The first edition of the Global Short Docs Forum in London hosted 16 filmmakers from all around the world – from Greece to Colombia, from Turkey to Myanmar. Through masterclasses and group work, the sessions over the first three days created a supportive environment for filmmakers to discuss, develop and rework their pitches, leading up to the final day of one-to-one meetings with representatives from online platforms.

Intense yet nurturing, the Forum’s biggest success was building relationships between the filmmakers themselves and with the industry professionals, through frank discussions and information sharing. Alongside concrete commissions, and establishing contacts for future collaborations, the Forum created an atmosphere for talking in depth about the short form factual storytelling in the fast changing digital media landscape.

It’s been intense, it’s been crazy, it’s been a lot of fun. And I have learned a lot, especially from the wonderful people that are here and a lot of inspiration, really a lot of inspiration, from all over the world. – Anders Palm Olesen, Filmmaker (Denmark)

Keep scrolling or click on a day below to read more about the events, workshops and panel discussions from throughout the Forum.


Tuesday 15 May, 2018

with Simon Ardizzone

Simon Ardizzone’s GSDF masterclass was about forming stories, making aesthetic decisions and the visual pitch. He covered different and traditional ways of filmic story-telling, shooting and recording sound for the cutting room, the relevance of context and importance of thinking about the audience.

Simon is a BAFTA and Emmy nominated documentary editor, producer and director who has worked on long and short-form projects for all the major UK broadcasters, as well as BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, HBO, A&E, Discovery and National Geographic.

Being a filmmaker in Colombia, sometimes you are missing information. Coming here feels like there is an open world with more opportunities and more platforms to work with – which is amazing. My film is in a new stage because it has turned into a better way of storytelling. The narrative got stronger, it’s more compact, the whole idea is easier to understand now, through the master classes and all the mentors’ input. – Hanz Ripper, Filmmaker (Colombia)

with Kashaf Chaudhry

Kashaf Chaudhry’s masterclass looked at the changing digital landscape, focusing on the audience, and where and how they watch films. Kashaf had some interesting forecasts for the future!

Kashaf has 20 years experience in creating engaging, high quality content. He has worked across major broadcasters such as Channel 4, Discovery and Al Jazeera English, including directing the Real Da Vinci Code, one of the highest ever-rated factual programmes on Channel 4.

It’s been absolutely amazing over the last 3 days. Meeting filmmakers from around the world has been eye opening. Everyone’s got so much passion for their projects, and that’s what really comes across and it’s infectious. – Kashaf Chaudhry, GSDF Mentor


Throughout the Forum, there was plenty of group work, with each filmmaker taking it in turns to pitch their project to different combinations of fellow filmmakers and mentors. Filmmakers received feedback on each presentation, improving their pitch for the next round.

The Forum helped me to really narrow my project and to know what to ask for when I meet the [platform representatives]. It’s been useful to talk to people with a lot of experience and them helping me to find out what my project really is about and how I can tell it in a good way. I have new ideas on the storyline, and I have done some changes in the trailer. I got really concrete feedback on things that can change and I have tried it out and it worked.
– Ragnhild Nost Bergem, Filmmaker (Norway)


Wednesday 16 May, 2018

with Adam Gee

Adam Gee shared his experience of working as a commissioning editor in the UK, at Channel Four and latterly at Little Dot Studios where he is commissioning individual independent filmmakers and small indies for their Real Stories Documentary channel on Youtube. He is specifically interested in audience and monetisation.

with Dominique Young

Dominique focused on the importance of writing and clarifying a story to oneself as a filmmaker, while at the same time conveying a story pitch to a commissioning editor. She was also one of the GSDF mentors, allowing her to continue to help individual filmmakers throughout the Forum.

Dominique Young is an Executive Producer in international documentary and factual programming. For many years she was Senior Commissioning Producer for the Witness observational documentary strand on Al Jazeera English. She was then overseeing all international output for the production and communications company Breakthrough Media.

The main difference between short online films and feature documentaries, is being realistic with the time constraints about the single story and the very small number of characters that you’re going to show. The principles of creating the story arch are the same but the storyline is going to be very stripped. You have to put a different mind-set on.
– Dominique Young, GSDF Mentor


Throughout the first 3 days, Simon Ardizzone offered a special one-to-one contact session with each filmmaker – an invaluable opportunity which is often missing when working alone or in a workshop setting. For many of the filmmakers these sessions really helped to clarify what kind of film they were making or what they needed to do next. By looking at, and discussing the footage, they were able to think about what resources were needed and what could be expected from each of the platforms.


