Nick Read is a BAFTA & EMMY nominated filmmaker with an extensive background in documentaries.
An award-winning producer, director and cinematographer, he works freelance
and develops projects through his independent production company Red Zed Films.
His recent work - mainly in feature documentaries - combines storytelling craft
with a powerful emotional appeal and distinctive visual style.
MY NAME IS HAPPY
2022 Theatrical release/ C4/ Arte
In selected UK cinemas from February 2023
BAD BOY BILLIONAIRES
AGAINST THE TIDES
2019/20 Theatrical release/ Sky Atlantic
2018 Theatrical release/HBO/BBC Storyville
KILLED FOR A HORN
2018 Amazon/ Fusion
2016 Festival release/ BBC Storyville
Since 2010 I have worked with commercials producers, ad agencies and brand managers
who want a documentary sensibility brought to their TV and online advertising and messaging.
Clients include Vodaphone, NHS, Vestas, AKQA, Ogilvy.
I have also made films for several charities, whose work I am proud to support.
Among them are the Rory Peck Trust, The Samaritans, Railway Children & HDdennomore.
Commercial work + short form
To make better films, I've relied on the kindness of strangers,
the advice of peers and the support of elders.
Drawing on over 3 decades in the documentary industry, I do whatever I can to offer
the same support to emerging filmmakers, particularly from a BAME background.
Currently I am acting as:
Mentor to film students at Middlesex University & National Film & Television School, and debut filmmakers through Film London, Screen Skills and the Watersprite Student Film Festival...... and many others who reach out to me in an individual capacity.
Speaker and educator. I have been invited to lead recent workshops, lectures, seminars and masterclasses at BBC, Sheffield International Documentary Festival, Imperial War Museum, Brighton & Cambridge University & BAFTA. I have spoken extensively about documentary cinematography at trade fairs & festivals - see here for an interview about my creative approach & use of Canon EOS cameras.
Executive producer - currently consulting on 4 independent feature documentaries in an editorial capacity, helping to shape the narrative structure, as well as creating funding and release strategies. I'm also on the advisory committee of the Rory Peck Trust, and am a full member of BAFTA, RTS and Directors UK.
I'm based in London with my wife Tina, a psychotherapist. My 2 sons are in the creative industries: Miles is a graphic designer, and my eldest, Tom, a documentary cameraman. Kaspar Hauser the Schnauzer keeps us all young.
I entered the film industry working on student productions at the National Film School. My passion for cinematography & film craft was inspired by working on 16mm as assistant to emerging DoP’s (Oliver Stapleton, Barry Ackroyd, Gabriel Beristain etc). I went on to study cinematography under the late, great Vilmos Zsigmond at the Maine Film & Television School.
Through the 1980’s I worked as a freelance news & documentary cameraman, mainly for the U.S. networks and in the conflict zones of the time: Iran/ Iraq war, Gaza, Nicaragua, Lebanon, Northern Ireland etc. In 1987 I was nominated for Emmy’s for best cinematography for films about human rights in Chile & the Eritrean Civil War.
In 1989 I covered the fall of the Berlin Wall and, weeks later, the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. There I uncovered a story that set me on the path to directing and my first commission: Changing the Guard (C4 1990) about the Czech secret police.
Since then I've produced, directed and often shot over 60 full-length documentaries in more than 70 countries with the most highly regarded producers & broadcasters in the UK & US. I've won over 15 awards and been nominated for 5 x BAFTAs, 3 x EMMYS and a Grierson Award. The films I've helped to make have been sold and screened around the world on television, cinema screens and at festivals.
Along the way I've been lucky enough to work with a few of the great & the good (Hunter S Thompson, Tina Turner, Edward Said, Nelson Mandela, George Clooney, Ai Wei Wei etc), and with a diverse cast of prison governors, captains of industry, sports stars, dissidents, dictators, streetkids & serial killers.
What's crucial to me is to establish an empathy with the people in front of camera, and to give a voice to those denied one. I'm a collaborator by nature, and bring a creative vision informed by humour, humility & curiosity.
I aim to bring intimacy and clarity to all my films, and hope that I can continue to craft memorable films of substance that make a difference
Registered office: 26 Church Street Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire CM23 2LY
Company registration number: 5209968
Nick Read/Red Zed Films 2023