In the world of documentary filmmaking, four aspiring directors have been handpicked to participate in the BBC’s initiative to showcase up-and-coming talent. Sian McIlwaine, Tomasz Frymorgen, Elle Mower, and Flynn Esther have been granted the opportunity to helm their very own long-form documentaries for BBC Three and iPlayer.
Since its launch in 2016, this initiative has been held every 18 months, pairing promising directors with experienced indie and documentary executive producers who serve as mentors throughout the process. To further enhance their skills, the selected filmmakers will also benefit from masterclasses conducted by seasoned industry professionals.
The success of this program is undeniable, having produced a plethora of exceptional films that have received critical acclaim and prestigious awards. Among the notable works are “Defending Digga D,” directed by Marian Mohamed, which earned the BAFTA for Emerging Factual Talent, Ziyaad Desai’s “Bad Influencer,” and Lizzie Kempton’s “Manchester Bomb: Our Story.”
Graduates from this initiative have gone on to direct popular BBC documentary series like “Parole,” “Ambulance,” “House of Maxwell,” and “The Elon Musk Show.” Additionally, they have crafted impactful standalone films such as “Hunting the Essex Lorry Killers” and “The Case of Sally Challen.”
Beejal-Maya Patel, Commissioning Editor for Documentaries, expresses the significance of the New Documentary Directors Initiative, now entering its seventh year. The initiative continues to be an invaluable platform for budding directors, providing them with the opportunity to train at the core of the BBC’s factual content. By nurturing emerging talent, the BBC ensures the constant rejuvenation of their content with fresh ideas and unparalleled creativity.
Clare Sillery, Head of Commissioning for Documentaries, emphasises the commitment to fostering opportunities for emerging directors to flourish and tell stories that resonate with the audience. This initiative has a remarkable track record in supporting a diverse range of voices, enabling them to break through barriers. With anticipation, Sillery eagerly anticipates the unique contributions that this year’s cohort will bring.
The BBC’s dedication to nurturing and promoting new directing talent in the field of documentary filmmaking continues to inspire and shape the future of the industry.