From South Sudan to Lebanon and beyond, Shanshan Chen has a flair for gaining access to original stories and engaging characters, directing documentaries about complex and sensitive issues in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.
Born in Shanghai and based in London, Shanshan is passionate about creative and character-driven documentaries that continue to delight international audiences.
Having spent over a decade making humanitarian documentaries for Reuters, she brings incredible journalistic skills to her work, with her documentaries proudly screened at festivals and broadcasted globally. As a self-shooter and editor, Shanshan is well renowned for her visually led storytelling and understanding of sound.
Currently working with Canon C300 and Panasonic GH5 kits for hire.
Can also work with:
Sony FS5/FS7/A7S/X70/PMW200; Canon C100 5D; Panasonic S1H.
Professional lighting systems (LED and tungsten); Adobe Premiere, After Effects, Final Cut 7/X
Languages: English, Chinese Mandarin
Main areas of work: Unscripted, Directing, Producing, Self-shooting, International documentaries, Under-reported stories, Original series and films
-Visualising stories with a strong sense of cinematography
-Managing small crews and productions
-Producing/Directing films of a variety of styles based on briefs
-Researching and pitching original story ideas
-Building trust with contributors
-Strong interview skills with sensitivity and patience
-Scheduling, call sheets and shoot prep
-Confidence working on long-form and short-form projects
Co-director, Producer. An original half-hour doc about clean air issues in San Bernadino, Southern California. Over the last decade, the Inland Empire has become the most polluted city in the United States. As e-commerce has exploded, so have toxic pollutants in the air. Tracing the supply chain from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, all the way to the Inland Empire, this film investigates the struggle for clean air, where grassroots organizations are coming together to fight polluting giants.
Co-director. An original half-hour doc about LGBT+ lives 50 years after the Stonewall riots, filmed in Honduras, Zanzibar, Taiwan and England, provides unique access to the poignant personal stories of those facing challenges due to their sexuality or gender identity. KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. Woodpecker International Film Festival. Dublin Arts & Human Rights Festival. IPAS Film Festival. Broadcasted by PBS SoCal/KCET. Distributed by Journeyman Pictures.
Director, Producer. An original short doc that tells the story of Louis Lakor, a former child soldier with the rebel group in northern Uganda. My Hero International Film Festival, Best Documentary & Humanitarian Awards. Finalist for One World Media, Children in Conflict Reporting Award.
Director, Producer, Editor. An original short doc that unravels the life of three Chinese families that have been impacted by China’s “One Child Policy”. TIME.
Director, Producer, Editor. An original short doc about business-savvy Syrians, Yemenis, Libyans and Iraqis’ lives in Yiwu, a Chinese city that welcomed them with open arms, but without laws recognising refugees, many migrants are worried about how long they will be able to stay in what has become their second home. One World Media.
Director, Producer, Editor. A series of short docs and a feature doc that portray the cultural diversity of documentary filmmaking in Britain. Directed the short doc “Day in a Life” about a female engineer who defies gender stereotypes, which was also selected to be featured in the TV doc. BBC Three.
Director, Co-producer. Having escaped modern slavery in Mexico, Maria is now on a mission to become a prosecutor and help other survivors rebuild their lives. Part of a series of three creative, hybrid animated films based on real stories of people who are on a mission to end modern-day slavery in Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil. ANIMATOR International Animated Film Festival, International Animated Series Nomination. AmDocs Film Festival.
Director, Co-producer. When Van Ngoc Ta trained as a lawyer, the family man never imagined that he would spend his nights rescuing women from sexual slavery in China. Part of a series of three creative, hybrid animated films based on real stories of people who are on a mission to end modern-day slavery in Vietnam, Mexico and Brazil. ANIMATOR International Animated Film Festival, International Animated Series Nomination. Aesthetica Short Film Festival. AmDocs Film Festival.
Director, Producer, Editor. An original short doc about Raed, a mathematics student in Aleppo, Syria, who fled to Turkey, with hopes of continuing on to Europe and completing his education. Showing on Link TV's Global Perspectives.
Director, Producer, Editor. An original short doc about a group of artists and musicians in South Sudan's mission to mobilise young people across the country through music, graffiti and poetry to help bring peace to the war-torn nation. Distributed by SIMA Studios.
Director, Producer, Editor. An original short doc about Chen Wei, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003 and years later founded China’s first support group for people suffering from depression. Showing on Link TV's Global Perspectives.
Director, Producer, Editor. An original short doc that follows two indigenous communities in Taiwan to show how they are breaking the cycle of historical trauma.