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Jamie Doran

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Jamie Doran

Jamie Doran
Occupation Documentary maker, writer
Subject Warfare, human rights, sport, science fiction culture, Afghanistan, Russia, Chile, Romania
Notable awards

Worldfest Gold Special Jury Award

One World Media Award: MDG Winner [1] for Africa Rising One World Media Award: Best Documentary [2] BAFTA nomination: Best Documentary [3] AIB (Association of International Broadcasters) Award: Best Current Affairs Documentary [4] AIB Award: Best Investigative Documentary [5] Dupont Award [6] UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival); Best Documentary Award [7]

Grierson Award: Shortlisted for best documentary on a Contemporary Issue [8]

Jamie Doran is an Irish/Scottish independent documentary filmmaker and former BBC producer.[1]

Many of Doran's documentaries have raised controversy. His 2010 film, The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan allegedly exposes widespread and systematic child sex abuse by former Northern Alliance commanders, ISAF's closest allies in Afghanistan.[2] His 2002 film Afghan Massacre: the Convoy of Death claimed that U.S. troops were involved in a Dasht-i-Leili massacre of Taliban prisoners in 2001. The United States' government and its allies in Afghanistan have disputed the claim. A preliminary version of the film was shown to the German and European Parliaments in June 2002, causing widespread media coverage in Europe.[3] Allegations made in this film resurfaced in July 2009 when US president Barack Obama called for an inquiry into the massacre in response to claims that Bush administration officials had actively discouraged an investigation.[4] Another of Doran's documentaries, screened in 2004 by the BBC and reporting on drugs trials involving HIV-infected children in New York, was subsequently found to have made false claims and presented a biased picture of its subject matter. Yet another of his controversial films, Afghanistan: Behind Enemy Lines, first broadcast in February 2010, involves a journalist being embedded with the radical Islamic group, Hezb-e-Islami, as they construct and plant roadside bombs and attempt to ambush coalition soldiers.[5] This was one of the first films to show in detail how Afghan insurgents are waging war against ISAF and Afghan National Army forces.[6] In May 2010, Doran was nominated for a BAFTA for Afghanistan: Behind Enemy Lines.[7] One month later, he won two One World Media Awards: Best TV documentary for Afghanistan: Behind Enemy Lines, and the MDG award for Africa Rising.[8] In October 2013, he picked up two Emmys for the films, "Opium Brides" and "Battle for Syria".[9]


Doran has directed and produced numerous documentaries, including:

The Red Bomb (1994)

A three-part documentary on the Soviet Union's first nuclear bomb, built in 1949, years before the West thought the Soviet Union had the capability to build such a bomb. Features interviews with former Soviet spies and scientists.[10][11][12]

Sexpionage (1997)

The story of the young women who were forced by the KGB to seduce foreign military personnel, businessmen and diplomats in order to elicit secrets from them. Includes first-hand testimony from former KGB agents, some of the women involved, as well as American intelligence analysts.[13][14]

Starman (1998)

A sixty-minute biographical film for BBC Television of Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space. Doran also co-wrote a book on Gagarin with the popular-science writer, Piers Bizony.[15][16][17]

City of Murder and Mayhem (2001)

Life in post-Soviet era Moscow: The film documents a month in the life of one of Russia's new breed of oligarch bankers, and shadows an elite police unit tasked with tackling organised crime.[18]

The Android Prophecy (2001)

Documentary history of robots in the cinema that draws dark conclusions about the future of mankind. Featuring contributions from Arthur C. Clarke, Steven Spielberg and Ridley Scott.[19]

Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death (2002)

Interviewees presented as eyewitnesses state that several thousand Taliban prisoners of war were transported to Sheberghan prison in sealed containers and that hundreds or thousands of prisoners died.[20][21] Afghans interviewed in the film claim that U.S. personnel were present and involved in mass killings.[3][21][22]

A short preliminary version of the documentary was shown to the European Parliament and the German Parliament in June 2002, under the title Massacre at Mazar, prompting calls for investigations from human rights bodies.[3][20][21][22] The Pentagon denied allegations of U.S. involvement and released a statement, saying "U.S. Central Command looked into it a few months ago, when allegations first surfaced when there were graves discovered in the area of Sherberghan prison. They looked into it and did not substantiate any knowledge, presence or participation of US service members."[20] An August 2002 report in Newsweek, based on a UN memo, described a mass grave site in the Dasht-i-Leili desert, but said there was no evidence that U.S. personnel had been involved.[23][24]

The story resurfaced in July 2009, when U.S. President Barack Obama asked his national security team to look into allegations that the Bush administration had resisted calls to have the matter investigated.[4][25][26]

The Need for Speed (2003)

