‘A powerful film that goes below the surface’

Alba Sotorra Productions & MetFilm for Sky Documentaries

This highly personal documentary stems from filmmaker Alba Sotorra’s experiences embedding herself with an all-female battalion fighting ISIS on a separate production.

The Return: Life After ISIS attempts to answer the question: how could Western women leave everything behind to join ISIS and condone the group? With unprecedented access, the film documents goings on inside the prison camp Roj in Syria, which holds families of ISIS fighters, and focuses on possibly its most famous recruit, British citizen Shamima Begum, who fled London when she was just 15, and American Hoda Muthana, who allegedly incited her followers on Twitter to support the Islamic State.

Reviled by the media, the documentary tells their story for the first time.

A clear winner for the judges, The Return was dubbed an “important film – it was impossible not be moved by it” by one.

Another said: “This film has incredible access, trust and honesty between subjects and filmmaker. It challenges our perceptions of a well-known topic and is multi-layered in its storytelling.

“It makes the subjects very human and shows a different side to them. Overall, a powerful film that goes below the surface.”


Chernobyl: The Lost Tapes
Top Hat Productions for Sky Documentaries


Taking a subject many will feel they know, this film utilises largely unseen archive to tell its story, making it an immersive experience for viewers. The result is a programme which feels like an unfolding drama, with audiences placed in the moment from the accident all the way through to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The Boy With The 8 Hour Heart
Mosaic Films for Channel 4 Documentaries YouTube

The boy with the 8hr Heart

Asking some difficult questions and touching on the intensely personal experiences of organ donation, Mosaic Films’ production offers a counterpoint to the usual fast-paced reactive world of digital commissioning. Told over three years, Nick Aldridge foregrounds the harrowing experience of those awaiting organ transplants.

Leigh-Anne: Race, Pop & Power
Dragonfly Film and Television for BBC


Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of this doc, which was made on a BBC3 budget but aired on BBC1. Leigh-Anne’s experience of racism as part of pop group Little Mix forms the basis of the powerful single. The singer insisted that black representation was achieved at every level of the production team, resulting in a rounded exploration of her personal experiences and the wider race issues faced by the country.

Look Away
Top Hat Productions for Sky Documentaries


Look Away unpicks the darker side of rock music, addressing the issue abuse of women, including statutory rape, which has been largely ignored by the industry but has plagued it for decades. In a first, female victims of coercion, grooming and other mistreatment give their unfiltered accounts of the harassment they experienced during 70s and 80s at the hands of some of the world’s most well-known artists.

The Speedboat Killer: The Killing of Charlotte Brown
Summer Films for ITV2


Summer Films’ two-parter relies on close work with the family of Charlotte Brown to unpick the story of her tragic death after going on an online date. In intense media coverage of her murderer, Charlotte was often forgotten and the series ensures her story and her voice are heard.