Published on: 22 June 2017 in Events

The Directors’ Festival 2017 — Announcing Our Schedule

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The Directors’ Festival, a day of talks and discussion celebrating the craft of directing — and the 25 year anniversary of Directors UK — is taking place on Saturday 1 July. We are thrilled to present our schedule for the event, so that you can plan ahead and catch your favourite sessions

This year, the 4th Directors’ Festival is being held in a new venue, The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, opposite the Houses of Parliament — with fantastic views, food and drink throughout the day. Our keynote speakers, Simon West and Roger Graef OBE will bookend the day’s sessions.

Read The Directors’ Festival schedule and find out about our sessions.

Read about our keynote speakers.

Read about special diets and travel information.

The Directors’ Festival is free of charge for full and associate members. Register to attend now.

Directors’ Festival Schedule 2017

10.30am - Opening Keynote: Roger Graef

The legendary documentary ob-doc director and producer talks about the power of visual storytelling, the resilience required to be in this industry and the changes he has seen in the way that programmes are made over the course of his career.
12.00pm - Directing Live!

You are in prep on a greenlit low budget film, with eight weeks until you are due to shoot. What happens now and how do you work with your writer, casting director and producer to get everything ready? During the session the chair will throw a series of obstacles into this scenario, which the panel, made up of a Director, Producer, Casting Director and DOP will have to adapt to and work with, in order to be able to make the film. The aim is to address the practical issues that many directors face in pre-production which they need to solve creatively with the rest of the key team.

Aisling Walsh (Wallander), Suri Krishnamma (Waking the Dead) Florian Hoffmeister (The Deep Blue Sea) Kharmel Cochrane (Game of Thrones) Jen Handorf (Prevenge)
12.00pmPolitical Access Docs: Navigating the Corridors of Power

Where do you even start when it comes to getting access to the Oval Office? Or the Kremlin? This session looks at the work of Paul Mitchell and Norma Percy, the filmmaking team behind 100 Days in the White House. Navigating the corridors of power and documenting events with huge ramifications at the micro-level requires an unprecedented level of trust and compliance. How do you work with this to get footage you can use that tells a story?

Paul Mitchell, Norma Percy
1.00 - 2.00pmLunch

Sponsored by ARRI
2.00pm - What was directing like in 1992?

This session commemorates the 25th anniversary of Directors UK, by looking back at what the film and TV landscape was like in 1992. The panel will talk about how Film and TV was developed, shot, edited and delivered across TV drama and Factual, Film and live multicamera. What can we do now that we couldn’t then? How has the impact of the digital revolution affected the way that we work as directors and is it always for the best?

Geoff Posner (Olympics Opening Ceremony), Moira Armstrong (Abide With Me), Tom Roberts (Staying Lost), Piers Haggard (The Blood On Satan’s Claw)
2.00pmDougal Shaw: Mobile Filming

Dougal Shaw is a BBC video journalist who now shoots exclusively with his mobile phone. In this seminar he discusses the perks and pitfalls of filming using mobile, what it enables you to capture, what the current technological limitations are and what his kit bag contains to enable him to shoot with a mobile.

Dougal Shaw(World Hacks)
3.00pm - Directing Actors: Getting that performance

How do actors like to be directed on set? What works for them and, crucially, what doesn’t? In this session Burt Caesar talks to a panel of screen actors about their experiences of both good and bad direction and how a director can get the best performance from them under different circumstances.

Hugh Quarshie (Holby City), Felicity Dean (Midsomer Murders), Ellora Torchia (Spooks), Burt Caesar (Remembrance)

Supported by the Actors Centre
3.00pm - Embedded Directors: In the story to tell the story

How do you think as a director, when you are in the programme as well as shooting it? How can you maintain your perspective in hostile environments where the basic necessities of water and shelter are a struggle? This session talks to three embedded directors from Mutiny, The Island and Eden to discuss their work and how you prepare to film on a Ship, the wilds of Scotland or a desert island!

Zoe Hines, Jane Handa, Ross Blair, Toral Dixit

Sponsored by ProAV
4.00 - 4.30pmTea/coffee break

Sponsored by ARRI
4.30pmHigh End TV drama Placements: What can it do for you?

Earlier this year Samantha Harrie was selected to work as a placement director on Call The Midwife, working with lead director Syd Macartney on a block of 12 weeks as part of the Directors UK High End TV Drama Directors Career Development Programme funded by Creative Skillset HETV Council.. This session is a discussion with Syd and Samantha about how they both found the experience of prep, shooting and editing together. What did Samantha learn about directing on a bigger, more ambitious set? And how did Syd find having a fellow director sit next to him shoulder to shoulder?

Samantha Harrie, Syd Macartney, Bill Anderson

Supported by Creative Skillset
5.30pmClosing Keynote: Simon West

How do you get from being an assistant film editor at the BBC to directing the Superbowl ad spots and some of the most iconic action films from the last 20 years – and what can you learn about the craft along the way? Simon West, director of films such as Con Air, The Expendables 2 and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider discusses his career and what it takes to be a director of these big-budget action films inside the studio system.
7.00pm - onwardsEvening reception

Sponsored by ARRI
10.00pmFestival Ends

Keynote Speakers

About Simon West

Simon West joined BBC Film aged eighteen as an assistant film editor. After four years of working on numerous prestigious BBC dramas, documentaries and current affairs programs, West left to direct music videos and TV commercials. This lead him to the US where several of his award winning “Superbowl Spots” caught the attention of the Hollywood Studios. West’s first film, Con Air, starring Nicholas Cage was quickly followed by The General’s Daughter starring John Travolta and then Lara Croft: Tomb Raider starring Angelina Jolie.

West went on to direct a dark and moody remake of The Mechanic starring Jason Statham and Ben Foster followed by his biggest box office success to date The Expendables 2. This film grossed over $300m worldwide.

West recently completed Stratton, starring Dominic Cooper, the film opens in the UK this July. His next film, Salty, starring Antonio Banderas is currently in post and will be released in the US in September. 

About Roger Graef OBE

Roger Graef OBE is a filmmaker, writer and criminologist. A New Yorker who moved here in the 1960s as a theatre director, he has since made over 150 films as director, producer and executive producer. He is best known for gaining access to make observational films in normally closed institutions including police, courts, prisons, the UN, the EU, and government ministries as well as multinational corporations, local government, and social services. He has made some fifty films on criminal justice, but also comedies including five films with Monty Python including The Secret Policeman’s Ball and co-produced the first Comic Relief with Richard Curtis, as well as arts films, current affairs, science and films on cities including Requiem for Detroit? Among his awards, he was the first documentary director to be awarded the Bafta Fellowship. He was the founder and CEO of Films of Record for 37 years. He now runs Roger Graef Productions.

More Information

This year we are also celebrating the 25 year anniversary of Directors UK as an organisation, championing your rights as creative leaders. The festival will be looking at the changes that have taken place in the industry over the last quarter century, and what we can expect to see in the way that content can be made in the future.

Our sponsors this year include ARRI, Kodak, ProAV and Creative Skillset.

Special Diets

If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know by emailing [email protected].

Members in the Nations and Regions

If you are travelling from outside London to attend the festival, we can reimburse your travel costs. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about this.

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