Follows the investigation of two U.S. pilots in relation to a friendly-fire incident in the war in Afghanistan in which four Canadian soldiers died. The pilots' defence stated that they were flying under the influence of amphetamines given to them by the U.S. Air Force.[27][28][29] Interviewees include former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Merrill McPeak.[27] The pilots' amphetamine usage was also covered by the BBC and the New York Times.[30][31]

Guinea Pig Kids (2004)

Shown on BBC2, this programme alleged that anti-HIV drugs were tested on "vulnerable and poor children at a New York care home ... who had no choice in whether or not to take part in trials and no proper advocates to speak on their behalf".[32] Describing HIV medicines given to the children as "futile" and "dangerous", the programme also alleged that children had been taken from their families to enable the "experimental" drug treatment to continue.[32] Critics' charges that the programme was "lurid, untrue" and contained "dangerous lies" led to "serious concerns" at the BBC over fears that the programme "deceived viewers by 'playing fast and loose with the facts'."[32] A BBC investigation did not uphold all the complaints made against the programme, but concluded that the documentary did breach editorial guidelines on accuracy and impartiality in a number of ways, acknowledging that it made false claims and was biased towards the views of AIDS denialists.[32] The film triggered a public inquiry in New York, which established that there had been some breaches of regulations and policies in the conduct of the trials, but found no evidence that children had been taken from their families, had died as a result of treatment, or had been preferentially selected for the trials because of their race, or their status as children in foster care.[33] The HIV Treatment Bulletin called the incident "inappropriate and inflammatory".[34]

Jimmy Johnstone: Lord of the Wing (2004)

A film on Jimmy 'Jinky' Johnstone, a Celtic and Scotland football hero of the '60s and '70s who struggled with motor neurone disease.[35]

Whiskey in the Jar (2007)

Documenting life on the remote Irish island of Tory; the only place in Ireland with an appointed sovereign. [36] [37]

Africa Rising (2009)

This film documents the failure of Western development policy in Africa, and shows how a community of impoverished Ethiopian farmers are working themselves out of poverty through collectivization and micro-finance initiatives. It won the 2010 One World Media MDGs Award, being described by judges as "superbly shot and uplifting ... a compelling piece of work that drew the viewer into the heart of a community as it struggled to shake off a dependency culture".[38]

Afghanistan: Behind Enemy Lines (2010)

Broadcast in February, 2010, as an episode of Dispatches on the British television network, Channel 4, this film shows how fighters from the proscribed extremist Islamic group, Hezb-e-Islami, are opening a new battlefront in Northern Afghanistan.[39][40] Filmed by the Rory Peck Award winning British-Afghan journalist, Najibullah Quraishi, who spent 2 weeks with these fighters, Afghanistan: Behind Enemy Lines includes footage of the fighters constructing, planting and detonating roadside bombs (or IEDs).[5] Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor of the Guardian newspaper, described the film as "An extraordinary and intimate documentary depicting the lives of fighters within the Taliban's insurgency in Afghanistan".[6] This film was broadcast on PBS Frontline as Behind Taliban Lines in February 2010.[41] This film was nominated for a British Film and Television Academy Award in the Best Current Affairs programme category. In June 2010 it won the One World Media Award for best TV documentary.

The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan (2010)

This highly controversial and widely acclaimed [2] [42] [43] [44] [45] film shows how former Northern Alliance warlords and powerful businessmen are preying on impoverished young boys in Afghanistan. The ancient tradition of Bachi Bazi (translation: boy-play) was banned under the Taliban, but has resurfaced since they were routed by ISAF in late 2001; boys as young as 11 are bought and sold like slaves, dressed up like women and made to dance before audiences of men. The Dancing Boys of Afghanistan exposes how these boys are systematically sexually abused, and frequently murdered by jealous rival owners. Despite these practices being illegal under Afghan law, the film shows that the men committing the abuse do so with impunity. This film premiered at the Royal Society of Arts on 29 March 2010.[46] It was aired on PBS Frontline in the United States, and True Stories in the UK on 20 April 2010.

Sudan: History of a Broken Land (2011)

Made for Al-Jazeera, this 45 minute film charts the troubled history of Sudan from pre-colonial times to the present day. [9] [10]

The Promoters (2011)

An investigation into Extra Judicial Killings in Kenya, where Human Rights workers accuse police of killing more than 8500 young men in the last ten years alone.[47]

Pakistan's Open Secret (2011)

An observational documentary following a flamboyant 'family' of transgenders as they hustle and scrape together a living on the streets of Karachi.[48]

In the Hands of Al Qaeda (2012)

Ghaith Abdul Ahad investigates how Al Qaeda was able to capture Yemeni towns and cities from right under the noses of the United States and the Sana’a administration.[49]

Opium Brides (2012)

Najibullah Quraishi journeys deep into the Afghan countryside to reveal how ISAF poppy eradication programmes are forcing Afghan peasant farmers into debt with drug mafias. When they cannot pay, the traffickers take their daughters.[50]

Battle for Syria (2012)

Guardian correspondent Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from the frontline in Aleppo.[51]

Pakistan's Hidden Shame (2014)

A film directed by Mohammed Naqvi focusing on a culture in Peshawar of sexual abuse of street children. It was screened at Sheffield Doc/Fest in June 2014.

