Olly Lambert |


I'm a freelance documentary filmmaker, and live in London with my dog Eddie. I’ve won over a dozen awards for my work in areas of conflict, including an Emmy, two BAFTAs, an RTS, a Grierson and the Foreign Press Association award for Journalist of the year.

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 ten prestigious awards, including an Emmy, a BAFTA, an RTS and a Grierson.  

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 clarity to tough, complex subjects.