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Common Mistakes of the Budding Amateur Documentary Filmmaker

Over the last ten years, the smartphone boom has put a camera in everybody’s hands and more recently put very good video shooting capabilities in those same hands. The result has been an explosion of content where one could argue everyone thinks they are a star or can make a memorable piece of content.

Smartphones with cameras have also brought a boom in documentary filmmaking. If you have a subject you want to discuss in-depth, your phone now provides an instant avenue to creation. No matter your niche, whether its dresses of the 18th century, an in-depth look at matched betting calculator technology, or classic movies, you can now get filming with few restrictions.

However, just a quick browse through YouTube will show you that most people miss the basics of documentary filmmaking. Many documentary creators (especially at amateur level) ignore some fundamentals of the medium.


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Below we will discuss some of the most frequent mistakes documentary creators make.

Selecting a worthy subject

Ok, that’s a flippant title as any subject is “worth” something to someone, even if it is a small demographic. While it is important to follow your passion and seek to bring attention to it in front of a wider audience, choosing a subject matter of importance is a good first step. Sure, some great films have been made about subjects that seem mundane, but in general you have to strive to add something new to a debate.

It is worth remembering many topics that are controversial or vital to daily life have already been covered many times. Seek something new or deliver in a different way.

Get a theme and ask questions

You have your subject, but your plan of action is a mess. Creating a documentary that is clear in its objectives is important, and a theme can help to deliver your goals. Do you want to advocate something or denounce it?

Either way, sticking to a theme will help you drive your opinion. Of course, sometimes you might be looking for a middle ground, which is where questions are vital. You may have an opinion, but it is not definitive. Be prepared to question your findings and information.

Poor technique

You don’t need to be Martin Scorsese to film a world-class documentary, but you should have some of the basics of film on tap. This may be as simple as understanding aspects of lighting, camera angles, and sound management.

Documentary filmmakers are now using smartphones to film their projects, so understanding some of the fundamentals of film creation can really help. Check out local courses, which are often free, on how to do the basics of filmmaking and take your documentary’s quality up a notch.

Seek inspiration and learn 

To get a true understanding of the art, the London International Documentary Festival explores filmmaking and showcases some of the best documentaries. Documentaries at the festival show how filmmakers inspire people through asking questions, tackling tough issues, and portraying a clear vision of storytelling.

Whether light-hearted or touching on the social-political issues of the day, documentations at LIDF can help the budding filmmaker learn and take their own projects to the next level.



London in Motion: Urban Documentary Film Workshop

Run in conjunction with our new partner SOAS the workshop is designed to be a mixture of theory and practice with special emphasis on refugees, urban theory, cityscapes, and new migration. The workshop will produce 10 short films. During the workshop students will learn to apply the basic principles and tools of documentary film making to research/project needs.

This is an experimental course. It aims to examine how ‘thinking’ with, and ‘through’, images can produce insight with regard to certain anthropological and sociological questions. In the process deepening the medium’s analytical power and enhancing its audience reception. To this end we will examine how a range of media may be utilised to produce rich insights and creatively satisfying outcomes. Together we will develop short narratives about contemporary London. Great emphasis will be placed throughout on teamwork, and critical feedback.

For more info:


Official Selection LIDF18

2 Angels | Ramazi Baranov | 2018 | Russia/India | 8min 
World Premiere

13 Seconds | Milad Tangshir | 2018 | Iran | 10min
World Premiere

14.26 CEST | Florinda Ciucio | 2017 | Belgium | 15min
UK Premiere

Access to Education for Afghan Children in Iran | Zohreh Arsanjoon | 2017 | Iran/Norway/Germany | 15min
UK Premiere

A Foster Child’s Story (Itinéraire d’un enfant placé) | Ketty Rios Palma | 2017 | France | 55min
UK Premiere

A Girl from Ouessant (Une fille de Ouessant) | Eléonore Saintagnan | 2018 | Belgium/France | 27min
UK Premiere
Best International Short Film Award, Visions du Réel, Paris

A Journey in Search of Abul Arabi (رحلة البحث عن ابو العربي) | Akram Elbezzawy | 2017 | Egypt | 12min

