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Noe Mendelle


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Personal profile


 After graduating in Anthropology and Women’s Studies, she started her film career with Steel Bank Films (1982), a Channel 4 film workshop based in Sheffield. For the last four decades Mendelle’s research has explored and developed different forms of documentary language. Since the early 80s, she has directed and produced a large body of films for cinema, TV as well as developing schemes to share her documentary language with new talent in UK as well as internationally. Most of her films are about how we experience and make sense of the world as a citizen of the world. Her research explores the connections between documentary forms, emotions and cultural change.

The early period of her research career involved a combination of explorations in cultural and political philosophy in UK and then after prolonged periods of fieldwork, in North and West Africa and then in the MENA region, where she run and produced documentaries with filmmakers in Guinea-Bissau, Libya and Syria trying to use creative documentary as a tool to make sense of their experience in a politically chaotic world.

Since 2003 with the creation of Scottish Documentary Institute Professor Mendelle has been concerned with practice-based research whereby the form of research output is intrinsically linked to the experience of the fieldwork itself. The outcome of this research has resulted in a transformation of the Scottish landscape in terms of creative documentary.

The rediscovery of the art form of shorts through the yearly scheme Bridging the Gap and many features produced through SDI Productions that have received numerous acclaimed international awards and nominations. The films have screened on international broadcasts such as BBC, C4, STV, ARTE/ZDF (Germany), DR (Denmark), SVT (Sweden), YLE (Finland), VPRO (the Netherlands), RTP (Portugal), POV (USA), Canal + (France) resulting in audience figures of over 15 million viewers and at over 60 international film festivals including Edinburgh, London, Bristol, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Locarno, Cannes, Sundance, Toronto, Los Angeles etc…

Current research activities: Professor Mendelle research continues to explore both the form of documentary film and its modes of production through practice-based research both as a producer and director. Currently, she has just produced a major collection of 12 shorts pulled together as a portmanteau feature Syrian Stories made by new Syrian talent and funded by British Council in order to run an impact campaign to explore and question resilience through documentary. Filmed around Syria over 7 months, the documentary follows displaced Syrians as they come to terms with their traumas and the fact that the struggle is not left behind.

A second major project The Secret Kingdom of the Bijagos is a practice-based exploration of the social and economic transformation of an African indigenous community the Bijagos into modern society.  It is a 4 part TV series with the best material re-edited into a feature documentary for festival due out in 2018.

The longest continuous project (16 years) is of course the yearly short scheme Bridging the Gap that produces award winning films every year and has become our documentary Scottish flag internationally as well as a model to integrate talent development with the enhancement of diverse voices.

Other areas of Expertise available for knowledge exchange:

Professor Mendelle has a strong track record of developing research links with the media industry and stakeholders in and out of UK as can be demonstrated by Scottish Documentary Institute slate of work.

In 2007 she established the only international pitching forum in Scotland aimed at filmmakers looking for co-productions. A large panel of international decision makers listen to formal pitches alongside of an audience of different generations of filmmakers, learning through observation.

Several times a year we invite celebrated filmmakers to come to ECA TO share their documentary language through masterclasses.  

Professor Mendelle has participated on international festival juries (latest 2016 IDFA) and selection panels. As well as influencing media policy in a variety of ways, by providing evidence to Scottish Broadcasting Commission (2013), the Scottish Select Committee on Creative Industries in Scotland (2015), and through active participation in meeting with British Film Institute, Creative Skillset and more important the lobby group: Independent Producers Scotland (IPS) 

She teaches the MA/MFA in Film Directing as well as leading the PhDs by practice in Documentary Film. 

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Arts, University of Bradford

Award Date: 1 Jan 1985

Bachelor of Arts, University of York

Award Date: 1 Jan 1983

External positions

external examiner, University of the West of Scotland

1 Sep 20171 Oct 2020

external examiner, University of York

1 May 20141 Oct 2018


  • N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
  • documentary
  • film
  • storytelling


Dive into the research topics where Noe Mendelle is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or
  • Let My Body Speak

    Mendelle, N. & Adib, M., 18 Mar 2020

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

  • Long live Livi

    Mendelle, N., Lee, L. & Urquhart, P., 3 Mar 2020

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

  • Our Fathers

    Mendelle, N., Hunter Gordon, Z. & Hennigan, K., 3 Mar 2020

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

  • Time to Fly

    Mendelle, N. & Brown, L., 3 Mar 2020

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

  • Adventures in Dementia

    Mendelle, N. & Milne, A., 29 Mar 2019

    Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products

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