MyDocs & Crossing Borders at Leipzig Networking Days 2017

MyDocs & Crossing Borders at Leipzig Networking Days 27 - 29 October 2017.


Crossing Borders participants were in Leipzig for their second workshop and to pitch their documentary projects to a panel of 35 decision makers from all over the world!

Crossing Borders is a training programme for documentary professionals in Asia and Europe looking to access the international market. It has previously been held in China (2010), Malaysia (2011 & 2013), Indonesia (2015) and South Korea (2012 & 2016). Each year Crossing Borders invites filmmakers from Europe and Asia to submit their project ideas and approx 15 projects are chosen. Selected participants then attend three workshops (over a span of 6 months) covering training in: how to develop your story, accessing the international market, pitching your project, editing a polished trailer, distributing your finished film, how to navigate the international co-production process and more. More details can be found at:

MyDocs is proud to be part of the programme and to see how much the participants has improved since their first workshop held in Kuala Lumpur in July of this year.

Congratulations to our Malaysian filmmakers


Lara Ariffin, Chew Han Tah and Chew Li Phan for winning the GZdoc best pitch award today at #leipzignetworkingdays2017! They competed with over 30 other international pitches to receive the prize!

Crossing Borders Leipzig Highlights from MyDocs on Vimeo.


MyDocs at Freedom Film Fest 2017

Early this September, MyDocs co-presented some interesting sessions at Freedom Film Fest 2017.

'Change The World: Film & Impact Strategies' workshop with Ondřej Moravec


Ondřej Moravec, the program director of One World Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague.  In this workshop, he presented some case studies of documentaries that had successful impact strategy campaigns.  He also shared insights on how documentaries filmmakers can evoke change & action from audiences beyond just screening their films.

'Freedom of Expression & Documentary Filmmaking' workshop with Petr Lom & Corrine van Egeraat


Petr Lom and Corinne van Egeraat have more than fifteen years of experience making films dedicated to freedom of expression.  In this workshop, they discussed strategies and tools for effective and creative storytelling in countries where freedom of speech is fragile, or not guaranteed. They used their previous work from Egypt, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Cameroon and Myanmar as case studies, with particular focus on their latest film: Burma Storybook.



MyDocs at the Cooler Lumpur Festival

This year, MyDocs proudly co-presented some exciting events at the Cooler Lumpur Festival!

Coffee With Hussain Currimbhoy:


An intimate coffee session with one of the documentary and VR programmers for Sundance Film Festival! Hussain presented a short in-conversation, introducing filmmakers and industry to the Sundance festival and the submission process while outlining opportunities that exist for emerging and established filmmakers at the festival. He discussed Sundance’s programming philosophy, and offer insights into how filmmakers can launch their feature, documentary or short film.


VR;IRL (Virtual Reality; In Real Life):


In this interactive session, Hussain Currimbhoy, one of the documentary and VR programmers for Sundance Film Festival discussed new opportunities for documentary, documentary and journalism, as well as documentary and VR, among others. Together with VR specialist Lionel Chok, they talked about how using virtual reality to tell stories can change minds and ultimately, change lives.


The Asian Premiere of 'Food Evolution':

Amidst a brutally polarizing debate marked by passion, suspicion and confusion, FOOD EVOLUTION , from Academy Award®-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy (The Garden, Fame High, OT: Our Town), explores the controversy surrounding GMOs and food. Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves to banana farms in Uganda to the cornfields of Iowa, the film, narrated by esteemed science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson , wrestles with the emotions and the science driving one of the most heated arguments of our time.  In the GMO debate, both pro- and anti- camps claim science is on their side. Who’s right?


Getting Real About VR – Crossing Borders Open Day


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There’s a lot of hype around Virtual Reality. There was a lot of hype around 3D - and it failed to take off with TV audiences. Will VR go the same way? Our special guests would say no. In fact there is no comparison between the two. VR has the potential to bring people, places, and experiences closer together than ever before. Even if you don’t intend to use Virtual Reality in your productions, as a media professional you should stay informed – because VR is coming and it has the power to change the world. This was a Crossing Borders initiative with a line-up of VR professionals as they explore what is being hailed as the new mass media of our times.

Curated & moderated by:

Ruth BerryRuth Berry, Director/Producer, First Act Films; Consultant, Terra Mater Factual Studios, Australia/Germany

Ruth Berry has made documentaries across many genres but her passion lies with science and natural history. Credits include: Dinosaurs On Ice, Thriller Science, Terrible Lizards of Oz, Tropic Gothic, Hypsi the Forest Gardener and The Neanderthals’ Dark Secret. She series produced and directed three episodes of Asia – Secret Lives, Hidden Places for ARTE/NDR. Ruth is concept adviser and past mentor for Europe’s premier training organisation, Documentary Campus. Together with her business partner Rodney Sewell, her company First Act Films and ARTE France are developing a new history format, Skeleton In The Closet. She consults for the prestigious Terra Mater Factual Studios and was on their behalf a member of the steering committee of the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. She designs and produces discussion panels for Documentary Campus industry events, the Sheffield Documentary Filmfest, the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers and MIP TV.


