Olly Lambert |


Olly Lambert crop 2

I'm a freelance documentary filmmaker, and live in London with my partner Chloe, her two sons and my dog Eddie.

I studied English Literature at Durham University, and briefly worked in the theatre before starting out as a researcher and Assistant Producer of documentaries, working with directors including
Rebecca Frayn, James Runcie, Ian Macmillan and Susannah White on a variety of documentary singles and series for Channel 4 and the BBC.

In 1999, I was commissioned to make my first film for Alt: TV, Channel 4’s fledgling strand for new directors (now called First Cut). The resulting film,
Four Weeks to Find a Girlfriend was a gruesomely personal journey into the horrors of modern dating, and was shortlisted for a BAFTA (Best New Director, Factual) and nominated for a Grierson Award (Best Newcomer).

Since then, I've made single films for Channel 4, the BBC and Sky1, including four documentaries for Channel 4’s flagship series Cutting Edge (including
Confessions of a Traffic Warden and A Very British Storm Junkie ), as well as a number of a critically acclaimed single films (including My Child The Rioter, Mum and Dad are Splitting Up and The Teaboy of Gaza for the BBC, Battle Hospital for C4, and Ben: Diary of a Heroin Addict for Sky1). I also co-directed Rory Stewart's BAFTA-winning two part series on the history of foreign interventions in Afghanistan.

My series with
Ross Kemp in the Middle East saw the well-known actor enter the complex world of the Arab Israeli conflict, and was nominated for the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series 2010, and was also shortlisted for a BAFTA. The following year, I conducted a series of extended, in-depth interviews with the families of five young people involved in the 2011 Summer riots. The resulting film, My Child The Rioter, was nominated for a Grierson Award for Best Documentary on a Contemporary Issue in 2012.

To make
Syria: Across The Lines, I lived on both sides of a sectarian frontline in rural Syria for five weeks in late 2012, documenting how a once-peaceful community was breaking apart along ethnic and religious lines. It involved a 4,500 mile round trip to get across the one mile of no man's land between the two warring sides. A co-production for Channel 4 in the UK and PBS FRONTLINE in the US, it won the inaugural Grierson Award for Best Current Affairs Documentary, as well as the Rory Peck award for best feature and the AIB Award for Best Middle East documentary.

In 2011, my partner
Chloe Ruthven and I formed a collective of filmmakers to create The Quadrangle Film Festival, an annual event that brings together established documentary directors and emerging talents for a weekend of film screenings and craft workshops at a converted 19th century dairy farm in Kent. It aims to serve as a retreat experience for those who make films and those who love them, a place away from the television industry where 'the only thing you pitch is your tent'.

I've won a number of
international awards, including the Foreign Press Association award for "Journalist of the Year", and am the recipient of the 2014 Peter McGhee Fellowship award, which honours a filmmaker whose work reflects excellence, intelligence, fairness and scholarship. 

My films often focus on ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and I hope I can bring an intimacy and sense of humour to tough, complex subjects.

I'm currently on a placement as "Filmmaker in Residence" at BBC Newsnight.