José Andrés and his daughters smile for the camera

‘José Andrés & Family In Spain’ wins a Daytime Emmy!

We’re excited to share that José Andrés & Family In Spain – a docu-series for which Gabriel Edvy BFE was the Lead Editor – has won a Daytime Emmy award! Editors Daniel Birt and George Reynolds also worked on the show, named ‘Outstanding Culinary’ series. So, we couldn’t be happier! This is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the hard work of our Editors and Nutopia, the show’s production company.

It follows the journey of José Andrés, the famous chef and humanitarian, who travels across Spain with his three daughters, exploring its rich culinary heritage. From Barcelona to Andalusia, Valencia to the Canary Islands, and even Asturias, where José was born and raised, the series is a gastronomic adventure like no other! But it’s not just a travel and cooking show. It’s also a proud tribute to fatherhood and Spain with its traditions. 

Gabriel edited 4 of the 6 episodes. She says “Finding a unique voice and style can often be an uphill battle, especially when working with new talent. Luckily for me, I worked with a fantastic team at Nutopia, and together we found the right path. I’m hugely proud to have been a part of it!”

Gabriel went into more detail of the work involved in the series’ making:

“Being the lead editor of a brand-new series is always a challenge. There are so many different directions a program can take. Finding a unique voice and style can often be an uphill battle, especially when working with new talent. Luckily for me, I worked with a fantastic team at Nutopia, and together we found the right path […]. Executive Nicola Moody was very hands-on and supportive and gave us [editors] time for thorough conversations. I could also count on showrunner Anuar Arroyo for support.

All of the edit producers were fantastic […]. My creativity, ideas, and input were heard, and they placed their trust in my skills and let me get on with it. It wasn’t always easy, but we created a fantastic show in the end. And I’m glad to see it doing so well!”

The series is available now on Discovery+.

Threee people pose for a selfie in front of a large building which front sign spells "Crucible"

Our favourite moments from Doc Fest 2023

We had the incredible opportunity to attend Sheffield Doc Fest 2023 last week. It’s one of our favourite events of the year and, as always, it was an inspiring and grounding experience. Let’s relive some of the highlights, shall we?

This year’s festival was packed with moving stories from a global slate of filmmakers and thought-provoking conversations with industry experts. It’s wonderful to see our documentary community pushing the boundaries and hear about how we can support each other’s well-being.

We will spend the next few weeks exploring where and how we can make a positive difference. In the meantime, we’d like you to join us in revisiting some of our favourite films and conversations. 

You’ll soon be able to watch many of these documentaries on streaming platforms or in cinemas. If you can, catch them on the big screen and support your local independent cinema.

The Good Fight Club

Carly Anchal

Set in an MMA training gym in South London, The Good Fight Club is a new observational documentary series for Sky. We were given a preview of the first episode, and it certainly engaged my love for mixed martial arts!

The documentary is produced by Century TV and directed by Jack Retellack. Jack has trained at the gym for several years, gaining a unique perspective that encouraged him to embark on this project. He turns the camera to the young fighters, and we hear how the sport has shaped their lives.  

We learn of fighters who have overcome eating disorders, depression, loneliness and bullying. The main character is deaf fighter Thomas Paull, who smashes every obstacle. We also get to know their charismatic coach, who has a huge personality and fatherly love for his team. 

It was great to see the documentary challenge lazy assumptions about mixed martial arts (that “it’s for aggressive people”, etcetera, etcetera). Throughout the screening and the Q&A, it was also clear that the DocFest, Century TV and Sky teams take their duty of care seriously. There were BSL translators on hand to ensure that Thomas and anyone hard of hearing was always included in the conversation.

The Deepest Breath

Kirsty Bell

To say The Deepest Breath was gripping doesn’t do it justice – it took my breath away (no joke). I was moved by Alessia’s heart-stopping story and her determination to break freediving records. Seeing her swim so deep without any equipment to keep her breathing was humbling.

The story comes to life when, along the way, Alessia meets safety diver Stephen Keenan. We see two souls who have fallen in love with the same sport, now fall for each other. Helpless, we watch them embracing the risks their passion demands. We then follow their journey toward Zecchini’s ultimate achievement, diving under the arch of Dahab’s Blue Hole. Filmmaker Laura McGann takes you all the way to the end and then back again – not quite in one breath, but very close.

Tokio Uber Blues

Huldah Boakyewaa

My favourite documentary of the festival, Tokio Uber Blues follows up-and-coming director Taku Aoyagi. Taku lives with his family on the outskirts of Tokyo. After losing his job as a taxi driver during the pandemic, he struggles to pay his loans and bills. So, he follows a friend’s suggestion: he would move to Tokyo and work as an Uber Eats driver, hoping to earn enough to return home and support his family and himself. 

We follow Taku on this turbulent journey, supported only by his motivation and the little help of his friends and familiar faces from school. He even befriends other Uber drivers to learn tips on how to earn more. Surprisingly, his work gains momentum; 5-hour shifts become 11-plus shifts. But despite working hard to move out of his friends’ flats and stay out of the street, he spends much of his wages on food, bike maintenance and band-aid comforts. Taku keeps going but eventually accepts reality and gets back on his feet to keep his pledge.

I loved the film because it was unexpectedly honest about the hardships of people below the poverty line. It talked about class hierarchy from a whole new perspective and showed how, for some, Covid meant business as usual, while for others life was turbulent, like they were trapped in the capitalist game.

The D-Word: Why disability inclusion doesn’t have to be difficult (Panel)

Ramon Pascual Sanchez

Moderated by Channel 4 reporter Jordan Jarett-Bryar, this panel brought together broadcast commissioners, content executives, and presenters to discuss the importance of inclusion: what has been done and what’s still to happen. Besides the points discussed, the setup around the talk itself was refreshing. I appreciated seeing that at the beginning, all the participants introduced themselves visually, stating both who they are and how they looked. This needs to happen more in public talks!

It was good to hear that industry executives are committed to ensuring inclusion for people with visible and invisible disabilities. The part of the discussion I remember most strongly was about the need for inclusion, not only in front of the camera but behind the scenes too, and the need for accessibility expenses to be reflected in budgets. Disabled voices need to be heard and represented authentically, and resources must be available to make that happen. The conversation made me reflect on how embracing inclusion is also about moving away from the idea that an accessible and diverse TV is a ‘waste of money’ to making this pledge a core part of productions’ investments.

Speakers: Caroline O’Neill (Assistant Commissioner for Daytime, BBC), Ian Katz (Chief Content Officer, Channel 4), Kate Phillips (Director of Unscripted, BBC), Richard Watsham (Chief Creative Officer, UKTV and Global Director of Acquisition, BBC Studios and UKTV) 

Maestra

Irantzu Lau-Hing-Fan

Maestra follows five women as they prepare for and participate in an international competition for female conductors. It was a wonderfully warm and hopeful film – the first documentary I watched after arriving in Sheffield!

