We List The Best Documentary Events This July
We’re back from Sheffield Doc/Fest, our £80k funding award winner has been announced and the Whicker’s World Foundation team are gearing up to start all over again when applications open in September. What better way to renew our energy than to attend some of the best doc events happening across the UK this month? From trans rights to entirely free documentary courses, we’ve rounded up July’s jewels to suit all factual tastes.
Saturday 2nd July
CREATE Film Festival: DRCongo, Manchester
Set up by philantrophic organisation In Place of War, CREATE Film Festival is an events series with a clear social message. Looking to protect creativity in war-torn areas by promoting art of all kinds, the DRCongo event features two documentaries centring on the Congo and the issues facing its people. The first is award-winning doc Virunga, following the lives of the dedicated rangers of Virunga National Park in Eastern Congo. Poachers, militia and rebel groups are only some of those who threaten the park, and its rangers must battle to save it. With one of them an ex-child soldier, they know only too well the hardship that the local people face. The screening will be followed by another feature film La Belle at the Movies, on the country’s capital city Kinshasa and the disappearance of its cinemas, as well as short doc Away From Home. Events organisers will be giving out free food and guests can enjoy live music performances alongside the movies.
CREATE Film Festival: DRCongo, 4.00-9.30pm Saturday July 2nd, St James’ Church, 95a Princess Road, Manchester, M14 4TH
Price: Free, re-register here on EventBrite
Saturday 2nd July
Screening: The Father, the Son and the Holy Jihad, London
London’s first ever documentary cinema Bertha Dochouse outdoes itself again this month with its fantastic selection of groundbreaking contemporary documentaries. One of our top picks is The Father, the Son and the Holy Jihad, a controversial feature film about an unassuming French-Muslim family who were gradually radicalised to Islamic extremists. Travelling from Aix-en-provence, Father Bassam Ayachi and son Abdel Rahmane flew to Syria to aid rebel groups in their fight against Daesh and and Bashar al-Assad regime soldiers. In his 2016 documentary, filmmaker Stéphane Malterre displays the incredible access he gained to a family in political and ethical turmoil, following the story of the two men and their relatives back in France over 2 years. Not to be missed, this exploratory film unravels the concept of fundamentalism as we have come to know it and covers important new ground on the Syrian conflict.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Jihad Documentary Screening, 7.30pm on Saturday 2nd June & 4pm on Sunday 3rd July, Bertha DocHouse, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick Centre, London WC1N 1AW
Tickets: £9 (£7 concessions) book here
Monday 4th July
Screening: Stem Cell Revolutions, Galway
A fascinating watch for both science and arts fans alike, this Vedere la Scienza Festival-winning documentary hones in on the elusive and captivating world of stem cell research. Following the history and the development of stem cell science through the ages, the film uses beautiful hand drawn animations and interviews with leading scientists to illuminate a world often baffling to us mere mortals. Curing blindness and growing back failed limbs, the film opens the eyes of its audiences and shows us all that modern science is capable of. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with professors Tim O’Brien and Matt Griffin from the Regenerative Medicine Institute at the National University of Ireland, who will highlight the latest developments in an enthralling and ever-changing field of research.
Stem Cell Revolutions Documentary Screening, 7pm Monday 4th July, Clinical Science Institute Lecture Theatre, NUI, Costello Road, Galway, H91 YR71
Tickets: Free, pre-register here
Tuesday 5th July
Ferret Films presents The Haystack | The IP Bill and Privacy in Scotland, Edinburgh
Ever feel like you’re being watched? Well four female journalists have come together to find out the truth as to how much of our personal data is really available to lawmakers. In crowd-funded documentary The Haystack the filmmakers investigate the power of mass surveillance, which allows the government to collect information on people not suspected of any crimes.The film will be followed by a discussion on the Investigatory Powers bill currently before parliament and will include key experts including the film’s director Olivia Cappuccini and executive director of Open Rights Group Jim Killock. Hosted by independent investigative journalism platform The Ferret, this event promises to shed an unearthing light on the often shady world of current affairs.
The Haystack screening & panel discussion, 7pm Tuesday 5th July, Grassmarket Community Project, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, EH1 2QA
Tickets: £5 (£4 concession), book tickets here
Wednesday 6th July
Radio Academy Scottish Branch Celebrate: Radio Academy’s 30 Under 30 List
Cheerleading a plethora of young radio talent, the ReelWorld Radio Academy 30 Under 30 list is open to anyone under 30 -years-old working in UK radio. Radio makers can submit their work and have it reviewed by an expert panel of judges who will choose the star’s of the future to feature on the prestigious list. July’s free event in central Glasgow will bring together nominees of past years to talk about their radio influences and ambitions and provide key advice to up-and-coming radio producers of all ages. Among the panel will be Radio Forth journalist Andrew Murray and BBC Scotland‘s David Treasurer, offering their expert advice on what works on the waves. A celebration of all things audio and the massive diversity of young talent in the radio world and completely free to attend, what more can we ask?
