This page is over 10 years old. Some things have changed since then.

Bridging the Gap PLUS - New 30min Documentary Initiative - Applications now open

Are you a Scottish-based emerging filmmaker with at least two short films screened publicly (tv broadcast or festival)?  You can now apply to Bridging the Gap PLUS.

Bridging the Gap PLUS offers the opportunity to work closely with Scottish Documentary Institute / SDI Productions, through bespoke and individual consultancies, and get a 30 min commission from BBC Scotland. We are looking for filmmakers willing to develop creative projects for television and a festival distribution.

There is no imposed theme but we would strongly encourage filmmakers to explore Scottish stories.

For more information and to apply:
Deadline to apply: Friday 24 February 2012 (midnight)

6 projects will be selected on the basis of the proposal and the profile of the filmmaker. In the following weeks they will be developed and honed further through two individual consultancies. At the end of April, 2 of these 6 projects will be commissioned for broadcast by BBC Scotland and produced by SDI Productions. Expected delivery: early 2013

Bridging the Gap PLUS is supported by Creative Scotland & BBC Scotland


Michael Moore’s impassioned plea on UK healthcare reforms

"All I can do is really beg you not to go this route" Michael Moore

Michael Moore, whose film Sicko highlighted the inefficiencies and unfairness in private healthcare, has warned that the changes are ‘absolutely the last thing you would want to do'.

In a passionate six minute tribute, he sounds warning bells over allowing private companies to dominate healthcare, as they are legally bound to generate the biggest possible profit for their shareholders. They only way then can do this is to provide less care, and what care they do provide, to do it as cheaply as possible.

"Abolishing slavery you were ahead of us. Giving women the vote, you were ahead of us - you've always been ahead of the curve here. Why would you want to fall behind the curve and follow a very broken, rotten, inhumane system makes absolutely no sense to me." 

He also warns that the wider social costs of healthcare reforms will be huge, pointing out that the biggest cause of bankruptcy and homelessness in the US is healthcare bills. In his video of support, Michael Moore, says:

“Speaking as an American to you, and in terms of what I have witnessed, as someone who has experience of this private system that we have, this (privatisation) is the absolute last thing that you want to do.

“You can watch my film and see so many examples of what happens when you let the private companies rule the system. They have a responsibility to their shareholders, in fact they legally are required to do everything they can to make as much money as possible for their shareholders, and if they don’t they can be brought up on charges. The whole system is set up to motivate them to everyday to say; how can we make more money off the sick?

“The best way to make more money off the sick is to provide them with as little care as possible; because care costs money. The way we (private companies) get to keep our money and send them out as profits to our shareholders is to provide very little care, and what care we give, make sure we spend as little on it as possible.”

“You will rue the day that you let this happen. We have so many problems; a broken, rotten inhumane system. If you keep growing the gap between the rich and the poor in your country, you are going to end up with more of the social problems like we have, that you don’t have to the same extent. So if you don’t like the current crime rate in the UK, just wait till you have enough people bankrupted and broken because of healthcare bills.

“All I can do is really beg you. Keep the good system that you have. Make it better.”


The Edinburgh Pitch is back: 14-16 June 2011

Submissions are now open for The Edinburgh Pitch 2011!

The Edinburgh Pitch is the only international documentary pitching forum in Scotland, now entering its 5th year and running alongside the Edinburgh International Film Festival (15-26 June). It’s aimed at independent filmmakers and companies developing and raising finance for creative feature documentaries (52′-90′) and considering international co-productions. Applications are now open and the deadline is 15 April 2011 (midnight).

12 participants will be selected and given the opportunity to pitch their project in front of a carefully selected panel of international and UK commissioning editors, sales agents and producers, followed by individual meetings. The Pitch is also open to Observers.

In addition to The Pitch, up to 6 UK and international documentaries at a rough cut stage will be selected to be screened to financiers and observers, allowing filmmakers to receive constructive feedback with focus on creative decision making and editing. Docs in Progress will take place from 15-16 June 2011.

Fore more information and to apply, please check


Doc Week to run alongside 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival

Everything you wanted to know about producing & directing feature documentaries and were afraid to ask.

