What’s On in Docs: April 2016

“April is the cruellest month” according to T.S Elliot but here at The Whicker’s World Foundation we couldn’t agree less. The sun is emerging from its winter-long hole-up, summer is on the horizon and it’s only two months until the announcement of our funding award winner at Sheffield Doc/Fest. We couldn’t be happier, and fortunately the rest of the doc world seems to be in similar spirits as we look forward to a multifarious list of events to suit even the pickiest of doc geeks. Here’s a few of our top picks for this month, diary’s at the ready….

Saturday 2nd April

Earthfall Documentary Premiere, University of South Wales, Cardiff

Cardiff based dance-theatre group Earthfall have been making waves in the worldwide dance scene ever since their formation in 1989. Mixing different forms of media from light technology to sound and video to create experimental routines that engage and provoke their audiences, the group has won both the BAFTA Cymru for Best Video and the Theatre Critics of Wales Award for Best Dance in 2013. During their critically-acclaimed 2015 tour ‘Stories from a Crowded Room’, Earthfall were shadowed by documentary filmmaker Catherine Gomez. Paying homage to the groups’ innovative choreography and their exploration of human duality, Catherine’s candidly named film Earthfall is premiering this april with the help of the University of South Wales. Those interested can watch the Vimeo trailer here and be captivated by a group who have come to exemplify Wales’ best creative talent.

Earthfall Documentary Premiere,  6.30pm Saturday 2nd April,  Cinema, ARTiuM Building, 86-88 Adam Street, University of South Wales, Cardiff, CF24 2FN, +44845 576 0101

Ticket Prices: Free, must be preregistered on Eventbrite

Saturday 2nd – Sunday 3rd of April

Cheapcuts Short Documentary Film Festival, Hundred Years Gallery, London

A celebration of all things shorts, Cheapcuts Film Festival is a short festival that aims to give new and emerging documentary filmmakers a stage on which to show off their skills. The two day showcasing works in collaboration with organisations such as Raindance and Girls on Film to ensure that all events are free to attend. Highlights from this year’s festival include the opening screening of Home by exciting young director Filip Jacobson on Saturday the 2nd of April at 12 noon. This 29 minute deeply touching film tells the story of remarkable twosome Grażyna and Wioletta, who run a residential home for the homeless in Poland. With most of their residents pensioners blighted by poverty, the women’s unique personalities brighten up and sustain the lives of many a hard-up soul. Reneé van der Ven’s The Last Nights also promises to be a tear-jerker, following volunteer Loes as he offers respite to the family of the dying Joop. All of the festival’s events take place in the Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton, a space dedicated to supporting experimental and cutting edge projects in the local community.

Cheapcuts Film Festival, Saturday 2nd-Sunday 3rd April, Hundred Years Gallery, 13 Pearson Street, London, E2 8JD +4420 3602 7973

Ticket Prices: Free but must be pre-booked on the Cheapcuts website

Grażyna and Wioletta in Home by Filip Jacobson | Image Courtesy of Cheapcuts Film Festival

Friday 8th April

Shorts at the Frontline Club: In the Artist’s Studio, Frontline Club, London

London’s mecca for documentary, Frontline Club’s monthly short film night focuses this April on artists ranging from a number of different mediums. The four short docs on offer range from 7-29 minutes long, each featuring an individual artist and their interpretation of the art world. Director Cathryne Czubek’s ethereal short On Blooming Art is the story of eccentric Japanese multi-media artist ON Megumi Akiyoshi. Counteracting the shy, reserved culture of her Tokyo upbringing, Akiyoshi wears her art upon her body, dressing in loud, colourful costumes everyday to proudly strut along the New York sidewalks. Other films include The 100 Years Show, Alison Klayman’s film on Carmen Herrera, one of the world’s oldest working artists, and Sundance selected film Mining Poems and Odes by Scottish director Callum Rice. A myriad of colour, eccentricity, philosophy and craft, film fans can be ensured a night of variety and inspiration.

