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”.