Storytelling with reality

The British Council, Scottish Documentary Institute and 24 Hours are pleased to announce the launch of Beijing Stories, a workshop for a new generation of Chinese documentary filmmakers and news practitioners to realise their short documentaries and explore international opportunities.

The Beijing Stories programme will recruit 15 emerging filmmakers to join a 10 days workshop where they will work in teams of three to produce a short documentary film. Participating filmmakers will offer a personal reflection on the society and urban lives of China through a story rooted in Beijing. We like to exhibit the films on last evening to an invited audience for filmmakers to present their work, and to discuss documentary production and distribution in China and the UK.

Workshop dates & locations

Date: 28 March – 6 April 2020
Location: Beijing

This practice-led workshop in documentary will allow participants to: 

  • Develop an understanding of creative documentary for international festivals
  • Develop an idea into a short creative film
  • Work with characters, sound and visuals dramatically and emotionally
  • Produce a 5 minutes documentary 

What happens after the workshop?

Films produced through previous workshops have screened at festivals including Locarno Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest to name a few.

Outstanding participating filmmakers have the opportunity to explore more opportunities in Sheffield Doc/Fest this year. 

Who can apply?

  • Be over 18 years old
  • Have basic technical skills and some experience in filmmaking
  • Be able to demonstrate an interest in documentary
  • Have an idea of a character or situation responding to the brief

Be able to commit fully to the 10-days training period   

We believe diversity should be celebrated and talent exists in all levels of society regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity or social class.  We therefore encourage people from across all sections of Chinese society to apply.  


The organiser will cover the expenditure of workshop, accommodation, equipment, tea break and group dinners (twice). Transportation and catering fee will be covered by the participants.

Selection process

The applications will be evaluated by an experienced panel and applications will be assessed based on the following criteria:

  • The relevance of the candidate’s past experience
  • Their motivation to take part in the workshop
  • The quality of their previous creative work
  • The strength of their film idea (originality, sociality, feasibility) 


Anne Milne

Anne Milne is an award-winning Scottish filmmaker. Her film María's Way was nominated for the European Film Award 2010, and won a BAFTA New Talent award as well as playing at numerous international film festivals, and picking up more awards. After being awarded a WorldView Multi Media Grant, she travelled to Nepal to shoot Himalayan Sisters which later won an editing award at the 2011 Underwire Festival. Since then she has been working on a number of commissioned films. Into Deep Space, a short film about the search for exo-planets was shown at the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York and Dublin where it was awarded a Special Mention. In recent times she has been producing short documentaries with the Scottish Documentary Institute, the most recent Swan (2016) was nominated for a BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Short film and shortlisted for a Grierson Award. She has also been co-teaching documentary workshops with SDI/British Council in Libya, Pakistan, and Jordan. Anne’s latest film Adventures in Dementia (2019) was broadcast on STV and produced by Scottish Documentary Institute. She is also co-founder of DocKlub.

 Noé Mendelle

After graduating in Anthropology and Women’s Studies, Noé started her film career with Steel Bank Films (1982), a Channel 4 film workshop based in Sheffield. She is an experienced director and producer on the international scene, having worked on numerous documentaries with wide range of emerging and established talent, both for broadcast and theatrical release. She curates documentaries for festivals, has been jury many times at major festivals such as IDFA, and lately she is part of the nomination committee for feature and short documentary for OSCARS. 

In 2004 she set up Scottish Documentary Institute and over the years devised several award-winning talent schemes: Bridging the Gap, This is Scotland, Right Here, Stories and Edinburgh Pitch. She execs award winning feature films produced by SDI Productions such as Freedom Fields, Time Trial, Becoming Animal, Syrian Stories, Donkeyote, Libya in Motion, Where You’re Meant To Be….. as well as trying to keep up with her own productions: She is currently finishing a 3 part series in Guinea-Bissau about the Bijagos people.

She is a research professor at University of Edinburgh where she supervises PhD by practice in Documentary Film.

Zhou Bing

Zhou Bing was the Playwright-Director of the Pride of the Orient program of CCTV, the Producer of the Special Program Group of Oriental Horizon, and the Director of the Special Program Department of China Central Newsreel & Documentary. Zhou Bing has been awarded Chinese Documentary Annual Director for three times. He has created and produced hundreds of documentaries. In 2014, Zhou Bing established Sun Media International to marketise documentary films and promote Chinese documentaries globally. His works have been broadcasted on CCTV, National Geographic Channel, The History Channel, SkyTV, NDR, Arte and many other international mainstream media. 

Works include Forbidden City, Dunhuang, Road of Millennia Bodhi, Taipei Palace Museum, When the Louvre Meets the Forbidden City, The Bund, Snow Leopard, South of the Ocean

* Tutor will assist participants during film making and answer questions.


Zheng Qiong (Jury President)

Zheng Qiong is a Chinese documentary director and producer. She founded "Beijing Channel Zero Media" in 2000, a leading production company in China that focuses on documentary films. In 2009, Zheng Qiong launched the first officially authorised independent Chinese documentary film festival, "iDOCS". 

Guo Rongfei

Guo Rongfei graduated from New York University, majored in News and Documentary. Her first short documentary Fairy Tales won the Student Academy Award. She is currently a producer and director at Arrow Factory Video under Jiemian News, who has participated in filming of more than 30 short documentaries. She is also a part-time tutor teaching the MA in International Multimedia Journalism of Beijing Foreign Studies University – University of Bolton.

Zhang Xinwei

Zhang Xinwei graduated from Beijing Normal University Zhuhai Branch. His documentaries Old Man Triology was shortlisted in various film festivals. He was a jury member of FIRST Film Festival for documentary awards and a jury member of Golden Kapok Award, Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival.

Han Meng

HAN Meng is a Beijing-based director and filmmaker. She had previously worked as a journalist in China for 12 years. Her recent work Smog Town was shortlisted for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam Competition for First Appearance. Her feature-length documentary China’s Forgotten Daughters was screened at Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, One World Festival, etc. The photo essay was published in the New York Times and South China Morning Post. In 2014, she received the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship to study in University of Maryland, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Sean Wang

Sean Wang was born in Hebei in 1991, graduated from Communication University of China and Beijing Film Academy. His graduate film Huis Away from Home (2014) won the Best Student Film awarded by the China Documentary Academy Award. His documentary Lady of the Harbour was supported by Busan International Film Festival Asian Cinema Fund, nominated for the 30th IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary, and shortlisted at One World Film Festival in Czech Republic, EBS International Documentary Festival (EIDF) and European Union Human Rights Film Festival, etc. His currently creating his second feature documentary Epic of a Stone.Ting

Song Ting

Song Ting is a Chinese filmmaker graduated from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University in 2012. Before that, she gained dual BAs in English and Finance from University of International Business & Economics (Beijing). Her feature documentary The Land of Many Palaces (2015) won Best International Documentary at Rome Independent Film Festival, Best Documentary Feature at Moscow International Documentary Film Festival, and nominated for Best Documentary at 2016 Xining FIRST Film Festival.

Please scan the QR code above or click into the online form to register.