Edward Watts is 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.

He has just completed his first feature documentary about the life of Waad al-Khateab a female Syrian filmmaker who recorded her life over 5 years in rebel-held Aleppo. It is an epic tale of love and courage amid the cruelty of war. The film won the Grand Jury prize for Best Documentary as well as the Audience Award at SXSW Festival in March 2019 and was selected for the Festival du Cannes 2019.

His 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. He 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.

Among his other work, his first narrative short film Oksijan told 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 has since played at prestigious film festivals around the world.

Edward’s 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. In so doing, he hopes his films can make a positive contribution to reducing the hatred in our tumultuous world. He has an eye for the unexpected: the intimacy found even in the bleakest places; the stories of hope amid horror. He creates films on a strong foundation of riveting narrative story-telling and striking, cinematic images.

Download a copy of his CV here: EdwardWattsCV-Jan19


  • For Sama (2019)
  • Oksijan (2017)
  • Marovo Medical Mission (2016)
  • Escape from ISIS (2015)
  • The Mega-Brothel (2014)
  • Nigeria’s Hidden War (2014)
  • Welcome to Rio (2014)
  • Chinese Murder Mystery (2012)
  • Norway’s Massacre (2012)
  • Secret Pakistan (2011)
  • Defenders of Karachi (2011)
  • Children of the Inferno (2009)
  • Forest of the Dead (2009)
  • Sea of Tears (2008)
  • God’s Own Country (2008)
  • It Shouldn’t Happen to a Muslim (2008)
  • Reign of the Rockets (2008)
  • Children of the Genocide (2007)
  • Cocaine Country (2007)
  • Israel’s Wild West (2007)
  • Anarchy in the Andes (2007)
  • Red Sun Rising (2006)