerous independent production companies, she has made observational documentaries, biographical, historical, scientific and reportage single films and series for all the major television channels. As well as having been nominated for Griersons and BAFTAs, Lucy has been on judging juries for the Griersons, Student RTS Awards and the Sheffield Documentary Festival New Talent Pitch.

Edward Lawrenson (Course Tutor, MA)

Edward is a London-based filmmaker whose films have played at a number of festivals, including Sundance, BFI London Film Festival, True/False, Open City, Venice architecture biennale, and Cinéma du réel; and cinemas, including the Museum of the Moving Image in New York and London’s ICA. His radio documentaries have played on BBC Radio 4. His 2018 film Uppland premiered at Cinéma du réel, and went on to play at various international festivals including Open City Documentary Festival. His 2015 documentary Abandoned Goods (co-directed with Pia Borg) won the Golden Leopard for Best International Short at the Locarno Film Festival and he was included in Filmmaker Magazine’s ’25 New Faces of Independent Film’ list, in 2015.  It featured in a major exhibition by the Wellcome Trust in London in October 2016.

Lawrenson has written on film for a number of publications, including Sight & Sound, Film Quarterly and Screen International. He was deputy editor of Sight & Sound from 2000 to 2006. He is a programme consultant for BFI London Film Festival and has programmed for the Edinburgh International Film Festival. He is a Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking and Kingston School of Art, Kingston University. Lawrenson has also taught at the Royal College of Art and the National Film and Television School. 

Chloe White (Course Tutor, MA)

Chloe White is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and photographer and director of Whalebone Films based in Hastings and London, with frequent travels around the world to collect stories and images. Her films are intimate, considered portraits, focusing mainly on the female experience. Her clients and partners include the Guardian, Topic, Nowness, BBC, Channel 4, Oxfam, Save the Children and the BFI and she has had films screened at festivals internationally including at Camden International Film Festival, Open City, and Sheffield Doc Fest.

Bonnie Rae Brickman (Editing Tutor, MA)

Bonnie is a New York born, London based Film + TV Editor with over twenty-five years’ experience, accumulating a diverse and extensive list of credits including Julie Andrews’ Opening Night on Broadway, American Playhouse, and Shining Time Station. She has been honoured with four New York Area Emmy Award Certificates during her ten years at WNET/thirteen, Highly Commended at Underwire’s In The Cut: Best Editor Award 2015 for BOOTWMN, and shortlisted for the Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice Award 2016.  Her work has screened on US, UK and Australian television and at film festivals worldwide including Clermont-Ferrand, HotDocs, Open City Doc Fest, SF Frameline, LA Outfest, Athens International Film+Video Festival, BFI Flare and Fringe! Film Fest.

Ariadna Fatjo-Vilas (Editing Tutor, MA)

Ariadna is freelance editor with over 10 years experience. She works in UK and internationally mainly on documentaries, fiction and artists films. Her films have played in festivals worldwide (including Berlinale, Sundance and Toronto) and some of the accolades that her films have received include an Oscar nomination (The Act of Killing), a BAFTA award and other three nominations (The Act of Killing, Yours Truly and The Last Regal Kingsize), the Ecumenical and Panorama Audience Award in Berlinale, three prizes at Tribeca (Una Noche), a Grierson Award nomination (Estate. A Reverie) and a British Animation Award. Ariadna’s credits include many of the large T.V. channels in Europe and North America (like BBC, Sky Atlantic, Channel 4, PBS, Canal+, ARTE, RTE and MTV). Ariadna graduated from the National Film and Television School (NFTS) with an MA in editing in 2006. She’s been nominated to the 2016 Jules Wright Prize for Female Creative Technicians. She has also long-term involvement in education, including most recently as Course Leader for Goldsmiths’ MA in editing.

Michael Ho (Editing Tutor, MA)

Michael studied editing at the NFTS in 2006. Since graduating cut short films, music videos, both short and long-form documentary for television, as well as working as an assistant editor in TV drama and feature films. He recently directed a short film about his father for BBC4 / BFI’s Listen to Britain series, From HK to MK.