Shorts at the Frontline Club: In the Artist’s Studio, 7pm Friday 8th April, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Pl, London, W2 1QJ,

Ticket Prices: £8 (concession)/£10 (standard)

Saturday April 9th 

AIRPI Presents Eleanor McDowall, Odessa Club and Restaurant, Dublin

The Association of Independent Radio Producers Ireland is proud to welcome influential producer Eleanor McDowall to Dublin for a one day workshop on how to make fantastic radio pieces. A senior producer at Falling Tree Productions, series producer on BBC Radio 4’s Short Cuts and founder of Radio Atlas, Eleanor has made documentaries on everything from the women of the British Roller Derby (Rollergirls) to tragic American singer/songwriter Judee Sill (The Lost Genius of Judee Sill). Her achievements include being a finalist in the Women of the Future Awards and nominated for Best Documentary Maker  at the Radio Production Awards. It is thus that would-be radio producers can trust themselves in safe hands during the workshop, where Eleanor will be discussing her tried and tested techniques for success. Radio fans looking to fund a new project are also in luck, as Eleanor will reveal the latest round of commissioning from Short Cuts during the event.

AIRPI Presents Eleanor McDowall, 10am-4.30pm Saturday 9th April, Odessa Club and Restaurant,  13 Dame Ct, Dublin, Ireland +353 1 670 3080

Ticket Prices: Free for AIRPI members, €42.95 standard

Image Courtesy of Eleanor McDowall
Image Courtesy of Eleanor McDowall

Tuesday 12th April

The Filth and the Fury Screening + Q&A with Julien Temple, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

Screened from 35mm print, this film is a vintage blast from the past in more ways than one. Following the story of controversial band The Sex Pistols, Julien Temple’s masterpiece tells the group’s shaky story from day one and explores the origins of punk rock. With archive footage and interviews centring around the anarchist attitudes and chaotic private lives of Johnny Rotten and his bandmates, the film aims to expose the drive behind the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll” mantra that came to define a generation. An intoxicating watch, The Filth and the Fury acts as the sophisticated older brother of Temple’s first documentary on the band The Great Rock and Roll Swindle which famously centred around their manager Malcolm ‘The Embezzler’ McLaren. To add to the excitement, the event is hosted by artist and activist Caroline Coon, author of 1988: The Punk Rock Explosion, and is part of the Britain on Film series from the British Film Institute. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with Temple himself, as he discusses his most knowledgable and intriguing subject.

The Filth and the Fury Screening, 6.15pm  Tuesday 12th April,  Cinema 1, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH +4420 7930 3647

Ticket Prices: £8 (concession)/£10 (standard)

Wednesday 13th April

Creative Europe Doc Day, BFI Southbank, London

With 87% of documentary filmmakers feeling underpaid in today’s market according to our survey, an evening of free advice and guidance seems almost to good to be true. Yet this is exactly what the BFI are offering in this April workshop, designed to provide documentary directors and producers with the support they need to purse their ideas. The information day will revolve around a series of discussions and talks from industry professionals such as European Documentary Network director Paul Pauwels and representatives from Sunny Side of the Doc and Documentary Campus. Subjects range from generating funding for your film to finding a target audience, with participants being given the chance to have one-on-one conversations with experts after the sessions. Tickets are free but participants must register online, so be sure to sign up here for a day of invaluable knowledge and creative direction.

Creative Europe Doc Day, NFT3, BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XT +4420 7928 3232

Ticket Prices: Free, must be pre-booked online

Image © Flickr/Viictoria4
Image © Flickr/Viictoria4

Thursday 14th April

Earthlings Day, UK wide

Are we dreaming or are Earthlings Day events being organised UK-wide, where audiences can receive £5 and a load of delicious vegan food just for watching a top doc? That’s right, crowd funding campaigns across the country have led to multiple screenings of director and activist Shaun Monson’s Earthlings,  famously narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. The film explores human beings’ impact on the world around them; every-day products that use and exploit animals, as well as the greed and cruelty of major industries including fashion, sport and medical research. Nicknamed ‘the vegan maker’, this film is not for the faint-hearted or the blissfully ignorant, exposing the suffering behind our everyday consumption. Earthlings day is an event arranged by activists on an individual level in cities throughout the UK including London and Sheffield. Be sure to check Facebook to see if there’s a screening on in your area, and actually be paid to watch documentaries. Life made.

