The Best Documentary Events in the UK and Ireland: November 2016

Can’t make it to Amsterdam this month for IDFA 2016? No worries, the UK and Ireland are playing host to their own array of spectacular factual events. From Dublin Doc Fest to London Korean Film Festival. you don’t need to travel to be transported to another world. We’ve put all of the best events and happenings this November in one place, as always…

Tuesday 1st November

Black Screen Film Festival, Manchester

Created by the ABE (All Black Everything) meet-up group in Manchester, Black Screen Film Festival is a celebration of pan-African society across the globe. A combination of documentary and narrative, each film explores its own unique aspect of African culture, delving in to the diverse history and traditions of its worldwide diaspora. Look out for short doc Beauty Is… (dir. Toyin Agbetu) on the dangers of chemical straightening and skin bleaching, and how their appeal is based on a biased and inequitable media culture. Director Toyin Agbetu will be present at the screening to answer questions on his film and its themes.

Ticket Price: Free, register here on Eventbrite

Black Screen Film Festival, 5.30-8pm on Tuesday 1st November at The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL

Image © Flickr/UN_Photo
Image © Flickr/UN_Photo

Thursday 3rd-Sunday 27th November

London Korean Film Festival

Taking place over more than 3 weeks from the 3rd to the 27th of November, London Korean Film Festival returns this month with a programme that is bigger and better than ever. Organised by the Korean Cultural Centre in London, the festival aims to bring a bit of Korea to the UK and showcase some of the country’s freshest talent. We’re particularly looking forward to Wind On the Moon from award-winning director Yi Seung-jun. The narrative follows the story of 19 year old Ye-Ji, a teenager born death and blind, told through the words of her mother’s personal diary. Another documentary, Factory Complex (dir. Im Heung-soon) will unravel the post-war exploitation of female textile workers in the 1960s. Director Yim Soon-rye will also be present at the fest, screening her film Keeping the Vision Alive, a fascinating overview of the history of women filmmakers in Korea. Click here for the full schedule of events.

Tickets: From £8 per event, book here

London Korean Film Festival, Thursday 3rd-Sunday 27th November, venues across London, information: 

Factory Complex
Factory Complex – Im Heung-soon

Friday 4th & Saturday 5th November

Captured: Documenting Incarceration, Nottingham

This two-day event is a hybrid of screenings, Q&As and tutorials centred around the role of documentary in changing the public image of incarceration. Recent documentaries such as 13th (dir. Ava DuVernay) have begun the important work of deconstructing the stereotype of ‘the criminal’ and challenging the socio-political biases that have carried it through generations. Based on this theme, Captured will feature a screening of subversive docs including A Kind of Sisterhood (dir. Michele Devlin & Claire Hackett), a 25 year story of the women imprisoned during The Troubles in Ireland. Director Claire Hackett will be discussing the methodology behind this type of filmmaking in an exclusive workshop, and attendees will receive a masterclass on working with archive whilst filming a prison doc. For a full schedule of events click here.

Ticket Price: Free, register here for day 1 and here for day 2

Captured: Documenting Incarceration, 1pm-8.30pm on Friday 4th November & 10am-5.30pm Saturday 5th November,  The Space at Nottingham Contemporary, Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB

Image © Flickr/FeelsGoodLost
Image © Flickr/FeelsGoodLost

Sunday 6th November

ERIC Festival, London

This creative careers festival is an excellent opportunity for young people wishing to work in the arts. A chance to mingle with like-minded people and gain constructive insight in to the TV, film and radio industries, ERIC is a sleeker, more entertaining take on the traditional careers fair. The festival will have a main  stage where attendees can hear the stories from media professionals at the top of their game and find out how they got started, as well as their tips on gaining recognition in a challenging industry. Whicker’s World Foundation will be pitching up at ERIC all day, talking young filmmakers through our criteria as well as showing off some of our incredible films so far. Think less boring stalls and free pens – more music, fairy lights & industry pros, this is our kind of careers festival.

Tickets: Free, register here

ERIC Festival, 10am-6pm on Sunday 6th November at The Hospital Club24 Endell Street, London, WC2H 9HQ


Monday 7th November

BECTU Film & TV Creatives Networking Event, London

Are you a director looking to match up with a great producer? Or a technophobe in need of an excellent cameraman? Then this BECTU Trade Union meet-up night is the place to be in London on Monday the 7th of November. The Writers Producers and Directors branch of BECTU is made up of working professionals keen to spread their knowledge and help solve any industry related problems or questions you may have. A chance for creatives to mingle over a few drinks in a laid-back environment, this could be your opportunity to meet your dream team and bring your project in to realisation.