Armindo and the Dark Chamber (Armindo e a Camara Escura) | Tânia Dinis | 2017 | Portugal | 20min
London Premiere

As We Dig (Kazarken) | Guldem Durmaz | 2016 | Belgium/France | 90min

Back to Genoa City (Retour à Genoa City) | Benoît Grimalt | 2017 | France | 29min
UK Premiere
Quinzaine des réalisateurs (Cannes 2017)

Coda | Sean Leonard | 2018 | UK | 5min
World Premiere

Doel | Frederik Sølberg | 2018 | Denmark | 70min
London Premiere

Ebrahim | Elliott McKee | 2018 | Germany/New Zealand | 28min
London Premiere

Enzo | Serena Porcher-Carli | 2017 | France | 7min
UK Premiere
Jury Prize, RISC International Festival Marseille

Es Confuso | Matthew Bernard | 2018 | USA | 5min 
UK Premiere

Forget Everything | Nastia Korkia | 2017 | Cuba | 5min
UK Premiere

Freedom Fighters | Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy | 2017 | Pakistan | 33min
International Premiere

Fukushima and the Bats (Fukushima und die Mopsfledermaus) | Philipp von Becker | 2015 | Germany | 82min
UK Premiere

Hanaa | Giuseppe Carrieri | 2017 | Italy | 82min
UK Premiere

I’m Writing to You, my Love (Pisze do Ciebie, kochanie) | Magdalena Szymkow | 2018 | Poland/Slovakia | 26min
UK Premiere

In the Woods (Ins Holz) | Thomas Horat & Corina Schwingruber Ilić | 2017 | Switzerland | 13min
Best Documentary Short, La Guarimba International Film Festival, Amantea, Calabria 
Premio del Pubblico – Vanga d’Oro, Corto e fieno, Festival del Cinema Rurale, Ameno
‘The Rock Award’, 15th Asiana International Short Film Festival, International Competition, Seoul
Premio Mejor Cortometraje Documental , Soria International Short Film Festival, Soria
Best Non-Fiction Film, Flensburger Kurzfilmtage, im Wettbewerb, Flensburg 
Special Jury Mention, Promofest Short of the Year! Madrid 
Honorable Mention, Minimalen Short Film Festival, Competition, Trondheim 
Winner Official Documentary Section, XVIII Festival Internacional de Cine de Lanzarote

Koka, the Butcher | Bence Máté | 2018 | Germany | 38min
Best Film, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, USA
Best Documentary, Boston Short Film Festival, USA
Audience Awards, Viewpoint Documentary Film Festival, Belgium

Life Here | Hossein Fatemian | 2018 | Iran | 27min
European Premiere

Meant to Be … (Il a fallu…) | Julie Lingaud | 2017 | France | 14min
European Premiere

Meeting (Takimi) | Durim Kryeziu | 2018 | Kosovo | 25min
UK Premiere

Melting Souls (NORILSK, L’étreinte de glace) | François-Xavier Destors | 2017 | France | 87min
UK Premiere

Move Freely | Wynn Holmes | 2018 | Canada | 9min 
Short Film Corner (Cannes Court Metrage), Cannes 

Nights Out | Li Gong | 2018 | UK | 15min
London Premiere

Outsiders (Fuori Campo) | Collettivo Melkanaa | 2017 | Italy | 72min
UK Premiere

Passing Tides | Roisin Burns | 2018 | UK | 10min
UK Premiere

Piazza Vittorio | Abel Ferrara | 2018 | Italy/USA | 75min
UK Premiere

Picking up the Pieces | Sebastian Feehan/Josh Bamford | 2018 | UK/British Virgin Islands | 7min
World Premiere

Reflections of a Syrian Artist | Linda McDonald Cairns | 2018 | Syria | 8min
World Premiere

Sarabande | Kaltrina Krasniqi | 2018 | Kosovo | 36min
UK Premiere

Some of these Days | Vincent Förster | Germany/UK | 16min
World Premiere

Soulkeeper (Pour pas etre seul sta) | Theo Hoch | 2018 | France | 10min
UK Premiere

