“A Call From Water Tank 6” wins Telling Tales Film & Audio Festival

  • The documentary on the South Sudanese refugee crisis took home the grand-prize
  • 9 different categories were up for grabs
  • MMU's first annual international film and audio festival drew contestants and audiences from across the world

Filmmakers and students from the UK and across the globe descended on Manchester last weekend for Manchester Metropolitan University’s first annual international film and audio festival: Telling Tales.

In its inaugural year, the international festival provided avid Mancunian film fanatics with a delightful range of documentary to enjoy.

Unlike traditional film festivals, Telling Tales offered a range of visual and audio documentaries. From the visually beautiful to the emotionally gripping, the documentaries on offer at Telling Tales managed to encapsulate the imagination of the audience in a way which larger film festivals cannot.

Through Q&A’s after the documentaries, the audience was afforded a more intimate connection with both the documentary and the people behind the documentaries. Finding out the motives; how the documentaries were made; and what the maker’s message was, added another dimension to the festival.


Documentaries make us question our personal realities, often leaving audiences wanting to know more. Directly asking the maker of a film what they were trying to convey, or what they experienced while making it, opens a window into the world which they were only able to show us a glimmer of. 

Speaking about what it meant to win at the festival, Emmi van den Boom, part of the team which made A Call From Water Tank 6, the winner of the Grand Prize, told The NQ: “It was quite bizarre to win with the first documentary that you make.

“This is the second competition we entered it in, and we won. We’re very happy for that!

The fact that Emmi and her team got to tell the world the story of their subject seemed to be a personal highlight for the Dutch filmmaker: “We’re just very grateful we got to tell Grace’s [the refugee mother at the centre of the documentary] story as there’s no coverage of this in the media at all.”


Documentaries often shine light on issues which are not present in the mainstream discussion. Another major achievement of Telling Tales was how it managed to cover a diverse range of subject matters that are often silent in media discourse, such as bullying, Islamaphobia or medicinal cannabis.

It’s also easy to forget that those who make documentaries often form deep, personal connections with their subjects, something the winner of the Audio Documentary (The Silent Wound) category mentioned: “This prize is important to me, as it was a painful experience for me.


“I so saw so much sadness; I couldn’t sleep for 4 months while I was going through editing. To be rewarded is a nice culmination for the whole process.”

Natalia Guerrero, who made The Silent Wound, explained why she made the audio-doc, which looked at the fall-out of the Columbian civil war:

“I was born surrounded by violence.

“I wanted to explore the often overlooked consequences of war for soldiers – the sexual consequences for soldiers. I wanted to focus on the male as the topic. The loss of soldier’s penis, specifically.”

The festival could not have happened without the dedicated effort of MMU Lecturer, Lisa Gold


Speaking about how she felt the inaugural festival went, Lisa said: “I’m so proud of how the whole event went. It’s so great to see all these documentaries get their time on the big screen. 

“We had some truly amazing pieces from filmmakers from across the world; we had entries from the UK, Holland and America.

“There were so many wonderful documentaries on display for people, I don’t know how our judge chose a winner!”


Lisa explained why she included audio documentaries, which are seldom seen at film festivals: “Well, I teach audio documentaries at MMU, so I may have been slightly biased!

“Audio documentaries can sometimes convey a message in a way which visual ones cannot, they tell a story which invokes the imagination!”

This year’s Telling Tales was only the first instalment of the annual documentary festival. It is sure to grow in the years to come.

For more information on Telling-Tales, the winners, and more visit their http://www.telling-tales-festival.com/official website. 



  • Grand Prize Film: A Call From Water Tank 6 – Emmi van den Boom, Tove Tikkanen Jönn and Simon Forsber
  • Grand Prize Audio: The Silent Wound – Natalia Guerrero
  • Internationa Professional Film: Let Women Choose – Xiana Yago Tortajada
  • UK Professional Film: Ganzorig & the River Wolf – Rob Taylor
  • International Student: Different Names for Bullying – Marco Poggio
  • UK Student: Straightline – Arthur Hagues 
  • UK Audio Professional: Leaving the Fold – Ed Prossor
  • UK Student Audio: Origins of the Skinheads – Harriet Davies
  • International Audio: An Artists Journey: To Cameroon & Back – Caperton Morton
  • Best Cinematography: Back to Basics –