Duncan Cowles is a BAFTA Scotland Award winning documentary filmmaker whose short films The Lady with the Lamp, Soft Toffee, Radio Silence, Directed by TweedieIsabella, Alexithymia, Taking Stock, Just Agree Then & In the Company of Insects have been selected for various film festivals internationally winning a selection of awards, and gaining significant online exposure through platforms such as Short of the Week, Vimeo Staff Picks, BFI Player, It’s Nice That and more.

Duncan graduated from Edinburgh College of Art with a 1st Class degree and a specialisation in documentary film, winning an Award for Distinguished work by the University upon graduating. He then went on to work for the internationally renowned Scottish Documentary Institute for three years on training programs and feature documentaries such as I am BreathingFuture My LovePablo’s WinterSeven Songs for a Long Life, Donkeyote, Time TrialBecoming Animal & Nae Pasaran. He also served for five years as part of the programming team for selecting feature documentaries for the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013-2018.

In 2017 Duncan founded his own production company Relative Films Ltd to facilitate the production of his first feature documentary ‘Silent Men’ (working title) which he initially took to IDFA Academy before being awarded development funding from Screen Scotland & The Whickers. The film is currently in post-production and due to be completed in late 2023.

In recent years Duncan has also been commissioned to write and direct documentaries for Channel 4, STV, BBC Scotland, BBC Radio 4, TED, Adobe, Red Bull and more. In 2020 Duncan was commissioned to make x6 28minute episodes of his own new documentary TV seriesScary Adult Thingswhich looks at the struggles of the millennial generation for BBC Scotland. Scary Adult Things was broadcast in March 2021 on BBC Scotland and available to stream on BBCiplayer for one year.

Alongside his directing work Duncan has also hosted a range of documentary filmmaking workshops for all ages at D&AD, University of Edinburgh, BFI, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Flatpack Film Festival, VIS Vienna Shorts, Screen Academy Scotland, Gmac, Mental Health Foundation, Queen Margaret University, SHMU and more. Duncan also offers tailored mentorship to new filmmakers, offering ongoing support and guidance throughout their first production and beyond.

In addition to his core personal work, Duncan has directed/edited video content for clients such as TED, Adobe, Edinburgh Zoo, National Galleries Scotland, NHS Scotland, Scottish Prisons Service, Maggie’s Centre, MacMillan Cancer Care, ROSPA, Team Sky, Drink Wise Age Well, Jura Whisky, Graham’s Dairy, Mental Health Foundation, Edinburgh Film Festival, QueryClick, Brother’s in Arms, Deep Sea World, IQ Chocolate, Uniform Dating, YourGP, Refugee Survival Trust, CodeClan, Media Education, Studio Something, PUNK Creative, Powellite Impact, What Why? Children in Hospital,  Africa in Motion, R&A, QAA, Toys R Us and more…


Award Highlights

Winner – BAFTA Scotland Award, Best Short Film 2016
Winner –
Royal Television Society Scotland Award 2018
Winner –
Scottish Short Film Award – Glasgow Short Film Festival 2016
Winner –
Scottish Short Film Award – Glasgow Short Film Festival 2015
Winner –
BFI Best UK Short Film & RAW Award 2016
Winner – Audience Award Deframed Competition, Hamburg International Short Film Festival 2016
Winner – Vienna Shorts Two Month Artist Residency 2017 with Q21 & MuseumsQuartier
Winner – Best UK Short, Open City Documentary Festival 2017
Winner – Audience Award, Kyiv International Short Film Festival 2018
Winner – Audience Award, Szczecin European Film Festival 2018
Best Documentary Award, The Smalls Film Festival 2022
Audience Award, Flatpack Film Festival 2023
Winner – Frē​sh18 Carbon Award

Honourable Mention – Best International Short Film – Norwegian Short Film Festival 2019
NominatedIPSE Freelance Project of the Year 2019
BAFTA Scotland New Talent 2014: Best Factual
London Critics Circle Award – Best British Short Film 2017
London Critics Circle Award – Best British Short Film 2016
Royal Television Society Scotland Student Best Factual 2013
Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show Audience Award 2013
Channel 4 Award for Innovation in Storytelling
Best UK Short, Open City Documentary Festival 2016
Nominated –
Best Documentary, LSFF 2016
Nominated – 
Creative Edinburgh Award 2017 & 2020
Best Short Film, Loco Comedy Film Festival 2019 & 2021


Festival Highlights

BFI London Film Festival, BFI Future Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Raindance Film Festival, Hot Springs Documentary Festival, ZagrebDox, Hamburg International Short Film Festival, Encounters Short Film Festival, International Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Dresden International Short Film Festival, Uppsala Short Film Festival, IndieLisboa Film Festival, VIS Vienna Shorts, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Norwegian Short Film Festival, London Short Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Seville European Film Festival, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival,Open City Documentary Festival, Interfilm Berlin International Short Film Festival, GoShort International Short Film Festival Nijmegen, Internationale Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg, Brussels Short Film Festival, Szczecin European Film Festival, Cellu L’art Short Film Festival, Black Nights Film Festival POFF, ZubrOFFka International Short Film Festival, Norwegian International Short Film Festival, Message to Man International Short Film Festival, DokumentArt European Film Festival, XpoNorth, Inverness Film Festival, Cromarty Film Festival, The Smalls Film Festival, Kyiv International Short Film Festival, Flatpack Film Festival, East End Film Festival, British Shorts Berlin, Loco Comedy Film Festival, IndieCork Film Festival, Scottish Mental Health & Arts Film Festival, Internationales Filmfest Emden-Norderney, Kasseler Dok Fest, São Paulo International Short Film Festival…

Download CV (in PDF format) here.

He also made this: gooddocumentaryquestions.com
and sells these)and always welcomes a free coffee…

Please get in touch to discuss new opportunities!

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