Guest lecture by the Director of C4’s “The Family”

Jonathan Smith, a double BAFTA Award-winning documentary filmmaker and director of Channel 4’s ‘The Family’, gave a guest lecture to students at the University of Kent on Tuesday 18 November. His lecture, which was titled ‘Life Behind the Lens’, was for 2nd year students studying the Digital Filmmaking module on the Multimedia Technology and Design course at the Department of Electronics. It was also attended by Film Studies students.

Jonathan Smith began his career in the BBC’s documentary department, where he worked for a decade before becoming a freelance filmmaker and founder of Close Up Films. He has produced several high-profile programmes for Channel 4, including the acclaimed Make Me Normal (2005), an observational documentary about children with autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in an inner city London school.

In 2006 he started work on ‘The Family’, a ground-breaking and technically innovative fly-on-the-wall documentary about the daily life of a family in Harbledown, Canterbury. Using an array of small remotely operated cameras, he went on to capture almost 5000 hours worth of footage in what has become one of the most successful examinations of family life in modern Britain. The Family was shown as an eight-part series on Channel 4 in 2008.
Jonathan is currently working on a number of new projects, including a documentary about the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Jane Milton, Lecturer in Film and Video Production at the University, said: ‘This was a great opportunity for the students to learn and be inspired by a successful filmmaker in a highly competitive industry. It’s also a coup for the department and I’m grateful that Jonathan is willing to give up his precious time so shortly after the locally filmed, “The Family”’.