SWOTS Alumni


 A small selection of some of the 150+ charming people who have studied at Spanner's SWOTS training course. If you should be on here but aren't, please email us your bio and pic. 


NFTS headshots


Lottie Gammon

Lottie attended SWOTS 2007. Then, after volunteering at Spanner for a few months, she got the job of Production Coordinator on The Age of Stupid. She then went to the National Film School, where her grad film was later developed into an hour BBC This World Documentary, "The Invasion of Lampedusa". Since graduating she has been directing TV documentaries including First Cut, One Born Every Minute and Unreported World.









Daniel Vockins

After attending SWOTS 2008, Dan started volunteering full-time at Spanner Films. He spent a week putting up shelves, and then got promoted to leading the Not Stupid campaign behind the Age of Stupid. He organised the launch of the Indie Screenings system, with 71 simultaneous events round the UK and then co-founded the 10:10 campaign with Franny Armstrong and Leo Murray. He was Campaign Manager at 10:10 for three years, where he set up and ran the Lighter Later campaign for daylight saving reform and the Solar Schools initiative. He now works at the New Economics Foundation, where he leads their "systemic campaign for the new economics", whatever that means.











James Bayliss-Smith

After attending SWOTS 2008, James worked as a researcher on The Age of Stupid. He spent the next few years as a camera operator on numerous productions and now lives in Beijing, shooting and editing news features for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He has been working on his Magnus Opus, "Punt Wars" about the punting industry in Cambridge, for over six years, and claims that this is the year it will be finished... 

James' video channel




Lucy Cohen

After attending SWOTS 2007, Lucy volunteered at Spanner for a few months, before getting a job at Blast TV. She has worked up through the company and recently series produced the Channel 4 series "Confessions of a Nurse", for which she also directed an episode. 


Martin Gooch

Already an accomplished filmmaker when he attended SWOTS 2011, Martin started work in the VFX Department on Judge Dredd. Since then he has worked on more than 200 productions from Harry Potter to East Enders and Robot Wars to Big Brother. He has filmed all over the world, from Sahara to swamp to Shepherd's Bush. Gooch is the only person in the world to have been a winner with BBC Talent two years running. He has made about 20 short film things give or take a few, but he can't quite remember. Gooch directed the BAFTA winning and EMMY Nominated Spooks interactive (BBC/Kudos) and has directed Doctors (BBC1) and Hollyoaks (C4). He has a Masters degree in screenwriting form LCC – The university of the Arts and has written fourteen feature films – one a year every year. His debut feature film DEATH was released in 2012.



Sylvia Wroblewska

After attending SWOTS 2007, Sylvia worked at Spanner for three years, becoming a key member of the Age of Stupid team, running the office, organising the drama shoot and doing endless bookkeeping. She then became an associate producer at Current TV, working alongside the commissioning editor to manage both single and series documentaries from development through to broadcast. Sylvia joined The Smalls in 2012 and is now producing their annual international short film festival, as well as creating new business and creative partnerships with leading media organisations.



Nick Broad

Nick attended SWOTS 2011. He says: "I'm continuing my social activist transmedia narrative, "The Busking Project". At the moment we're rebuilding the website, sticking 700 street performers on a map of the world. Next up we're fundraising to complete production of the documentary, which will accompany two CDs we recorded on the streets of 40 cities on 5 continents. Oh, and a coffee table book. And phone app. And events. And festival. And digital guidebook for round-the-world filmmakers."




Frankie Fenton

Frankie attended SWOTS 2011. He says "We're are just about to hit into our post production phase now with an estimated finish time of june. I think the most important thing i've learnt throughout this whole process is setting time limits. Its the only way things will really get done. My film is called The Good Reactor and it's about an alternative controversial form of nuclear energy called Thorium and its potential power to alleviate us out of this coming energy crisis while at the same time ridding the world of dangerous nuclear waste. For the past two years we've been following anyone and everyone all over the planet that has anything to do with this strange little element. We talk to some of the worlds leading anti nuclear advocates, protesters, environmentalists, scientists, professors with surprising insights into what really is going on in the murky world of energy policy. Check out our media below for more info."



Emmanuel Papin

Emmanuel Papin had been an engineer for several years when he attended SWOTS 2011. He is now a full-time filmmaker and he has formed a production company called Badaluna. At SWOTS, he pitched the idea for the film which is now "Voices of transition".

Websites:  http://www.badaluna.com/



Daniel Simpson

After working as a researcher on Age of Stupid, Daniel Simpson turned the documentary focus on himself. His memoir, A Rough Guide to the Dark Side, was published last year. It tells the story of why he resigned from The New York Times, freaked out by pro-war propaganda. In protest, he tried to start a Summer of Love, by staging a festival on an island in the Danube. Instead, he got mixed up with Balkan gangsters. Having fled, he now lives somewhere between the UK and northern India, and writes about how yoga wrecked his drug habits, among other things.

