Mr Marc Isaacs

Personal profile

Marc has recently joined the department and teaches documentary practice to both postgraduate and undergraduate students in Media Arts. As an award winning documentary filmmaker, Marc has up to date knowledge of contemporary documentary practice  both inside and outside the UK. He also has a detailed knowledge of the history of the documentary especially in the UK. Through his own  broadcast films and by experiencing first hand the working methods of some of the world’s top documentary filmmakers, he has an excellent understanding of documentary forms, genres and the possibilities of the form. Over many years, Marc has developed specific methods and approaches in order to pass these skills on to students and young filmmakers.

Since 2001, Marc Isaacs has made more than twelve creative documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4. His films have won Grierson, Royal Television Society  and BAFTA awards as well as numerous international film festival prizes. In 2006, Marc had a retrospective at the prestigious Lussas Documentary film festival in France and his work has been included in numerous documentary books and academic studies. In 2008, Marc received an honorary doctorate from the University of East London for his documentary work. Marc has been a guest tutor at numerous universities and film schools in the UK and overseas including, the London Film School and the National Film and Television School.

In relation to his own filmmaking approach, Marc has been at the forefront of a new kind of filmmaking that is characterized by a profound intimacy with the film’s protagonists, a sense of humor, a non-judgmental way of seeing and a distinct approach to the documentary form itself. He has often applied the notion of the Greek unities to his films working to develop a coherent relationship between character, time and space. Currently, he is continuing his research into this specific approach to documentary where landscape/place, character and subject merge together to create a coherent form in which aesthetics, narrative and themes sit comfortably and complement each other. In pushing the formal boundaries of his films, he is often involved in creating hybrid works that challenge traditional notions of the documentary. 

Whilst teaching documentary practice at Royal Holloway, Marc has built upon existing courses to further enhance the students’ knowledge of documentary filmmaking, increasing  the number of practical  exercises they perform and offering extensive summative and formative feedback sessions. Marc has run development labs for the Screen Documentary MA course, which the students have found extremely useful and has been constantly introducing  them to new works and providing them with highly detailed deconstructions  of films in order to de-mystify the filmmaking process. 

As a working filmmaker with extensive industry contacts, Marc has the advantage of being able to maximise the potential in the Media Arts department for the students to meet and make contact with industry proffessionals.. Earlier, this year, he organised for Clare Paterson, a senior BBC executive, to visit the department and discuss the opportunities for graduates within the BBC whilst discussing his working relationship on his most recent film, Outside the Court. The student feedback was excellent and he aims to continue this kind of activity by bringing in documentary Commissioning Executives such as BBC Storyvilles’ Nick Fraser and BBC Wonderland’s Nick Mirsky as well eminent Filmmakers and Editors. All of these events will mean a building of links with the industry and increasing student employability. 

For further information on Marc's films please visit his website:

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