Vera Simmons (Editing Tutor, MA)

Vera has a Masters in Editing from the National Film and Television School, and short films that I have edited have been selected for festivals, including Cannes Film Festival, Annecy Animation Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, London Short Film Festival and East End Film Festival. The Bigger Picture has enjoyed much festival success and been nominated for an Oscar, as well as winning the 2015 BAFTA for Best Short Animatio

Juan Soto (Editing Tutor, MA)

Juan studied the MA Documentary Filmmaking at the International Film and Television School – EICTV in Cuba until 2010, with a focus on editing and in film archives.  His collaborations as a film editor include works by artists such as John Akomfrah, Gideon Mendel and Juan delGado, amongst others, and on feature films such as The Dragon Defence (Natalia Santa, 2017), premiered at the Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight; In The Studio (Ana Salas, 2016), Best Feature Film at the Colombian Film Panorama in Paris; and The Man Who Always Did His Part (Orisel Castro and York Neudel, 2017). He has edited short and feature films, fiction, documentary and experimental films both in Latin America, Europe and the UK where he is currently based. In 2018, he took part on the FIAF Film Restoration Summer School at L’imagine Ritrovata in Bologna.

Vanessa Stockley (Tutor, MA)

Vanessa is an experienced and intuitive documentary maker with a strong sense of narrative and an innate ability to gain people’s trust and maintain relationships with contributors. She has made many access-led documentaries and is used to dealing with, and overcoming tricky access situations. She directed the film Soldier Girls: On the Road to Afghanistan for Channel 4’s First Cut, a documentary about women training to become officers at Sandhurst, which broadcast in March 2009. Her film The Genius and The Opera Singer screened at Hot Docs in 2017.

Pinny Grylls (Tutor, MA)

Pinny 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. 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 from 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.

Dinah Lammiman (Senior VR Tutor, MA)

For many years Dinah was a senior broadcast journalist for BBC Radio and TV’s Current Affairs Division, producing and presenting multiple documentaries. During her BBC years she was also closely involved with experimental interactive and digital initiatives at CBeebies. Latterly she’s worked extensively in immersive media, specializing in binaural and other sound concepts for museum and visitor attractions (including the National Trust, the Royal Collection, Oslo’s Fram Museum and SS Great Britain), alongside producing innovative mobile phone games and creating installations for VR/360 experiences.

Jayisha Patel (Senior VR Tutor, MA)

Jayisha is an award winning British filmmaker, who works at the intersection of cinematic film and VR. Her films (A Paradise, India’s Wushu Warriors, Notes to my Father VR, Circle have premiered at festivals such as the Berlinale, Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance, Locarno and New York Film Festival amongst others, and won various awards. Her works embody an intersectional female gaze and seek to give a platform to women of color fighting stereotypes, in bold and unconventional ways.

She is currently an artist in residence at Somerset House, where she is working on her latest immersive experience, After the Fire in collaboration with the Danish Film Institute’s Anidox Lab, The Mill and Prof Courtney Cogburn from Colombia University as well as on her debut feature, SUGAR.

Jack Reynolds (VR Tutor, MA)

Jack is a specialist 360 audio engineer at SohoVR, CEO of Reynolds Microphones, musician and sound designer. He’s president of the UCL Audio Engineering Society.

Anatole Sloan (VR Tutor, MA)

Anatole is a co-founder and managing director at Zoya, a Soho based film production company specialising in creative advertising and digital content. He teaches 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.

Rafael Lino (VR Tutor. MA)

Rafael is a VR post-production specialist, currently freelancing and working on projects for clients such as UNESCO and Tate Modern. Previously he was a part of film production collective LUMATERA, producing work for CANAL180 and GUIMARAES 2012 – European Capital of Culture, before pioneering 3D360 capture methods at Visualise.

Ben Huss-Smickler (VR Tutor, MA)

Ben is an award-winning 360 filmmaker and VR/AR producer. His company SkyEdge 360 specialises in dynamic 360 film, supporting other 360 studios. Recent notable works include: Common Ground a VR/360 piece which premiered at Tribeca, VRwithyou an immersive branched narrative piece for the Children’s Society which won the Vodaphone Techstarter Award, 360 live streaming Massive Attack and Gretta Thurnburg to over 120,000 viewers and producing Sound of Trees.