Scottish Documentary Institute (SDI) is an internationally recognised documentary research centre based at Edinburgh College of Art/University of Edinburgh specialising in documentary training, production and distribution.

It was set up in 2004 by Noe Mendelle. We run a diverse slate of international activities in order to stimulate and inspire the documentary scene in Scotland and beyond. Straddling between art and industry, we support authored films driven by content and emotional experience.

We have developed audience innovation tools and strategies through bespoke campaigns for our award-winning films (I Am Breathing, Future My Love) and are committed to the promotion of documentary and filmmakers worldwide.

*Edinburgh College of Art, now integrated with University of Edinburgh, is partner with Edinburgh Napier University in Screen Academy Scotland


Email me about: Workshops / Features / Co-production / PhD by practice

Noe has worked in film & TV for over 30 years (C4/BBC/STV/ARTE/YLE/RTP/DR/Aljazeera) as a Director and a Producer. She is a research professor at Edinburgh College of Art where she supervises PhD by practice in Documentary Film. She set up Scottish Documentary Institute in 2003 and over the years devised several talent ladder award winning schemes: Bridging the Gap, BtG+, This is Scotland, Stories and The Edinburgh Pitch.

An active member of IPS (Independent Producer Scotland), she is very ambitious for Scottish talent to play a creative key role on the international documentary scene both as makers and facilitators. She exec produces most films going through SDI (Seven Songs for a Long Life/Norfolk /I Am Breathing/ Future My Love/New Ten Commandments) working with a wide range of emerging and established talent. She has served on juries and panels at festivals round the globe as well as running documentary workshops especially in Africa and Middle East. She is currently working on a film in the Bijagos.

Email me about: Feature production / Co-production / Financing / Business models / Virtuous circle / Sponsorship / @sonjahenrici

Sonja joined SDI in 2004 at its inception and has developed SDI ever since, becoming co-exec producer of Bridging the Gap and many award-winning short documentaries, running the Interdoc programme, producing feature documentaries (Future My Love, I Am Breathing, Pablo’s Winter), and investigating new business models and outreach campaigns through our Virtuous Circle initiative (2011-14). She is an active member of IPS (Independent Producers Scotland) and keen to improve opportunities and funds for filmmakers. She’s producing new international projects, including David Millar Project by Finlay Pretsell, Donkeyote by Chico Pereira, Seven Songs for a Long Life by Amy Hardie and execing new upcoming Scottish talents, including Paul Fegan’s Where You’re Meant to be. She has also written some fiction. 

AMY HARDIE – Research
Email me about: Science collaboration / Medical humanities / Ethics / Consultations / @amyhardiefilm

Dr Amy Hardie is an award-winning documentary filmmaker (The Edge of Dreaming, Kafi’s Story) and graduate from NFTS. Her research interests include close collaborative work with research scientists and health professionals. She directed and produced six films with the Centre for Regenerative Medicine, including Stem Cell Revolutions which received the Tam Dalyell Medal. Her latest film, Seven Songs for a Long Life arose from a residency at Strathcarron Hospice. Although her research is primarily through practice, she is currently editing a book on the creative arts and medicine. She has contributed journal articles on audience engagement throughout distribution and production phases of filmmaking. Her work is frequently screened in the rapidly growing field of Medical Humanities. 

FINLAY PRETSELL – Distribution
Email me about: Distribution of films / Film festival strategies / Consultations / @davidmillarfilm

Finlay cut his teeth producing and distributing short documentary films which have screened internationally at film festivals including Sundance, IDFA, SXSW and even made it to the Oscar shortlist. His own directorial works have garnered a number of awards and screened far and wide including a BAFTA Scotland for best short film and screenings on BBC, Channel 4, Canal + and Eurosport.

Finlay has big ideas about making films for cinema and is currently in production with his feature directing debut, the ‘David Millar Project’ with longstanding collaborator Martin Radich shooting. He made his first endeavour as producer in the world of fiction filmmaking with Norfolk, which Martin directed. It premiered in the Tiger competition at IFFR Rotterdam 2015 and in Edinburgh (Michael Powell Award Nomination).

FLORE COSQUER – Production & Training
Email me about: Training / Bridging the Gap / Interdoc Scotland / The Edinburgh Pitch / Consultations

With years of experience working as Production Manager in France, both in fiction and documentary, Flore joined the Institute’s team in 2010. She manages the Institute’s training programmes (Bridging the Gap, Interdoc Scotland) and industry activities (The Edinburgh Pitch). She is also a tutor for creative documentary workshops which have taken her to Libya, Palestine, Morocco and where she has exec-produced 14 short documentaries made by local participants. She has produced short and mid-length documentaries for BBC Scotland, STV and is currently producing her first feature documentary.

REBECCA DAY– Production & Outreach
Email me about: Films in production / This is Scotland / SDI outreach / Events

Rebecca is a producer and outreach coordinator for SDI. She first joined us in 2008 and produced her first short here. She went off to work with Bungalow Town for a couple of years, training across all levels of production and returned to Scotland, and SDI, in 2012. She has produced three of our Bridging the Gap shorts, one of which she is now making into a feature documentary, Nae Pasaran, directed by Felipe Bustos Sierra. She produces on our mid-length strand for STV and is also in development with feature documentary, Becoming Animal, directed by Emma Davie & Peter Mettler.

DUNCAN COWLES – Marketing & Technical Co-Ordinator
Email me about: Social media / Marketing / Masterclasses / Website / Tech queries

Duncan started working at SDI after graduating Edinburgh College of Art in 2013 with a 1st class degree specialising in Documentary Filmmaking. He manages all of our social media, website, technical/equipment needs and co-ordinates our masterclasses.

Duncan remains first and foremost a filmmaker who has a growing catalogue of short personal films under his belt that have played at established festivals both at home and internationally. Recently Duncan won the 2015 Scottish Short Film Award at Glasgow Short Film Festival for his film Directed by Tweedie and in the past has been nominated for awards such as the BAFTA New Talent Award and the Channel 4 Innovation in Storytelling award. Duncan also works as part of the programming team at Edinburgh Int. Film Festival where he assists in the programming of feature documentaries. Currently Duncan has just finished a new film with animator Ross Hogg, supported by Creative Scotland.




We also regularly work with a number of freelancers and are always happy to hear from you. Contact us at

ANNE MILNE – Filmmaker / Consultant / Tutor

Anne is a documentary filmmaker whose films such as Maria’s Way have won a number of prestigious awards and played at festivals worldwide. She has been associated with SDI since 2009, and has recently produced two of our Bridging The Gap shorts Touch Life & Bubo’s Limbo. In addition she has helped produce several of our Stories films in Libya and Pakistan.

BEN KEMPAS – Marketing & Campaign Consultant

With his new company Film & Campaign, Ben Kempas builds outreach campaigns around films and makes films about campaigns. He is also a certified NationBuilder Architect, adapting this community organising system for documentary releases. Previously a PMD for Scottish Documentary Institute, he ran the campaigns for I Am Breathing and Future My Love. SDI is now one of the launch clients of Film & Campaign, with Ben focusing on the pan-European Moving Docs project and Seven Songs for a Long Life. He’s also working on a feature documentary And Then You Win about women campaigners during the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014.

Major Funder:

We are grateful for the ongoing support of Creative Scotland for many of our projects and training initiatives.

Postal Address:
Scottish Documentary Institute
eca | 78 West Port, Edinburgh EH1 2LE, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 131 651 5874