Testimony Films – Independent Documentary Producers

Testimony Films

Testimony Films are a Bristol based life story documentary production company. They have won a number of awards, most notably for their documentaries that focus on the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.  ‘9/11 Firehouse’ Won the International Documentary award at the RTS Awards and was the 2013 Winner of the Gold World Medal for History & Society at the New York Film Festival.

Testimony films make documentaries that tell real life stories of past events, they rely heavily on well researched interviews with contributors mixed with archive footage, re-enactments and present day observational images.

Testimony films create a large number of their films through self research and they they hold a vast amount of recorded interviews with contributors that are ready to be used for stories that they may not have been commissioned yet; They also produce a number of documentaries that have been commissioned to briefs sent out by television companies such as the BBC.

I like the approach to documentary film making that Testimony has, they have a team of researcher who are skilled at finding stories. The actual technicalities of making the documentary really come second to finding a great story which they can tell passionately.

 

 

 

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Oblong Films

Oblong Films is a Bristol Based film company specializing in observational documentary. The company was set up in 2009 and has had a number of documentaries presented on television including ‘Prom Queen Divas UK’ (channel 5) and ‘The Naked Rambler’ (BBC) The Company was nominated for 3 RTS West Awards for their documentary ‘Millionaire Boy Racers’ an unscripted documentary that provides an insight into the influx of super cars and their wealthy owners in central London each summer.

The company hasn’t posted any recent updates of work online and they haven’t posted on Twitter for the past 6 months.

Bracken Films – Corporate and Documentary Small Film making Company

UWE Industry Talk – Bracken Films

Bracken Films is a small Corporate and documentary film company headed up by Two ex UWE Film making students Jim Smith and Zander Mavor. They created the company after leaving UNI and have secured a number of contracts with high profile customers to create promotional videos and internal team videos for company training and information.

Jim and Zander came to UWE to give an industry talk. he main focus was of their experience since leaving UWE and how they went about setting up their company; they also showed us some of their past work including Jims documentary ‘The man who fell from the sky’ which documents the story of immigrants fell from a planes landing gear onto a London street.

This talk was very useful to me because it’s the sort of area I wish to go into after finishing in UWE. While I feel many people will turn their noses up at corporate work, i think it’s a good way to build a brand and a reputation which could in tern lead to bigger more creative documentary work, Also I think this steady work offers stability while still offering the opportunity to work on passion projects for low or no income.

Jim and Zander explained that they have a good working relationship because both of them specialist in different aspects of the film making process. Jim is more of the DoP while Zander takes on the sound roles, I think having these specialisms is a real asset because it means that both parties need each other which will help strengthen the bond of the owners while also easing the pressure on each person.

Jim and Zander explained some of the pitfalls of setting up their company and things we might avoid. they explained how they contacted a number of companies to offer their corporate video services and that this didn’t get them much work; the work they currently get comes through networking and through contacts through friends so this is something to think about when I start my business. The boys talked about some of the processes such as invoicing the company (40% pre-production & 60% on delivery) and the importance of contracts to protect yourself. They also explained some of the other work that may be involved including pitching ideas from a brief to potential clients.

Zander and Jim also stayed behind after the talk for a beer and had some great personal advice for myself and Hanna-Jane.

One criticism I do have around Bracken Films would be the lack of online presence, while the boys had business cards it is very hard to find any information on the company and there is currently no website to get contact information or view the companies show reel of past work. I think when building my company this will be one of the first things I should look into initially.

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