I loved that it captures the authentic environments and the challenges the conductors face on their journey to and through the competition. Seeing their passion, excitement, joy and surprises in action was incredible. It got me thinking about how we pursue the things that matter to us and how the support we have around us influences the choices we make in life.

Much Ado About Dying

Francesco Imola

I suspected this film would be a tear-jerker, and I’m a sucker for emotional documentaries. So, I decided to spend the second day of the festival to watch a documentary I knew little about. After all, aren’t the unexpected stories the ones that move us the most?

Filmmaker Simon Chambers has to put his life in India on hold when he receives desperate calls to return to London. His sudden departure is to look after his uncle David, a bohemian gay retired actor. When it emerges that he will be caring for David for far longer than planned, Simon begins to film their daily, often absurd, interactions. The backdrop? David’s frail health and poor living conditions juxtaposed against his unwavering spirit.

As Chambers uncovers the reality of caring for an ageing relative outside the conventional family structure, he shares his guilt and helplessness with inspiring self-compassion. In the process, he reveals powerful moments from his relationship with David as they grow closer, drift apart, and finally reconcile (or so it seemed to me).

I was as taken by the film as I was by the Q&A session afterwards. It was fascinating to hear Simon’s post-screening reflections, and I found the following quote especially thought-provoking: “Films about people dying tend to be either incredibly violent or too passive, but David does something much more involving that reflects back on us and makes us think about our own mortality.

Beyond Utopia

Bhavinee Mistry

This emotional documentary by Madeline Galvin captures the heart-warming stories of North Koreans trying to break free from oppression. The director interweaves their stories with those of a dedicated South Korean pastor, Seungeun, who selflessly spends his life helping North Koreans on their journey to freedom. 

Combining childhood memories with the history of this oppressive nation, the film shows candid and undercover footage of life in North Korea, including some heartbreaking public executions and the extreme efforts made to escape to a better place. I felt tense and anxious as I witnessed the fear and stress that comes with the threat of being caught. Solitary confinement, torture and internment are just some consequences of breaking the law in the DPRK.

Overall, the film is a gripping and essential must-see for how well it captures the dangers of fleeing North Korea while highlighting the urgent reasons for taking such a daring step.

Total Trust

Anna Stesova

Total Trust is a shocking portrayal of growing surveillance and totalitarianism in China told through the lives of two families and a journalist affected. On the one hand, it highlights the worrying practices that already restrict people’s freedom of expression, rights, and moevement. On the other, it shines a light on the rise of “digital” avenues of social control, which would take the invasion of privacy and freedom to new levels. Among these are cameras that scan for emotions and stress levels to alert employers of “deviant” behaviour. Another sinister practice, the Social Credit is built to determine an individual’s trustworthiness based on their daily actions.

A short Q&A followed the film, where producer Knut Jäger shared how he is hopeful—for the first time in his career—that the film will be illegally distributed in China, so people will see the extent of the problem. Knut also distributed postcards in support of journalist Wang Jianbing, who was arrested trying to leave China after exposing human rights violations and covering the #MeToo movement.

The Takeover & Incident

Alise Veremeja

The Takeover is a gripping short documentary directed by Anders Hammer. The film captures the tumultuous events surrounding the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan. It does it through a series of interviews with courageous women protesting for their rights to education and freedom, painting a nuanced portrait of their struggles. At the same time, it offers a contrasting perspective, by also following a group of women who support the Taliban regime and exploring the complexities of their beliefs.

Bill Morrison’s Incident is an intense short that explores a tragic shooting that took place in broad daylight in Chicago in 2018. A superb collage of footage from street cameras and police body cams, the film transported me into reality in its most brutal form. Through its visual storytelling, Incident forced me to confront the stark consequences of police violence.

Watching these films in sequence, I also particularly appreciated how both filmmakers effectively use the brevity of the format to streamline storytelling and convey different but equally powerful messages.

Large crowd, most with headphones, sat in front of a stage in a large hall with an arched roof

Insights from The Media Production and Technology Show

We were delighted to attend The Media Production and Technology Show at London Olympia last week, and can’t wait to fill you in on some of the insights we gained.

This annual event is an opportunity for media production professionals to network, exchange their valuable experiences, and stay up-to-date with industry trends and challenges. Prominent experts spoke on the current state of post-production, highlighting factors which impact the talent and clients Blueberry works with, as well as other industry stakeholders.

Here are our main takeaways from the talks attended (listed at the end of the article).

Shifts in the Industry

Post-production is undergoing extensive pressures and transformations, and it must adapt and recover. The weak pound and the writers’ strike in the US are affecting scripted commissions and productions. There have been reports that a  small number of productions have been pulled mid-shoot, or even during post, to the surprise of post facilities. Big players are waiting to see what other names in the industry will do next, thereby slowing down the pace of new commissions during this first half of the year.

Addressing the shortage of skilled professionals

It has became apparent that there is a shortage of highly skilled post-production experts. Many left the industry during the pandemic, and those remaining were booked to capacity. According to the speakers at the Media Production and Tech Show, certain specialised positions are still difficult to fill, such as editors, assistant editors, VFX specialists, post supervisors and post producers. To address the shortage and diversity issues, some post companies have started to train their juniors faster than average, and organisations are developing new initiatives, some mentioned include:

The Academy is a soon-to-launch scheme created by Residence Pictures to simultaneously tackle the diversity and inclusion crisis in the UK post industry, together with the skills gap. The Academy plans to offer a free employability programme, providing hands-on training and access to VFX and post-production roles to individuals from marginalized and underrepresented communities. 

The TV Access Project was also praised for helping make productions and facilities accessible to Deaf, Disabled, and Neurodivergent talent – their goal is to reach equity and full representation by 2030.

Training and Mental Health Initiatives

ScreenSkills is offering a range of training and professional development opportunities. We were pleased to hear that they are offering guidance to people returning to the industry or those needing help to plan their next steps after a few years in the same position. There is a greater and much-needed focus on mid-level career progression training, as well as entry-level.

We were also impressed by the Film and TV Charity’s new Whole Picture Toolkit, a mental health and well-being initiative endorsed by UK broadcasters. The Toolkit provides teams with guidance and resources to help mitigate the pressures that have proven to negatively impact industry workers’ mental health. Some companies, such as Rare TV and Sky, are already using the Toolkit and noticing its benefits. As more companies take it up, we are looking forward to positive mental health practices becoming more of an industry standard.

In conclusion, the post-production industry is undergoing numerous changes, and action is being taken to address the skills shortage and promote diversity, inclusion and better mental health. These are welcomed steps towards creating a fairer and more equitable industry and ensuring that the sector continues to innovate and adapt in the years to come.


