Charlotte Metcalf

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Charlotte Metcalf (born 1958) is a British documentary film director and producer. She is also a prolific writer and journalist. Her films cover subjects from corporate greed in America to transsexual prostitution and born-again Christianity. Her work has been commissioned and broadcast by the BBC, Channel Four, ITV and CNN. She has made films in Africa on cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and marriage by rape and abduction or Raptio. Her film about William Hague, Just William...and Ffion, was said to break the mould of political documentary.[1]

Metcalf's documentary "Schoolgirl Killer",[2] made for BBC Television in 1999, exposed the story of Aberash Bekele, a 14-year-old girl abducted and raped into marriage. Aberash escaped and shot her abductor when he gave chase. She was arrested for murder and put on trial, defended by the newly formed Women Lawyers Association. Metcalf managed to get into the courtroom to film[citation needed], and Aberash was eventually acquitted. The documentary also included Aberash's older sister, Mestawet, who was on the point of leaving Ethiopia and taking her place as a runner in the Olympic Games, when she was abducted into marriage. Metcalf filmed Mestawet in her hut, living with three children and her husband, serving home-brewed liquor for a living. BBC audiences were deeply affected by the film and sent in ample funds to give Aberash a safe, boarding-school education. An indefatigable lawyer on the case, Meaza Ashenafi, is one of the characters in a story based on a similar tragic theme, which was made into a drama feature in 2014, called DIFRET and executive produced by Angelina Jolie[3]

Metcalf has also made many films for the United Nations and for clients including Tesco, Unilever, the Labour Party, the International Olympic Committee and art galleries such as Robilant + Voena. She made the first party political broadcasts for Tony Blair and New Labour, including Clause Four.[citation needed]


Metcalf's film " Living With Hunger" won the Harry Chapin Media Awards, USA, 2004, the Japan Prize (Le Grand Prix), 2004, the International Education Programme Contest Award in Japan, 2004, and DocsBarcelona, International Documentary Film Festival, 2009 DocsBarcelona .[4] In 2001, her film "I'm not racist...but", won the Commission For Racial Equality Award. In 1998, Metcalf's film about rape and abduction in Ethiopia, "Child Killers" was shortlisted for Best Film at the One World Media Awards, and won Best Film at the French Documentary Awards. "Welcome To Womanhood", about female genital mutilation in Uganda, won a Golden Spire at the San Francisco International Film Festival and a Silver Apple Award at the National Educational Film and Video Festival in Oakland, California. "550 Million Strong" won the First Prize at Prague Film Festival for Films on Development in 1995. In 1996 "Young Wives Tales" (UNFPA and Channel 4 News) about child brides in Ethiopia, won a special UNICEF award and was shortlisted for One World Media Award for best film.


  • "The Cutting Edge", 1996
  • "From Awareness To Action" 1997, United Nations (UNHCR)
  • "Welcome to Womanhood" 1997, BBC
  • "Chinatown" 2005, (films of Record/BBC) three part series
  • The Trouble with Corporate America 2002, (MBC/Channel 4)
  • The Last Day 1995, (Channel 4)
  • The Human Factor
  • The End of an Affair 2002, (BBC)
  • Schoolgirl Killer 1999, (BBC)
  • Rude Boys 2002,
  • "Punched Up" 2002
  • Living with Hunger 2004, (Insight/Channel 4/ Discovery Time/ CNN).
  • Just William...and Ffion, 2000, (Channel 4)
  • I'm not Racist...but 2001, (Channel 4)
  • Thank You Jesus, Thank You Lord
  • Globalisation Is Good 2002, (reeform/Channel 4)
  • "Unreported Britain" (2-parts, Channel 4)
  • "The Governator" 2005 (BBC) as producer.
  • "Letter From America, 2001, (BBC) with Bonnie Greer
  • "Business For Sterling"

Journalism and books[edit]

Mettcalf was travel editor of The Spectator between 2008 and 2010. As a freelance features writer, she has contributed many articles to The Financial Times, How To Spend It Magazine, Tatler, The Lady, The Daily Telegraph, and Daily Mail. She has written two books: Walking Away: A Filmmakers African Journal and There's More To Life Than Shoes.

Personal life[edit]

Born in London, Metcalf is the daughter of John Metcalf, a partner in Hobson's advertising agency who had read English at Cambridge University under F.R. Leavis (see Powers of Persuasion: The Inside Story of British Advertising). She took a degree in English at New Hall College, Cambridge. With her partner David Thomas she has one daughter, and is stepmother to his daughter by a previous marriage.


  1. ^ Weale, Sally (2001-03-31). "Ffion Hague profile: The likely one | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-06.
  2. ^ "Film - True Vision". Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  3. ^ "Difret: Building a Culture of Courage". Huffington Post. 9 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Dispatches - Articles - Award-Winning Films". Channel 4. Retrieved 2013-11-09.

External links[edit]