The Best Documentary Events in the UK This August

We’re delighted to announce this month’s round up of must-see documentary films and events to make this August as entertaining as possible. From film festivals held in palatial 18th century mansions to pop-up film tours, we’ve put it all in one place…

Wednesday 3rd- Sunday 7th August: Co Meath, Ireland

Guth Gafa Documentary Festival

In or around Dublin for the first week of August? Fancy watching some cutting edge new docs in an 18th century castle surrounded by lush gardens that include a stable and an aircraft hanger? The Guth Gafa Documentary Festival takes place just one hour outside of the capital in majestic Headfort House in Kells, Co Meath. Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, the festival will play host to over 60 films from 25 countries, including 32 Irish premieres. One of our favourites from Sheffield Doc/Fest, Seed the Untold Story will be screening on Saturday 6th of August, documenting the disappearance of world-wide seed variety and interrogating the corporations threatening the international food supply. The full festival programme can be found here on the Guth Gafa website, so be sure to check it out before you head off.

Guth Gafa Film Festival, 3-7th August, The Heritage Centre (the old Courthouse). Kells, Co Meath.

Ticket Price: Day Pass €20-€25 euros, Full Festival Pass €80

SEED: The Untold Story, Image Courtesy of Guth Gafa Documentary Festival
SEED: The Untold Story, Image Courtesy of Guth Gafa Documentary Festival

Friday 5th- Monday 29th August: Edinburgh

Edinburgh International Fringe Festival

Every year, throughout the month of August, Scotland’s capital welcomes artists, performers and creatives from all disciplines to bring its pubs and theatres to life in a flurry of colour and entertainment. From fire jugglers to African dance troupes and the world’s favourite comedians, the festival promises an electric atmosphere every time. Documentary is certainly not ignored in this year’s expansive programme, with one of the must-see events of this year’s fringe being documentary musical A Memory of Lizzie, on the life of Lizzie borden, the Masachusetts woman accused of axe murdering her father and step mother in 1892. This hilarious play is running from the 9th-11th of August in the Royal Scots Club (info here). Throughout the month, Fringe-goers can also enjoy the Virtual Reality Studio Sessions and watch this year’s best documentaries including Notes on Blindness, using VR headsets are used to simulate the surreal experience of going blind.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 5th-29th August,  180 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1QS, 

Ticket Prices: Vary by event, order here

Image by Megan O'Hara
Image by Megan O’Hara


Friday 5th- Thursday 11th August: Nottingham

Screening: We Are Many, Broadway Cinema

This month we featured director Amir Amirani’s We Are Many in our 10 Unmissable Political Documentaries roundup. The story of the lead up to the Iraq war in 2003 and the worldwide community that tried to stop it, the film documents the public protests that saw 15 million people take to the streets in 800 cities across the world to say no to war. With interviews from important political leaders such as Jeremy Corbyn and various other protesters who took to the streets on February 15th 2003, the film is an inspiring insight in to the power of the people. To mark the release of the Chilcot report this month, the film will be showing between the 5th and 11th August at Broadway Cinema Nottingham, as well as in locations across England including Phoenix Cinema in London and MAC Birmingham. For a full list of screenings please see here on the We Are Many website.

We Are Many Screening, 5-11th August, screening times vary, Broadway Cinema Nottingham, 14-18 Broad St, Nottingham NG1 3AL 

Ticket Prices: £8.20/ £6.40 concession, order here

Image Courtesy of We Are Many
Image Courtesy of We Are Many

Sunday 7th August: Glasgow

Screening: No Home Movie, Glasgow Film Theatre

Chantal Akerman’s groundbreaking documentary focusing on the conversations between herself and her beloved mother in the run up to her death, was the filmmaker’s final film. Committing suicide in Paris just a year after her Auschwitz survivor mother passed away, the film is a melancholy look in to the director’s mind during the worst of her fatal depression. With long, rolling shots and conversations filmed subtily, almost uncomfortably, Akerman reveals the most touching aspects of the relationship between the two women as they communicate across borders; with her often abroad with work and her mum at home in Brussels. The film is screening this month at Glasgow Film Theatre, which aims to showcase all the best film talent both past and present, on August 7th, so don’t miss out on the chance to view a piece of documentary history.