Ticket Prices: At most events, viewers will be paid £5 each to attend. Subject to individual events organisers.

Thursday 14th-Thursday 21st April

Belfast Film Festival, Various venues, Belfast

The 16th Belfast Film Festival kicks off this year with an exciting list of documentary and narrative film screenings and events. With organisers dedicated to selecting some of the most contemporary docs on the market, festival attendees can see work from some of today’s most exciting directors including Khalik Allah and Hanna Polak, one of our top 11 women to watch in doc film. From the dark ‘street opera’ of Khalik’s Field Niggas, to the intimacy of Polak’s Something Better to Come, the scope of this years films is undeniably impressive. Other doc events include screenings of Amber Fares’s Speed Sisters and Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie, documenting the filmmaker’s last conversations with her dying mother. Belfast Film Festival also plays host to a number of special events and discussions, including must-see documentary The Landfill Harmonic on the subversive children’s band the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura. This group of young South American musicians live near one of the region’s largest landfill sites, and all of the instruments having been plucked out recycled under the mantra “The world sends us garbage… We send back music.”.

Locations, ticket prices and screening times vary, please see website for details.

Sunday April 17th 

Screening NOTFILM+ FILM, Glasgow Film Theatre, Glasgow

Few know that absurdist playwright Samuel Beckett once wrote a single screenplay for cinema. Starring Buster Keaton, Film was created in 1964 and premiered at Venice Film Festival, met immediately by criticism from both the public and film critics. Labelled by Beckett as an “interesting failure”, this daring black and white work is shot almost entirely from the perspective of the camera. The eternal gaze of the lens chases mysterious protagonist O as he attempts to hide from it and the prying eyes of those around him. This coming month, Glasgow Film Theatre will be screening Beckett’s Film alongside the influential documentary Notfilm, directed by Ross Lipman. Notfilm is described as a kino-essay on Beckett’s avant-garde experiment and is one of the most insightful pieces on the bizarre relationships and philosophies that the film incited. An academic and visually commanding insight in to the world of one of recent history’s most critiqued writers, a viewing of both films side by side promises to be a catalyst for deep thought and reflection of both literature and film buffs alike.

Screening NOTFILM+ FILM, 1pm Sunday April 17th, Glasgow Film Theatre, 12 Rose Street, Glasgow, G36RB +44141 332 6535

Ticket Prices: £7 (concession and unemployed)/£8.50 (standard)

Glasgow Film Theatre © Flickr/PotatoJunkie

Tuesday April 19th

Tim Hetherington: Visionary Discussion and Presentation, Frontline Club, London

The death of British photojournalist and documentarian Tim Hetherington in 2011 was an event that rocked a nation. Killed in a blast whilst reporting from the front line of the Libyan civil war, the human rights activist’s untimely death served as a reminder of the carnage faced by the Libyan people and the danger of reporting from war zones. Fearless, energetic and passionate, Tim was a regular Vanity Fair contributor and director of celebrated documentary Restrepo. This April, the Frontline Club comes together with the Tim Hetherington Trust and Tim’s family for a discussion on his life and work, and to showcase some of the new talent blazing a trail in the world of photojournalism today. Providing a first look at virtual reality documentary The Ark by Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill, attendees will be able to explore the world of the planet’s most endangered species; the northern white rhino. During the event the trust will also unveil the revised Liverpool John Moores University/Tim Hetherington Fellowship, a one year contract on the editorial team at Index on Censorship magazine and website going to the best journalism graduate.  A celebration of innovation past, present and future, this immersive evening of media and memory is not to be missed.

Tim Hetherington:Visionary, 7pm Tuesday 19th April,  Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Pl, London, W2 1QJ,

Ticket Prices: £5

Image © Flickr/Kosloff
Image © Flickr/Kosloff

Thursday 21st April

OBU Documentary Club: Finding Joe Screening, Oxford

The Oxford Brookes University documentary film club is dedicated to screening thoughtful documentaries to both its students and the public for free, continuing this month with Finding JoeIncredibly cinematic, the film documents the studies of leading mythologist Joseph Campbell, who through extensive research created a theory that all stories follow the same narrative pathway; the story of the hero. In his work, Campbell explored how we can all relate to myths and legends. He viewed each individual as the hero of their own story, with the everyday stresses and strains being the ‘dragons’ that stop us from achieving our goals. Through interviews with leading professionals in a number of fields from skateboarding to surfing, Finding Joe asks how we can all implement Campbell’s theory in to our lives in order to become the protagonists of our own realities. Other events from OBU this month include screenings of How to Change the World on the foundation of Greenpeace in Vancouver (7pm Thursday April 14th) and Generation Right (7pm Thursday 28th April) on the impact of Margaret Thatcher’s politics in today’s society. See Eventbrite for details.