Articles and interviews

  • Doran, Jamie (2002-09-02). AFGHANISTAN’S SECRET GRAVES: A drive to death in the desert, Le Monde Diplomatique
  • "Did U.S. Forces Allow a Massacre of 3,000 Taliban Prisoners to Occur?" BuzzFlash asks Jamie Doran, Producer-Director of "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death", BuzzFlash Interview, 2003-09-23
  • Steinberg, Stefan (2002-06-17). Interview with Jamie Doran, director of Massacre at Mazar, World Socialist Web Site


  1. ^ Hali, S. M. (2006-03-28). "Afghan Blues!", The Nation
  2. ^ a b "The taboo topic our mission in Afghanistan ignores". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 2012-09-06. 
  3. ^ a b c Kellner, Douglas (2003). From 9/11 to Terror War.  
  4. ^ a b Oppel, Rich (2009-07-18). "Afghan Warlord Denies Links to '01 Killings". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ a b Beaumont, Peter (2009-11-01). "TV team's glimpse behind enemy lines shows confident Taliban is ready to go on fighting". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  7. ^ "Bafta TV Awards 2010: The winners". BBC News. 2010-06-06. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Staff. "Red Bomb".  
  12. ^ Staff. "Red Bomb Credits".  
  13. ^ Staff. "Sexpionage".  
  14. ^ Staff. "Sexpionage credits".  
  15. ^ Benjamin, Marina (1998-03-18). "Wednesday's book; Starman: the truth behind the legend of Yuri Gagarin by Jamie Doran and Piers Bizony (JBloomsbury, pounds 17.99)". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  16. ^§ioncode=22
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Better Red Than Dread". Daily Mail (London). 
  19. ^§ion=review
  20. ^ a b c Connolly, Kate; McCarthy, Rory (2002-06-13). "New film accuses US of war crimes".  
  21. ^ a b c Monbiot, George (2003-03-25). "One rule for them". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  22. ^ a b Finnegan, Lisa (2006). No Questions Asked: News Coverage Since 9/11.  
  23. ^ Dehghanpisheh, Babak; Barry, John; Gutman, Roy (2002-08-26). "The Death Convoy Of Afghanistan: Witness Reports And The Probing Of A Mass Grave Point To War Crimes. Does The United States Have Any Responsibility For The Atrocities Of Its Allies? A Newsweek Investigation.".  
  24. ^ Teather, David (2002-08-19). "UN evidence of Taliban massacre". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  25. ^  
  26. ^ Staff (2009-07-13). Obama Calls for Probe into 2001 Massacre of at Least 2,000 Suspected Taliban POWs by US-Backed Afghan Warlord, Democracy Now!
  27. ^ a b Staff (2003-10-20). "The Need for Speed: Going to War on Drugs".  
  28. ^ Staff (2003-06-24). "Statt Friedman-Show ein Drogenfilm". Handelsblatt (in German). Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  29. ^ Moos, Ariane (2005-05-09). "US-Militär: Mehr Speed für Kampfpiloten".  
  30. ^ "Friendly fire' pilots took 'go pills". BBC News. 2003-01-15. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  31. ^ Shanker, Thom; Duenwald, Mary (2003-01-19). "Threats and Responses: Military Bombing Error Puts a Spotlight On Pilots' Pills".  
  32. ^ a b c d 'Serious concern' at BBC over flawed HIV film, published in The Guardian. Accessed October 31, 2007.
  33. ^
  34. ^ S. Collins, "Report refutes HIV denialist claims on children's HIV trials" HIV Treat Bull - 2009 Jan-Feb;10(1/2): 34
    "... probably one of the most inappropriate and inflammatory HIV-related stories to (be) picked up by mainstream media who themselves failed to appropriately research the real issues: that children are generally denied access to potentially life-saving pipeline compounds until after they have been approved for adult care."
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^,p,208455.html
  38. ^
  39. ^ Banks-Smith, Nancy (2010-02-02). "Behind Enemy Lines and Tower Block of Commons". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  40. ^ Hale, Mike (2010-02-23). "The Afghan Side of War". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^
  51. ^

External links

  • Jamie Doran's company profile at
  • Jamie Doran's biography on
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