Post Production: State of the Nation

  • JP Dash, Commercial Managing Director – Fifty Fifty
  • Cara Kotschy, Managing Director – Residence Pictures
  • Dave Cadle, Co-Founder & MD – ENVY Post Production

Addressing the Skills Shortage in Post Production

  • Catherine Sumner, Programme Manager, Technology Apprentice Schemes – BBC
  • Cara Kotschy, Managing Director – Residence Pictures

FROM Industry, FOR Industry: Tackling the Skills Gap Together

  • ​​Matt Gallagher, Founder – thecallsheet.co.uk
  • Nicky Ball, Head of HETV Mid-Level Career Progression – ScreenSkills
  • Richard Knight, Career Support Manager – Screen Yorkshire
  • Mal Woolford, Award-winning Post Supervisor
  • Claire Anne Williams, A Screen Star of Tomorrow (2021) Hair and Makeup Designer

Seeing the Whole Picture: How the Film & TV Charity Can Support Mental Health on Productions

  • Dawn Beresford, Director of Talent, Commissioning – BBC Content
  • Claire Riddell, Production Executive – Rare TV
  • Claire Fone, Head of Production Operations – Sky
  • Sophie Freeman, Toolkit Engagement Producer
Selection of images of nominated projects cut by Blueberry editors

Projects by Blueberry editors earn nominations at the 2023 Broadcast Awards

Wow, what a year for our amazing editors! We matched them to projects that let their creativity and passion shine, resulting in a slate of captivating shows. Now some of these projects are nominated for the 2023 Broadcast Awards.

From gripping crime dramas to must-watch reality shows, charming children’s programs to money-saving finance programs, these nominations are a testament to the diligent work of our editors and clients.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the nominations edited by Blueberry freelancers:

Flackstock (Best Music Programme)
Lead Editor: Rhys Warlow
Lime Pictures, Sky Max and Sky Showcase

The Martin Lewis Money Show (Best Popular Factual)
Editor: Hannah MacLeod
Multistory Media for ITV 1

Gogglebox (Best Entertainment Programme)
Editor: Rhys Warlow
Studio Lambert, Channel 4

Love Island (Best Multi-Channel Programme)
Editor: George Reynolds
Lifted Entertainment and Motion Content Group, ITV2

Curse of the Chippendales (Best Documentary Series)
Assistant Editor: Beth Allan
Lightbox, Amazon Prime Video

Big Cook Little Cook (Best Pre-School Programme)
Re-versioning Editor: Ed Kinnear
Dot to Dot Productions, CBeebies.

We’re on the edge of our seats for tomorrow’s awards ceremony and we just had to give a heartfelt shoutout to all the nominees and everyone involved. The Broadcast Awards awards celebrate the talent and creativity that goes into making TV a truly enriching experience, and we’re honoured to be part of it.

Bav, Kirsty, and Anna smile at the camera. Their faces are painted with glitter to recreate one of Bowie's iconic looks.

Meet the documentaries that made our time at Sheffield Doc Fest

A week from the end of Sheffield DocFest 2022, we take a moment to share the films and talks we enjoyed the most.

Many of the docs mentioned here will soon show up in cinemas near you, and Bertha DocHouse already has some in their screening timetable. We recommend catching them on the big screen—it’ll be worthwhile!

And Still I Sing

Marilyn Fernandes

Still from And Still I Sing. Fazila Amiri, 2022.

Of the many docs showcased at Sheffield DocFest, this one strikes a critical chord. Wrote and directed by Fazila Amiri, And Still I Sing is a harrowing tale of two Afghan women—Zahra Elham and Sadiqa Madadgar—as they prepare to compete in Afghan Star, a hit TV singing competition similar to X-Factor. They are the first women to be represented in the show’s history. Under the mentorship of controversial pop star Aryana Sayeed, the two singers embody a nation where women’s representation in the arts has been suppressed for decades. 

On the one hand, the camaraderie between the women and their mentor carries an inspiring positivity. On the other, we observe bewildered as the film shows an audience conscious of the impending upheaval awaiting Zahra and Sadiqa. Because as the women are on the verge of making their dreams a reality, the Taliban returns to power. Juxtaposing striking imagery of past and present, Amiri seamlessly intertwines the recent Taliban takeover with the history of Afghanistan under the Taliban. 
Witnessing the courage of these women as they escaped Afghanistan was unbelievable. On its own merits, the film is a feat of bravery. And it was fascinating to hear Fazila recount the struggles around releasing it at the post-screening Q&A. And Still I Sing is a vital reminder that—in a world with a short attention span—Afghanistan has been facing conflict for over 40 years and still needs our support.

Moonage Daydream

Anna Stesova

Brett Morgen’s Moonage Daydream opened this year’s festival on June 23 at Sheffield City Hall—50 years since David Bowie first played the venue in June 1972. Attending the premiere could not have been a better introduction to the festival! Morgen, known for his applauded “Cobain: Montage of Heck” (2015), did what he is known best for and threaded another unforgettable journey through the life and mind of a genius artist. 

Moonage Daydream is a kaleidoscopic combination of archive footage, paintings, journals, interviews and unseen footage of Bowie. The film paints a breathtaking portrait of the musician’s life, bringing the audience through the stages of Bowie’s career and the inspirations behind his many spectacular characters. Over the course of five years, Brett and the team had to go over five million assets to put this collage together. And to give the audience an even more immersive experience at the premiere, Morgen himself looked after the Town Hall’s live sound, highlighting crucial moments in the film and making sound travel wide around the room!

A Bunch of Amateurs

Alise Veremeja

Still from A Bunch of Amateurs. Kim Hopkins, 2022.

A Bunch of Amateurs reminded me how doing something you love will feed your soul. It’s no wonder it grabbed the Audience Award at Sheffield Doc Fest!

The heartwarming documentary tells the story of the world’s oldest amateur film club, Bradford Movie Makers, which has been going for nearly 90 years and is desperately trying to endure. The club and its members, mostly older men with their quirks, passions, and creative disparities, stand in the middle of Kim Hopkins’ moving yet comical portrait.

The dry but well-meaning English humour the club members are laced with made for some uproarious moments, with the whole crowd chuckling in their seats. The film observes each club member as, despite the occasional arguments, they demonstrate never-ceasing creativity and a love for collaborative filmmaking which is only inspiring. An aptly made documentary worth watching.

Ithaka

Francesco Imola

Directed by Ben Lawrence and produced by Gabriel Shipton, Julian Assange’s brother, Ithaka follows the extradition battle of the WikiLeaks founder. The film and the following Q&A with Julian’s father John Shipton, wife Stella Morris, and brother Gabriel were simultaneously eye-opening and daunting.

