Documentary Conference (Oxford University)

On Saturday 16th May, Heather travelled to Oxford University to enjoy a conference on documentary making, hosted by St Hilda’s Media Network.

Heather says that this “intimate event was extremely informative and engaging”.  Within ‘Commission to Transmission’, the struggles of making feature length docs was discussed.  Here, Heather shares projects which she found particularly inspiring….


Directed by Clio Barnard and funded by the UK Film Council, this powerful piece of work won Clio a BAFTA for ‘Outstanding Debut’.  Andrea Dunbar, known as ‘the genius from the slums’, is still the youngest playwright to have their work performed at the Royal Court.  She wrote “The Arbor” at age 15, had daughter Lorraine at 16 and went on to write “Rita, Sue and Bob too” and “Shirley” before dying aged 29 and single mother of 3.  Clio spent 2 years interviewing and recording audio with Andrea’s family, which the films actors then lip synched.  Clever and innovative, this method results in heightened emotion.
Mike Brett had wanted to work in documentary from a young age but found it difficult to break into.  He heard about football team American Samoa dubbed ‘the worst in the world’ – in 2001 they suffered the worst defeat in International history – losing to Australia 31-0. Over the next 10 years they only scored 2 goals.  Finally the club brought in very experienced coach Thomas Rongen to turn their performance around and get them through to the Rio World Cup.  Mikes team followed their progress and turned this into “Next Goal Wins“.  Very funny and heartwarming, this was Mike’s first feature length and won the BIFA for Best Documentary.  Mike created production company Archers Mark, his next project is “Notes on Blindness”.

Ibrahim Ahmed – motion graphic designer / creative director

The Blueberry team is privileged to work with talent who constantly inspire us.  This week the spotlight is on visual creative Ibrahim Ahmed.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with Ibrahim for over 10 years. Formerly the head of Envy’s GFX department, Ibrahim has worked really hard across a variety of high end corporate and television projects to become one of our most experienced Motion Graphic Designers.

Projects include the title sequence for ‘ITV presents the FA Cup’, SFX promo airing on the FX Channel, Nespresso commercial featuring Golfer, Jose Maria Olazabal and work on Discovery Channels programme “Children Who Cheated the Nazis”.

Ibrahim has also built a solid reputation as an excellent Creative Director, we’re increasingly booking him from the client pitching stage.  He consistently excels client expectations and receives glowing feedback.

View his reel in HD

Gareth Sutcliffe – editor

We at Blueberry are privileged to meet great talent who inspire us on a weekly basis. This week the spotlight is on editor, Gareth Sutcliffe.

Entering the freelance world after having worked for BBC Worldwide in various capacities for just under 8 years. He was Promo editor for about half that time, and worked on their most important Trade events as well as taking on some broadcast projects.

He specialises in cutting commercial promos for all genres of programming, with a real strength for Drama, Sport and Natural History. He has produced DVD extra material such as featurettes (most notably for Hidden Kingdoms) and also on-air episode re-caps (most notably for Parade’s End).

View full profile here

In Conversation with…Kimaathi Spence on “The Secrets of the Tea Chimps”

Kimaathi has been part of Blueberry since it started in 2002.  For the last 9 months, he has been studying Art Therapy at The Institute for Arts in Therapy and Education ( ) part time, only taking him out of the equation for Thursdays, however this has given him so much. He is loving it and this is what he had to say……


You’re currently studying Art Therapy, do you find it’s helping you with editing and if so, how? 

K: This course has definitely helped me to understand myself and others better and also the dynamics of human relationships. It has a lot to do with imagery and metaphors and how you see things. It helps to understand how people relate to one another and how to change dynamics to meet in the middle.

What was it about the ‘Tea Chimps’ edit with Angel Eye that got you all choked up? 

K: It was a beautiful story! It wasn’t sensationalist, horrific or tabloid-y but the complete opposite. It was a simple story with good values and lots of love.

Working for Angel Eye was one of the best jobs you’ve had in a while. Why? 

K: It was great to be working on this beautiful documentary – it’s the very reason why I wanted to start editing in the first place. Working with such creative talent was an invaluable experience and it felt very rewarding working as part of such a strong team. I felt really valued!

How have you found your experience of working with Blueberry? 

K:  I love working with the Blueberry team!  It feels like Blueberry is on my side and I always feel cared for. I feel you want me to be happy and that if I have a problem I can come to you and you will listen and help me.

Thank you to Kimaathi and Angel Eye.
Watch the programme here

Maria Sohlen draws Kim’s fabulous week!

In addition to handling bookings for our long form editors, Maria is also a talented artist and her doodles have become a source of great entertainment in the office.  So much so that she’s started a series of cartoon strips on Awesome Days experienced by different members of the team.
This one was inspired by Kim in Accounts!
Thank you Maria  x

Dominic O’Riordan – director / editor

We at Blueberry are privileged to meet great talent who inspire us on a weekly basis. This week the spotlight is on Director and Editor, Dominic O’Riordan.

Dominic works across Music Promos, TVC’s, Online content, Documentary and Sport. His music video work includes promos for Little Mix, Leona Lewis, JLS, Olly Murs, Jagga, The Beach and Kodaline.

He also has vast commercial experience producing TVC’s and online content for Sony Electronics, Garnier, Ann Summers, Bacardi, SKY, Sony Music and Universal to name just a few. 

Although a highly talented Director, Dominic also loves to come on board a project in the capacity of editor, helping clients to realise their vision.

Full portfolio here  

In Conversation with…. Andrea Cuadrado on “My Life: Mr Alzheimers and Me”

At the end of 2014, Andrea edited a short film project called “My Life: Mr Alzheimers and Me” for CBBC.  Produced by Tigerlily Films, it follows the experiences of three young children as they try to understand Alzheimers disease and how it affects their families.

Andrea was kind enough to provide some insights on the challenges of this project.

Q. Tell us about the project.

A. ‘My Life: Mr Alzheimer’s and Me” is a short film project for CBBC. It follows the experiences of three young children in a world where their carers and Grandparents are suffering with Alzheimer’s, they are trying to understand the disease and how it affects those they love.

Q. How did you find editing for a younger audience?

A. Editing for a younger audience did throw up some challenges. Having to tell stories about something so complex and emotionally difficult without talking down to the kids was something both I and the director were very keen on.   Our feeling was to try and make it visually ‘magical’ or other worldly, so we incorporated animation into their worlds and within that we could talk about the most difficult and sensitive issues facing the children.

Q. Were there any challenges you faced? 

A. The main challenges were that of sensitivity and trying to explain scientifically to children what Alzheimer’s is and what it does to the brain. Again, we didn’t want to dumb things down and it had to be understandable for ages 6-12, which is a wide range, so this was a challenge.

Q. How do you think the stigma on Alzheimer’s differs from today then it did in the past? 

A. I do feel that there is much more information about the disease today, early diagnosis is the key I suppose, as it is often misdiagnosed leading to the misunderstanding of a persons behaviour.

Q. What advice would you give to somebody starting out in the industry that you wish you had? 

A. It’s a long and interesting road so never give up! You don’t know what’s around the corner.


Thank you to Andrea and Tigerlily Films.

Watch the film here