Checking out the suspects at Berlinale

Dick’s been doing his usual thing at the Talent Campus, 13-18 February

February is that time of year when most of us in the northern hemisphere start to seriously consider jetting off somewhere hot and sunny to escape the vicious weather. Dick’s commitment to the Berlinale film festival had him trotting off to -10deg Berlin instead, to coach some of the world’s new pool of talented docu-makers.

Dick was one of the mentors at the Talent Campus Doc Station, which is a hands-on training programme for new documentary producers and directors. “It’s an extraordinary opportunity for young filmmakers to meet each other and to get a bit of advice from old hands,” says Dick. “Above all, docu-makers need allies and the Berlinale Talent Campus helps them find some.”

It's also a chance to catch up with old friends, like John Akomfrah, pictured below with the orange scarf. John has recently released his latest film called Mnemosyne. Click here to find out more.

John and the Berlinale crew

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Auf wiedesehen to NFTS 2009 grads,

Willkommen! to 2010 newcomers

The NFTS graduates 2009 showed off their films to the industry on Wednesday 24 February at the National Film Theatre. Our Dick introduced the documentary department’s most high profile event of the year, which was attended by leading broadcasters, former graduates, famous documentary makers (and me).

“I’m very proud of the films last year’s second years have produced. It was a tough year for several students. But – they’ve all pulled it off, and I did the peacock thing as usual,” says Dick.

Meanwhile, the big wheel keeps on turning and new students are getting their feet dug firmly into cinema verite.

DF News by Lady G

Berlinale snaps 2010

Above left: DF and John spot each other after a session on Africa with Tom Tykwer

Above right: Photo opportunity - John Akomfrah and friends

Right: Director of Imani, Ugandan Caroline Kamya talks to DF

More Berlin pics

DF & Caroline Kamya

Dick and John at Berlinale '10


By Lady G


1 Day in Handsworth, 1 week on C4

Channel 4 has asked DF to produce a set of 3 Minute Wonder films from Handsworth, Birmingham. Collectively called 1 Day in Handsworth, the films will portray Handsworth as seen through the eyes of some of its residents who also took part in the feature film 1 Day The Movie, by Penny Woolcock.
1 Day in Handsworth has been exciting and rewarding, mainly because its purpose is to give people in this community voices of their own” says DF. “We have managed to get Screen West Midlands interested in our short films and, with their help, we are now making 4 more than commissioned by C4".
1 Day in Handsworth involved some of the cast from 1 Day The Movie being supervised by NFTS tutors to tell stories which are close to their hearts. For example, Kyle “Euro” Simpson made a film about his bikers club and the lengths they go to for their thrills and spins.
Another film by Nicole “Justice” Inniss depicts a young mother using music as therapy to help her recover from a violent relationship. One of the main characters in 1 Day The Movie, Dylan Duffus, tells the story of a boy who is excluded from school, as Dylan was as a teenager.
The films are due to be aired over the autumn – no definite dates have been set yet, but watch this space for more details.
Link to the 1 Day trailer:

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FLEX N' X square

One of ten short films combined into a 41 minute compilation called Handsworth Calling and shown with great success at the Sheffield International Documentary Festival.
The films were made by young people from Handsworth who had already appeared in Penny Woolcock's
feature rap musical 1Day, but wanted to develop their own skills as film makers.
Flex n' x was shot in two hours by film maker Euro and directed by a young rapper called Joel who, like several of the film makers, wanted to challenge conventional stereotypes.


Remembering David Munro at the Frontline Club August 2009

Ten years ago this month the great investigative filmmaker, David Munro, died of cancer. He had been teaching students at the NFTS with long-time colleague and friend, DF, while writing a script for a feature film based on an Isabel Allende short story.
One of their students from that time, Rory Peck Award-winner, Rodrigo Vazquez together with journalist David Niblock organised two evenings at the Frontline Club to celebrate David’s work, the first, his truly world changing films with John Pilger, introduced by John, and, the second, the passionate and original contribution he made on his own, especially Going Back, his record of the return of the first US Vietnam vets to the country they had tried unsuccessfully “to bomb back to the Stone Age”.
DF discussed this independent work with David’s longtime Commissioning Editor, Richard Creasey, a TV man from another era, in which the neurotic fears which dominate current TV decision-making were either ignored or evaded in order to support courageous filmmakers and to embrace risk.