Gabrielle Levene

Creative Director, Blue Dragonfly Films

With a background in languages and the arts, Gabrielle began her career in the British film industry in 2002, working as an assistant director on commercials, music videos and short films. Benefitting from the guidance of award-winning directors, producers, cinematographers and talent, it was only a matter of time before Gabrielle was experimenting with film and went off to Switzerland to shoot her first documentary, "Cheesemaker Cheesemaker"
(French/German, 35 min), in August 2004.

Working freelance as a videographer and editor in subsequent years, "Meeting Michael" (English, 25 min) was commissioned in 2006. It is Gabrielle's debut festival entry film.

"Meeting Michael" and "a story of being" (2010) have been selected by the British Council to be included in The British Films Catalogue 2010 and 2011, respectively.

NEWS 2016

  • 1st September 2016. Tribute by Gabrielle Levene

    Sadly, Michael Stern, the wonderful star of "Meeting Michael", passed away on 25th August 2016.

    In 2005 "Meeting Michael" was commissioned by Peter Stern as a documentary film portrait of his younger brother.

    Despite his severe difficulties since birth, Michael was a true gentleman with a character and old world charm which is so rare in this day and age.

    From our first meeting, Michael welcomed me with open arms. He liked having his picture taken, often posing for me and showing much interest in my camera. He allowed me the privilege of filming him during the course of a week at his residential home in Dorset and was perfectly accommodating. He greeted me every morning and would usher me in, offering me a seat, a drink, or leading the way, guiding me sporadically around the buildings and grounds of the institution where he had spent most of his life.

    He would joke with me and ruffle my hair, I think rather enjoying being the centre of attention and even directing me at times as to what to film.

    The more I filmed with Michael and got to know him, I undoubtedly saw hidden depths beneath his extensive disabilities. There was an other-worldly, peaceful acceptance about him and a happy harmony which emanated through his naturally charming character. Although I attempted to explore to what extent if any, Michael was aware of his disabilities, I observed that overall he was content and happy to just get on with things in as positive and dignified a manner as anyone could ever hope to - especially in the face of the many challenges he faced day to day.

    Michael could not articulate any words, yet he was so expressive. He had a wonderful sense of fun and humour, an acute sensitivity to people and time and a genuine concern about the wellbeing of others around him. After one long day of filming when it was bedtime for everyone, I could hear him expressing the sentiment to me, "It's late. Come on, what are you still doing here. It's time for you to get yourself home to rest."

    I felt honoured to have met Michael Stern and to have been so privileged as to have been trusted and embraced by my wonderful friends, the Stern family.

    My deepest condolences go out to Michael's brother, Peter Stern, to the whole family and to all the lives that Michael touched.

    R.I.P Michael Stern

    Charming, enchanting, unique, joyful and truly loved. A gem of a soul who shall be remembered, profoundly, with humility, honour and eternal light.

    See "Meeting Michael" »

  • An inspiringly beautiful start to the year collaborating with the fabulous Peau de Chagrin team.

    We went to Lyon to film at Maison Marc Rozier and to find out all about silk production and printing. The result is "Last Of The Silk Artisans" , a thirty minute documentary following the production of Peau de Chagrin's Carré Alchimique No.1 - a stunning silk scarf based on a 17th century map of star constellations made up of Hebrew letters. The film screened at Tank, London in April and will be shown later this year at screenings in Middle Temple and at Parsons School in New York.

    Checkmate TV Show is in edit for their second series. Gabrielle Levene was filming and taking stills photographs with ten of the top international chess stars, including Nigel Short and Alexandra Kosteniuk (the Russian Queen of chess). See photos »

NEWS 2015

  • July

    Pitching and editing as the second half of the year blisters in with a heatwave.

  • June

    BDF was in Prague for the Prague Quadrennial/Glastonbury exhibition, shot last year for the V&A Museum. Check out some sneak peeks here


    BDF created the video entry for Desolenator, who are now finalists in the Index Awards. Congratulations to the Desolenator team!

    Docfest 2015 was another fantastic event in our delectable documentaries diary. Favourites from Jerry Rothwell "How To Change The World", to "Teatime", via "Dear Aurelias" (a beautiful and very moving short), ooo, and so many more. Check out BDF's Facebook page for a more detailed rundown of films.

  • January

    BDF are excited to see the fruits of some fabulous labour with the V&A museum throughout the last half of 2014. The V&A will be exhibiting a documentary/installation of the Glastonbury Festival at the Prague Quadrennial arts festival this year as well as exhibiting parts of the archive in the museum from June 2015. Gabrielle Levene was one of five filmmakers selected to capture Glastonbury 2014 and has been involved with the concept design and editing of the footage to cross it over into an experiential art installation for the museum.