Lionel ChokLionel Chok, Creative Technologist, iMMERSIVELY, Singapore/Malaysia

Despite a somewhat advancing and cosy career path over the past 18 years in media, design, tech and creatives, Lionel decided to trade in his work life to take on a student role yet again, to move to London to pursue a Master’s degree in Creative Technology; specialising in Augmented and Virtual Reality. There, he produced London’s first ever 360 Virtual Reality Dance staged at Middlesex University and also Singapore Inside out (London) a VR experience (​​ for the touring exhibition by Singapore Tourism Board. After completing and achieving distinction in his postgraduate studies, he returned to Singapore and immediately became a much sought after consultant and speaker in the fields of Virtual Reality.

Cornel HillmannCornel Hillmann, CG artist/VR developer/Entrepreneur; CGARTIST, Singapore

I started my career as an art director in Los Angeles after receiving my diploma in computer graphics from Platt College, Alhambra, California. I launched the companies CNT Media GmbH in Hamburg, Germany, and Emerging Entertainment Pte. Ltd. in Singapore. I also produced the DVD lineup of, which originally started as an artist boot camp and is now my home base for VR- and CG-related projects ( Over the last years I have lectured on the subjects of character animation, design and virtual reality and often contribute to interactive media-related events as a panel member or speaker. I am currently leveraging my skills and experience in CG and media design to develop VR projects.

Bryan SeahBryan Seah, Head of Original Content, Southeast Asia; Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Singapore

As Head of Original Content, Bryan oversees all linear and digital productions for Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific’s portfolio of brands across Southeast Asia. Bryan has worked on some of Discovery’s key titles such as Say Yes To The Dress Asia, JumpCut Asia and Singapore Stories. Currently he is having fun tinkering and geeking out, spearheading digital content initiatives including online short-forms and VR 360 productions. His work has been recognised at top-level industry events such as the Worldfest Film Festival, New York Festivals, and the Asian Television Awards. Bryan and his production team have recently been nominated for an International Emmy for ‘Wild but True’, a series on biomimicry filmed in Australia.


Crossing Borders July 2017

Crossing Borders is a training programme for documentary professionals in Europe and Asia looking to access the international documentary market. The programme has so far taken place in China (2010), Malaysia (2011 & 2013), Indonesia (2015) and South Korea (2012 & 2016) and is coming back to Malaysia in 2017!

The Crossing Borders programme aims to bring together filmmakers and documentary experts from both Europe and Asia, who are highly motivated to collaborate with each other across national borders with the ambition to enter each other's markets both artistically and financially. Crossing Borders is organised by EDN and Documentary Campus and presented in partnership with FINAS – The National Film Development Corporation Malaysia and MyDocs.

This year's edition of Crossing Borders consists of four sessions: a development workshop kicking off the programme in July in Kuala Lumpur, a separate online session focusing on story development and trailers, a pitch training workshop taking place in October in Leipzig, Germany and a distribution & outreach workshop with presentations to financiers and sales agents in December again in Kuala Lumpur.


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‘The Art of Reenactment for Documentaries’ Masterclass

MyDocs supported by Finas presents 'The Art of Reenactment for Documentaries' masterclass with award-winning documentary filmmaker Ahmad Yazid.

Reenactment has been used in non-fiction filmmaking for more than a decade. But there is a specific way to approaching it when making documentaries. Also, the way we interview people and how that works seamlessly with the pictures - there's an art to it. Then when everything is shot, there is another big milestone - Editing. Is it JUST about putting visuals together with the interviews? Join this masterclass to find out more!

The filmmaker:

Ahmad Yazid brings 22 years of filmmaking experience to Rack Focus Films. He cut his teeth at his fathers production company from the tender age of 9, before his feet could even touch the editing room floor. After 10 years of editing, directing and camera experience he decided to spread his wings and moved to KL to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker. In 2004, he directed and edited his first documentary entitled, ‘Are we doing enough?’ The experience of directing this award-winning film was a turning point in his life. Documentary was his true passion. He then went on to direct documentaries for Discovery Channel, Asian Food Channel, The Crime and Investigation Channel and other Asian based broadcasters. He has produced and directed over 20 hours of documentaries and currently working on his first feature documentary about the Black Hawk Down incident.

What participants learnt:

1. Reenactment in documentaries:
How is this done? What kind of reenactment is generally accepted by the channels? What are considered good and bad reenactments? How far can we stretch the truth and how do we stay true to the story?

