TELLING EXTRAORDINARY STORIES ABOUT ORDINARY PEOPLE
Katinka Blackford Newman is an award-winning documentary film director and writer with countless hours of high-end broadcast TV to her name. She has worked in television for over 25 years and has made films for major international broadcasters and streamers including Discovery, National Geographic, HBO Max, BBC TV, ITV, and Channel 4.
She trained at BBC TV and specialises in character-driven stories from all over the world. They include one of Channel 4/Discovery’s highest ever rated documentaries - about morbid obesity - and a film about a mother’s painful journey to bring her daughter-in-law long to justice for murdering her son. Another film tells the strange story of a woman - a pathological liar - who insisted she was dying of cancer but was in perfect health.
She is currently writer and director of a feature length documentary for HBO Max, a world exclusive tracing the rise and fall of a well-known pornographer. In production over lockdown, the film features accounts from women whose lives have been upturned and are sharing their stories for the first time. This is currently being submitted for the Sundance Festival.
Katinka is an experienced drama documentary director and has written and directed eight films for the Grierson nominated series ‘Locked Up Abroad’ for National Geographic, including the first series. One of her films, ‘Locked Up Peru’, was nominated for an Emmy.
She has written, directed and edited whole episodes of drama documentaries including ‘I Shouldn’t Be Alive’, ‘Fatal Attraction’, ‘The Lake Erie Murders’ and ‘Autopsy: The Last Hours Of…’.
She has directed drama crews of 100 in extreme locations such as Peruvian prisons, jungles in the Philippines and the Atlantic ocean.
Her directing experience includes complex shoots - night time underwater shipwreck scenes, animal attacks with real bears , army shoot outs in the Malaysian jungle and murder re-enactments.
As a writer and director she is an accomplished storyteller and has turned true stories into drama scripts within tight time frames.
With a love of working with people, Katinka is able to inspire loyalty and bring out excellence in those she works with, from actors and interviewees to teams of producers, editors and researchers.
She is particularly skilled as an interviewer and is known for her ability to put contributors at ease and gain their trust. Her first documentary won the Mental Health Media Award and featured the harrowing story of a girl dying of anorexia. Her second documentary, nominated for BAFTA, was about a group of British women who went to Poland for cut price plastic surgery.
She began her career at BBC TV on the flagship consumer programme ‘That’s Life’. This gave her a taste for campaigning journalism and ignited a passion for making programmes that champion the underdog and can bring about change.
In 2016 she applied her investigative and story-telling skills to writing a best-selling book. 'The Pill That Steals Lives' (John Blake Publishing), is a personal memoire and investigation based on her own experience. In 2012 an adverse reaction to a prescription drug led to a year long illness that nearly caused her to lose her life. Her subsequent research uncovered she was not alone and her book was made into a 1-hour special Panorama investigation. Subsequently she has become an advocate for awareness of the risks of prescription drugs. She has written widely for national newspapers on this subject and been interviewed on TV and radio around the world.
Her passion for fitness brings a high level of energy to every project. In her spare time she swims outdoors all year round, runs half marathons and is a qualified personal trainer.