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An Audience with Anna Hall: Social Justice-Driven Documentary Maker

On Monday 10 December, students from the NCOP Future Media programme and the Notre Dame student newspaper had the privilege of listening to Anna Hall talk about her career as one of the country’s most successful freelance documentary makers.

In 1997, a few years after gaining a degree in Literature, Anna won the Priz Italia (a prestigious international TV and radio award) for an ITV documentary about the families of the Dunblane victims entitled ‘Dunblane: Remembering our Children’. Anna’s passion for social justice has been the driving force behind much of her work and she has won many more awards for gritty documentaries about deeply controversial and sensitive subjects. For example, ‘Edge of the City’ (2004) is her film about child sex grooming in Bradford and in ‘The Hunt for Britain’s Sex Gangs’ (2013) Anna negotiated unprecedented access to follow a live police investigation over a period of three years. In her more recent films ‘Catching a Killer: The Search for Natalie Hemming’ and ‘Behind Closed Doors’, Anna gives an extraordinary insight into domestic abuse: a crime that continues to take the lives of two women every week in Britain.

Over the years, her work has shone a light on notoriously difficult issues, giving a voice to Britain’s most vulnerable. In addition to helping prevent further abuse of children and women, her work has resulted in significant improvements to the judicial system when interviewing vulnerable victims.

Our students were deeply moved and inspired by Anna’s story which provided them with many ideas about how to carve out their own career as a freelance journalist. Upper sixth student Oliver Gower watched ‘Behind Closed Doors’ two years ago and couldn’t believe he was sitting in the same room as the director. He said: ‘Anna taught us that with basic knowledge of filming and editing software and – of course – dedication and vision, you can create your own career path in the media, and even bring about social change. It was an incredible experience!’

You can find out more about Anna’s work here: https://truevisiontv.com/anna-hall