Olly Lambert |


I'm a freelance documentary filmmaker, and live in London with 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 film
Syria: Across The Lines documented life on both sides of a sectarian frontline in rural Syria.  To make it, I spent five weeks living with both regime loyalists and opposition fighters in rural Syria, 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 and witnessed firsthand the devastating use of firepower against a civilian population.  A co-production for Channel 4 in the UK and PBS FRONTLINE in the US, it is regarded as one of the most important pieces of journalism to emerge from Syria's ongoing conflict.  It has won 8 prestigious awards, including a BAFTA, an RTS, a Grierson and a Rory Peck

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.

In 2011, artist
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.