Radio Academy Scottish Branch Celebrate: Radio Academy’s 30 Under 30 List,7pm at 21-29 Royal Exchange Square, G1 3AJ
Tickets: Free, pre-book here
Thursday 7th July
Breaking the Chains: A Film Documentary on Mental Health and Human Rights, London
Falling at number 92 in the World Health Organisation‘s ranking of healthcare systems, Indonesia still has far to go in terms of medicine and providing access to effective treatment. With mental disorders being some of the most stigmatised illnesses worldwide, it is thus not a surprise that campaigners in Indonesia are taking a stand for their mentally ill. Often chained up, locked away or held in isolation, those suffering from conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can be treated with intolerable cruelty in a system known as pasung- the confinement and constraining of the mentally ill. One young woman named Yavah, featured in the film, was chained inside a tiny room for 17 years during a particularly horrifying practice of pasung. Breaking the Chains follows members of the Komunitas Sehat Jiwah group who are determined to stop the use of pasung and provide much-needed support to mental health patients in the area of Cianjur, West Java.
Breaking the Chains screening, 6pm Thursday 7th July, Lucas Lecture Theatre, King’s College London, Strand, WC2R 2LS
Tickets: Free, pre-book here
Saturday 9th July
Folk Gaze: A Chinese-language Film Weekend in Two Parts, Edinburgh
Organised by two post-graduate students of film at the University of Edinburgh, this selection of Chinese language films will be both expertly curated and visually stunning. A marriage of narrative and documentary film, the first of two exciting events will be held on Saturday afternoon. Films include director Wang Yu-Lin’s 7 Days in Heaven and documentary Heaven’s Will, focusing on an ex-gangster from Shangxi Province who now claims the ability to predict the future. Day two will feature a spotlight on Taiwan, with four short films exemplifying the island’s innovation and creativity playing back-to-back. Two of the best include In Memory of Chinatown, a nostalgic film about the fall of Tainan’s once-prosperous Chinatown mall, and Old Seafarer, on a fisherman and his lost love. A chance to brush up on your language skills whilst exploring China’s vast and colourful culture, you don’t have to leave Scotland’s capital to experience a taste of the Orient.
Folk Gaze: A Chinese-language Film Weekend in Two Parts, 4-7.30pm Saturday 9th July at Grassmarket Community Project, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh, EH1 2QA & 3.30-7.30pm Sunday 10th July at Screening Room (G.04) 50 George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9JU
*Please note the change in locations on day 2
Tickets: Free, pre-register for day 1 here and day 2 here
Sunday 10th July
Trans People of Colour Group Meeting, Manchester
This month the Trans People of Colour Group from Manchester’s LGBT Foundation are hosting a special meeting combining documentary and discussion in a safe space for the trans community. The event begins at 2pm with a screening of Karlene Pinnock and Declan Harvey’s Back to Jamaica. This short film follows two young men, both born female, who transitioned after leaving their homeland of Jamaica and now return to tell their families. Met with mixed reactions, Back to Jamaica is both upbeat and upsetting at times, chronicling the turbulent reality for trans people across the globe. Romario Wanllis, one of the film’s stars, will be present at the screening and answering audience questions on his personal journey. The afternoon will then see Pakistani trans activist Sabah Choudrey chairing a group discussion on their work and the work of trans activists worldwide, with their achievements including having co-founded the first ever Trans Pride Brighton in 2012.
* Please note, the screening is open to all but the group meeting from is for trans people of colour only from 3-5pm
Trans People of Colour Group Meeting, Back to Jamaica screening at 2-3pm followed by the group meeting 3-5pm, LGBT Foundation, 5 Richmond Street, Manchester, M1 3HF
Tickets: Free, open entry
Friday 15th July
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, Liverpool
Founded in 1998 by Liverpool Arabic Centre, Liverpool Arab Arts Festival is a vibrant celebration of Arab culture and society from a number of different Middle Eastern countries. Dedicated to improving public knowledge of the Arab world, from the 15th to the 24th of July visitors can explore a diversity of events including art, dance, theatre, music and cinema. Highlights include comic theatre production Love, Bombs and Apples written by Iraqi scientist and playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak, the tale of four men from four different cultures all experiencing turning points in their hectic lives. Queens of Syria also promises to be a memorable performance on Friday the 15th of July, with a group of Syrian women now living as refugees in Jordan giving a modern retelling of Euripides’ The Trojan Women. For film fans, there will be a screening of the award-winning documentary Speed Sisters on the 21st of July, about the first all woman race car driving team in the Middle East, as well as a selection of short films from BBC Arabic Festival 2015 on the 19th of July on women and gender.