Three weeks ago, Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the decision to extradite Assange. This is after the courts found that extradition would not be “incompatible with his human rights”—even though leaked documents show U.S. officials discussed assassinating him in 2017. Julian is currently held in H.M. Belmarsh prison in London. If extradited to the U.S., he is facing a 175-year sentence for publishing a series of leaks—provided by Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning—through Wikileaks in 2010. These leaks included files and recordings that showed war crimes committed with the knowledge of the U.S. government. 

Julian’s family is confronting the prospect of losing him forever. “It’s 11 years since Julian was in the company of a tree, or a plant, or a caterpillar, or a butterfly.” Shipton reflects in a touching offbeat moment. John’s journey, like the one Greek writer Constantine Cavafy talks about in the poem Ithaka, has undoubtedly been a long one. “It has been exhausting”, John says during the Q&A, “so when Gabriel and I were travelling across the U.S., and we got a bit down at the end of the day, we used to play the Sean Connery recording of Ithaka on YouTube, with that beautiful brogue that he has”. 

The case against Assange criminalises investigative journalism in violation of the International Human Rights Law and the U.S. Constitution. Above all else, the film hopes to reach an audience that can take action in halting this vindictive punishment—the kind that WikiLeaks has so often exposed.

Sansón and Me 

Irantzu Lau-Hing-Fan

Still from Sansón and Me. Alejandro Mejía, Rodrigo Reyes, 2022.

Thanks to Rodrigo Reyes’s talent and creativity, Sanson and Me won a well-deserved Best Film award at the DocFest this year. In the film, the filmmaker reconnects with Sansón Noe Andrade, a Mexican migrant sentenced to life in prison, who he met when he was a translator at his trial. Reyes expertly weaves together accounts from Andrade’s life, making for a powerful reflection on migration, the notion of family, and the injustice of the US prison system. 

Borders have defined Sansón’s life. There’s the physical and psychological border between Mexico and the US. And now, looking at a life behind bars, there’s the one that separates him from his loved ones. Since it is forbidden to film inside the jail, Reyes recreates Sansón’s life – with the help of his family – through letters and by casting an untrained actor to play his friend. (Sheffield Doc Fest)

This was the first Rodrigo Reyes documentary I watched. Now I want to see more and am delighted to discover his collection of films online. Keep an eye out for Sanson and Me when it arrives at Bertha Doc House later this year, or look for screenings near you. I 100% recommend watching it!

8 Bar: The Evolution of Grime

Huldah Boakyewaa

Still from 8 Bar: the Evolution of Grime. Ewen Spencer, Gunpowder & Sky, 2021.

Directed by filmmaker and photographer Ewen Spencer, the film takes you on a journey starting at the symbolic birth of the “grime sound’ linked with the ’90s ragga movement. It then shifts to the late noughties and early 2000s when jungle, drum and bass, and garage reached peak popularity in UK clubs and independent radio stations. During this time, we see legendary groups such as Heartless Crew and So Solid making their best records. 

While arriving at the mid-2000, Spencer begins to localise the narrative in East London. We get to see interviews with Lethal Bizzle, Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Double E and other legendary grime artists. We also explore how pirate radio helped get Grime out when clubs denied grime performances due to threats of police interfering. Interviews also touch upon how the struggle to bring this music to a mainstream audience was tied to racism, classism, and disregard from record labels. And it’s here that the documentary demonstrates a sharp sense of Grime’s socio-political context and impact across decades of shaky UK history and reactionary politics.

I grew up in East London, and Grime is one of my favourite music genres—so I connected with The Evolution of Grime in a profoundly personal way. I still remember when Stormzy performed at Glastonbury in 2019. It was the first time a Grime artist had ever played on that stage! But it has taken Grime 30 years to be understood and appreciated by the masses. And ultimately, it was thanks to the determination of artists who stopped depending on others that the Grime has now reached its enormous resonance in modern UK music and culture. 

Some Women

Ramon Pascual Sanchez

With bracing openness, filmmaker Quen Wong turns the camera to herself and walks us candidly through her story as a trans woman in a conservative Singapore. I respect how Some Women talks about trans experiences from the perspective of a low-profile filmmaker coming from a place of love and acceptance. The trans community has been majorly misrepresented in the media, and too often in films, trans characters are given plotlines focused solely on their gender identity or expression. But this documentary was refreshing in how it portrayed transgender women as women and human beings just trying to go about their lives. The filmmaker paints this picture by making simple stylistic choices, such as using voiceovers to narrate her daily life.

Wong’s debut feature documentary is as intimate as it is celebratory of Singaporean trans rights activists and the trans women that worked in Bugis Street—a world-famous stomping ground for trans women from the 1950s to the ’80s. The opportunity to look into the world of trans people in Singapore and how their existence is affected by the gender identity debate made for a compelling and unpretentious documentary. 

North Circular

Kirsty Bell

Still from North Circular. Luke McManus, 2022.

Shot in a beautifully stripped-back and atmospheric black and white, Luke McManus’ North Circular is a joyous love letter to Dublin that revels in storytelling and musical performances. After winning a Special Mention at the Dublin International Film Festival, it enjoyed its international premiere at Sheffield DocFest with much anticipation.

This musical journey shines a light on the northern part of the Irish capital, with the working-class communities’ rich culture and traditions at its heart. McManus chose to structure the film’s timeline to follow an exact transport route, rather than make an authored documentary. And perhaps, part of the reason why he is calling to acknowledge Irish history while distancing himself from the story, resides in a palpable sense of embarrassment about the fact that the road, which is not far from where he lives, invokes a not-so-flattering historical legacy.

By encountering its inhabitants and hearing their stories and songs, McManus crafts a rewarding travelogue that—despite being shot during a pandemic and on a low budget—transverses generations of musical history, drawing heavily on a wealth of folk and traditional songwriting. I especially loved the deeply personal the musical performances from local artists.

Cutting the “Fame” Trilogy

Carly Anchal

Chris King and Asif Kapadia discussing on stage at Sheffield Doc Fest 2022.

Academy Award and BAFTA-winning filmmaker Asif Kapadia was Guest Curator for this year’s Doc Fest. On day two of the festival, Kapadia and frequent collaborating editor Chris King opened up the archives and revisited unused documentary material from the “Fame” trilogy, including Senna (2010), Amy (2015) and Diego Maradona (2019).

This frank and insightful discussion marked the first occasion in which Kapadia and King have come together to discuss their decision-making. I was delighted to witness the humour and mutual respect between King and Kapadia. They were refreshingly honest, and their frankness made for a lively session. It also felt special to watch previously unseen clips and archive footage that didn’t make the final cut and learn the editorial reasons behind those decisions.

When talking about his work and the relationship with his editor, Kapadia said a series of things which particularly resonated with me: 

“I’ve never told Chris which buttons to push. […] I’ve got my own Avid in the cutting room, and we work in parallel but in different timeframes. […] I respect that he [Chris] can take a chainsaw to the edit, removing large sections of narrative rather than trim, trim, trim away at the timeline. I often think, ‘What a mistake! Just watch—that’ll end up back in!’. But he’s usually right. We don’t need it”.