Tickets: Free, no pre-registering necessary

BECTU Film & TV Creatives Networking Event, 6.30pm-10pm on Monday 7th November, Bowler Pub & Kitchen32 Bowling Green Ln, London EC1R 0BJ 

Tuesday 8th November

Disability On Screen, Sheffield

It is undoubtable that those with disabilities are critically underrepresented in the media. Seldom represented onscreen, the programmes that are centred around disabled characters (such as Channel 4’s The Undateables) can be taken as upsetting and discriminatory. This Disability On Screen discussion hosted by The University of Sheffield will attempt to deconstruct some of the tired typecasting of the disabled community by inviting leading programme makers with disabilities to showcase and discuss their work. Amongst the guests will be Ramy El-Bergamy, Channel 4’s Onscreen Diversity Executive and Adam Pearson, the presenter and researcher behind BBC3 documentaries Freak Show and The Ugly Face Of Disability Hate Crime.

Tickets: Free, register here

Disability On Screen, 6pm-7.30pm on Tuesday 8th November, Auditorium, Sheffield Students’ Union , University of Sheffield Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TG

Actor, ADAM PEARSON Photo : Andy Weekes 07836 566295
Adam Pearson © Andy Weekes

Thursday 10th November,

A Country In Motion: Films From Burma, London

Since Burma’s Lost Royals won this year’s Whicker’s World Foundation £80,000 funding award, we’ve been hooked on Burmese stories. This evening of short film at London’s Frontline Club has been curated by Igor Blazevic, a political and human rights activist who founded One World Human Rights International Film Festival in 2009. The programme aims to paint a rich and varied portrait of the country as it stands today- in the midst of vast political and social change. Films include The Little Finger (dir. Shune Lei Thar, Kaung Myat Thu Kyaw and Saw Reagan), a documentary on one of the country’s female parliamentary candidates and Mai Ah Nway (dir. Ta’ang Chitthu), a touching fiction film about a young boy from the village of Paloung Mountain. 

Tickets: Tickets £10 (£8 concession), book here 

A Country In Motion: Films From Burma, 7pm on Thursday 10th November at The Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Pl, London W2 1QJ

Image Courtesy of The Frontline Club
Image Courtesy of The Frontline Club

Friday 11th November

Dublin Doc Fest

Founded in 2013, Dublin Doc Fest celebrates its fourth birthday this month with a selection of docs to rival that of the longest-running film festivals. One of our top suggestions is My Aleppo (dir. Melissa Langer), on a Syrian family who fled to South Africa during the Civil War only to watch it be destroyed via Skype calls with relatives. Others include A New Family (dir. Simone Manette) on a Cambodian woman who is ostracised by her sons when she contracts HIV, and Pink Shells (dir. Or Sahar), an innovative animated documentary on one woman’s struggle to quit the self-destructive habits that she is bound to. For the full festival programme click here. 

Tickets: €15, book here 

Dublin Doc Fest, 6.30pm-10pm on Friday 11th November at Teeling Whisky Distillery13-17 Newmarket, Dublin 8, Ireland

My Aleppo | Image Courtesy of Dublin Documentary Festival
My Aleppo | Image Courtesy of Dublin Documentary Festival

Saturday 12th November, 

Workshop In Environmental Filmmaking, Leeds

Led by The Land Beneath Our Feet directors Gregg Mitman and Sarita Siegel, this interactive workshop will help upcoming environmental filmmakers to link their ideas, research and audience. Creating a film based on an environmental research project can be tricky, especially since it then must correlate with the wishes of TV commissioners and diverse audiences. This day long event held at the University of Leeds will aim to answer the real questions environmental directors have about their films, creating a smoother transition from academia to practical filmmaking. Be sure to read Mitman’s groundbreaking book Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife Film – on the relationship between visual culture and the environment – before attending. 