DOC WEEK will run alongside the 64th Edinburgh International Film Festival (16-27 June 2010) and host the annual Edinburgh Pitch, Documentary Case Studies, Doc in Progress consultancies, meetings and briefings with documentary experts, Sales Agents, Distributors, Producers and the Docs 360 Pitch. Apply to pitch or register for a Doc Week pass now. Deadline for project applications: 10 May -

The Edinburgh Pitch: 15-17 June 2010

The annual Edinburgh Pitch is the only international pitching forum in Scotland open to all filmmakers, UK and abroad, looking to produce a feature length documentary. After a pitching and development workshop, projects will be pitched formally in front of a carefully selected panel of international and UK commissioning editors, sales agents and producers.



Plan Bee from the Co-Op pairs film release with environmental strategy

vanishinbeeVanishing of the Bees released in October, backed with Co-Op commitments for change

The rise of socially focused documentaries since the success of Gore and Moore has been partly supported by UK doc distributor DogWoof - who released the Age of Stupid, Black Gold, Burma VJ and now Vanishing of the Bees. Partnering on these last two films with the UK's ethically focussed Co-Op group - the world's largest consumer-owned business - DogWoof is now moving beyond releasing films which campaign for change, to being involved in that change itself.

The honeybee is responsible for pollinating one third of our food. This contributes approximately £200 million per year to the UK economy. Honeybees are dying in their millions and no-one knows why.  In the UK around one third of all hives were lost in the winter of 2008.

Vanishing of the Bees explores the mysterious collapse of the bee population across the planet and its greater message about mankind’s relationship with the natural world. But the release is set not only to increase awareness and understanding of the issue, but as a means to address the problem itself.  Ahead of the October release of the film, the Co-Op has published a ten point 'Plan Bee', committing to activity ranging from researching colony collapse and banning certain pesticides in farming (the Co-Op is the UK's largest farmer) to giving 300,000 free wildflower seed mixes to members and training beekeepers (full list is below).

planbeeFollowing the success of Burma VJ which opened in cinemas on 17th July, Vanishing of the Bees is the second title to be released by The Co-operative and Dogwoof, whose partnership was announced at Cannes earlier this year to help socially conscious films reach mainstream cinema audiences. It follows a trend seen across the documentary sector where film releases are tied into wider campaigning platforms, such as Age of Stupid's Not Stupid campaign, backed by Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and fishing decline documentary End of the Line which partnered with Waitrose as well as running a campaign which saw the likes of Pret a Manger and Gordon Ramsey take endangered fish of their menus.

Conflicting opinions and heated controversy abounds surrounding the cause behind the phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Is it a virus at the heart of this ecological disaster? Is it parasites or pesticides? WiFi or mobile signals? Or is it due to a symptom of changes in agricultural practice? The film explores the issue with the help of beekeepers, scientists and policymakers and attempts to unravel the numerous theories behind the mysterious cause of CCD and its devastating impact on the population of the honeybee.

The film celebrates the ancient relationship between humans and bees whilst highlighting mankind’s reliance on the honeybee as the cornerstone of modern agriculture. For thousands of years right through to the 'hive mind' of the internet, bees and their hexagonal hives have served as symbols of unity, industriousness and what it means to work for the greater good.


Sheffield DocFest extends film submission deadline

From Sheffield DocFest:

This year has seen Sheffield Doc/Fest receive its highest number of film submissions to date. As a result Doc/Fest has extended the deadline for submitting a film to this year's festival to 6pm, Wednesday 1 July 2009.

This gives filmmakers an extra 15 [10 - sorry, Ed!] days to submit a film, which can be completed through Doc/Fest's website Applicants may contact Film Programmer Hussain Currimbhoy if they wish to discuss their film before submission (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

The one hundred or so chosen films will be screened to Doc/Fest's renowned audience of 1,500 delegates and members of the public. Over 80 Commissioning Editors have already confirmed attendance at Doc/Fest 2009.


Us Now - Watch the Acclaimed Documentary for Free Online

From PR Rachel Devenport:

Joining the Docs, the pioneering on-demand documentary channel, has today released UK documentary Us Now for free for a limited period via its new website

Us Now is a UK documentary film about the power of mass collaboration, government and the Internet. It is a description of a world on the cusp of the greatest social change since the invention of the printing press. It confronts politicians George Osborne and Ed Milliband with the possibilities for participative government as described by Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky amongst others.

Joining the Docs features a wide range of films made by passionate, committed directors from Europe, North America and Asia. Titles released in recent months include the Oscar short-listed IOUSA, The Unwinking Gaze and The Putin System.