And King followed with an observation that was just as memorable: 

“Part of the editor’s task is to detach [from the director] as gently as possible—or violently, if necessary. You detach from the material they’ve been gathering for months because you know it’s not going to be useful for the resulting narrative. […]  

The Business of Birth Control 

Bhavinee Mistry

With fearless attitude, the documentary takes a look at the movement to investigate “the pill”, as generations of women start weighing drastic and life-threatening side effects of taking a drug that is argued to be synonymous with women’s independence and freedom. How did we come to overlook the damaging carry-overs of hormonal contraception? 

Produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein, The Business of Birth Control is a real eye opener. The screening led to an interesting discussion afterwards with a few women sharing similar journeys and experiences. 

“We deserve better across the entire medical industry. We deserve to be believed. We deserve to be understood. We deserve to be empowered to at least understand ourselves and not have vital lifesaving information hidden from us for profit.”

Actress and Activist Jameela Jamil speaking about The Business of Birth Control

Still, while the film shared several personal stories from families who had lost loved ones due to misinformation, it was heavily centred on western experiences. Considering stories from other global perspectives could have elevated the documentary further—it would have been interesting to see how birth control impacted women around the world.

Tax Increases from April 2022: What You Need to Know

Woman Uses Calculator

It’s the end of year tax season! 

We’re here with a run-down on a couple of updates affecting your earnings in the new tax year, particularly regarding national insurance contributions and dividend tax changes due to come into effect from April 6th 2022.  

These changes were announced as part of the government’s 2021 autumn budget to address funding gaps within the NHS and social care services and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic with a further tweak to national insurance thresholds following last week’s spring statement.


What does this mean?  

From April 6th 2022, employers, employees and the self-employed will now pay an additional 1.25% more for national insurance. Any dividends will also be subject to a 1.25% increase.   

Although the 1.25% increase will initially be introduced as a temporary increase in national insurance contributions from April 2022, it will be designated as a separate tax from April 2023 under a new Health and Social Care Levy banner. From April 2023, National Insurance contributions will be brought down to current levels. 

In response to concerns over the cost of living crisis, the recent spring statement announced that national insurance thresholds would rise to £12,570 from July 6th 2022, meaning you will pay national insurance contributions on less of your overall earnings. This staggered approach from the government in implementing the higher threshold after the tax year starts to allow time for payroll software to accommodate these changes.  

National insurance changes

Employee Class 1 NIC’s (Main/higher rate)Employer Class 1 NIC’sSelf-employed Class 4 NIC’s (Main/higher rate)
2021/22 rates12% / 2%13.8%9% / 2%
2021/22 earnings/profits thresholds£9,568 per year£8,840£9,568
2022/23 rates13.25% / 3.25%15.05%10.25% / 3.25%
2022/23 earnings/profits thresholds
(6/4/2022 to 5/7/2022)
£190 per week
£823 per month
£9,880 per year
£175 per week
£758 per month
£9,100 per year
£190 per week
£823 per month
£9,880 per year
2022/23 earnings/profits thresholds
(6/7/2022 to 5/4/2023)
£242 per week
£1,048 per month
£12,570 per year
£175 per week
£758 per month
£9,100 per year
£242 per week
£1,048 per month
£12,570 per year

Dividend tax changes


Basic RateHigher RateAdditional Rate
2021/227.5%32.5%38.1%
2022/238.75%33.75%39.35%

How will it affect you?

National insurance is the tax paid by employees and the self-employed on earnings and profits above a certain threshold. Your national insurance contributions depend on your employment status and how much you earn.  

Therefore, the impact of the upcoming changes will largely depend on how you freelance, whether you take on work on a PAYE basis (incl. through an umbrella), through your own limited company or as a sole trader. 

PAYE freelancers

Employee NI contributions on your payslip will increase from 12% to 13.25%. Employer’s NI will also be going up from 13.08% to 15.05%, and how this will impact production budgets depends on the individual end client. 

If you are employed via an umbrella company, please note that your assignment rate will be subject to a total increase of 2.5% to account for both employee and employer NI increases.  

Limited company freelancers

You can earn £2,000 tax-free for any income from dividends. The rate basic taxpayers pay on income will rise from 7.5% to 8.75%;  the upper rate becomes 33.75% (from 32.5%) and the additional rate 39.35% (from 38.1%).

Depending on the salary you pay yourself through your company, employee and employer’s class 1 national insurance in line with the latest thresholds will become due. These changes will also affect any inside IR35 payments subject to PAYE tax and national insurance.  

Sole traders (if you are registered as one outside of your work with us)

Thresholds for self-employed people are set for the tax year as a whole. The 2022/23 Lower Profits Limit (LPL) for Class 4 NIC will be determined by apportioning £9,880 from April to July and £12,570 from July to the end of the year. The resultant figure is £11,908, above which Class 4 NIC will be payable on business profits (Source: APSCo).

The accrual of state pension benefits for self-employed people depends on paying Class 2 NIC (a weekly charge depending on how many weeks you are registered as a sole trader within the tax year). Those with profits between the Small Profits Threshold and the LPL will not be required to pay Class 2 NIC for 2022/23 but will still earn credit for the year (Source: APSCo).


We hope you found this summary useful. Managing taxes when self-employed can be a daunting affair, particularly when handling multiple income streams, and it is always best to seek advice from a tax professional/accountant.  

If you’re looking for clarity regarding rates and how agencies like us would process your work, don’t hesitate to contact a team member, and we will do our best to help!

Guide to Freelancer Insurance

Having adequate insurance protects you and your business should unexpected events or claims arise. The adage of “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” holds true when it comes to business insurance—it makes good business sense, and many clients expect you will have this in place. 

Why do I need it? 

Whether you work through an agency or independently, you operate a business providing a high level of skill and expertise to end clients. With that comes the risk that you could be held liable for any errors or mistakes that adversely affect an end client. 

It is essential to manage these risks in the event of any claims made against you, however unfounded they may be. You should also consider cover for claims from third parties, and it is mandatory to have employer’s cover if you have employees.  

What type of cover do I need?

There are several types of insurance products available on the market. You must hold professional indemnity and public liability for any work through Blueberry. The type of insurance you take out will ultimately depend on the kind of work you do and your annual turnover. Many end clients will specify the type and levels of coverage required as part of their contractual requirements. Professional indemnity is often the bare minimum outlined.  

As a professional in the creative industries:

Professional indemnity covers you for professional negligence claims, errors or omissions, confidentiality breaches or copyright infringement. Professional indemnity also works on a “claims-made” or retroactive basis, meaning your policy must be in force at the time of the claim and cover you for work carried out in previous years.