OBU Documentary Club: Finding Joe Screening, Thursday April 21st 2016, John Henry Brookes Lecture Theatre, Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Oxford, OX3 OBP +441865 741111

Ticket Prices: Free, pre-register here

Saturday 23rd April

The Ferret Spring Conference, Glasgow

Pioneering media cooperative The Ferret launched last year with the aim to do one thing; to provide an investigative journalism platform, independent of the major news outlets, owned exclusively by its writers and subscribers. This April the breakout organisation celebrates its first year with a rich journalism conference where media professionals will come together to discuss a number of important media topics. Nick Williams from Scottish PEN will be giving a talk on the group’s goal to improve freedom of speech for journalists worldwide, and The Guardian writers Siana Bangura and Kevin McKenna will both be leading discussions. For documentary enthusiasts, filmmaker Frederik Subei (winner of Best Factual at the Creative Scotland Student Media Awards 2014 for his film Windfall Island) will be speaking on his time spent with refugees in Calais and using film as a global medium for change. Tickets also include a 3 month subscription to The Ferret, where readers can read up on a host of current affairs and independent investigations.

The Ferret Spring Conference, 10am-4.30pm Saturday 23rd April, The Confucius Room, Lord Hope Building, University of Strathclyde. 16 Richmond St, Glasgow G1 1XQ +44141 552 4400

Ticket Prices: £20 (Ferret member/concession)/ £40 (standard)

Thursday 28th April

Choose Your Own Documentary, Bertha DocHouse, London

To celebrate a year since Bertha DocHouse’s opening, this fully fledged London institution is hosting the much-loved interactive Choose Your Own Documentary show in its walls. Described by guests at 2013’s Sheffield Doc/Fest as “the best thing they’ve seen all year”, this immersive event has the audience choose its own fate as it attempts to figure out the author of a mysterious diary left behind by an unknown stranger. Hosted by Nathan Penlington, the event borrows themes from popular children’s game book series Choose Your Own Adventure, allowing the audience to choose the direction of the plot via remote controls at their seats. Film fans will enjoy the participation of documentary filmmakers Fernando Gutierrez De Jesus, Sam Smaïl and Nick Watson. Intriguing, surprising and leaving participants at the end of their seats, the event combines film, media, comedy and audience participation for an experience never to forget. Not your typical first birthday party then…

Choose Your Own Documentary, Thursday 28th April, 8pm, Bertha DocHouse, Curzon Bloomsbury, The Brunswick Centre, London WC1N 1AW

Ticket Prices: £10 (concessions)/£12.50 (standard)

Image Courtesy of CYOD
 Friday 29th April

Healing Voices Global Film Screening, Liverpool

According to the Mental Health Association, 1 in 4 people in England will experience a mental health problem in any given year.  In spite of this, mental health illnesses remain some of the most stigmatised in today’s society, and documentary film Healing Voices tackles this issue head on. Following the lives of three people living with a serious mental illness, the film centres around Oryx, Jen, and Dan, who suffer from conditions such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Despite their illnesses and the prejudices surrounding them, the three main characters paint an honest, harrowing and at times surprising picture of ‘madness’ as we understand it. Challenging our contemporary understanding of mental illness using interviews with sufferers and established psychiatrists, Healing Voices attempts to shift the focus and re-establish what it truly means to live with mental illness. The film will be showing this April in Liverpool for free in collaboration with The University of Liverpool.

Healing Voices Screening, 5pm Friday 29th April, Lesley Hearnshaw Lecture Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building,  University of Liverpool, Bedford Street South, Liverpool L69 3BX  +44151 794 2000

Ticket Prices: Free, pre-register here

By Megan O’Hara