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival, 15-24th July, various venues across Liverpool, a full festival schedule including venues can be found here
Tickets: Prices vary, some events are free and some are individually ticketed, please see website for details
Tuesday 19th July
Screening: The Hard Stop, Bristol
When 29-year-old Mark Duggan was gunned down by police in Tottenham in 2011, his death sparked riots that shocked a nation. Believed to be involved in gang violence, Mark’s death was dubbed lawful killing by Metropolitan police forces, causing locals to strike out in an act of defiance that soon spread across the country. New documentary The Hard Stop aims to shed light on an increasingly topical situation, interviewing friends and family of Duggan and exhibiting archive footage of the riots. Director George Amponsah filmed in Tottenham for over two years to create the film, following Duggan’s two best friends Kurtis Henville & Marcus Knox Hooke as they struggle to deal with their grief amongst the pressures and dangers of life in one of London’s poorest suburbs. Followed by a Q&A with the men themselves, the friends will attempt to answer some of the most hard-hitting questions about today’s justice system in the UK and beyond. A tail of job-hunting, loss and attempting to overcome prejudice, the film is a harrowing journey in to the lives of some of Britain’s most under-represented communities.
The Hard Stop Screening, 6.45pm on Tuesday 19th July, Trinity Community Arts – Trinity Road, Bristol, BS2 0NW
Tickets: £7.37 (£5.37 concession), reserve here
Wednesday 20th July
Screening: London For Sale, London
For those of us living in London, the soaring rent-prices and lack of affordable housing are all too real factors of everyday life. With private developers scooping up properties by the dozen and poky one bedroom flats let out for as much as £1,500 per month, it is becomingly increasingly difficult for low-wage Londoners to survive. Two-part documentary London For Sale charters the lives of those directly involved in the crisis, from political protesters to local residents who have seen their areas transformed beyond recognition in recent years. Screening in Peckham’s iconic Bussey Building, London For Sale throws a harsh spotlight on the gentrification and the so-called regeneration projects that are forcing residents out of their homes and propelling them further and further out of the city.
London For Sale Screening, 7.30pm at The CLF Art Cafe, Block A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham, London SE154 4ST
Tickets: Free, pre-register here
Monday 25th July
Free Industry Filmmaking Documentary Course
At the end of this month,lucky doc fans can attend entirely free documentary course for young filmmakers aged from 16-25 at the BFI Southbank. Event organiser Iconic Steps Film Academy is a video training and production company offering free training courses for young people in an increasingly expensive and competitive industry. If you’re aiming to hone your documentary skills, this week-long course will allow you to create your own short doc as part of a group, with professional tutors guiding you along the way and giving you access to top-quality equipment and facilities. Participants will pitch and develop a film alongside a team of other aspiring filmmakers: setting up interviews, filming vox pops and editing your final cut to perfection. A once in a blue moon opportunity to develop your CV within the world-famous confines of the BFI Southbank, all without spending a penny, future doc makers should be sure to sign up soon to ensure a place on the course.
Industry Filmmaking Documentary Course, from 10am on Monday 25th July t0 5pm on Saturday 30th July, British Film Institute, Southbank, London, SE1 8XT
Tickets: Free, apply here
Saturday 30th July
The Black Market & Film Festival, London
Estbalished by Black History Studies Limited, a community enterprise aiming to empower black, African and Caribbean communities in London, The Black Market & Film Festival is an amalgamation of both entrepreneurship and filmmaking. Taking place in the Turnpike Lane area of North London, local businessmen and women will be setting up shop and selling products including books, art, DVDs, food, toys, haircare products and much more. The market will be interspersed with presentations and workshops from successful black entrepreneurs and educators, including a session with Diana Powell, co-founder of African Diaspora Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship UK, on Start-up Mistakes Every Entrepreneur Should Avoid from 12-1pm. Film screenings range from a showcasing of Black Friday, a film about the financial miseducation of the black community in the USA, to the UK premiere of When the Checks Stop Coming In, on the lives of black celebrities whose fortunes have disappeared from MC Hammer to Wesley Snipes. A fun-filled day of activities with something for everyone, North London is the place to be on the last Saturday of this (hopefully) sunny July.
The Black Market & Film Festival, West Green Learning Centre at Park View Academy, West Green Road, London, N15 3QR
Tickets: Advance £6,50, on the door £8, entry free for children under 16 and adults over 60. Pre-book here
By Megan O’Hara