Public liability covers you for any accidental damage to property or injury to a person due to your professional actions, whether working on your own or a client’s premises. 

Employers’ liability covers you against claims from employees during working hours (only applicable if you have your employees).

You may also wish to cover your kit with business equipment damage cover or contents insurance.

How much will it cost?

This will depend on what constitutes adequate insurance in light of your work and the business you run. Insurance advisors are best placed to guide you on this and can offer bespoke packages tailored to your needs.  

For a quotation, you can speak with Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance. They provide a 10% discount to Blueberry contractors. Please note that there is no requirement to obtain your cover through Kingsbridge should you wish to source cover elsewhere. If you are a member of a professional membership body such as BECTU or IPSE, you may be able to avail of similar discounts through their insurance partners. 

Rosa Lykiardopoulos is ready to push the boundaries of storytelling in design and animation

If there is someone whose work we’ll never have enough of, it must be Rosa’s. In the days leading to International Women’s Day (8th March), we met to talk about her post-production journey, career struggles, and favourite projects.

Rosa Lykiardopoulos is a resourceful senior Motion Graphic Designer, Compositor, Animation Director, illustrator, and Photoshop Artist. Her magnetic style, strong instinct for storytelling, and multilingual skills—combined with an incredible eye for detail and excellent technical knowledge—make her an indispensable collaborator. Rosa’s work has been featured in books, magazines, galleries and festivals. Past clients include Nike, Pepsi, Marvel, Cartoon Network, BBC, BT Sport, BT TV, Sainsbury’s, Motorola and many others.


Did you always want to pursue a career in post-production?

I started post-production a bit by chance. From very early on, I knew I wanted to do animation. I was very inclined to stop motion, but I bought a computer and started playing with a software called POSER. I don’t think it even exists anymore. My boyfriend was working for a Sports Post Production company. He told me they were looking for after effects animators to join the design team. He got me an interview, and they asked me if I knew After Effects. And I said yes! Although I didn’t have a clue how to use it. Somehow I got the job (some things are meant to happen!), so I ran home and spent the weekend doing tutorials!

Where did you train?

I’m entirely self-taught. Since studying film direction at Eliseo Subiela’s film school in Argentina, I planned to specialise in stop motion films. But life took me in a different direction, and now I love post-production.

How did you get your break in the industry?

Although I had already worked in post-production in Argentina, my clients and experience weren’t enough for the London market when I came to the UK. So it took me a good two years of working in restaurants to survive and applying to jobs through Mandy.com. Until one day, the miracle happened, and I got my first London job. A breakfast TV show for Channel 4 where the GFX were prepared the same morning before going live. Starting time: 3 am! After that, I got the opportunity to join Blueberry, and I haven’t stopped working since then. It’s been 18 years.

Are there any women in post who have inspired you?

Yes, Klaudija Cermark. I worked with her at AMV BBDO. She worked in the London industry for ages and even wrote a book, “How to get into and survive Film and TV Post Production.”

How much creative control do you have when working on a project?

It depends on the project. Some are entirely structured from start to finish. Storyboard, assets provided, brand guidelines, and so forth. Others are the total opposite—and the best ones for me! I am currently working on lots of music videos: editing, grading and adding FX. It’s probably one of my favourite things to do. Maybe it is because I am not working for massive clients yet, but every project is in my hands for now. And I have complete creative freedom, which is a dream come true for us designers.

What attracts you to a project?

If it’s animation, I am in! Otherwise, it depends on the creative freedom, the client (it’s not the same working for NIKE as for a local supermarket!), and how much time they give me to work on it.

Are there any particular types of projects you’d love to work on?

Yes, animation ones! The ones that have some kind of animated story or animated characters. I like to tell stories through my work. I do corporate videos when I have to do them, but I am keener to work on projects with some kind of message or story. And I like to work on sports promos, as usually the sports producers are looking to try new styles and are very open to pushing the boundaries. And, of course, keep editing music videos. I would love to work for a prominent Latin artist like J Balvin.

What advice do you have for other women pursuing a career in post-production?

Let’s do it!


See more of Rosa’s work in illustration, animation, and design on her website, or learn about her personalised children’s posters. Interested in working with Rosa? Visit her Blueberry profile and reach out to us!

Spotlight: Erica Lee – Editor

Who is Erica Lee?

I am an Editor. And it has to be said we are the nerds of the creative industries as you have to engage with the technical stuff so that you can enjoy being creative. Luckily I get a kick out of reading manuals and brushing up on each software update and an improved bit of technology that crops up so ridiculously often.

I have worked on promos, ads, branded content and motion graphics but these days I mainly edit observational and traditional documentaries. I believe the best stories come out of the collaboration between the Director and Editor so I like to dabble in scriptwriting too. It’s great that my love of music and DJing is part of my job. Even when there isn’t music in a scene, I am always cutting to the phantom rhythm in my head!

How did your career path develop?

When I did my TV & Film degree in South Africa I decided that I hated editing. I wanted to be a camera operator. After university, a friend offered me access to her non-linear edit suite on weekends. I progressed through the manuals and tutorials and realised that compared to the linear editing I was used to, non-linear editing was a different beast – far more in tune with my way of thinking. Upon moving to the UK, I looked for jobs in camera, editing, floor managing, radio and everything related. It was an editing job that came through first. So in a way, I didn’t choose editing – it chose me!

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

As a foreigner who didn’t grow up here, managing to crack the London prime-time broadcast scene is something to be proud of. I’ve been lucky to cross paths with many talented professionals including Monty Don, Kevin McCloud, James Martin, Goldie, Miranda Hart and others. But the person I was most star-struck by has to be Sir David Attenborough. He dropped into my edit suite to record a guide voice over. Hearing that iconic voice first-hand was pretty surreal!

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

If meeting him wasn’t enough, when I edited “Reef Diaries” for Attenborough’s prestigious “Great Barrier Reef”, I got unique access to behind-the-scenes footage of Sir David munching Maltesers in a deep water submersible. What more could I ask for?

Another highlight was the documentary “Amazing Mighty Micro Monsters”, a selection of Attenborough’s most heroic insects, which I edited not only in 3D but destined for the giant screen. 4-metre-high spiders aside, it was a treat to view my film at the BFI IMAX.

And then there was the edit I did for the Queen. Yup, that’s “Her Majesty” to you and me. It was a short film about Bergen-Belsen for her first visit to the concentration camp. It had to be signed off by the folk at 10 Downing Street and everything.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Keep smiling. That can be difficult to remember when Avid is crashing and you’re up against deadlines and last-minute changes. But a Director always appreciates someone who stays calm and puts a smile on their face when things are going pear-shaped!

View Erica’s Portfolio

Portrait photo of Tom Canning

Spotlight: Tom Canning

Who is Tom Canning?

