Docs North East

Amber Film and Photography will be launching our new group ‘Docs North East’ with a season of 5 different events taking place throughout February.

Across the events we will host panel discussions with industry professionals, Q&As, Filmmaker Forums and an open screen scratch night. We hope these events will encourage local professionals to network, discuss the current filmmaking landscape, and hopefully self generate solutions and opportunities in support of new and original documentary production in the North East.

Events will take place at Side Gallery and will also be live-streamed.

Please see below for specific event details.

Details & Tickets

The cinema is currently undergoing a refurb, so events will take place in the Side Gallery.

5-9 Side, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 3JE

Tickets will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
We have a limited capacity, so please get tickets early to avoid disappointment:

Docs North East Launch: Saturday 12th Feb – 2pm – 5pm

This introductory event is an opportunity for filmmakers to meet for the first time, share thoughts and ideas, explore Amber Films’ roots in the North East.

We will look at the Workshop Movement, hear from Founder members Peter Roberts and Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen about Amber’s practice, and the power of creative networks and collaborative working. This will be followed by a Filmmakers Forum for professionals to share and discuss their thoughts on the current landscape facing creatives based in the North East today.

Speaker Session 1: 15th Feb 6.30 – 8pm

Panel discussion and Q&A with Katja Roberts and Maxy Bianco

This session will be a pragmatic and practical exploration of how to sustain a career in film from this region, with thoughts and input from successful local filmmakers, Katja Roberts and Maxy Bianco.

We’ll look at the benefits of an agile, portfolio style career and how to strike a balance between earning a living, and staying committed to your own creative practice.

Speaker Session 2: : Thursday 17th Feb 6.30 – 8pm

Panel discussion and Q&A with Paul Sng and Jen Corcoran

This event will explore funding models that sit outside of traditional broadcast or commissioning pathways. We’ll look examples of successful crowd funding campaigns, and alternative strategies to generate the resources to get your film made.

We’ll discuss the geographical challenges facing filmmakers here and in other regions. Both Jen and Paul operate outside of the main Film/TV industry hubs (living in Tynemouth and Edinburgh respectively), but both make work recognised on the national and international stage – we’ll hear about their experience of working in the North of England and Scotland.

Speaker Session 3: Tuesday 22nd Feb 6.30 – 8pm

Panel Discussion and Q&A with Sirkka Möller and Melanie Iredale

Sirkka and Melanie are veterans of the documentary festival and talent development circuits; this session aims to demystify some of the processes around the national and international festival scene, and routes to getting your work in front of the right people.

We will also explore what the lay of the land is now given the ongoing Covid situation. We’ll discuss if the pandemic might actually provide an opportunity for new and emerging filmmakers to take an advantage of an evolving, unpredictable landscape, and how as a network we might be able to mobilise and harness that opportunity together.

Open Screen Scratch Night: Thursday 24th Feb 6.30 – 8.30pm

Networking, screenings and drinks reception

For our final night, the floor is yours! We will have 10 slots of 1 – 10 minutes for filmmakers to introduce themselves and their films, pitch ideas for possible collaborators, ask for feedback on work – whatever you need the space for, use it for that! To secure a slot, please email and give a short description of how you would like to use the time.

We also hope to wrap this programme of events up with a solutions focussed discussion on where we go from here; what is important to us as filmmakers in the North East, and how do we use our autonomy and collective talent to carve the region’s industry into something that works for us.

We can’t wait to see you all there. Tickets will be on a first come first served basis, and you are welcome to attend one or all events. To get the most out of it, we would recommend trying to attend the whole season.


Maxy Bianco

Maxy is a film maker based in the UK. He has made content for Channel 4 and the BBC. He has screened his work at many festivals, art galleries and one off screenings. His work tells stories, often exploring marginal lives and places but raising broader questions around issues of belonging, place and identity. Maxy has extensive experience leading a small crews or working embedded alone with camera and multi channel audio. Maxy can deliver final edit within a team or produce a finished project independently from the field. Maxy is proud of his Northern English working class back ground and prides his ability to find a close down to earth relationship with the subjects and contributors to his work.

Katja Roberts

Katja Roberts is a North-East based filmmaker and creative director of Meerkat Films. She has 15 years’ experience writing, directing and editing observational documentaries, factual entertainment and short dramas, all with the aim to celebrate the human spirit, raise awareness of important issues and shine light on under-represented people and communities. Her work has reached audiences through the BBC, National Geographic, online platforms and festivals worldwide. Katja is also a multi-camera director and editor and works closely with theatre teams to create innovative digital content, often with a focus on social change.

Paul Sng

Paul Sng is a bi-racial British Chinese filmmaker based in Edinburgh, Scotland whose work focuses on people who challenge the status quo. His work has been broadcast on UK national television and screened internationally, and his feature film credits include DISPOSSESSION, YEAR OF THE DOG and POLY STYRENE: I AM A CLICHE (winner of BIFA 2021 Best Documentary, BIFA 2021 Raindance Discovery Award and nominated for several Best Documentary awards including BAFTA and Grierson).

Jen Corcoran

Jen Corcoran is a creative producer based in Stockton-on-Tees and Newcastle. Jen is currently developing a slate of international-facing feature films and high-end drama through Freya Films. Formerly Head of Film at My Accomplice (The Quiet One, The Great Hack), Jen’s work has played at Tribeca, Sheffield DocFest and BFI Flare amongst others. Jen has a professional background in international sales and film finance with Focus Features and Film London and has curated programmes for LSFF, Synthesis Festival (Kaliningrad) and Cine North. Jen is a Sheffield DocFest Future Producer and has participated in development labs with BAFTA, BFI and Creative Europe.

Sirkka Möller

Sirkka Möller has worked for film festivals for over 25 years, with a focus on documentaries and short films. Her experience spans programming, world sales, editorial, moderation and writing, as well as project development. She has programmed for Sheffield Doc/Fest, FID Marseille and DocPoint Festival Helsinki and is on the Berlinale Panorama selection committee. She has given workshops on developing, pitching, editing, selling and screening films.

Melanie Iredale

Melanie Iredale is a film curator and cultural activist. She is the newly appointed Director of Birds’ Eye View, a charity with a mission to champion broader perspectives of the world through films by women & non-binary creatives and to advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion in cinema. She is also an Exec Producer on the award-winning REBEL DYKES, which screened in 50+ festivals internationally and 40+ cinemas in the UK since its premiere at BFI Flare 2020. Prior to this, Melanie served as Deputy Director and Programmer at Sheffield DocFest, 2014-2021, with a background of developing audiences in the North of England for international cinema since 2005. 

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