Tony Steyger

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I was brought up in a reasonably devout Catholic family and educated first by nuns and then by Christian Brothers. If nothing else, these moral codes gave me a robust social conscience and curiosity in those around me. My two disabled brothers, stricken by deafness and mental illness, bookended my childhood and, once university was over, my highly developed empathy was ready to be unleashed.


My first films as a freelance director for Channel 4 focussed on disability themes. These were followed by access programmes - with camcorders - at the BBC Community Programme Unit, giving voices to those previously unheard, including transsexuals, teenagers and New Age travellers. With these small-ish cameras, ordinary people with great stories could record their own lives, unfolding in real time. Inspired by dreams of even more editorial freedom for the individual, I developed the Video Nation project for the BBC, based on the well-established principles of Mass Observation from the 1930's and 1940's.


By the mid 1990's, the independent production sector was booming and I co-founded Maverick Television Ltd, extending this new vernacular of 'authentic' first-person storytelling, with projects such as Trade Secrets and Comic Relief Diaries. But, it wasn't until the Internet arrived at around the same time that the promise of unmediated representation on screen looked like it might revolutionise broadcasting. I became excited by projects like Jennicam and digital interactivity and developed a role at the BBC as Managing Editor of New Media Programmes. This led to a move to Brighton where I helped launch Big Brother's online streaming for Channel 4. However, it wasn't until the launch of YouTube a decade that DIY broadcasting really started to shake up broadcasting.


As a producer and director,  I've always thrived on the confluence of technological innovation and the potential for media to distrupt the balance. My ongoing work with Steve Hawley challenges me to experiment with ideas and form and my roles at Southampton Solent University further grant me the opportuity to create and innovate. In parallel, working with media students fulfills my deep-seated need to empower others, steering them towards a realisation of their potential.


Tony Steyger


Tony's full filmography