2. The art of interview:
What is the best way to approach an interview? Why do we interview people? What is our intention? How do we make our subjects comfortable? How to handle difficult subjects?

3. Editing:
It is not just about putting pictures together! What are the different ways of creating historical and current events through editing? How do we do paper edit? Why should editing take a long time?!


‘Aerial Asia’ Documentary Screening

MyDocs presents the documentary screening of 'Aerial Asia: Indonesia & Malaysia' produced by Novista.

Aerial Asia offers a rare glimpse of Asia's most treasured landmarks, all seen from breath-taking heights. This four-part series shot in stunning 4K captures the history and culture of this extraordinary continent and reveals a spectacular view of Asia that has never been seen before.

Q&A with the filmmaker

Harun Rahman is an avid documentary filmmaker with more than 25 years’ experience. He majored in film production in the United States, then pursued a career in film and television. Harun has travelled the world and has won several accolades for his work.

An accomplished documentary director and cameraman, Harun has worked on many projects for National Geographic Channel, History Channel, Channel News Asia and many other international as well as local broadcasters.

Most recently Harun traveled extensively throughout Malaysia & Indonesia to film a visually astonishing series called 'Aerial Asia' using only aerial footage.


‘Aerial Videography’ Masterclass with Harun Rahman

MyDocs supported by Finas presents 'Aerial Videography' Masterclass with Harun Rahman and special guest speaker Mazli Zainal - one of Malaysia's leading drone pilots.

Drones can produce extraordinary shots of everyday subjects.  But what are the things you need to consider before flying one? This masterclass covered all you needed to know about operating the nifty gadget!

What participants learnt?

1. How to integrate drone footage into your documentary.
2. Planning for aerial filming.
3. Permits and permissions.
4. Taking off - filming aerials on location.
5. Post production for aerial footage.


‘The Art of Documentary Proposal Writing & Pitching’ workshop with Sydney Suissa

This one day interactive hands on workshop held on 13th March 2017 focused on how to develop and write an effective proposal and how to successfully pitch that idea to broadcasters and funders.  Emmy award-winning producer, Sydney Suissa worked one on one with the participants to develop their story ideas and gave them valuable feedback during the pitching session.


The workshop focused on 3 main areas:

1. Moving an idea to a proposal:

The first half of the workshop was spent exploring the different ways of turning an idea into a proposal. Case studies were presented to show the different approaches of successful proposals and trailers. Participants learnt how much research is needed to make an engaging proposal and what are the best ways to format their presentations.

2. How to sell your proposal:

Participants were asked to analyze their stories and evaluate some key questions. Who is it for? Why would they be interested in the story? Who will pitch it? What are the strongest selling points? What are the weak spots? From there, participants were given time to work on their proposal with Sydney’s one-on-one guidance on how to tackle all the questions stated above.

3. Pitching:

Finally, the participants were given 5 minutes each to pitch their ideas to the group who took on the roles of commissioning editors. They were then given feedback on what worked and what didn’t and how to improve.



‘The Art of Producing & Writing for Documentaries’ workshop with Sydney Suissa

The Art of Producing & Writing for Documentaries was a two day workshop with Emmy Award winning producer, Sydney Suissa.

Trained as journalist, Sydney began his career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation working his way from production assistant to documentary producer to Executive Producer. In 2004 he moved to Washington DC to take on the position of   Executive VP of Programming for National Geographic, a position he held until 2012. He has launched numerous channels including History Television, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, and most recently Zoomoo (a pre-school channel). For the past 4 years, Sydney has been a consultant for various media and production groups and has conducted extensive documentary training in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia. His awards include an International Emmy and two Geminis. Sydney holds a Masters Degree in Journalism and is based in the Washington DC area.

In this workshop, participants learnt:

How to structure a story:
All stories have a similar structure. Knowing what each of the structural elements are and how they fit together enables the producer to see the finish line and what he will need to get there. A well structured story has flow and rhythm and will keep the viewer engaged and eager to see what comes next. Without structure there is no story, just confusion and bad television.
How to build a shooting outline:
A shooting outline gives you a plan to use your field resources efficiently. It is not a list of shots or locations not is it a script.  A shooting outline is detailed articulation of what you need visually and how you intend to use it in the story. It tells you exactly what you need out of every interview how to prepare for them. It brings your crew into the story and lets them see where you want to go and how you want to get there. It allows you and the crew to be creative in the field and to improvise when the unexpected comes along. Without a good shooting outline there will only be chaos. You are doomed without it.
How to write a documentary:
In television, pictures lead and words follow. This means writing to pictures, not editing pictures to words. A good writer knows that he can change the meaning of a picture through the words he uses. This approach gives the producer immense flexibility—it is the best insurance against the unexpected and gives you the confidence to improvise. Through a variety of exercises we will explore how to write using this approach and how to do it with clarity and impact.