I’m a creator of stories and a storyteller. These overlap and rely on each other. I try to bring that combination to whichever part of the filmmaking process I’m working on. A film has to be aware of its audience, otherwise, it fails its basic function. I focus greatly on who the audience is and what they need to see in order to feel addressed. From there I try to take them to the place the project wants them to go.

How did your career path develop?

I began as a runner, then junior cameraman, sound man and editor. I tried to learn everything I could about every aspect of filmmaking in order to better connect with the audience and tell the story – not to mention being able to cover roles when people were unavailable.

I then went freelance and edited for many years. This combined all the elements of filmmaking and allowed me to discuss details with directors and producers – to see how far the result had changed from their intention and why.

That’s when I began writing scripts. I then moved into producing and directing as I felt more comfortable with what I needed to achieve. Now I’m using all those skills to keep projects moving, from commercials and corporate films to short dramas and feature scripts.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

Not giving up and the one or two awards I’ve received.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

I’m used to working hard to create the best work I can, yet I often feel like I could have another go at certain elements after projects have gone out into the world. There are a few things that I’m proud of, like for instance a short drama that won awards and got into festivals or a short script that received an award. Scripts, however, are easy to be proud of as they are the most controllable – lone pieces of work that can be infinitely adjusted, not compromised by the headaches of production.

I’ve seen it all: project-saving edits, transformative re-edits, planned shots that worked, lucky shots I’ve stolen and inspiring moments of clarity at all stages. I did a job in Abu Dhabi that was long, complicated and had the largest crew I’d worked with. A job in Argentina that had a tiny crew but we got content worthy of 3 crews.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Try to understand others. It’s the key to communication and interaction.

View Tom’s Portfolio

Portrait photo of Beatriz Elía Marcos smiling at the camera

Spotlight: Beatriz Elía Marcos – Editor, Motion Graphic Designer

Who is Beatriz Elía Marcos? 

My mother says I’m a “cabra loca” (a little bit crazy) but the truth is I just have a lot of energy, I tend to smile a lot and I’m quite creative (this might be the part, my mother, mistakes with craziness).

Professionally, I have over 10 years of experience working in audiovisual, mostly in post-production. I have done all kinds of video content: documentaries, advertising, news, corporate, and educational.

How did your career path develop?

I studied and started my career in Madrid, from doing some shorts with friends (with no money but a ton of eagerness) to working for some of the most important Spanish audiovisual companies.

I then moved to France where a new challenge began: learning the language and not gaining 100 pounds with all those delicious croissants. Seven years and many videos edited later, I decided to cross the English Channel and start a new adventure in London.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

I’m quite proud of being able to move and start over again, making new friends, meeting new colleagues, and overcoming new challenges. I have learnt so much from each company I’ve worked for.

And I’m more than happy when people want to work with me again, not just for professional reasons but also on a personal level. It’s such a rewarding feeling when you spend at least 8-10 hours a day working with someone and they are glad to work with you again!

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

A feature documentary about the French handball team during the World Championship in 2015.

It was great to be immersed in the competition, working along with a producer for the whole time, managing short deadlines, dealing with unforeseen circumstances and hoping for a happy ending for the project. It was very stressful and it entailed a lot of hard work but it was a great experience.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Don’t take simple things too seriously. Love your job so it makes you jump out of bed in the morning, look for inspiration, be kind and enjoy your life.

View Beatriz’s Portfolio.

Spotlight: Paul Bernays – Editor

Who is Paul Bernays?

I am an experienced editor and a great collaborator. Passionate about compelling storytelling, visual flow and the odd, finely-tuned nuance.

How did your career path develop?

I spliced audio tape and cine film as a child – anything I could lay my hands on – then took a filmmaking degree at the London College of Printing (a few years later an exec asked me if I was Oxford or Cambridge, to which I replied: ‘Elephant and Castle actually’).

I’ve been lucky to work with and learn from some greats: my first job was with the fantastic filmmaker Molly Dineen and later I assisted Dai Vaughan, who cut Roger Graef’s original groundbreaking observational documentaries.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

Helping to make films and programmes that have been watched and enjoyed by thousands, sometimes millions of people. Right now I’m fascinated by how changing technologies give us amazing scope to explore new ways to tell and understand stories.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

I’m proud of all the work I’ve contributed fully and in the right way for that particular project to become the very best it can be. My favourite is a BBC film about Mose Allison, a blues singer I’m a huge fan of. I cut and honed the film until each edit felt exactly right.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Be open, friendly and hard-working. Editing is highly collaborative and it’s about taking on the director’s vision and aiming every decision toward that. Essentially, you choose shots and try agreed creative ideas.

You’ve got to take risks – but don’t take long about them, judge their success or move on quickly. With less skill and experience it’s like a long journey down a spiral staircase to get to the places the film needs to be but you learn to just jump and hit a lot of those points in single leaps!

View Paul’s portfolio.

Spotlight: Jamie Roper – Editor, Self-Shooter

Who is Jamie Roper?

I am a self-shooter and editor originally from Oxfordshire. I lived and worked in London for 8 years and now I’m living in the Hampshire countryside with my wife Olivia and my son Felix. I was brought up around motorsport my whole childhood, predominantly F1, with my father being a graphic designer for the Williams F1 team. I am a keen cyclist and I enjoy long-distance running, more recently trail running (when I can). My family has always been incredibly musical, so playing and listening to music is a big part of my life. I studied music technology and learnt how to capture the sounds of every type of instrument. I play guitar and piano in my spare time.

How did your career path develop?

I’ve always had a love for photography and when I was able to start filming on home camcorders, the combination of music and imagery seemed to suit me very well. I first started editing on iMovie when I was 15 and you couldn’t get me off it. I found my grandfather’s old super 8mm camera and began experiencing with that and what could be done with projectors, but I quickly ran out of money as the film would run out faster than I had hoped. I then moved into making awful music videos, skateboarding videos that looked more like bail videos and got a degree in digital film production. Apparently, I learnt a thing or two and managed to put it into practice. The rest is history.

What’s your greatest achievement/s so far?

My greatest achievement so far is becoming a father. In terms of work, it would have to be the 70-day London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay from Athens to London. I think I managed 35 days running, filming, editing and chasing the flame as it went around the whole of the UK. That’s where I really cut my teeth. Having my footage and edits shown at the London 2012 opening ceremony was the most insane feeling in the world. I think the audience figure for that was nearly 900 million people.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

Did I mention the Torch Relay? Jokes aside, another big one was Coca-Cola’s campaign Who We Are. Also, filming and editing Michael Phelps after he’d just become the most decorated Olympian in the world, followed by Jessica Ennis Hill and Buzz Aldrin in Rio 2016!

