T o n y   S t e y g e r

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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 strict moral codes gave me both a robust social conscience and a drive to buck any kind of system. I have two disabled brothers, stricken by deafness and mental illness, bookending my childhood.

 

I have always performed in one way or another. As a youngster with the cubs, at school, as a student in street theatre and agitprop. In Brighton my DJ-ing was a performance and my weekly radio shows in France certainly were, alongside my screen work in shorts and art videos. Making television as a director is itself both a leadership challenge and a sustained public performance of sorts, as of course is teaching and lecturing.

 

My first films as a freelance director in the early days of Channel 4 focussed on disability themes. These were followed by access programmes - with camcorders - at the BBC Community Programmes 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.

 

By the mid 1990's, the independent production sector was booming and I co-founded Maverick Television, extending this new language 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 was head-hunted for 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 and its online streaming with Victoria Real and Endemol.

 

As a producer and director, I've always thrived on the confluence of technological innovation and the potential for media to distrupt the status quo. My work as a teacher and mentor to new talent at university continues this drive to empower others and make a difference. More specifically, my work as a content creator continues my drive to share people's stories and lives on screen.

 

Tony Steyger

 

Full filmography

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