I am an Emmy award-winning, BAFTA nominated filmmaker who has directed over twenty narrative and documentary films that tell true stories of courage, heroism and humour from across the world, covering everything from war crimes in the Congo to the colourful lives of residents in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
I am now working on a major feature documentary about the life of Waad al-Khateab a female Syrian filmmaker who recorded her life over 5 years in rebel-held Aleppo, an epic tale of love and courage amid the cruelty of war.
I recently wrote and directed my first narrative short film Oksijan which tells the incredible true story of a 7-year-old Afghan boy’s fight to survive as he is smuggled to the UK in a refrigerated lorry and the air inside begins to run out. It premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017 and won Best Director at the 2017 Delhi International Shorts Festival.
My 2015 film Escape from ISIS exposed the brutal treatment of the estimated 4 million women living under the rule of the Islamic State and, for the first time on television, told the extraordinary story of an underground network trying to save those it can. It received numerous international awards and citations, including an International Emmy and Bafta nomination for Best Current Affairs Documentary.
The Guardian described it as “a breathtakingly bold piece of journalism,” while the Spectator said it was “such an important documentary it ought to rank with the footage of British troops liberating Belsen”. Prime Minister David Cameron cited the film in a major policy speech on ISIS. I was also invited to testify at the US Congress about the film’s key findings at the Committee on Foreign Affairs in Washington DC in July 2015.
My film-making aspires to tell visceral, gripping stories about people who live in far flung corners of the world, to emphasise our common humanity to audiences back home. I have an eye for the unexpected: the intimacy found even in the bleakest places; the stories of hope amid horror. I create my films on a strong foundation of riveting narrative story-telling and striking, cinematic images.
Download a copy of my CV here: EdwardWattsCV-Jan18