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Start: 14 May 2011 12:00 am

Venue: Birkbeck Cinema

14 May 2011 12:00 am
Birkbeck Cinema
43 Gordon Square, London, United Kingdom, WC1H 0PD

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The LIDF has teamed up with the Abingdon Film Unit to create an exciting new opportunity for filmmakers. Budding documentarians are offered the chance to learn vital skills from industry professionals and develop original film projects for a pitching session to be held at The Groucho Club, Soho. A maximum of three of the final projects will then be mentored and assisted in their production for a further 12 months by the LIDF.

There is nothing like watching lots of films and meeting other filmmakers to inspire and learn from, so being part of the workshops includes access to networking events during the Festival as well as a Festival Pass allowing access to over a 100 films.

All you need to bring along to the workshops is your enthusiasm and ideas.

What You Get

- 4 Workshop Days with tutors from the AFU and LIDF
- Pitching Session at The Groucho Club plus celebration
- The opportunity for a further 12 months support and mentoring from the LIDF as you complete your project
- Your film to be screened at the LIDF 2012
- Festival Pass LONDON – access to over 100 films across the festival (worth £190)
- Invitation to the Gala Opening Night Reception at the Barbican
- Invitation to the Opening Night Party at the 1920 Bar
- Participation in the Brigitte Berman Workshop, 18.30, Friday 27th May
- Invitation to the Closing Night Party at The Groucho Club

About the AFU

The Abingdon Film Unit (AFU) is based at Abingdon School near Oxford. Formed by Jeremy Taylor in 2003, it enables pupils between the ages of 13-18 to make their own short films under the guidance of a team of industry professionals led by the renowned documentarist, Michael Grigsby. Together with visiting tutors Jonas Mortensen (cinematography), Mikkel Eriksen (sound design), Nikolaj Larsen (editing), Rebekah Tolley (production) and animators Joanna Harrison and Geoff Dunbar, Mike and Jeremy encourage the AFU students to adopt the highest standards, and develop their ideas through a process of careful research and reflection.

AFU students have produced nearly a hundred short films to date, several of which have been screened at the National Film Theatre in London, the British Film Festival in Dinard, France and the BUFF Film Festival in Malmo, Sweden. AFU films have also won first prize at the Oxdox International Film Festival (2005), the New Shoots Festival (2006) and The Future Film Festival (2010).

Two AFU films have been selected for the London International Documentary Festival in 2008 and 2011. The first a 30-minute documentary about disabled people in Cambodia called Gravel and Stones (2007) that went on to achieve a commercial dvd release in France. The second a 25-minute documentary examining the experiences of young people growing up in Moldova, a European country still coming to terms with the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991 and struggling to find its own identity in the face of political tensions and economic hardships.


The experienced tutors will help you explore the history, theory and practice of documentary film and work closely with you as you create your final projects. Non-didactic, fully interactive and participatory the workshop is varied in its methods. The emphasis always on developing a critical appreciation of the genre and encouraging the full self-expression of the participants. There will be numerous screenings and ample opportunity to enjoy wide-ranging conversation within the group.

Over the course of the 5 days, individually and together, as you create your own story and script and take it through the development stages, we will examine all the issues surrounding documentary production and distribution.

An intense and rewarding 5 days of workshops to be held at the Birkbeck Cinema and The Groucho Cub, culminating in the unique opportunity to be mentored for a further 12 months as you take your projects forward and into production.

Places are limited, so book early.

Course Summary

Documentary forms – an historical review.
Research. Evolution of ideas. Writing Proposals. Budgets
Techniques of story construction. Aspects of Directing. Exploring ideas of rhythm, pace, authority.
Production management. Basics of shooting on location. Clearances, legal and ethical issues.
Choosing a visual style. Camera positions and angles. Shot selection.
Interview techniques. Sound.
Editing principles. Post-Production and distribution.

Course Dates & Times

Birkbeck Cinema Saturday 14 May (12.00 – 18.00)
Birkbeck Cinema Sunday 15 May (12.00 – 18.00)
Birkbeck Cinema Saturday 21 May (12.00 – 18.00)
Birkbeck Cinema Sunday 22 May (12.00 – 18.00)
Pitching session and celebration at The Groucho Club Thursday 26 May (18.30 – till late)


Michael Grigsby

Michael Grigsby occupies a unique position in British documentary filmmaking, and is one of its most significant and compelling figures. While working at Granada television in the 1950‘s he formed the independent film-making collective Unit Five Seven. Encouraged by Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson and part-funded by the British Film Institute Experimental Film Fund he made two films with the group, Enginemen (1959) and Tomorrow’s Saturday (1962), the former being shown in the last of Free Cinema’s occasional programmes at London’s National Film Theatre.

Even in these early films the quality which so distinguishes Grigsby’s later works was already apparent, namely a concern for the lives of ordinary people. As he himself has put it: “my driving force for the last 20 or so years has been trying to find a way, through films, to give voice to the voiceless.” Grigsby does his utmost to let people speak for themselves.

Rebekah Tolley

Rebekah Tolley is film and media producer, award winning digital artist and photographer and a visiting tutor to the Abingdon Film Unit. Until recently she worked as an Executive Producer for one of the UK’s large super indie media production companies, working on a number of high profile projects for clients such as the BBC and the United Nations. Her other work has included interviews for BAFTA Los Angeles Heritage Archive Collection, which featured icons of 20th Century British Cinema, including Ossie Morris, Sir Sydney Samuelson and the late Ronald Neame. Her photographic work has been featured in The Guardian, Observer Magazine, Radio Times, Santa Fe’s ‘THE’ magazine’s annual Best of World Photography edition (2005) and BAFTA Academy magazine. Rebekah was short listed for an Arts Council prize for animation and was a recipient of a LabCulture Award for film, shown in collaboration with No Art-No Architecture by architect Will Alsop, at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2005 Rebekah worked with Michael Grigsby on his film ‘Rehearsals’, the third of a trilogy of films he made about the troubles in Northern Ireland. Since then she has worked closely with Michael as his creative producer – the pair currently have two new feature length documentaries in development and they are also working towards developing a fiction feature project.

Michael Yorke

After hitch-hiking to India in 1962 and becoming a professional stills photographer, Michael Yorke became an anthropologist specialising in South Asia. He wrote a Ph.D. thesis and did post doctoral research on The Mundari and Gondi speaking South Asian tribal peoples. As an academic he was involved in visual anthropology and shot and edited a film on the Ho tribe. Drawn into professional film-making, he became part of the BBC Anthropology Unit. His first film, “Dossers”, was entered for the BAFTA Awards by the BBC. Over the last 35 years he has developed an increasing professionalism in many styles of television documentary, such as live event television, presented programmes, observational, fly-on-the-wall, corporate film and authored documentaries. He has received many major international awards, including the Earthwatch Award and the Golden Gate Award from San Francisco, and The Royal Television Society and BBC Asia Award in the United Kingdom. At present he teaches practical filmmaking in the Department of Anthropology at University College London.

Patrick Hazard

Patrick Hazard is the founder and director of the LIDF. He has also, over the last three years, devised a series of filmmaking workshops in Pakistan and produced 16 short documentaries with young Pakistani filmmakers. He presently has a Pakistan based feature length documentary in development.

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