Staff Directory

John burgan 550x366

Contact Details


National Film & Television School, Beaconsfield (1992) MA/MFA equivalent
BA (Hons) English Language & Literature, University of Newcastle upon Tyne (1984)

Professional Development

2010 – 2011 SKILLSET ACADEMI + Development Programme
Leadership for Creative Business Workshop Series
2010 SKILLSET ACADEMI + Development Programme
Film Junction Producer Workshop Series
2008 SOURCES 2 Advanced Training Programme (Malmö, Sweden) Training Mentors for Documentary Filmmakers Workshop
2007 National Film School of Denmark (Copenhagen, Denmark) Negotiating Production Deals Workshop
1994 – 2006 European Film Academy (Berlin, Germany)
Various workshops on creative practice & media business
1992 – 1993 Nipkow Programme (Berlin, Germany)
12 month Fellowship for Audio-Visual Professionals (MEDIA)


Born in London in 1962, John grew up in East Yorkshire and started his career as a picture editor at the BBC. After film school he lived in Berlin, Germany between 1992-2006 working as a freelance writer, director and editor as well as five years teaching filmmaking at the University of the Arts. As well as workshops in Istanbul and Hamburg, John ran the documentary course at the European Film College in Denmark for two years before returning to the UK in 2008. He was the initiator of the GEECT “Teaching Documentary” Symposium held at the Atrium in Cardiff in November 2014, which brought together over 80 delegates from some 27 countries around the world; a second follow-up conference is planned for April 2018 to be hosted at the ZeLIG School of Documentary in Bolzano, Italy.

Since Autumn 2015 John Burgan is based in Berlin, Germany.



BORON MON AMOUR (in post-production) short for 94 ELEMENTS global film project. One of six projects chosen for HEFCE-funded REACT Documentary Sandbox in collaboration with the Science Communication Unit (UWE)

POWER & PLACE (2010)
Video essay on sustainable energy commissioned by the Centre for Alternative Technology, Powys, Wales. Collaboration with Aberystwyth University’s Department of Theatre, Film & TV. Previewed at the Wales Smithsonian Cymru event in Washington DC.

Feature-length documentary. Parallel stories of German and Afghan refugees in Australia.

BEHIND WORDS (MDR/Network Migration, 2005)
Feature-length documentary. Forced migration and ethnic cleansing in twentieth century Europe.

Feature-length documentary essay. Part autobiography, part city portrait.

CHEKHOV’S CLOSE-UPS (European Film Academy/Nipkow Programme, 1995)
Masterclass for actors with Istvan Szabo & Tilda Swinton.

Articles/books as author / translator

Selected commentary from Memory of Berlin published in “Grand Street/Berlin”, quarterly magazine dedicated to art, poetry, short stories and non-fiction (New York: Grand Street, 1999).
‘Robert Vas’, ‘Jean-Pierre Gorin’ and ‘The Back of Beyond’, entries in the “Encyclopaedia of the Documentary Film” ed. Ian Aitken. (New York and London: Routledge, 2006)
“Making choices: some thoughts on documentary and fiction” in “Final Cut” Yearbook of the European Film College (2007)
As translator (from German to English): “Dreams this Side of the Real,” in “Gottfried Salzmann” by Nikolaus Schaffer (Paris, Thalia Edition, 2006).


Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA)
National Executive, NAHEMI (National Association for Higher Education in the Moving Image)
Representative at CILECT (Centre International de Liaison des Ecoles de Cinéma et de Télévision / International Association of Film and Television Schools).


MEMORY OF BERLIN, prize-winning feature-length film debut screened at the BFI Southbank in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris and also in Berlin and Barcelona on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.



Works as script consultant, consulting producer & mentor. Wide experience of teaching filmmaking at film schools across Europe (Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Turkey, Poland)


Documentary Filmmaking / Essay Film



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