Penny Woolcock was born in Argentina and grew up in Montevideo. A former painter, she turned to film-making in her mid-30s and has since directed a string of award winning documentaries, television, feature films and opera.
Her television single, Tina Goes Shopping, was nominated for a BAFTA award, and the follow-up, Tina Takes a Break, won Best Single Drama at the Broadcast Awards. She has collected a host of awards and nominations for her other television projects and for her fearless and original documentaries.
In 2003 Penny directed her first feature film, The Principles of Lust, which was produced by Film 4 and nominated for the BIFA Douglas Hickox Award. In 2009 she released 1 Day, a gritty hip hop musical following a day in the life of an inner city hustler. The film was shot on location in Birmingham and was entirely acted by a cast of locals.
Penny has also directed Doctor Atomic - an opera about the Manhattan Project staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and at the English National Opera and also Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers also for The English National Opera.
In November 2010, Penny won the Grierson Trust's prestigious Trustees Award and was honoured at The British Documentary awards and at the Media Guardian Sheffield Doc/Fest. Her documentary, On The Streets, was shot over eight months with rough sleepers and vulnerably housed people and transmitted on BBC4.
Penny's film From The Sea To The Land Beyond picked up the Inspiration award at the 2012 Sheffield Doc Fest and her latest film One Mile Away won the prestigious Michael Powell award at the 66th Edinburgh International Film Festival. She is currently developing a project with Channel 4 and Endor Productions.