The Disciples – A Street Opera | Ramón Gieling | 2018 | The Netherlands | 90min 
UK Premiere

The Jacket | Will Berry | 2018 | USA | 3min
World Premiere

The Letter Painter (De Letterschilder) | Mirjam van Veelen | 2017 | The Netherlands | 11min
European Premiere

The Strawberry Place (El lugar de las fresas) | Maite Vitoria Daneris | 2013 | Italy/Spain | 90min
UK Premiere
Best Documentary, Festival de Cine Documental de ALCANCES
Jury Grand Prize, Best Documentary, International Festival of Italian Cinema, Annecy
Best Documentary, SguardiAltrove Milan
Best Documentary, Torino Film Festival, Turin 2 Angels | Ramazi Baranov | 2018 | Russia/India | 8min 

The Strongest Man of Berlin | Felix S. Hoffmann | 2018 | Germany | 9min
London Premiere

The Woman Who Turns into a Castle | Kathrin Steinbacher | 2018 | Austria | 4min
UK Premiere

To be a Torero | Inma de Reyes | 2017 | Scotland | 14min
World Premiere

To Duration (Canto alla Durata) | Didi Gnocchi | 2017 | Italy | 48min
UK Premiere

Wajd – Songs of Seperation | Amar Chebib | 2018 | Canada | 87min 
European Premiere
Volunteer Choice Award, DOXA Documentary Film Festival

Wonderful Losers: A Different World (Nuostabieji lūzeriai. Kita planeta) | Arunas Matelis | 2017 | Lithuania | 71min
London Premiere
Best Documentary, Warsaw Film Festival
Grand-Prix for Best Documentary, Minsk Listapad Film Festival
Audience Award, Minsk Listapad Film Festival
Best Documentary, Trieste Film Festival

LIDF18 Opening Night

Abel Ferrara’s documentary ‘Piazza Vittorio’ (featuring Willem Dafoe) to open the LIDF18.

Piazza Vittorio is the biggest square in Rome. Both the square and the adjacent districts of the Esquiline stand out for the multiethnic variety of their inhabitants. Here, in fact, we find a range of ethnic groups from nearby and far away: Romans, Asians, North Africans and Indians who make the square and neighbourhood a lively place but at the same time one that is not easy to manage. Precisely because of its unique and colourful nature, many artists and other figures with ties to the world of cinema, like Matteo Garrone and Willem Dafoe, have chosen to make it their home. Among them is the great director Abel Ferrara, who has decided to portray this world from his own independent and poetic point of view, putting himself physically on the line in the production of the film. Out of this has come a surreal and neorealist picture of a day in the square’s life, with interviews with illegal and legal immigrants, tramps, artists, proprietors of businesses and politicians who give their personal accounts of the place. It is the portrait not just of a square, but of an Italy that is changing and that is trying at all costs to go down the road of integration, often underestimating the side effects.

Movies that made the jump from the silver screen to online casinos

No matter how silly and simple it may sound, entertainment is entertainment. Because of this fact, there has always been quite an overlap between different forms of entertainment. Movies and comic books get made into video games, and video games get made into comic books and movies. What is more, even the online casino business has had its fair share of slot machines that are based on blockbusters of today and of yesteryear. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most popular transitions from the silver screen to online casinos.

Terminator 2

We are guessing that Arnold Schwarzenegger (also known as the Governator nowadays) had no clue that one of his major starring roles in 1991 would become an actual online casino hit. It definitely took some time for the industry giant Microgaming to capitalise on the franchise as the Terminator 2 slot was released a whopping 23 years after the actual movie hit the theatres. Of course, with Arnold being as well-known today as he used to be during the peak of his movie career, we cannot really fault any company for taking advantage of the nostalgia of his legendary movie. You can even trigger the T-800 vision here for some major cash!


Granted, the first Jumanji movie was released already back in 1995. Still, we have a feeling that the Jumanji slot was mostly inspired by the sequel that came out in 2017, starring, for example, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This crazy jungle slot hosts a plethora of cool features with the most impressive one of them being the ability to actually roll some dice and play the Jumanji board game. We have rarely seen casino games with such elaborate bonus features that are perfectly aligned with the source material, no less!