Screening No Home Movie, August 7th at 7.30pm, Glasgow Film Theatre, 12 Rose St, Glasgow G3 6RB 

Ticket Prices: £8.50 (£7 concession) order here

Friday 12th August: London

Breaking the Chains Film Festival Screening of Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, Bernie Grant Arts Centre

A programme of screenings organised by Bernie Grants Arts Centre and Black History Studies, Breaking the Chains Film Festival marks African Holocaust Remembrance Day on the 23rd of August. Often termed simply as Maafa, the day is held in memory of the Arab and Atlantic slave trades and all of those who were killed or suffered as part of them. The screenings take place over 5 days, kicking off on the 5th of August with captivating narrative film Besouro, on a capoeira fighter and social leader from Bahia. Our documentary highlight takes place on the 12th of August with the North London premiere of Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess. According to 18th century folklore, Nanny was a Ghanian woman who escaped slavers in Jamaica and led a group of rebels to dodge the British army. This documentary focuses on her life and legacy, touching on the oral history and myths that enshrine her memory, as well as the collective history of the Maroons. For a full schedule of events please see the website here.

Screening of Nanny: Legendary Maroon Chieftainess, Friday 13th August at 7pm, Bernie Grant Arts Centre,  Town Hall Approach Road, Tottenham Green, London, N15 4RX 

Ticket Prices: £8+booking fee order here 

Besouro | Image Courtesy of Breaking the Chains Film Festival
Besouro | Image Courtesy of Breaking the Chains Film Festival

Friday 12th August: London

Screening: Ingrid Bergman- In Her Own Words

Most of us know the enigmatic Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman for her Academy Award-winning roles in films such as Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde and Hitchcock’s Notorious. Gliding down red carpets in nostalgic black and white photos and gazing dramatically away from the camera, many wonder who the real Ingrid Bergman was, behind the timeless Hollywood persona. Who was the mysterious mother of four who counted Cary Grant and Ernest Hemingway  amongst her closest friends? New documentary Ingrid Bergman- In Her Own Words provides a fascinating insight in to the actress’s much-guarded private life using previously unseen home movies, personal letters and diary extracts to cover new ground on who she was as a mother and friend. Weaving in interviews with her children and those who knew her best, the documentary analyses Bergman’s closest relationships and the motivations that catapulted her to international stardom. It is screening on Friday 12th August at London’s BFI Southbank.

Ingrid Bergman- In Her Own Words, Friday 12th August at 2.30pm, 6.10pm and 8.20pm, BFI Southbank, South Block, Belvedere Rd, London SE1 8XT  

Ticket Prices: £11.35/ £8.35 concession order here

Image © Flickr/Tom-Margie
Image © Flickr/Tom-Margie

Sunday 14th August: London

Screening: Jungle Films – Documentary Shorts from Inside Calais, Passing Clouds Hackney

London film fans can this month experience a very special evening of short docs, as filmmakers journey in to the mud walls and make-shift buildings of the Calais refugee camp known simply as ‘the jungle’. Exploring everyday life in the camp where dwellers have built their own churches, shops and schools but are still refused basic legal aid, each short film will offer a different perspective on the everyday realities of those trapped in the French countryside. At times harrowing and shocking, yet also hopeful and revealing of the unique jungle community, the screening at Passing Clouds in Hackney, London will open viewers eyes to a tough world marred by prejudice and speculation. The event will be followed by a drinks reception and discussion with some of the filmmakers and all donations will go to Care4Calais, a charity dedicated to improving conditions for refugees.

Jungle Films- Documentary Shorts from Inside Calais, Sunday 14th August, doors open  at 6.30pm, Passing Clouds, 1 Richmond Rd, London E8 4AA 

Ticket Price: Donations Only, pre-register here

Wednesday 17th August: Birmingham

Screening: A Miracle in West Brom +Q&A as part of Black Country Pop-up Film Tour

Taking place in Birmingham every spring, Flatpack Film Festival aims not to limit itself simply to one annual event, but to collaborate with other cinema organisations and host get-togethers throughout the year. One of its most popular projects is the Black Country Pop-up Film Tour, which runs throughout the month of August to provide film screenings in the West Midlands  This month’s doc highlight is a screening of A Miracle in West Brom from Smethwick-born director Billy Dosanjh.  The film is the unbelievable story of the son of a Sikh immigrant who seeks to challenge his family dynamic until a heart attack puts a spanner in the words. Other documentary events as part of the tour include the Dudley College Student Showcase on Saturday 6th August, where film scholars will showcase their final projects from music videos to touching documentaries on living with Aspergers syndrome. More info on all the Black Country Film Tour events can be found here.

