Who Am I

Who Am I

I have been in love with stories from a young age, and for most of my working life as a documentary filmmaker I have had the privilege of intimately working with other people to tell theirs. Those moments when another person truly opens up to an audience are priceless, and I am now passionate about helping other filmmakers create that same on-screen magic with their characters and stories. 

Across almost three decades of storytelling I made 24 films for the BBC and UK broadcasters, then moved into feature docs winning two Emmys and over 40 major International awards. My stories range from a personal BBC “Video Diary” about returning to Haiti to find the man who shot me in an election massacre, to a brain surgeon in the KGB hospital in Kyiv using a domestic power drill on the skull of a patient who was fully awake. I am drawn to observational real-life dramas where deep ethical and moral dilemmas abound, and passionately believe that stories are vital to the psychic health of our communities and nations.

Keeping the audience at the heart of my filmmaking decisions has been central to my work, and is now at the core of how I collaborate with other directors to bring out the best in their ideas and material.  My dream, your dream, is that more documentaries spark passion and debate, and bring our wonderful world a little closer together.

Across my career I have taught directing classes in the UK, Denmark, Finland, Croatia, the US, and Australia, worked with Nick Cave on one of my soundtracks, was a tutor at the IDFA summer school, and curated and ran a successful documentary film festival in Australia for five years. In 2020 I co-created a two-day story workshop called “DocCelerator” with my Danish colleague Ove Jensen, and to date we have worked with over two hundred directors and producers to transform their film stories.  

Storytelling is a noble and redeeming art, and now, more than ever, this crazy world of ours needs engaging documentary stories to help us create a better future.  

Geoffrey Smith