Masterclass with T.J. Berden

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

Learn how to develop, produce and market your own social action documentary.

Screen Skills Ireland is pleased to support a free online masterclass with T.J. Berden for young documentary filmmakers and journalists, from the Cleraun Media Ethics Forum, at 19.00 on Thursday 2 December. 

T.J. Berden is an award-winning film producer who has developed, produced and distributed documentary and narrative films, including Full of Grace (2016) via Cinedigm, Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018) starring Jim Caviezel, and Unguarded. He has served as a marketing and PR consultant on specialty films such as The House that Rob Built, The Stoning of Soraya M., Waiting for “Superman”, The Tree of Life, The Two Popes and A Hidden Life. Using his expertise in film, he has worked with non-profit organizations, such as Word on Fire, to develop more dynamic approaches to marketing and branding through storytelling.

Case Study: Unguarded

Ungarded takes the viewer inside the walls of APAC, the revolutionary Brazilian prison system. APAC founder Dr Mario Ottoboni volunteered in some of Brazil’s worst prisons. Seeing men and women frequently return to a life of crime once they left prison, he decided to set up his own restorative justice-based system. The results have been extraordinary: while the crime rate and recidivism rates have continued to increase in Brazil’s public prisons, within the APAC system they have steadily decreased. Unguarded explores the unique method behind this system, now present in 23 countries across four continents.

Those attending will:

  • Watch Unguarded in advance. As the film is not scheduled
    for release until 2022, each person who books in for the masterclass will be provided with a watermarked screener for their personal use only to view the documentary, and T.J. Berden will provide a series of questions to consider as they view the film.
  • On the evening of the masterclass, break into teamwork groups for 40 minutes to consider T.J.’s questions among themselves; he will spend time with each group.
  • Then all join T.J. to discuss how they might go about developing, producing and marketing their own social action documentary.

This masterclass is free of charge. To book, please email