Amanda Burrell

Amanda is a documentary film-maker with 15 years experience of working in broadcast television and documentaries.  She produces, directs, self shoots and presents – all at the same time when necessary. 

Amanda studied history at Cambridge and then was awarded a grant to do an MA in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, London University.  She was lucky enough to get a job as a television researcher the day after she handed in her thesis (which was on the coverage of Muslims in the British media).  Amongst other freelance jobs she worked for one year in the LWT Arts Department with Melvyn Bragg on “2000 Years”, his flagship series on the history of Christianity, and for two years in the BBC History Department with Laurence Rees on programmes such as “Timewatch” and “Pyramid”, the most watched BBC history programme ever.

After leaving the BBC in 2003, Amanda won a bursary to develop programme ideas in India.  She set off with a backpack and a camera and ended up living and making films there for two years.   Now back in London, she has produced and directed investigative, observational, presenter-led and historical films around the world.  

Through intimate glimpses of people’s lives, issues are brought alive in Amanda’s films in a way that is personal and powerful.  People are a passion of hers, as are foreign cultures and languages.  Amanda has made several films in Britain and has also filmed in countries as diverse as Yemen, Peru, Turkey, Bosnia, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Japan.  She speaks Turkish (she has travelled to Turkey over 40 times), Italian, French, conversational Hindi and Urdu, and is learning Arabic.

Other passions – amongst many interests - include East West relations (Amanda was invited to speak at a conference on Britain and the Muslim World at the University of Exeter in April 2009), world religions and  dancing (Amanda has danced on television and at the Royal Albert Hall).

Several of Amanda’s films have been ideas of her own which were commissioned by broadcasters.  These include “Harem”, a drama documentary series about the powerful women of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for Channel 4 and A&E.   And “Stick Thin in India” for BBC’s new talent strand “Fresh”.  This was a documentary about the rise of anorexia in India which Amanda presented, shot, produced and directed herself. 

Amanda’s recent productions include the opening film of a BBC2 series called “Women in Black”, which looked at the lives of women in Yemen; “Britain’s New Underworld”, a documentary on Asian heroin gangs with Rageh Omaar for Virgin 1; and “The Forgotten Refugees” a film about Bhutanese refugees in Nepal for BBC World News which she produced, directed, presented and shot part of and which has been selected for competition at the South East Asian Film Festival 2009. 

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