Planet of the Apes

Is it not funny how so many nostalgic movies are being remade nowadays? For one reason or another, people just love reminiscing about the old days. As a result, reviving an old movie franchise is a fine way of letting the marketing take care of itself. Such is the case with the 1968 (!) movie Planet of the Apes, which has seen plenty of movie adaptations already. It was only at the end of 2017, however, when NetEnt released their huge online casino hit titled simply Planet of the Apes. This game is based on the two modern movies Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and really pays quite a homage to the movies with its many clips from the 20th Century Fox films.

There you have it, folks! It is for certain that even more online casino slots, make the jump in the coming months and years! You can gain a deeper insight in the world of movie themed casino games at Perhaps we will even start seeing more of the newer franchises featured at online casinos as well?

Callum Innes Exposed and Persona, Primary Structures + Q&A

28 March, 18.00, 11 Rue de Constantine, Paris, France, 75007

Gautier Deblonde | 2017 | Scotland/France | 12

Callum Innes, born in 1962, is one of the most important Scottish minimalist painters of his generation. His paintings are created through a process of addition and subtraction, sometimes removing sections of paint from the canvases surface with turpentine. Filmed during 5 days, in silent sequence shots, we see the artist at work, in the solitude of his studio.


Mikel Belascoain & Miguel Goni Aguinaga | 2017 | Spain | 39 | Spanish w/ English sub-titles

‘Persona’ is a documentary film directed by the Spanish artist Mikel Belascoain and the photographer Miguel Goñi Aguinaga. This movie has been filmed during the process of creation. A work inspired by the dialogue between the artist and people who suffer severe neurological diseases. This film is part of the experimental project of the same name initiated by Manuel Murie, Neurologist and President of the Spanish Society of Neuro-rehab and the artist Mikel Belascoain.

+ Q&A with directors Mikel Belascoain & Miguel Goni Aguinaga


‘Who’s Afraid of Julia Kristeva?’ + Q&A with Julia Kristeva

Iskra Angelova | 2017 | Bulgaria | 83 | French w/ English sub-titles

21st March, 18.00, University of London Institute in Paris, 11 Rue de Constantine, 75007

1966. Bulgaria is still behind the Iron Curtain. Julia Kristeva – a young and smart student – goes to Paris on a scholarship from the French government. There she finds herself among the cream of the French intelligentsia, where she meets the leader of the movement Tel Quel, Philippe Sollers. The two instantly fall in love and marry. She begins to work with Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jacques Derrida, Lucien Goldmann, Roland Barthes and Jacques Lacan. Iskra Angelova’s film tells the story of a successful and controversial figure – psychoanalyst, linguist, semiotician, philosopher and feminist.

+ Q&A with Julia Kristeva

Serge Klarsfeld’s Fight + Q&A

Gloria Campana | 1995 | France | 60 | French w/ English sub-titles

8th March, 18.00, University f London Institute in Paris, 11 Rue de Constantine, Paris, France, 75007

The Barbie, Bousquet and Papon trials and the first trials of Nazi criminals in Germany in the 1970s did not come about by accident. The determination of Serge and Béate Klarsfeld was behind all of them. Serge Klarsfeld is a lawyer, historian and activist whose painstaking efforts and research have helped identify war criminals and bring them to trial for thirty years. Three decades to break a taboo in France: the Vichy regime’s responsibility for Nazi crimes and the exact degree of French responsibility for anti-Jewish persecution.

+ Q&A with the producer Emil Weiss (tbc)

Top Gambling Movies to Watch on Netflix

Gambling movies have been rocking the charts at movie zones. You could take a break and watch some fantastic gambling movies you’ll find on Netflix. Casino movies show the atmosphere and the happenings of the real casino. Sometimes, you may want to get a little closer to a real casino, and the best way to do that from your couch at home is to watch gambling movies.

Here’s a look at some movies you can watch on Netflix right now.

