“The only people who can find real stories are those who get out there with a camera. Film-makers who take risks need a commissioning editor who is as brave to allow these projects to be born.” Sean McAllister
A Northern Soul (2018)
Following 2015’s Doc/Fest Grand Jury Winner A Syrian Love Story, Sean McAllister returns to his hometown, Hull, as curator of its’ UK City of Culture opening. Back living with his 90-year-old parents and reflecting on changes to a city hit by cuts in public spending and divided by Brexit, Sean is drawn to the fringes of town where he encounters Steve – a struggling warehouse worker with a dream.
“This is not a story we see enough, despite the heritage of British documentary in this space – a deeply explored character journey through poverty in which those affected tell their own stories with dignity and respect. We don’t see it enough because there aren’t many other film-makers like McAllister…” [Charlie Phillips, The Guardian]
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A Syrian Love Story (2015)
Filmed over 5 years, A Syrian Love Story charts an incredible odyssey to political freedom in the West. For Raghda and Amer, it is a journey of hope, dreams and despair: for the revolution, their homeland and each other.
“The Jury were enamoured by this Bergmanesque portrait of a relationship and love, taking place against an ever-changing and tumultuous backdrop. Delivering unusual gender portraits it explores vulnerabilities, looking at the concept of belonging, providing a unique and intimate portrait of disillusionment.” [Ruby Chen, Grand Jury member, Sheffield Doc/Fest]
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The Reluctant Revolutionary (2012)
An intimate portrait of Yemen as the revolution unfolds, told through the eyes of tour-guide leader Kais. Filmed over the course of 2011 with exceptional access to a country where camera crews and journalists were being forced to leave, we see Kais’s journey from pro-President to reluctant revolutionary, joining angry protesters in the increasingly bloody streets of Sana’a.
“The Reluctant Revolutionary is a stunningly humane portrait that shows vividly what’s at stake before leaving it bloody on the Formica floor of a battered concrete building.” [Cole Abaius, Film School Rejects]
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Japan: A Story of Love and Hate (2008)
Naoki 56, had it all in Japan’s bubble economy days: he ran a business with 70 staff, drove a brand new BMW, and lived in a 6 bedroom house. But when Japan’s economy crashed in the early 1990’s he lost everything, ending up divorced (for the third time) and penniless.
“This was an exemplary film, featuring perhaps the most eye-opening depiction of modern Japan I’ve ever seen” [Paul Whitelaw, The Scotsman]
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The Liberace of Baghdad (2004)
Samir Peter, once Iraq’s most famous pianist now plays in a half-empty hotel bar to contractors, mercenaries and besieged journalists. In his heyday he described himself as the ‘Liberace of Baghdad’ but today he sleeps in a bricked up hotel room, too afraid to cross town to his 7 bedroom mansion. His string of western girlfriends has led to his wife and two of his kids leaving for the States.
“A remarkable film that reveals everyday life post-Saddam” [The Times]
Awards and Nominations
The Liberace Of Baghdad won ‘The Special Jury Prize (World Documentary)’ at the Sundance Film Festival, and the ‘Award for Best British Documentary’ at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA). The film was nominated by The Grierson Trust (Best Documentary On A Contemporary Issue), and also received a nomination for ‘Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary’ from the Directors Guild of America.
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Hull’s Angel (2002)
Since losing her job at a hostel for failing to work within the Home Office’s strict guidelines, 48-year-old Tina has continued to help Hull’s 1,500 asylum seekers for free, dedicating much of her own time and money to aiding them.
“The depth of her humanity is overwhelming” [The Guardian]
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Tension mounts to the boiling point as Jewish “settlers” encroach upon the formerly exclusive Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem. On the other end of the Israeli political spectrum, the state complies with international demands to relinquish territory to the Palestinians. Such schizophrenic splits only fuel the flames.
“The contrast between their lives and entrenched political opinions makes for a gripping dynamic” [Kieron Corless, Time Out]
Read more about Settlers
The Minders (1998)
Sean creates a double portrait of his Ministry of Information minders, Kifah and Alla, following the aversion of the 1998 crisis in Iraq.
“The sense of resignation that pervades Iraqi society could not be better summarized” [Martin Kramer, Middle East Quarterly]
Awards and Nominations
The Minders was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award 1998
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Working for the Enemy (1997)
Sean McAllister’s bleak, extraordinarily intimate film offers an insight into the lives of 35-year-old Kevin, who hasn’t worked in 18 years, and his 19-year-old girlfriend Robbie, who earns £70 a week as a seamstress.
“Subtle, patient television bound to unsettle...” [Ian Parker, The Observer]
Awards and Nominations
Working For The Enemy was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award 1997
Read more about Working For The Enemy