Turning Points

I’ve enjoyed my time working in video and broadcasting. I worked for more than ten years with the BBC as a producer and reporter, then moved on to the UN – as a video producer, speech writer and communication officer – in places like Iraq, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and New York. Today I’m still making short docs – am planning a doc on genocide denial in Bosnia. I’m also working on an animation about forced climate migration with the distinguished Iranian animator Majid Adin.

A major turning point for me came in 2003 when I survived the terrorist attack on the UN’s HQ in Baghdad. After meeting some of the remarkable people there, I wanted to tell their stories. I went back to Iraq in 2005 to make my own independent documentary about UN staffers struggling to make an impact in a country ruled by the gun: Poisoned Chalice: the UN in Iraq.

My other major interest is fiction writing. I’m currently working on a novel, with an agent, building a story around a fictitious apprentice to Isaac Newton.  I’ve also recently completed a draft of “Fate,” a novel on the birth of artificial intelligence, and an imagined rivalry between Alan Turing and Werner Heisenberg.

During a year spent in Sri Lanka I shot a short doc focusing on the impact of the country’s civil war on the different communities there.

I regard myself as being privileged – going to unusual places and being paid to make films. I’ve had the chance to meet some extraordinary people – and I have some personal commentaries and reflections on my trips on my blog.

I feel I also learned a lot after moving to the US from my native UK – not least from my American wife Ariel.

Thanks for visiting my site – please let me know if you have any comments.

2 responses to “Turning Points

  1. Damir Kaletovic

    Dear Francis ,
    I found your contact on Linkedin and I sent you a message. I suppose that you are busy so I decided to send you a message on your blog. I do not want to disturb you.
    I’m your ex-student from Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina, BBC School, Radio Department, 1997. I hope you remember me, since it was long ago. My name is Damir Kaletovic and my final exam was radio report “Gravedigers” .. Together with you (as your guest) and some of my coleagues we were on Adriatic Sea and it was something unforgetable for me. After that you sent me basic info about Stanford Univers. U.S., but in that moment it was mission imposible for me. After the BBC School and my great experience with a professional like you, and your support that you gave each of us, I’ve continued with my journalist work. I was a journalist, editor and chief of NEWS program, executive producer on Public, later director of online magazine … Meanwhile, I have worked for many International TV Station and Foreign Productions on movies with terrorist topic, migration, war crimes … Last two years I’m in USA, and I’m working for consulting firm here: precisely, I cover East Europe, Middle East, etc…
    I am so proud that I recently been a guest professor on Michigan State Universe. in the class of Prof. Eric Freedman, winner of Pulitzer, 1994. I saw your terrible experience with terrorist attack in Iraq: fortunately it was happy ending of a terrible attack.

    Sincerely ,
    Damir Kaletovic

    • Damir

      I’m sorry for the awkwardly worded sentence at the end of my message: ” fortunately it was happy ending of a terrible attack.” ( I thought happy end for you, RIP for other 22 person)

      Best, DK

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