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Meet the Team


Max Lovell-Hoare


Max and his Nikon F80 have shot in over 30 countries in the last five years and will be adding at least another 10 to their list in the coming months. Max takes a particular interest in experimental photography and digital imaging, and is keen to bring feature-film techniques and equipment into documentary making. His latest ‘toy’ is a 25ft filming crane, which has already been put to good use in the London docklands.


Max Lovell-Hoare:




Sophie Ibbotson

Assistant Producer and Writer

An enthusiast for languages no one else can read, Sophie deals with the intricate bureaucracies, histories and idiosyncrasies of places we usually haven’t heard of. She is obsessed by tea, thinks taking it as snuff has potential, and will probably pour it over your head if you insist on putting milk and sugar in Darjeeling.



Sophie Ibbotson:



Derek Helwig

Executive Producer

Derek cut his teeth working on the Emmy award winning show The Amazing Race and at Paramount Pictures. He's worked his way across north and south America, Europe and Africa and his film Holocausts was screened at Cannes in 2006. Derek will be working closely with both the Tracing Tea team and international tv channels to bring Tracing Tea to your screens.







Andrew Daynes

Logistician and member of T.T. ‘The Preview’

A compulsive traveller, Andrew was unable to turn down the opportunity to take part in the project of a life-time and has delighted in seeing Tracing Tea evolve from a half-baked student plan to the professional venture it is today.  Along the way he has discovered an interest for filming he never knew existed, and very much enjoyed the chance to get out and try his hand at the thing during 'the preview,' he's not sure whether he sang or swam, but is glad at least to have had a go.   Though, like sam, not a natural tea drinker, five months in a london taxi with two avowed addicts has gone some way towards convincing him there may be something in it, particularly in Darjeeling on a cold December morning with a Glenarys cake on the side.




Sam Datta-Paulin

Lead Researcher and Expedition Mechanic

A graduate in Middle Eastern history, Sam is well placed to head up our research team. Formally an avowed coffee drinker, he is slowly catching the tea bug and, to his horror, recently woke up after a night out to find he’d unconsciously spent the entire content of his wallet on a bag of rare white jasmine silver needle. Sam is an award-winning stand-up comic and also enjoys radio DJing, skills he’ll be drawing on both behind and in front of the camera.




Anthony Coates


Anthony’s misspent youth surfing the net has proved an unexpected boon for MEP: there is nothing at all this man cannot find online. His skills (and patience) in image editing are much appreciated by the rest of the team, whether he be rotating Samuel Pepys or, to our surprise, removing and re-inventing parts of people’s anatomy. He doesn’t drink tea at all, but we won’t hold that against him…much.




Aijana Temiralieva

Translator and Office Manager

Aijana is a graduate of the American University of Central Asia, and has also spent a year studying in the USA as part of the Future Leaders Exchange (Flex) programme. As official translator for the National Judo Federation of Kyrgyzstan, she has travelled widely and engaged with people from a multiplicity of cultures.


Aijana Temiralieva:



Rosie Dell

Production Manager

Rosie is a graduate of the University of St Andrews, where she obtained a Masters in Theology. She is an experienced Production Manager, Script Writer and Director, and has worked both in theatre and in the film industry for a number of years. She specializes in short films and educational material, and recently directed Wondaland, a short-film, on the Red Cam, about the dangers to knife crime which is to be used as a teaching aid in UK secondary schools. Having been an avid tea lover for years, Rosie feels this is the perfect opportunity to combine work, exploring, and vast quanitites of Earl Grey!



Urvi Nagrani

Technical Production Assistant

Urvi graduated from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) with a degree in Film and Media Studies. She has travelled previously within Europe, Russia and Central Asia on behalf of Tracing Tea and will be using her expertise in new media and social networking to enhance the Tracing Tea education programme.