    The Desolenator team have nearly reached their $150000 crowd-funding goal, with a little help from BDF creating a campaign video within a twenty-four hour turnaround. The response was so phenomenal that we were quickly asked to then make a thank you video for all of their contributors. The Desolenator is an amazing invention which can purify water from any source, using solar energy. Share, spread the word and contribute.

NEWS 2013

  • September

    Diamond Anniversary.
    A funny and moving collaboration with the formidably talented Stephen Walker (A Boy Called Alex, Hardcore, Young@Heart). Gabrielle Levene edited this private commission as an anniversary present that Stephen surprised his parents with on their 60th year together.

  • March

    Roughcut well underway for feature project 'Lily'. Look out for 'snippets from the cutting room floor' coming up on Youtube.

  • February

    Innovation Experience 2013 - India - videography by Gabrielle Levene, edited by Catherine Harte. To find out more about Innovation Experience, click here.

NEWS 2012

  • June

    BDF starts editing the feature length film of 'Lily', who very sadly passed away on 27th December 2011.

  • May

    'Painting Light with Sarah Butterfield' reaches over 5000 views on Youtube. The CII Annual Member's Conference corporate video goes live.

  • April

    BDF films the innovative work with which TGCI is equipping Kerala. We joined a school workshop led by Shyam Kumar, where the students built their own solar lamps out of bamboo.

  • March

    BDF returns to Kerala to film for the CII on National Women's Day.

NEWS 2011

  • November

    BDF is off to Kerala again to film the closing portion of the IISE course, and its participants who will be graduating and returning to their homes to start implementing their dream projects for a better future.

    Whilst in India, BDF hopes to catch up with friend and mentor Philip Cox for some Indian-style partying. Philip will be showing his fantastically moving and entertaining documentary "Bengali Detective" at film festivals in Calcutta, Kerala and Goa.

  • May - October

    Pitch Time at BDF with two major films in the pipeline for 2012.

    Video and stills were done for Sarah Butterfield's hugely successful Frost & Reed show in London, where Gabrielle Levene's photograph of Sarah was featured in a The Asian Age Magazine article by Sarju Kaul.

    PLUS, Gabrielle Levene edited the final episode of VICE's latest harrowing doc "The Vice Guide To Siberia". Very graphic images make for a depressing but candid film by Al Brown, Andy Capper and Alison Severs, about troubled Siberian youths and the drug abuse that is ruining their lives.

  • April

    'Dream Factory', a documentary series set in India, is in production. A taster trailer can be seen here. Looking for funding on this one guys n dolls! Please contact us if you are interested in being involved.

  • March

    BDF filmed at the IISE in Kerala, India, for two weeks. This included our first experience of a blind screening for the participants of this year's Social Entrepreneur course. 'Meeting Michael' and 'a story of being' were shown to a predominantly blind and visually impaired audience. Filmmaker Gabrielle Levene provided a running commentary for the audience and held a well received Q&A session after the films. An interesting discipline for any filmmaker to facilitate their work to a blind audience!

    'Tattoo Parlour' and 'Lily Love', the two Super8 Straight8 entries screened at Docfest 2010, have been re-worked. Check them out in Documentaries, and for 'Lily Love' another slightly different version here>>

  • February

    'In the brushstrokes of Pissarro with Sarah Butterfield' is filmed at The National Gallery in London. Watch it now

  • January

    'A Story of Being' has been included in the British Films Catalogue by the British Council
    Coming soon: 'Hunting the Hunters' - a documentary following a group of traditional hunters in Switzerland. Watch the trailer>>. See the stills below:

News 2010>>

  • November

    "A Story of Being" has been selected among the top ten films for the Film-Maker's Choice (Conscious Art) reward. This group of ten films for the Film-Maker's Choice reward is co-selected by the audience and Culture Unplugged festival team. These ten films have been sent to a festival panel of esteemed film-makers/producers/social scientists/psychologists across the globe.
    Current pitches and projects in development can be seen and even contributed to here

  • October

    BDF has been filming traditional hunters in Switzerland. Check out the film stills>>

  • September 2010

    An article by African American writer Erica Briggs has been published about "A Story of Being". Read it here

  • July

    "Meeting Michael" and "A Story of Being" have been included in the Culture Unplugged online festival.

    Both films will also be screened on Thursday 29th July upstairs at The North London Tavern as part of a BDF Summer Showcase.

  • March

    Production has begun for "A Story of Being", a feature length documentary idea. See Valerie, one of the main subjects of the film, on CNN.

  • Jan/Feb

    BDF has been filming on behalf of Idea Generation and Festival Republic to raise funds and awareness for Haiti, following the catastrophic earthquake there in January.