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How to become a documentary film-maker- talk at Eton College

On Tuesday 13th of September, A level and Year 11 Media students were invited to attend Emma Cooper’s “How to become a documentary film-maker” talk at the Jafar Hall in Eton College from 20:45 to 21:45. Emma Cooper is an independent film maker with a prolific career in the mass audio-visual mass media industry and an extensive filmography. She is also the founder of Empress Films.


In her talk, Emma Copper spoke about her struggles in a male dominated industry and how she did a job that she didn’t enjoy for nine years at the start of her career. After a long period as a runner, she met and started working with Louis Theroux for the BBC. After several projects with Theroux, and a time working as Commissioning Editor in Documentaries at Channel 4 and Global President of Non-Scripted Television at Pulse Films, producing films for BBC, Channel 4, SKY, she now runs her own successful film production company Empress Films, an independent production company and has offices in London, Los Angeles and Manchester, where she has produced films for big companies such as Netflix, Peacock and CNN. In her own words: “The company is dedicated to platforming under-represented voices and creating inspiring and creatively nourishing relationships with talent across the industry. Empress works with many film-makers, producers and commissioners and in partnership with other similarly minded companies to create a body of work.”


Having been founded in 2020, Empress's most recent work includes the series ‘Epstein's Shadow: Ghislaine Maxwell' (Peacock and Sky) 'DIANA' (CNN Original Documentaries). Some of her most recent films are ‘The mystery of Madelyn Monroe: the unheard tapes’ on Netflix and ‘The Black Cop’ which recently won the British Short Film category at the 75th British Academy Film Awards. Emma Cooper’s lecture was enlightening in showing us that if you have the skills and desire to work in the film industry that is possible with patience and tenacity, therefore this is an inspiration for any young men or women that want a career in the film industry.  


Report by Ben Chandler, Media Studies student, Year 12.