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

The biggest lesson in life: tomorrow is another day – when all the stress and strain come bearing down on you, remember, tomorrow is just another day. Oh yeah and sleep when you can! Biggest lesson at work: at the top of Scafell Pyke, (whilst filming the Paralympic torch lighting) when it’s raining harder than you’ve ever seen, the best waterproof camera cover in the world isn’t going to work…

View Jamie’s portfolio

Spotlight: Olly Robertson – Motion Graphic Designer

Who is Olly Robertson?

I’m a motion designer living in London. I’m a very creative person and while motion design is my main practice, I do all sorts of other things in my spare time such as photography, paper mechanics, illustration and more. I try to make at least something every day and feel that creativity forms a pretty big chunk of my existence.

How did your career path develop?

When I was very young I wanted to be a cartoonist. I would always be drawing something at family get-togethers and all the way through my education I excelled in creative subjects. I studied Fine Art and Graphics at college and then went on to do a foundation course in Bournemouth where I developed a love for drawing and illustration and gained a place on the Illustration course at UWE in Bristol in 2007. I experimented with lots of mediums and techniques including, drawing, painting, print, and paper mechanics as well as digital techniques such as Photoshop composting and moving image platforms like After Effects.

After graduating I got an internship with Hello Charlie in 2011, which kickstarted my passion for motion graphics and I have been doing it ever since. I moved to London in 2015, which proved to be the biggest challenge so far. I had a good network in Bristol with some projects that came around every year so moving to a new city and trying to build new connections was quite a jump but it’s had some really positive impacts on other things such as networking and self-promotion.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

I’d say my biggest achievement is the journey I have been on as a motion designer. I started with next-to-no experience and have gotten myself to a position where I can operate independently with confidence, taking my own initiative when making decisions about the design and process for a project. I feel like I am really starting to discover what motivates me to be a designer and the things that stimulate me the most, which is helping me to offer up ideas that inspire not just my clients but me as well, making the process just as exciting for both of us.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

There are two projects that I am particularly proud of. The first would be the work I did with BDH toward the SEGA Orbi films. Orbi is essentially a virtual zoo in Tokyo, built by SEGA. It houses a number of installations that use the latest interactive technologies to take people on an educational journey about the natural world with the help of BBC Earth. At the heart of the attraction is a cinema auditorium that houses a 40m wide cinema screen accompanied by mist and smell dispensers, shaking seats and a 32.1 surround sound system. My role in the team was to construct shots using archive footage that could be used to edit 15-20 minute natural history films for this unique canvas. Over the course of 3 years, I worked on a total of 7 films for Orbi, achieving the role of Lead Compositor. It was an educational journey and I learned a lot about constructing narratives across a totally unconventional platform.

The second project that I view as one of my best feats is the work I have been doing for the Boomtown festival over the past 4 years. Every year they approach me with a brief to produce a promotional animation about the festival, usually to promote a new stage or area at the event. Since we started doing these animations we have built up a body of work and now have a digital rendition of the festival that we can use to our hearts to produce content for the marketing team. I have directed every stage of this process as well as produced all of the content and I feel that the trust that has been built up between me and the festival directors allows me to reach some really great results.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

I think motivation is a crucial part of a career. If you feel that it is lacking, then you probably need to set some new goals to enjoy working toward and learning from – otherwise, what’s it all for? If you can stay positive and motivated, that will be visible to others and also be reflected in your work.

View Olly’s Portfolio

Spotlight: Lee Hilse – Editor, Self-Shooting PD, and Producer

Who is Lee Hilse?

Born in South Africa, I studied Film and Media at the University of Cape Town. Selected to be part of a prestigious class of only 24 students, during my first year in the Film production’s major course I won the Film Society’s main prize in the film competition. Later, I was commissioned by the head of the faculty to produce content for the department.

How did your career path develop?

After moving to London in 2006, I started as a runner at a small digital agency in Shoreditch, spending most of my time doing video compression and small edit amends. When that company was merged with Momentum (IPG) I quickly moved into a senior editor position and produced all corporate work for the agency up until the end of 2013.

What do you consider your greatest achievement/s so far?

One of my greatest achievements was getting British citizenship in 2014 and then, finally, deciding to go freelance in 2016.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

At the end of 2013, I moved from more corporate video work to producing content for broadcast. After working across infomercial, long-form and short-form content, and mastering commercial-selling techniques, I helped land the Dyson account for the agency.

At that point, Dyson was not producing any DRTV content in the UK but wanted to run a test campaign to see if it would produce results in their home sector.

The first campaign for DC59 Cordless exceeded all expectations and built the groundwork to go on and produce more than eight campaigns with one of the UK’s biggest international brands. I still manage post-production and edit commercials for Dyson.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

One lesson I believe strongly in is working creatively with clients to produce the best content possible…

“Don’t be afraid to push back creatively and advise clients on best practice. Work with them, but not against them. If they came to you it’s because they like what you do and the results it produces. You have the experience and that’s what they are paying for.”

View Lee’s full portfolio.

Spotlight: Carl Ward – Editor and Motion Graphic Designer

Who is Carl Ward?

I’m a fast and efficient editor with an innate flair for storytelling and motion graphic design. Always searching for new challenges to nurture my professional growth, I’m experienced in long form and online but I’ve also excelled in other disciplines both in an offline and short form capacity, as well as doing some grading work.

How did your career path develop?

A year or so after leaving university I managed to get a job as a runner at a television studio back in Kent (of Art Attack fame). As far as running gigs go, it wasn’t so bad. Besides looking after the onsite clients I also got to work on a number of shows, so I have had some sort of experience in just about all sides of production. I even once doubled on as security during a particularly heated episode of Trisha Goddard (cringe!). I met a lot of people there and I owe a large debt to one of the productions on site, The Foundation (and one of their producers in particular) since they gave me the fantastic chance to assist on their edits.

I freelanced a little amongst other jobs (too many to mention) but edit work was hard to come by so I thought I would try to get a job in London and I ended up taking a small step back to start running at a prestigious post house. This was rather short-lived due to my dislike of the working practices and the cost of the commute making it impossible to afford. I got a job as a QC operator (which paid far better) at the Discovery Channel, before finally getting a full-time staff job as an editor. Having spent around 6 years in the edit team I finally jumped ship to the freelance world around 2 months ago.

Any projects you are most proud of and why?

Ivory Wars with Laurens De Groot – the content was interesting and tackled an important issue. It was rewarding due to the very tight deadline and budget we had to work with and I basically got to cover the whole editing process, offline and online as well as some of the GFX creation.

What do you consider your greatest achievement so far?

Probably buying our first house just under 2 years ago. I come from pretty humble beginnings, so to manage to afford a house in the borough of London took a lot of scrimping and saving. It is a do-er upper but I am embracing the DIY wholeheartedly.

Share your biggest lessons in life and work

Know when to bite your tongue, grit your teeth and pick your battles wisely. But most of all, try and be nice. When you go freelance you really notice how much easier life is when everybody is trying to help you out.

View Carl’s portfolio