Dollan Cannell

An Emmy-award winner, Dollan makes wide-ranging successful primetime docs for BBC2, BBC1 and Channel 4.  Observational documentary has often been at the heart of his best work, alongside a drive to experiment and innovate. He will direct and self-shoot,  as well as Series Director/Series Producer roles. He enjoys exploring the cinematic potential of prime lenses with the FS7 or C300.

Dollan’s awards and nominations include: 

Great Ormond Street: Series 3.  BAFTA shortlist 2016. 

The Choir: Unsung Town.  BBC2.  BAFTA, Grierson, and BANFF shortlists. Broadcasting Press Guild:  Winner.  VLA:  Winner.  

Exodus Channel 4.  International Emmy Winner, Best Documentary.  Six others.

The Monastery. BBC2.  Sandford St Martin Trust Award and others. 

Tony's New Boy Network. Channel 4.  RTS Shortlist.

638 Ways to Kill Castro. Channel 4. Milan Film Festival shortlist, SXSW and other festival screenings. 

Some productions:

Skint Britain: Friends Without Benefits (Channel 4, Blast Films)

Series Producer of a successful 9 pm obs doc series for Channel 4 about the arrival of Universal Credit in the town of Hartlepool.  The series had three strong directors but Dollan also shot a fair amount of the broadcast material.  Radio Times:  “Raw observational film-making doesn’t come much better than this”;  Guardian preview: “humane and heartbreaking”; Times’ Critics Choice, “brilliantly raw record of a botched benefits overhaul”; Observer: “if you’re not angry  you’re not paying attention”;  Guardian Review: “Fine and honest programme-making….It is an unflinching series that has the balls to take as its subjects a group of people far from instantly likeable, which is the tempting and manipulative option always open to a documentary-maker, and record the fallout from the new – baffling, circuitous, intransigent – system.” 

Great Ormond Street.  (BBC2, Films of Record)

In 2015, Dollan was series producer/director and camera on the third series of the BAFTA-nominated BBC2 series.  Daily Mail: “a brilliant opener to a remarkable series”.  Radio Times:  “Gosh is life-changing TV: This is what the best documentaries are all about. Inviting us into lives that it’s a privilege to share, even just for an hour.”


The Choir: Unsung Town  (BBC2/Twenty Twenty)

Series Producer on all four programmes in 2009, and filmed and directed two of the well-received and high-rating series with choirmaster Gareth Malone on BBC2.  This was one of the first, less-formatted, series that established The Choir and Gareth.

“Few shows in recent memory have put such a positive spin on the human condition, or so avidly demonstrated the values of art... “The Choir” is a tonic for broadcasting itself, a reminder of what the medium can achieve when it reflects real life, rather than simulated reality.”  Norman Lebrecht.   An "astonishing, inspiring and moving success story”. Daily Mail. “This programme has shown....the gamut of human emotion....hope, doubt, disappointment, exaltation, conflict, communal spirit and much more besides. People have been saved from loneliness. Many have been reunited with their love for music. Most have gained some self-confidence and made new friends. ” The Telegraph.

BAFTA shortlisted 2010.  Grierson Awards shortlisted 2010.  Highly Commended in the Broadcast Awards 2010.   Won Broadcasting Press Guild (Best Factual Entertainment) and VLA Programme of the Year; nominated BANFF World Television Festival.

Exodus (Channel 4, Insight News TV)

Dollan won an Emmy in 2001 as Director for this film made with Sorious Samura in Mali, Morocco and Spain about the dangerous journeys made by illegal refugees from West Africa to Europe.   It won six other international awards. Not to be confused with the excellent BBC2 series with the same title and subject broadcast last year. 

“Exodus is a moving and memorable example of the ‘journalism of attachment’.” Sunday Times. “A moving and enlightening documentary”, Daily Mail.     

638 Ways To Kill Castro.  (Channel 4/Silver River. Sundance Channel 2008, & international DVD release, plus festivals.)

Director of a “darkly entertaining” feature-length documentary for Channel 4 which tells the story – from 1959 to the present day – of plots by the CIA and others against Cuba’s leader.  Filmed in Cuba and with Cuban exiles in Miami.  638 WTKC has been released on DVD and selected for many film festivals, including Chicago and Philadelphia 2006.  It was shortlisted at both the South by South West Film Festival  and Milan Film Festival 2007. 

"This fascinating film shows there’s never been a shortage of would-be assassins and hears first hand from many of the perpetrators.”  Mail on Sunday.   “This terrific film cuts a coherent argument for American double standards.”  Sunday Times.