Tickets: Free, register here 

Workshop in Environmental Filmmaking, 10am-4pm on Saturday 12th November at the Alumni Room, School of English, University of Leeds, 10 Cavendish Street, Leeds, LS2 9JT 

Image © Flickr/ MagicMazdik
Image © Flickr/ MagicMazdik

Sunday 13th November

Women On Screen: Short Films About Women’s Lives, London

Some of London’s most exciting female filmmakers will come together this month to screen their work on the diverse, contrasting and varied lives of women around the world. This collection of short films, ranging from documentary to arthouse, will tell the stories of a number of women and ask some of life’s most complex questions; what do we really mean when we say I love you? And what is the meaning of friendship? From the life of a glamour model to the Lebanese women struggling with the pressures of plastic surgery, this event highlights the diversity of life as a woman in the modern world. Whicker’s World Foundation will be giving a short presentation before the screenings on the aims of the fund and our criteria, encouraging more female applicants to come forward and have their voices heard. All proceeds from the event will go towards supporting the accessibility of workshops and events at FiLiArt:Refuge, an art exhibit curated by the screening hosts FiLia

Tickets:£7 (£5 concession) buy tickets here

Women On Screen: Short Films About Women’s Lives, 6.30pm-8.30pm on Sunday 13th November at Hackney Attic270 Mare St, London E8 1HE 

Image Courtesy of FiLi Art
Image Courtesy of FiLi Art

Wednesday 16th November

Gaelic Film Night, Edinburgh 

With dwindling populations and an increased interest in contemporary British culture, the Gaelic heritage of the Scottish Highlands and Hebrides is under threat of extinction. The Seachdain na Gàidhlig Edinburgh Gaelic Festival is an annual event that aims to preserve and protect this unique culture by championing the creativity of its people. Taking place in central Edinburgh, festival organisers are hosting a film night that will feature two Gaelic films: narrative Tron Doras on one character’s approach to death in a bureaucratic context, and documentary Shepherds of Berneray. Nostalgic and deeply touching, the film looks back on the shepherding tradition of a small island in the outer hebrides and documents how it has changed in recent years.

Tickets: Free, register here

Gaelic Film Night, 7pm-10pm on Wednesday 16th November, Screening Room G04, 5o George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JU

Thursday 17th November

Screening, Interrupted: Africa Is a Woman’s Name    

The collaborative effort of three female filmmakers (Wanjiru Kinyanjui, Bridget Pickering and Ingrid Sinclair), Africa Is a Woman’s Name is a documentary like no other. Screening this month at Glasgow Women’s Library, the film tells a story of three women from across the continent who are working to create change in their communities as well as on a national level. From Amai Rose, who balances being a stay at home mum with running a business in Zimbabwe, to Njoki Ndung’u, a member of the Kenyan parliament and a human rights lawyer, the three women in this film form a unique spirit of strength and independence. Each struggling to change stereotypes and create a new image of the African woman, the film is a testament to women across the continent and their perseverance in pursing their dreams.

Tickets: Free, for booking details see event page here 

Screening, Interrupted: Africa Is A Woman’s Name, 6pm-10pm at Glasgow Women’s Library, 23 Landressy Street, Glasgow G40 1BP

Africa Is a Woman's Name, Image Courtesy of Women Make Movies
Africa Is a Woman’s Name, Image Courtesy of Women Make Movies

Thursday 24th-Sunday 27th November

London International Documentary Festival

London International Documentary Festival is the biggest documentary event in the UK, returning to the capital this November. Taking place over 4 days in venues across London including The Soho Hotel and The Proud Archivist, the festival is a chance to explore some of the city’s premiere venues whilst enjoying  a programme of eclectic and international documentary films. The schedule for this year’s event has not yet been released, so keep an eye on the LIDF website for announcements. If last year’s festival is anything to go by, featuring some of the biggest names in the film industry (Stephen Spielberg to name but one), this time round viewers are in for an absolute treat.

Tickets: Prices vary, see the website for more details

London International Documentary Festival, from Thursday 24th-Sunday 27th November, Venues across London, contact LIDF for details:

Saturday  26th November, London

Swedenborg Film Festival

Established in 1810, the initial purpose of The Swedenborg Society was to translate and publish the works of Swedish scientist, philosopher and visionary, Emanuel Swedenborg. Today the society is a registered educational charity, hosting an annual film festival to showcase the works of filmmakers with similar values and visions to Swedenborg. Exploring the overlap of myth and memory, the films on this year’s day-long festival include London Overground, a documentary (dir. John Rogers) based on the writer Iain Sinclair’s on-foot journey with film-maker Andrew Kötting around the London Overground railway. The festival will also host the London premiere of Andrew Kötting’s new film Edith Walks, which documents a pilgrimage in memory of legendary folk figure Edith Swan Neck.

Tickets: Free, register here

Swedenborg Film Festival, 3.30pm-9pm at Swedenborg Hall, 20-21 Bloomsbury Way, London WC1A 2TH

Image Courtesy of Swedenborg Film Festival
Image Courtesy of Swedenborg Film Festival


Words by Megan O’Hara