Thursday 17 May, 2018

with Sarah Brown

Sarah is the training and news literacy manager, EMEA region for the Facebook media partnerships team. In her masterclass, she looked at the many tools that Facebook can provide a filmmaker to help them build an audience. Prior to this role, Sarah spent 15 years working in digital and social media for newsrooms around the world such as the BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN, working on user generated content, social and digital media.

with Flora Gregory

Flora Gregory, director of GSDF and one of the mentors, provided a summary of financiers and platforms relevant to short documentaries. This session turned into a useful arena for a general sharing of questions and answers that had come up during the workshop, including the importance of the filmmaker to follow through with their own film on social media and festivals.

Training in an international pitch for digital platforms was a new thing for me, getting information about digital formats, learning how to connect with a digital audience, having connections with mentors and filmmakers from all around the world.– Ismael Egui Saad, Filmmaker (Colombia)


The afternoon before the one-to-one meetings was shaped by every project’s needs. The confidence gained through practising was massive, so that everyone was ready for pitching to the actual platforms on the final day. One of the biggest successes of the Forum was the support that the filmmakers gave to each other during the workshop and continue to do so after the event.

The best part of the forum for me was the chance to practice pitching my film multiple times. This is an invaluable skill for all filmmakers, and as a new comer to documentary film making it really helped me so much to be able to do this in a supportive and nurturing environment. The experience of actually pitching to platforms on the last day was also incredible! I have much more confidence in myself and my project as a result. – Saila Huusko, Filmmaker (Finland)


Friday 18 May, 2018


Global Short Docs Forum at the Frontline Club had representatives from 7 platforms: AJ+, BBC Arabic, BBC Stories, The Guardian, Lush, Zinc, and Zoomin.TV.

The best thing about the Forum was speaking to people who felt really practiced and who were using the opportunity to communicate clearly and with real passion about their projects. The fact that they had a few days of prep really showed because it was a genuinely interesting conversation with everyone. – Charlie Phillips, Head of Documentaries, The Guardian

On the final pitching day, 16 filmmakers and 11 platform representatives had over 90 individual meetings, where the filmmakers had the opportunity to meet the commissioners one on one.

This made it possible for each side to get to know each other – for the filmmakers to go into as much detail as needed, for the platforms to explain how they work and what they need, and for both sides to establish a personal connection that goes beyond the project being pitched.

Alongside the direct commissions that came out of the Forum, many of the filmmakers followed up on these contacts, receiving funding and commissions for their future projects.

The filmmakers are just so incredibly organized with all of their materials, it’s a pleasure to sit down and have somebody pretty much have everything that you need, they have answers to all the questions I have. – Rosie Garthwaite, Digital Documentaries Producer, BBC Arabic

Clothilde Redfern

Clothilde is the Director of One World Media. She is responsible for the growth and success of One World Media’s programmes including its production fund and industry events. She strives to support media which highlights our common humanity, breaks down prejudice and enables new voices to be heard.

Clothilde started her career in France working for the International Herald Tribune in Paris, she moved to London in 2005 and joined the Media Trust’s production team making documentaries for the Community Channel. She then spent three years as a documentary programmer for Birds Eye View Film Festival, which exclusively showcased films made by women. Prior to joining One World Media she spent 4 years at Channel 4 where she worked in the Documentaries department and Film 4.

Flora Gregory

With over 30 years’ experience in broadcasting and many awards under her belt, Flora is always on a mission to uncover and mentor new talent, and to bring stories made by local filmmakers around the world to an international audience.

She conceived and ran Channel 4’s long running Unreported World, and was the founding commissioning editor of Witness, Al Jazeera English’s flagship documentary strand which transmitted to 280 million homes worldwide. While at Witness she commissioned, co-produced and acquired hour and half hour films, and launched Viewfinder for new filmmakers. Since leaving, she has run workshops for BBC Media Action with Libyan filmmakers, and acted as a mentor for IDFA Academy, East Doc platform, EsoDoc, Docs in Thessaloniki (with the EDN) and Medimed in Sitges. She is also a mentor for One World Media’s Production Fund.

Lisya Yafet

Lisya has worked with One World Media in various capacities since 2013. She is currently responsible for producing the first edition of Global Short Docs Forum, and managing One World Media projects for nurturing new talent, including the Production Fund and international reporting workshops. 

Lisya is a freelance producer, working on film and event production. She has worked with Open City Documentary Festival, Quadrangle Film Festival and DocumentarIst Istanbul Documentary Days as a programmer and coordinator, producing regular screenings, panel discussions and development workshops. She produces films and videos with Superplex Pictures, Loft Films and Hiten Media, and runs practical filmmaking workshops at Arcola Theatre.

Jennifer Igiri

Jennifer joined One World Media in 2017 as a Creative Access trainee Comms Officer. She is now responsible for all digital communications, including website maintenance and social media content. Jennifer has a BA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Middlesex University. She is interested in the stories that don’t get told, the reasons why, and the media’s role in how things are perceived. She is an avid script writer and poet and she will be starting an MA in Screenwriting at the LCC in Fall 2018.