Blighty Now + Q&A, Wednesday 17th August at 7.30pm, Swethwick Library, High Street, Smethwick, B66 1AA

Thursday 18th August: Bristol

Screening: The Divide, provided by Bristol Pound, The Wardrobe Theatre

Exploring the lives of 7 people from 7 very different walks of life, The Divide is a hard-hitting exposé of the rich/poor gap in all of its uncomfortable reality. With inequality in the US and UK at its highest since 1928, this Sheffield Doc/Fest Official Selection doc is sure to blow away Bristol viewers with its tales from both sides of the vast and cavernous split. From Wall Street psychologist Alden to homeless Glasgow rapper Darren, each character experiences life in a manner entirely different from the last. By juxtaposing top earners in contrast to those struggling to make ends meet, the filmmakers provide us with a compelling visual example of the crisis which ensures that the top 1% of earners hold 48% of global wealth. The screening will be hosted by Bristol Pound, the UK’s first city wide local currency aiming to support small businesses in a harsh economic environment.

Bristol Pound presents The Divide, Thursday 18th August at 7pm, The Wardrobe Theatre, 25 West St, Bristol BS2 0DF

Ticket Prices: £6.08 (£3.96 unwaged) order here

Saturday 20th August: Dublin

Making Stories Through Sound: An Introduction to Audio, BLOCK T Studios

This brand new radio course will take place in Dublin this August and is aimed at a diverse group from complete beginners to more experienced audiophiles. Hosted by BLOCK T Skillsets, the session will be led by independent radio producer and lecturer Julien Clancy, whose work has taken him from Fukushima Nuclear Plant in Japan to the archives of the National Folklore Collection. Under his expert supervision, participants will learn the fundamentals of storytelling through radio, learning how to develop their ideas and put together their own podcasts and programmes. A chance to brush up on your recording skills and hone your unique style in Dublin this August.

Making Stories Through Sound: An Introduction to Audio, Saturday 20th August 11-5pm, BLOCK T Studios,  Basin View, Dublin 8, Ireland 

Ticket Prices: €145, 20% Discount for students/unwaged, order here

Wednesday 24th August: Manchester

The Lived Experience of Climate Change: One Piece of Land in Dhaka, Manchester Museum

It can be scarily easy for some of us to put climate change to the back of our minds. As a result, it becomes increasingly important to remind ourselves of the tangible impact of global warming, which is what Manchester Museum is aiming to do with its innovative ‘after hours’ Climate Control Exhibition. Drawing attention to Dhaka, the Bangladeshi city on the frontline of climate change, the exhibition will feature a screening of short documentary One Piece of Land in Dhaka. During the filming, Dr Joanne Jordan from the University of Manchester’s School of Environment, Education and Development spent months living in some of Dhaka’s poorest slums. The result was a shocking insight in to the floodwaters and health hazards created by global climate change, and a gaze in to the way locals are attempting to educate each other by channelling the impact in to educational song and dance. The screening will be followed by an open discussion with Dr Jordan on her findings and what we can do to help improve conditions worldwide.

The Lived Experience of Climate Change: One Piece of Land in Dhaka, Wednesday 24th August 6-9pm, The Manchester Museum, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PL

Ticket Prices: Free, pre-register here

Image © Flickr/eguidetravel
Image © Flickr/eguidetravel

Wednesday 31st August: London

Screening: Jim, the James Foley Story, Curzon Bloomsbury

One of our favourite films from this year’s Sheffield Doc/Fest, Jim: the James Foley story is a touching insight in to the endearing personality of war journalist James Foley, whose beheading by so-called ‘Islamic State’ militants was recorded and broadcast throughout the world in 2014. Using photos and home footage of James on the frontline as well as interviews with his friends, family and fellow captives, the film paints an intimate portrait of a dedicated journalist who often put himself in strangely dangerous circumstances. Despite being detained in Libya in 2011 by forces loyal to Muammar Gadaffi, James, or ‘Jim’ to friends, refused to give up the work that he found increasingly meaningful. Personalising the story of a man many know simply as a face in an orange jumpsuit, viewers should be prepared to shed a tear at this doc made by James’ best friend Brian Oakes. The film will be screening at Curzon Bloomsbury in London at the end of August.

Jim, the James Foley Story, Wednesday 31st August at 7.30pm, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick, London WC1N 1AW

Ticket Prices: £12.50/£10 Concession, order here

For any further information on the events above please contact us at

Words by Megan O’Hara