The film will be available for free download for a limited period at


Groundbreaking web video project builds documentary bridge between Gaza and Sderot

"The day after the war we need a new beginning. Let's start planting seeds of humanity and trust now"
Hope Man, Jan 2nd 2009

The Israeli city of Sderot lies a few miles from Gaza and towards the end of 2008 the French TV Station Arté produced 80 short films/vlogs in both Sderot and the Gaza strip where Palestinians and Israelis talk about their hopes, dreams and fears. The last episode of Gaza Sderot : Life in Spite of Everything, was produced on 23rd December, four days before the bombardment started.




Films from both areas are presented side by side in a Flash interface letting you act as editor to decide which stories to watch and when to change perspective, with a scroll-bar in the middle to take you back in time through the 40 days the project ran for.

In a conflict where the abject suffering, mistrust, injustice and fear seems to blind clarity and reason, it's seems - tho I have only just begun to explore what is there - to be a vital illustration of the men, womena and children at the heart of it, whose lives are under threat from Israeli bombardments or Gazan rockets. There have been no updates since the 23rd December, and it looks unlikely that there will be more for a while - from the French producer, Serge Gordey on New Years Eve:

"After many attempts to communicate in every possible fashion, I finally managed to talk on the phone with our Palestinian colleague, Yousef Atwa. Yousef is the producer who has been leading the project in Gaza all these weeks.

Everyone’s concern is above all to find some shelter from the « collateral damages » of the air strikes, he explained to me : when you live in Gaza City, the odds are that some way or another you live close to a police center, administrative offices, military premises, government centers, cultural institutions that are headed or influenced by the current power, etc. And in that case, you might get hit, even if you are not the primary target. Therefore, our production team in Gaza is disbanded at the moment: all the members of the team have been trying to find shelter together with their dear ones, in other places, such as the countryside, with friends or relatives.

Moreover, communication lines are broken because of the electricity cuts that are more severe than ever. And on the top of that, people don’t move around the city so as to avoid being hit by unpredictable air force attacks.

From all this it was easy to understand that  getting into contact with our characters is proving to be very difficult."

gaza_map.pngIt's similar in concept to the Life Must Go on in Gaza and Sderot blog, written by “Peace Man” in Sajaia Refugee camp in Gaza and “Hope Man” in Sderot, which describes itself as:

This blog is written by 2 friends…  The media coverage on both sides has been extremely biased. Our Blog is written by 2 real people living and communicating on both sides of the border.

Of the current conflict, Hope Man said on Jan 2nd:

"For 5 months there was an almost complete cease fire. Instead of taking advantage of this long period of quiet to reach a long term agreement, both sides spent their time preparing for this war by planning and arming. No serious efforts were made to start a dialog...

The day after the war we want to start finding ways to work together and create a normality. We are only several kilometers apart and that will never change. It is extremely important to widen our dialog and create trust between those that are willing to talk. To share our stories, fears and hopes.
The day after the war we need a new beginning. Let's start planting seeds of humanity and trust now.


Free Directing Documentaries Masterclasses incl. Nicolas Philbert

nicholas-philibert.jpgFrom Rebecca Day at the Scottish Documentary Institute, news of an incredible-looking series of documentary masterclasses:

After well attended masterclasses and workshops with Jim Sutherland, Gaston Kabore and Fernanda Rossi and Andrey Paounov we're anxiously awaiting the visits by acclaimed documentary director Nicholas Philibert, Oliver Hodge (Garbagge Warrior), and Three Miles North of Molkom directors Robert Cannan & Corinna Villari-McFarlane.

Directing Documentaries with Nicolas Philibert

Friday 21 Nov 2.00pm-5.00pm

etre-avoir.jpgLecture Theatre G40, Edinburgh College of Art, 74 Lauriston Place, Edinburgh, EH3 9DF
Free but please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are absolutely delighted to have renowned French director Nicolas Philibert to hold a 3 hour masterclass of his work.

Probably most well-known for the multi award winning Etre et Avoir (To be and to Have) he is one of contemporary cinema's most acclaimed documentarists. He began his education by studying philosophy and later worked as an assistant director with such filmmakers as Rene Allio and Alain Tanner. Philibert's ability to approach man with tenderness, directness and sensitivity appears in his film In the Land of the Deaf, an exploration of the world through the eyes of those born without the sense of hearing. In 1995 Philibert revisited the subject of museums--also explored in Louvre City--finding humanity and humor within these stately institutions. Animals and More Animals examines the zoological wing of France's Museum of Natural History, which had been closed for years, and brings to light its unusual treasures. Minimalist and exceedingly moving He will be discussing past work and most recent work Retour en Normandie (Return to Normandy).