 Find out more at: www.roughguidedarkside.com


Chihiro Geuzebroek

SWOTS 2011 came at a perfect timing for Chihiro. After just finishing a 3 months shoot in Bolivia directing her debut documentary feature, the daunting task of indy postproduction lay ahead of her. Chihiro: 'SWOTS inspired me to do a small crowd funding campaign myself and find my 'voice' to address my potential audience'. After SWOTS she found a perfect-match-for-this-movie editor and started climbing the mountain of picking your material apart and making the best out of it: "SWOTS encouraged me not to be discouraged by not really liking my movie yet in first, second and third version stage". Chihiro has now reached picturelock and is deeply in love with the final version and can't wait to sent it off into the world later this year. Project: Radical Friends (76 min) A Dutch/Bolivian environmental activist makes a roadtrip through Bolivia to learn about the Bolivian Struggle for legal Rights for Mother Earth. Please check out trailer.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQ8OtkUs9Eo
Website: www.radicalfriends.com





Carli Summer

Carli says, "Since attending SWOTS in 2012, I have become a co-director of a production team at Julius Brighton Ltd and we have invested in a Red Epic camera and a Fuji 19-90 Cabrio lens, the future is in 4K! I am in the process of securing the film rights for a travel / environmental book and applying for funding to shoot a pilot trailer. To keep things ticking over I am assistant producer for the filming & live streaming of the Eden Sessions at the Eden Project in my native Cornwall. I have also just qualified as a sushi chef, partly to earn a few extra pounds whilst indulging a lifelong passion and also to research Japanese cuisine & customs for TV content."



Peter Dumont

Peter says, "After graduating from SWOTS in 2011 I was inspired  to embark on my first documentary feature GOODHEART. I am producing, directing, shooting and editing myself. That Christmas I invested in a Canon X1 HD camcorder, radio mics and Hero GoPro. I spent  last year shooting & cutting a rough assembly on FCP X. I  recently secured the services of a top class editor, Joseph Timms, now freelance after 5 years in-house at Ace working on BBC music output. We aim to deliver a more polished cut later this year to attract funding to complete the film for the festival circuit. Its been a long uphill struggle, learning basic skills I never acquired during 12 years as a tv production manager, at the same time coping with the onset of Parkinsons.

GOODHEART is a biopic of Pamela Zarubica from her rock and roll days in Laurel Canyon in the 1960's to her current incarnation as a spirit medium in London: from Hollywood to Cricklewood. Its a personal history that combines nostalgia,great music and insight with a message of empathy, kindness and healing."



Gynna Millan

Gynna says, "When I attended the SWOTS workshop in November 2011 I had recently become involved in the video documentation of a school reconstruction project in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. As the project was evolving it became more evident that there was the potential to convert the whole process into a powerful documentary that could show the efforts of the local partner in Haiti and the London based NGO to make this school project to happen and enhance the access to education of at least 1200 young girls. Today I continue documenting even when there is an uncertain horizon in terms of funding. SWOTS helped me to understand the business I'd got myself into, what skills, contacts and resources I need, and teach me that to make a powerful documentary that can affect social change requires lots of time, dedication and patience!   While we seek resources to continue Haiti documentation, I'm working on a short documentary on the use of open spaces during London's 2012 Olympic games, and I work as Media Coordinator at the Bartlett Development Planning Unit, UCL."

Haiti’s project  www.thinkingdevelopment.org
Day work: http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/dpu/people/media/gynna-millan
Whose Olympics? Project: http://www.whoseolympics.org/about


Tracey Sawyer 

Tracey says, "I'm a 2005 SWOT graduate!  Since graduating I left London to live in South America, including a year in a tiny Andean village in Peru.  I travelled with 'Caravana', a Peruvian group of filmmakers who travel to a couple of villages each year teaching the locals how to make short films, and screening them later in the town squares.  I ended up back in my hometown, Melbourne, and where I completed the Open Channel documentary course.  I returned briefly to my corporate career before leaving it all behind to set up my charity www.testigoafrica.org - we've completed two water projects  and we're now teaching permaculture the Masai women in Tanzania and running an adult Masai school teaching maths, English and swahili.  I've been filming my journey with the Masai for 7 years - the documentary footage is currently with a fabulous editor.  I married a wonderful Masai warrior last year who is running a football academy for street boys, and working with Testigo Africa too.  Life's great!"



Rachel Tracy

Rachel attended SWOTS 2005. Since then, she has worked on a wide range of documentaries for UK television. She has directed a series of '3 Minute Wonders', episodes of 'One Born Every Minute' and 'The Hotel', and is currently directing a 'First Cut'.


Ivan Crowe

Ivan says "When I attended SWOTS 2011, I was in the process of completing my second documentary. My first though had been nearly ten years earlier, had been filmed on Hi8 and had only been transmitted on local TV. My present offering was largely filmed on my Canon XH A1 HDV camcorder, which unfortunately makes it no longer acceptable for main stream TV. It also has an unpalatable message regarding our species’ chances of surviving the now looming fuel crisis. Entitled `The Ergonomic Ape’, it explains what really makes Humans different to all other animals and how this made us so successful as a species; but also particularly vulnerable. Ten top academics and scientist have freely given interviews to help make this film and my colleagues and I are planning to arrange screenings at universities, colleges and libraries, to get what is an important message out there. One of my published books, `The Quest for Food’, also examines several similar themes." 

Pastworld Productions


Helen Iles

Helen attended one of the first SWOTS sessions and was already working with Undercurrents alternative news on environmental and social justice short films.

Since then, she has pursued a passion for sustainable living and ecoVillages and produces an ongoing internet series, Living in the Future.

Alongside this series, she has made two 50 minute documentaries: EcoVillage Pioneers (2008) and Living in the Future - Lammas, which tells the story of the UK’s first planned ecoVillage and was released on DVD on 22nd January 2013 after a successful Crowd Funding campaign.

She has just moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she intends to continue documenting sustainable communities.