Watch the action in Eight Men Out

This classic thriller Eight Men Out was released in 1988, but don’t be put off by the age. Some movies age well. If you enjoy baseball, you’ll enjoy this movie. It is a story of what happened in 1918 with Shoeless Joe Jackson and Chicago White Sox. Eight of the team members were banned after they were found to have thrown the World Series that year for loads of gamblers’ cash. Left-fielder Shoeless Joe took the money, but this movie is not about him but the seven others who were banned and what happened afterwards.

Watch and find out Who’s Got the Action?

This classic movie from the sixties stars heartthrob James Dean as a man who is addicted to gambling. His wife is looking for any way to get him to kick his habit, and the results are hilarious especially when the mob gets involved.

Here is what happens in Life on the Line

Life on the Line is a fascinating documentary that looks at the lives of those who make a living off betting. It is set over the weeks before the Super Bowl and follows some professionals who throw in everything on Super Bowl Sunday. They are high rollers who even end up putting their jobs and livelihoods at risk. If you enjoy gambling at live casinos, or even at mobile casinos, you’ll enjoy this documentary.

Want to Lay the Favourite table for yourself?

This 2012 movie is a romance based on a nonfiction story of the relationship between a gambler and a stripper. Bruce Willis plays the gambler, across Rebecca Hall’s stripper. It is a comedy that sees the jaded stripper who tries her hand at sports betting at offshore casinos, learning the ropes from Bruce Willis, who is a pro gambler. They begin to win, and the two hit it off romantically. But Bruce Willis is married to Catherine Zeta-Jones, who is jealous and plans to get rid of her.

Croupier – An interesting bit

Clive Owen stars in this movie from 2000, a struggling writer who is trying to make some bucks as a croupier. He’s willing to slum for real experience, which is not a new theme in Hollywood. But Owen does a fantastic job playing the writer and showcasing how things get complicated when he starts a relationship with another croupier against the rules of the casino.

There are a couple of other movies that are also worth checkout out from time to time. These include Rounders, 21, Double Down Hard Four and Mugshots. Check them out!










Top 5 Classic Gaming Movies of all Time

Thrilling movies have always been a part and parcel of Hollywood. Time and directors have come up with some amazing stories that revolve around the gambling world which has captivated audiences from across the world. Be it the nerve-wracking heist in Ocean’s eleven or the highly tense game of Baccarat in the Bond flick Casino Royale these movies never cease to amaze the public.

There are loads of gaming-related movies, many of which have been huge commercial successes. Here are our suggestions for must-see well-known classic gaming movies of all time:

Ocean’s Eleven the classic heist

A gang of eleven criminal’s masterminds an operation to steal 150 million from a vault that holds the cash of three of the biggest casinos. The group leader Ocean George Clooney and the casino owner Terry played by Garcia fight it out in one of the best casinos themed heist movies ever made. The heist takes a personal angle because Terry is now dating Oceans girlfriend played by Julia Roberts.


The plot of this movie is based on the dream that gangster Bugsy Siegel had. His vision was to build a gambling paradise right in the middle of the Nevada desert which later become known as Las Vegas. However, the events following his relationship with Virginia Hill lead to his murder and he never can see his dream come true.


This movie was based on the Nicholas Peggi book which was about the events that unfolded in Las Vegas during the 70’s and the 80’s. With Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone in the lead, this flick directed by Martin Scorsese unfolds the events in the life of Tangiers casino owner Sam Rosenthal. The movie portrays his rise and fall and gives the audience a peek into the dirty side of Las Vegas during those times.

Casino Royale

Bond movies always have their style and glamour. Casino Royale that had Daniel Craig revolves around a high stakes Baccarat game set up the Le Chifer the villain in the movie. The intense battle on the tables between Bond and the villain is picturized in a very gripping fashion. Bond gets poisoned during the game but comes back to win the game.


Movies associated with casinos and gambling are always about glitz and glamour. Dirty dealings and high rollers. However, Croupier takes a different note and presents the story from the perspective of a dealer. The stage is set in London in small card rooms and the movie presents a completely raw and rough side of the casino world in front of the audience.

With the advancement in the internet, there has been a massive rise in casino and Internet Bingo sites where you can play your favourite games which are fast growing in popularity.