I am a screenwriter and director who grew up in London. I make both documentaries and fiction. My work is characterised by a nuanced yet unflinching gaze, whether approaching politics, family or the inner life. It is unified by an interest in how people live with violence and cultural difference.
I bring a coaching and collaborative approach to my work, along with an interest in critical – as well as creative – thinking. I am fluent in Urdu, French, Spanish and Italian, and have lived and worked in the USA, France, Pakistan and the UK.
My vision of the world is full of grey areas and nuance. My influences unite traditions that are often seen to be separate – after all, I grew up watching Raj Kapoor, Gene Kelly, Guru Dutt, Jean Renoir and Merchant Ivory without any problems!
I have written and directed documentaries, fictional short films and music videos. My first documentary, “David Hawkins: A Battle of the Mind” (2017) was nominated as AHRC research film of the year. I am working on another documentary for Daniel Pick’s Hidden Persuders Group and developing my first feature, People Are Strange with iFeatures.
The Children’s Film Unit introduced me to filmmaking as a teenager. After working as a runner and trainee on a variety of films (memorably including “Jefferson in Paris”), I left school and worked in production and development for Merchant Ivory Productions (MIP). I returned to MIP after university, doing my time as a Producer’s Assistant and APOC on films such as “Le Divorce” (James Ivory, 2003), “The Golden Bowl” (James Ivory, 2000) and the “Mystic Masseur” (Ismail Merchant, 2001). Ismail, Jim and Ruth mentored and nurtured me from these years onwards.
I completed an MFA as a Directing Concentrate from the Film Program at Columbia University’s School of the Arts where I held a FOCUS Fellowship. My graduation film, My Father’s Son (2007) was crowdfunded and awarded a Milos Forman Award. I hold an MA in Literature, Culture & Modernity from QMUL and an undergraduate degree in English from Wadham College in Oxford. I enjoy languages and have an ongoing interest in cultural encounter, literature, psychoanalysis and critical theory.
In 2015/2016, I was selected as an Arts Council of England Fellow on the Clore Leadership Programme. Through the fellowship, I did a three month senior work placement at the Institute of Contemporary Arts and benefitted from a range of high level mentoring, training and coaching. I was also funded by the AHRC to write a piece of research on diversity and cultural policy.
David Hawkins, A Battle of the Mind (2017) Writer / Director
Commissioned by the Hidden Persuaders Group, Birkbeck in Association with The Wellcome Trust | Nominated AHRC Research Film of the Year 2017 | Selected for War of Nerves Exhibition at the Wende Museum of the Cold War, Los Angeles (forthcoming)
Alex (2016) – Short Animation for the Maudsley Eating Disorders Team – Writer
Bubbles (2015) – Writer / Director / Co-Producer starring Shabana Azmi
£10,000+ Successful Kickstarter Campaign | Short Film Corner of the 68th Cannes Film Festival | London Short Film Festival | Tongues on Fire, The London South Asian Film Festival | The New York Indian Film Festival | Washington DC South Asian Film Festival
We’re So Light, Music Video (2011) – Camera / Director / Editor
Transmusicales Festival | 40,000+ Youtube views
Bang Bang Cherry Music Video (2010) – Director / Editor
69,769+ Youtube views
My Father’s Son (2008) – Writer / Director / Producer
Milos Forman Award, Columbia University | £15,000 crowdfunded budget | Supported by Eurostar